It appears the San Antonio Spurs want the championship trophy back, the Cleveland Cavaliers want one, and the Dallas Mavericks are simply cleaning house. As the NBA free agency headlines settle, those themes have taken shape.
San Antonio landed the best of the free agents when Portland's LaMarcus Aldridge gave the nod. The 6-11 forward put up 24 points and pulled down 11 rebounds a game last year and may get more playing time than Tim Duncan. Meanwhile, the Cavaliers, with LeBron James and Kyrie Irving aboard, secured their trio of stars by inking Kevin Love. Then they went and got guard Mo Williams from Charlotte, which puts their other free agent guards, Matthew Dellavedova, and J.R. Smith under a cloud of insecurity.
Most of the other sought-after free agents chose to stick with their teams. They include:
Danny Green (San Antonio)
Marc Gasol (Memphis)
Kawhi Leonard (San Antonio)
Jimmy Butler (Chicago)
DeAndre Jordan (LA Clippers)
Draymond Green (Golden State)
Goran Dragic (Miami)
Paul Millsap (Atlanta)
Brandon Knight (Phoenix)
There was some significant free-agency swapping, though:
The Dallas Mavericks couldn't get Jordan. But they've gone into dump mode. Tyson Chandler is heading to Phoenix; Monta Ellis is skipping town for Indiana; Rajon Rondo has inked with Sacramento; and Amare Stoudemire is off to Miami.
Greg Monroe of Detroit, signed with Milwaukee to make them a contender in the East.
Roy Hibbert of Indiana went to the Los Angeles Lakers, who couldn’t get another good big man.
Toronto needed a shooter and simply made it too expensive for the Atlanta Hawks to keep DeMarre Carroll.
And Paul Pierce has gone west to give the L.A. Clippers an experienced winner.
Who's still out there? With the best players gone, Cleveland may be letting three players go to make room for more quality depth. Big man Tristan Thompson joins guards Smith and Dellavedova on the market.
Forward Josh Smith, of Houston, played well against the Clippers in the Western Conference finals, and they like him. So do the Sacramento Kings.
Carlos Boozer of the Lakers is a forward who can score. The Spurs, Clippers, Pelicans, Raptors and Mavs have all reportedly had conversations with him.
K.J. McDaniels of Houston was injured late in the season, but the Rockets will probably re-sign him.
Matt Bonner has been a center/forward backup in San Antonio for years, but now the Spurs may not be able to afford him. Sacramento may give him a home.
One small tip for the bettors on this matter, after recent transfers count the San Antonio Spurs and the Milwaukee Bucks the most improved. The Spurs may well overtake the defending champion Warriors in the West, and the Bucks got just the big man they needed to give Cleveland a run.