Mar 30, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers center Spencer Hawes (32) reacts during a game against the Indiana Pacers at Quicken Loans Arena. Cleveland won 90-76. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
A lot of quality players have changed uniforms in NBA free agency this off-season. Which ones will be the most impactful?
LeBron James – Cleveland Cavaliers
Adding the best player in basketball has to go down as the biggest move in NBA free agency for sure. However, it’s never a wise idea to simply peg the Cleveland Cavaliers as destined for a dynasty by adding LeBron James. It’s important to remember this movie has played before. James failed in seven years to win a championship in his home town. He will have more help this time with Kyrie Irving and Andrew Wiggins, but his impact will depend on how they progress and mature with him.
Pau Gasol – Chicago Bulls
The 34-year old veteran Pau Gasol said he went with his gut when he chose to sign with the Chicago Bulls. For a man in pursuit of a championship, it wasn’t a bad choice. Chicago has been in the playoff picture since 2008 and seem to have a roster ready for a run with the return of Derrick Rose and rise of Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson. By adding Gasol, with his deft passing and offensive prowess, the Bulls finally have more ways to score and compliment their suffocating defense.
Chandler Parsons – Dallas Mavericks
Bringing back Tyson Chandler via trade could be a steal for the Dallas Mavericks, but it could be their high-stakes power play for talented forward Chandler Parsons that ends up vaulting them into serious contention in 2014-2015. Parsons is only 25-years old and a very solid player who can shoot from long range and provide quality scoring and rebounding in the paint. Together with Dirk Nowitzki, it is a trio that could recreate some of that magic Dallas saw in 2011.
Spencer Hawes – Los Angeles Clippers
Too often a lack of depth really hurt the Los Angeles Clippers last season, particularly in the front court. So they looked to aggressively find help in NBA free agency. What they got was an underrated steal in Spencer Hawes. While not a superstar, the big man brings qualities the Clippers lack. Chief among them are three-point shooting and consistency at the free throw line. Throw in the fact he can play power forward or center, and the Clips bench got a huge boost.
Luol Deng – Miami Heat
Retaining Chris Bosh was priority one for the Miami Heat after LeBron left for Cleveland, but finding a way to improve the roster afterwards was the next step. Despite his struggles in Cleveland after being traded from Chicago, Luol Deng could end up being a surprise anchor for the rebuilding Eastern Conference Champs. At age 29 he is still in his prime years, is a versatile defender and is good for 15-17 points per night. He’s also historically decent from long range. All are qualities the Heat can put to good use.