By Dan Lovi on July 24, 2014
The city of Cleveland is rejoicing now that "The King" is back. Phil Jackson and Derek Fisher are ecstatic that Carmelo Anthony chose to stay with the New York Knicks. Gordon Hayward got the max contract he was looking for last summer.
Yes, there were many winners this offseason, but there were many losers as well.
Here are the 10 biggest losers of the 2014 NBA free agency period.
The Rockets traded Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin to free up cap space to sign Chris Bosh, but Bosh bailed at the last second, leaving Houston with a bunch of cap space and no one to sign. When Chandler Parsons signed his contract with the Dallas Mavericks, most pundits thought the Rockets would match it, but they surprised everyone by letting Parsons go. They signed Trevor Ariza to help soften the blow, but the Rockets lost out on their main target.
Lance Stephenson was hoping to get a max contract this offseason, so he refused the five-year, $ 44 million contract the Indiana Pacers offered him. He ended up signing a three-year deal with the Charlotte Hornets for $ 27 million, around the same money he would have gotten from the Pacers. Stephenson is in for a rude awakening, when he realizes he gave up playing for a championship contender to go play for the lowly Hornets.
The Timberwolves did little to improve this offseason. Rick Adelman retired, leaving Flip Saunders in charge of basketball operations as well as coaching the team. They drafted Zach LaVine, who has potential, but the Timberwolves need someone who can contribute right away. Kevin Love is unhappy and wants out of Minnesota, but Saunders is reluctant to let his superstar go. If they don't trade Love soon, they may lose him for nothing.
When Channing Frye is your highest paid player, something isn’t right. The biggest offseason move the Magic made was signing Frye to a four-year deal worth $ 32 million. They also reached when they drafted Aaron Gordon with the fourth overall pick. They traded Arron Afflalo for Evan Fournier and signed Ben Gordon to a two-year deal worth $ 9 million. Lastly, they parted ways with their longest tenured player, Jameer Nelson.
Jason Kidd wanted Billy King’s job in Brooklyn, so Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov showed him the exit door. It was absurd of Kidd to demand that much control after only one year on the job. He was traded to the Milwaukee Bucks, who had the worst record in the league last season. He says he is happy to be in Milwaukee, but let’s be real, leaving a playoff-bound team for a lottery bound team isn’t exactly a lateral move.
The Clippers aren't losers because of their new acquisitions this offseason. They are losers simply because Donald Sterling is still the owner of the team. Sterling is suing the NBA and his wife Shelly Sterling, and has repeatedly said he refuses to sell the team. If the Sterling issue isn't resolved quickly and Doc Rivers decides to leave the team, it would be a devastating blow to the Clippers organization and its fan base.
Eric Bledsoe has found himself in quite a pickle. He wanted a max contract but no team, including the Phoenix Suns, is willing to pay him that kind of money. On top of that, the Suns keep stockpiling talented point guards. They traded for Isaiah Thomas and drafted Tyler Ennis to go along with Goran Dragic. With teams running out of money to spend, Bledsoe might find himself in a crowded backcourt making a lot less cash than he had hoped for.
The Heat had a bad offseason, and Dwyane Wade can attest to that. He left over million on the table in the hopes that LeBron James and Chris Bosh would return to Miami. Bosh is back, but James bolted, leaving Wade in the dust. Not only did he lose out on a lot of money, but his dream of winning a fourth championship is now nothing more than that, a dream. Without James, Wade and the Heat won’t come close to winning another championship.
The Lakers swung for the fences and missed, badly. While the Lakers front office fantasized about Carmelo Anthony and Kobe Bryant playing together, all the quality free agents were busy signing with other teams. The Lakers have almost the entirely same roster as last season. Nick Young and Jordan Hill are back, as is Ryan Kelly, Xavier Henry and Wesley Johnson. The additions of Carlos Boozer and Jeremy Lin hardly made a splash.
Regardless of the other moves the Heat made this summer, losing the best player in the world results in a failed offseason. Pat Riley did his best to retain LeBron James, but signing Josh McRoberts and drafting Shabazz Napier just didn’t cut it. Riley tried to salvage the loss of James by bringing in Luol Deng and Danny Granger, but those are some awfully big shoes to fill.
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