I am still waiting on the Howard/Paul/Nene dominos to fall, but here’s my initial thoughts on the key signings/acquisitions so far:

Tyson Chandler: NY – four-years, $58 million

Nice move but one hell of a risk. It wasn’t so long ago that Chandler missed a heap of time with dodgy feet – a huge red flag for 7-footers. But in the here and now, it’s a move that drastically improves the Knicks, giving them a beastly front line of Chandler, Amar’e and Melo. It’s a shaky foundation but a damn good one.

But $15 million annually for Chandler? C’mon now.

Tayshaun Prince: Detroit – four-years, $27 million

You didn’t, did you Joe? You’ve locked in the 31-year-old Prince at $7 million per for the next four years, when it’s painfully obvious that you need to rebuild?

There’s loyalty and then there’s stupidity, and you’ve crossed that line again Joe Dumars. He clearly learnt nothing from the Rip Hamilton farce.

Caron Butler: LAC – three-years, $24 million

Oh lordy, this is what they do with their cap space?

Where do you start? He’s about to turn 32, he’s coming off a torn ACL, he’s been injury prone his entire career and his eroding athleticism makes him a one-dimensional scorer (which they don’t need). And they give him $8 million per year?

Leopards never change their spots I guess.

Shane Battier: Miami – three-years, $9 million

Hard to fault this deal. One thing though; shouldn’t they be spending their money on something that resembles an NBA center?

Lamar Odom traded to Dallas

Typically, the standard strategy for an NBA champion is to re-sign everybody and then gun for number two. But more often than not you get burned because you end up overpaying the incumbents and sticking with guys well beyond their expiry date (see LA and San Antonio).

Mark Cuban’s too smart for that. His plan is simple; stay competitive (but not at all costs), and more importantly, keep the balance sheet clean so that they can rebuild around Dirk in 2012 free agency. As it stands, they will have major cash to spend next year, and if the Nets luck out on Dwight Howard, they will be in the driver’s seat to land the hometown kid Deron Williams in 2012.

The Odom trade fits with this strategy because he’s essentially an expiring contract (he has a team option in 2012). He can’t replicate Chandler defensively but he will form a pretty good partnership with Dirk upfront, ensuring that the Mavs are once again an elite team in the west. But I think they’re done as legitimate title contenders

David West: Indiana – two-years, $20 million

David West is an aging power forward with a bum wheel so I am struggling to see the logic here. They’ll be better for sure, but to what end? A berth in the second round of the playoffs, at best? This team won’t stack up against the big boys – Miami, Chicago and New York.

They should have continued on with their youth movement.

Glen ‘Big Baby’ Davis: Orlando – four-years, $26 million

I like Baby but not at this price. Excessive. But that’s Otis Smith for ya.

Jason Richardson: Orlando – four-years, $25 million

Otis really has lost the plot. With Howard’s imminent departure this makes zero sense. REBUILD ya fool.

Grant Hill: Phoenix – one-year, $6.5 million

If their goal is mediocrity, they’re succeeding. Anything other than rebuilding makes no sense here.

Marcus Thornton: Sacramento – five-years, $40 million

See Big Baby.

Thaddeus Young: Philadelphia – five-years, $42 million

A reasonable contract considering Young’s potential. He has his limitations but he could become a top-flight wing.

Mario Chalmers: Miami – three-years $12 million

The best ‘bang-for-your-buck’ deal signed so far.

Jeff Green: Boston – one-year, $9 million

They’re overpaying him but that’s by design (to ensure he signs for one year). They’re keeping their options open for 2012 free agency when they will have a boatload of cash to spend, and they need his young legs for the Big Three’s final push.

Mike Bibby: NY – one-year, $1.4 million

A waste of a roster spot; he’s washed up.


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