#10 Raymond Felton & Marcus Camby – New York Knicks. Camby is a veteran of the league and still a legit shot-blocker. His defensive presence will compliment Chandler’s strength on the low block. Look for the Knicks to be a strong defensive team. New York’s decision to go after Felton instead of Lin will be second guessed for the rest of time, especially if Lin is capable of recapturing some of the magic he created last year. This move will be debated for the rest of Lin’s career and beyond.
#9 Lou Williams & Devin Harris – Atlanta Hawks. Harris is a veteran point guard that adds depth to Atlanta, but will not be a key contributor. Williams has the potential to be a significant player for the Hawks, especially now that Joe Johnson won’t be putting up points for them.
#8 Luis Scola – Phoenix Suns. Scola has also been around the league a while, but is still capable of a 20 point, 10 rebound night on a consistent basis. Many teams overlook him. This might be because of his unorthodox style of play, but his results speak for themselves. Scola is a team player that will contribute whatever is needed. Although Phoenix will struggle this year, look for Scola to put up solid numbers.
#7 Jeremy Lin – Houston Rockets. This is the big question of 2012-13. Will we witness the 2.0 version of Linsanity? If Lin can regain even a shadow of his prowess during his streak in New York, Houston will be happy and the Knicks’ GM will be scorned. A lot of people still believe Lin was a fluke and that he can’t put up those types of numbers on a regular basis. Time will tell.
#6 O.J. Mayo & Elton Brand – Brooklyn Nets. Mayo is a question mark. He came out of USC with a ton of hype and potential. Yet, he more closely resembled a poor man’s Stephon Marbury than a legit NBA star. No one questions Mayo’s ability to put up points, but whether he can play within a team’s offensive scheme remains to be seen. Brand is a veteran player that knows how to contribute. He’s still good for 15 and 10 on a regular basis and will make the Nets significantly stronger.
#5 Joe Johnson – Brooklyn Nets. The arrival of Johnson to Brooklyn is significant for a couple of reasons. First, it helped keep Deron Williams with the Nets, which is huge. Second, Johnson is a big time scorer who makes Brooklyn a much better team. It is going to be interesting to follow the Nets development as they have a significant amount of talent. The question is whether the pieces will fit together to spell wins.
#4 Andre Iguodala – Denver Nuggets. Iguodala is a perfect fit to Denver’s up-tempo brand of ball. This move has been largely overlooked throughout the off-season, but I predict Iguodala is going to have a real impact in Denver.
#3 Ray Allen & Rashad Lewis – Miami Heat. These are two massive additions to the reigning NBA champions. Ray Allen provides the consistent deep ball Miami lacked in patches throughout the year. Rashad Lewis has been forgotten by some, but is still a big time player. Lewis will have a ‘fill in the gaps’ type of role this season, but look for Miami to be contending to repeat with these two additions.
#2 Andrew Bynum & Jason Richardson – Philadelphia 76ers. This is another move that will have huge repercussions. Bynum’s name is right up there with Dwight Howard’s for who is the best center in the league. Bynum’s challenge throughout his career thus far has been staying healthy and playing consistently. Another question mark is whether Bynum can stay hungry without Kobe driving him every game. Richardson still has some miles in his tank even though he’s bounced around the league a little.
#1 Dwight Howard & Steve Nash – Los Angeles Lakers. This is the move that rocked the NBA world. Dwight Howard’s eventual exit from Orlando and arrival in LA makes the Lakers the favorites to win next year. Nash appears to be the perfect compliment to Kobe’s desire to have the ball on the perimeter and Howard’s need underneath. With Nash distributing the rock and Kobe, Howard, World Peace, and Gasol rounding out the squad, it’s tough to picture the Lakers not coming out of the West.
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