Roundtable: Who Lost the Western Conference Offseason?
*Photo via NBC
In the final installment of our Roundtable: Offseason Winners and Losers series, we asked:
Who is your offseason loser in the Western Conference?
Kory Waldron – The biggest loser of this offseason in the West, are the Portland Trail Blazers. The Trail Blazers have been an up and coming franchise in the past few seasons, built around LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard. That “up and coming” has now turned into complete overhaul and rebuild.
The reason the Trail Blazers are the biggest loser is because Lillard is the only returning starter. Portland traded away Nicolas Batum, didn’t re-sign Wesley Matthews (Dallas Mavericks), Robin Lopez (New York Knicks) or LaMarcus Aldridge (San Antonio Spurs). Now Robin Lopez won’t be terribly missed, due to the acquisition of Mason Plumlee on draft night. However, when trading away Batum, I’m sure the Rip City brass didn’t imagine Matthews and Aldridge would both walk.
The Blazers are now going to need Lillard to put the team on his back, and hope to get big time contributions from a group of players who have never been more than role players.
Connor Harr – The Los Angeles Lakers lost the offseason in the Western Conference. The Lakers swung for the fences for LaMarcus Aldridge and whiffed. It’s become clear that the Lakers won't be a premier free agent destination until Kobe Bryant retires. I find it very ironic that the guy who was the centerpiece of your success for the last 15 or so years is now what is holding the Lakers back from emerging as a title contender once again.
The Lakers signed 2015 Sixth Man of the Year, Lou Williams, and veteran power forward Brandon Bass, while also trading for Roy Hibbert, who’s 15 minutes of fame ended a long time ago.
As far as I'm concerned what is happening with the Lakers is truly sickening. The Lakers organization seems to be making moves to put people in the stands and not put up wins in basketball games. The Lakers organization is firmly living by one of my favorite sayings; defense wins championships, but offense sells tickets.
Joe Keller – In most of the public’s view the losers of the offseason out west were the Dallas Mavericks, who had verbally agreed to a contract with DeAndre Jordan. After Jordan had a change of heart choosing to stay with the Los Angeles Clippers, he publicly humiliated Dallas during the process and left them with no other options in free agency. I give Dallas the benefit of the doubt, first, because Jordan’s immaturity isn’t their fault and second, because of their efforts to put a contending team around Dirk by signing Wesley Matthews and Deron Williams.
The real loser of the offseason in the west is the Portland Trail Blazers. When you lose four out of your five starting players and your sixth man you know the offseason was bad, especially when one of them was All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge. Once the Blazers knew Aldridge wouldn’t return they made a decision to let players walk, and start over around Damian Lillard. After this offseason I wouldn’t expect another 50 win season or playoff berth, one thing that is for sure, they will look at lot different this year
Chris Stewart – The Dallas Mavericks nearly stole DeAndre Jordan away from the Los Angeles Clippers. Not long after the moratorium began, the Mavericks reached an agreement with Jordan (4YR/$80MM); or so they thought.
Jordan reneged on the deal; leaving Cuban and company high-and-dry, and when Tyson Chandler signed with the Phoenix Suns, the Mavs were suddenly without a center.
As Dirk Nowitzki eyes retirement, the organization faces the unavoidable task to rebuild. However, they made little progress this summer. Shooting guard Wesley Matthews was signed to a four-year deal worth $70 million, but is coming off an Achilles injury. The team also signed point guard Deron Williams to a two-year $11 million contract (he’s not the player he once was), and with the 21st pick, selected University of Virginia’s Justin Anderson (a six-six shooting guard).
The Mavericks are an aging team that tried to get younger and more athletic, but struck out. Come 2016, they may find themselves in the lottery, in a very tough Western Conference
Parth Goradia – The Portland Trail Blazers went from a championship contender, to injury riddled roster, to now a 2016 lottery team. Losing four starters and their sixth man will do that do most teams. They replaced their contending core with young talent that will need time to find their way if they want to compete in the West. It’s hard to watch the injury bug cripple Portland’s franchise over and over and over again.
Mike Ricci – The Portland Trail Blazers aren’t just the biggest loser this offseason in the Western Conference, they’re the biggest loser in the NBA. Over the last month or so, they have lost Wesley Matthews, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Robin Lopez only to replace them with Ed Davis and Al-Farouq Aminu.
I’m an eternal optimist so I tried hard to find a silver lining to this offseason. I suppose Blazers fans could find solace in the fact that the Los Angeles Lakers wanted to resign Ed Davis but he spurned them to sign with Portland. There’s your silver lining! Consider it payback, albeit 15 years late.
Transaction information courtesy of RealGM, NBA.com