No, free agency isn’t officially in the books just yet, but all of the major pieces have fallen into place.
Like every offseason for every sport, there must be winners and there must be losers. Here are the five teams that “won” NBA free agency in the summer of 2014:
1. Houston Rockets
They struck out on LeBron. Struck out on ‘Melo. And then the dagger: they struck out on Chris Bosh.
Houston sent Omer Asik packing with the expectation it would use his salary to add a superstar, but wound up whiffing and then — adding insult to injury — lost Chandler Parsons to in-state rival Dallas.
Trevor Ariza is a good addition, but in no way does he make up for what they lost.
2. Los Angeles Lakers
In addition, the team continues to proceed without a head coach. This team did nothing to improve its stance as a bottom-dweller in 2013, and looks to continue to be a lottery team in 2014.
3. Miami Heat
They lost LeBron James, so immediately they fall into the loser category. Now Chris Bosh is the face of the franchise, and he’s playing alongside a deteriorating Dwyane Wade and Luol Deng, and a cast of role players who cannot have the same impact without James in the fold.
In the East, Miami is still a playoff team. But to speak the obvious, in no way can the team compete like it has the past four years.
4. Indiana Pacers
Indiana lost Lance Stephenson to the Hornets, and are attempting to replace a budding star with Rodney Stuckey.
The Pacers made no marquee free-agent signing, and seem content to stand put with a team that suffered a second-half collapse in the regular season and was pushed to the brink of elimination by the No. 8 seed Hawks.
5. Brooklyn Nets
Kevin Garnett is returning! Awesome!
Deron Williams was a shell of his former self last season, so you have to wonder if he’ll bounce back or continue to regress in 2014. They could easily not even make the playoffs this year.