Golden State Warriors 36-46 (I just feel this team should rename themselves the Golden State Small Forwards/Shooting Guards)
Notable Free Agents - Vladamir Radmanovic's $6 mil contract
Core players still on contract - Monta Ellis, David Lee, Stephen Curry, Andris Biedrins, Dorrel Wright, Ekpe Udoh
Recap: Don Nelson was fired by the Warriors before the season started and was replaced by assistant coach Keith Smart. They signed Acie Law in the first part of the season to a small 1 year deal. They traded for Troy Murphy and quickly bought him out in a money saving move. And they worked with new guy David Lee who didn't really play up to his "hey he's a max deal player!" hype he received in New York-but a solid year nonetheless.
Dorrel Wright had a break out season and became a go to guy with his lethal 3 point shot. A small bright spot in the Warriors' season.
Expect them to: 1. Find a new coach. 2. Play in free agency. 3. Try and trade either Stephen Curry or Monta Ellis.
Hopefully they get Rick Adelman or someone who can command a lot of respect and gives a crap about defense because for the past, oh I don't know, 10 years or so, this Warriors team has been a run-n-gun offense that was highlighted when Baron Davis and company took out number 1 seed Mavericks a few years ago.
They shed a lot a lot a lot of money, about 20 million worth and can sign a few good guys to fill out the roster. Unfortunately, this summer's free agent class isn't as great as last year's, but if they try and work a trade into the mix as well with either Stephen Curry or Monta Ellis, they can really shake up this roster and move away from the run-n-gun that has never worked in the history of the NBA as far as championships are concerned. It's fun. It sells tickets. It doesn't win championships.
Indiana Pacers 37-45 (Oh yeahhh they made the playoffs with that atrocious record (AW YEAAA!!!!)
Notable free agents - Mike Dunleavy, TJ Ford, Jeff Foster
Core players still on contract - Danny Granger, Roy Hibbert, Tyler Hansbrough, Darren Collison, James Posey, Paul George, Brandon Rush
Recap: They traded for Darren Collison after he had a great rookie campaign filling in for the injured Chris Paul on the Hornets last year. They continue to push Granger as their franchise player. Tyler Hansbrough continued to prove naysayers wrong and had a productive sophomore season and Roy Hibbert, had his ups and downs but looks like a legitimate center. It may not be the best looking roster but apparently 37 wins gets you an 8th seed in the east. And they won a game against the Bulls! ALL UNDER AN INTERIM COACH FRANK VOGEL!
Look for them to: 1. Make a decision as to whether or not to keep Frank Vogel. 2. Play in free agency as over $25 million dollars is coming off the books. 3. Try and trade James Posey's $6 million expiring contract. 4. Continue to build with a pretty young and talented nucleus.
Frank Vogel has recently was interviewed by the Houston Rockets this week, so he might be on the way out. It's a toss up as to whether or not it's a good idea to re-sign him, although the players have come out and said they want him back.
Aside from the coach though, a LOT of money is coming off the books and the young core is under contract for more than two years. I see a big signing in the form of a small forward to fill out the roster. Maybe a shooting guard and put Paul George on the bench or a power forward and put Hansbrough on the bench. Who knows, but this team has the money to either sign a big name or a couple solid role players.
As for James Posey, he just straight up doesn't play for them anymore. Lot of inactive games and wasn't even a part of the playoff roster. He'll be in the last year of his contract and could be a trade piece for a team trying to shed salary. He isn't a part of the Pacers' future at all. The future will look to build around Granger, Hibbert and Collison. It may not be anything special now, but it is building blocks they can work with. Could be an exciting season next year depending on who they sign.
Utah Jazz 39-43 (Oh how the somewhat mighty have fallen)
Notable free agents - ANDREI KIRILENKO, Kyrylo Fesenko
Core players still on contract - Al Jefferson, Mehmet Okur, Devin Harris, Paul Millsap, Derrick Favors, CJ Miles, Raja Bell, Gordon Hayward
Recap: In the beginning, they traded for Al Jefferson for future draft picks, based on Deron Williams request of the list of big men they could get and DWill said "I'm gonna make you an allstar." Then some ish went down and the team stopped responding to the coach which lead to THE GREAT JERRY SLOAN QUITTING. THEN Deron Williams was TRADED for Devin Harris and Derrick Favors! WHAT?! Wasn't Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer supposed to be the second coming of John Stockton and Karl Malone? Whatever. The team floundered during and after that trade and didn't make the playoffs and now could have an entire new look by next season.
Look for them to: 1. Find a new coach. 2. Re-sign Andrei Kirilenko. 3. Get their players healthy again. 4. Build around their new core.
It'll be tough, but the Jazz do need to find a new coach that can get this team back to the playoffs. I haven't really heard much about who they'd want to replace him with, which could mean they'll roll with Tyrone Corbin who replaced Sloan when he left. As for Kirilenko, both sides have expressed their desire to re-sign, and at a discounted rate! AK said he doesn't want to chase a championship by being a "bit" player (Like Iverson). Although he has said he would listen to the Nets' Russian owner about playing there.
This team just needs to get healthy though. Andrei, Mehmet Okur, Fesenko, Ronnie Price and CJ Miles all had injuries and missed time. Next season will be a fresh start and hopefully everyone will be healthy again. Mehmet Okur can really add some dynamics to this team as another big who can shoot the 3 pointer. They can cause matchup problems with him and Al Jefferson subbing for each other.
For a team that lost it's two best players in Boozer and DWill, they got some great pieces to move forward with, including one of the fastest point guards in the league Devin Harris, and the #3 pick in last years draft Derrick Favors, along with their own draft pick Gordon Hayward and two great bigs- Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap. If they can get Andrei Kirilenko back and Mehmet Okur back from injury, they'd have all the pieces to make a run at the playoffs again.
Phoenix Suns 40-42 (So I guess that Amare Stoudemire wasn't just a great player cuz of Steve Nash then eh?)
Notable free agents - Vince Carter (team option that they better not pick up-$18 mil), Grant Hill, Mikael Pietrus (player option ($5 mil)
Core players still on contract - Steve Nash, Marcin Gortat, Channing Frye, Josh Childress, Hakim Warrick, Jared Dudley (fun names!)
Recap: This team went through a lot of changes this season - At one point they had Jason Richardson, Goran Dragic and Hedo Turkoglu and that changed to Vince Carter and Marcin Gortat and Aaron Brooks. Everyone knows it-put anyone on the same team as Steve Nash and they'll have a great statistical year. But the talent this team used to have got them to the playoffs. This year, they didn't even win half their games. And Steve Nash being the best teammate never demands a trade and just keeps playing, passing and shooting 3 points with crazy accuracy.
Ultimately, Vince Carter became a bench player and played about 20-25 minutes for the last two weeks of the season in a downward spiral to his career.
Look for them to: 1. Not re-sign Vince Carter. 2. Look to replace his spot in the starting lineup by signing a shooting guard, Michael Redd? 3. Re-sign Grant Hill. 4. Re-sign Aaron Brooks. 5. Do everything in their power to please Steve Nash.
Vince Carter is self explanatory. He's not good. Nowhere near worth 18 million. Bye bye Carter. There are rumors that the Suns would be able to get Michael Redd for cheap given his injurious past. I wouldn't do it BECAUSE of his injurious past but they do risk signing a long term deal with someone else and then watching Steve Nash peace out next summer.
Regarding Grant Hill, he is playing great given his age at 38. He finished 7th in defensive player of the year voting! He's a great leader and veteran and if it weren't for the sorry role players the Suns have (Hakim Warrick was supposed to replace Stoudemire, and then Childress and Robin Lopez just didn't play well).
As for Aaron Brooks, they will probably give him his qualifying option of about 2.5 million in case something drastic does happen with Steve Nash. Aaron Brooks fell off a little bit after winning the most improved player award (an award I have major beef with), but he is still one of the fastest dudes in the league and can start and score.
Philadelphia 41-41 (Our first 500 team! And it's our 15th team! Right on track)
Notable free agents - Jason Kapono's $6.6 million contract, Darius Songalia's $4 million contract
Core players still on contract - Andre Iguodala, Elton Brand, Louis Williams, Evan Turner, Jrue Holiday
Recap: 500 team makes the playoffs and wins 1 game against the Heat after a season where Elton Brand came alive again and Jrue Holiday took a big step forward in his young career. They barely got to see what #2 draft pick Evan Turner could do. But in the end, they lost in the playoffs and Andre Iguodala, the face of the franchise, skipped his exit interviews, which leads us to what you should
Look for them to: TRADE ANDRE IGUODALA. Yes. I said it. And from what I've been reading around the internet is that it could be for another SF or for a big man. I'm not going to speculate who but they need to open some playing time for young Evan Turner so that he and Jrue Holiday can start getting this already playoff team (yet only 500 team) in the right direction. Other than that, they need to fill out their bench. It's not that impressive and they won't have a good draft pick to do so, but they can dabble in free agency and sign some bench guys. But that will all depend on who they can get for Andre Iguodala.