With Gordon, Charlie V., Gortat, Artest and Ariza all finding new homes in free agency, Shaq and VC on to greener pastures via trade, who do you think has done the most to improve their team thus far? Thoughts in the comments, as usual.
The Rockets will probably get a better return on their investment in Ariza than the Lakers will in Artest, but I don't think either team is really better off from the swap. LA had Ariza in a perfect spot, without a lot of responsibility on the offensive end. He pretty much spotted up and hit jumpers. Artest will want to do more, and if he is not allowed to, it could cause problems. On Houston's end, they don't have anyone to carry the weight on offense, something Artest was happy to do last season. Ariza is not that type of player. He'll help them if/when Yao gets back, but this season, Artest would've probably had a greater positive effect.
The Pistons turned themselves into a gunning team that plays no D overnight, they get an "F" for misuse of funds.
The Magic are not a better team with Vince Carter and without Hedo, Lee, Alston, etc. If they somehow re-sign Hedo, they are. So they get an incomplete from me, but it's looking like they're going to downgrade.
Shaq to Cleveland could go either way, but when you look at what they gave up for him, it was a positive move. They've upgraded.
Finally, the Dallas Mavs. They pulled the jewel of free agency, in my mind. If they can hang on to Jason Kidd, they've done the most to improve their team in my eyes. If they lose Kidd, they're in serious trouble because their MLE is gone. They'll have to work a sign and trade to get a point.