source: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times
The NBA offseason has stirred up a lot of buzz in the sports world; maybe even overshadowing the last NBA Finals. Players are switching teams like square dancing partners. Surprisingly, unsatisfied Dwight Howard is staying in Orlando. Some of these transfers feel like betrayals in the eyes of fans, with star players joining rival teams. We all remember LeBron James’ first game in Cleveland after taking his talents to South Beach. Below I’ll take a look at some of these transfers, which includes players’ away games at former teams:
5. Jason Kidd (Dallas Mavericks to New York Knicks)
The 39-year-old veteran is one of the NBA’s greatest active point guards with the second most careers assists and steals (John Stockton holds the No.1 spot on both lists). Kidd will play for his fourth NBA team since he first started with the Dallas Mavericks in 1994. Kidd had a great second run with the Dallas Mavericks from 2008-2012, even winning his first NBA Championship in 2011.
However, last season Kidd had a career low of 5.5 assists per game, and the aging defending champion Mavericks were swept by a young Oklahoma City squad in the first round of the 2012 NBA Playoffs. Kidd became a free agent at the end of the season, and signed a three-year deal with the New York Knicks. Kidd joins former 2011 NBA Championship teammate Tyson Chandler. At the time of the deal, Kidd was expected to be a mentor to the flourishing Jeremy Lin, but Lin accepted a deal to Houston. Lin couldn’t have asked for a better mentor in Kidd, who currently holds the record for most games played amongst active players. The starting point guard position is now thrust upon the 39 year old. Kidd returns to Dallas on in the fall in his fourth NBA jersey against former teammate Dirk Nowitzski.
4. Joe Johnson (Atlanta Hawks to Brooklyn Nets)
Ever since Joe Johnson joined the Atlanta Hawks in 2007, the team has had consistent postseason appearances after a nine-year postseason drought. Johnson was a valuable asset to the Atlanta organization, so valuable that in 2010 Johnson agreed to a six-year $119 million contract to stay with the team. It seemed like Johnson was happy with Atlanta, but a first round NBA postseason exit, and a renewed Nets team changed the small forward’s mind.
The New Jersey Nets became the Brooklyn Nets after the 2011-2012 NBA season, and are looking to start over from mediocre squad to promising side. With a new home, new colors, and new players the Brooklyn Nets are trying to erase their struggling seasons while in New Jersey. High-profile free agent Deron Williams’ decision to re-sign with the Nets brought many players’ attention to the refurbished squad. Brook Lopez re-signed with the squad, and Dwight Howard couldn’t shut up about his desire to play in Brooklyn. While Howard was flapping his gums about leaving Orlando, Johnson left Atlanta in a trade deal that saw five Nets players and a draft pick go to the Hawks. Brooklyn’s “Core Four” of Williams, Lopez, Johnson, and Gerard Wallace are now set to shine in Brooklyn’s new Barclay’s Center. Johnson will return to Atlanta’s Philips Arena in a Brooklyn Nets’ jersey in January, but whether he will receive fine southern hospitality is still in question.
3. Jeremy Lin (New York Knicks to Houston Rockets)
The Jeremy Lin story is incredible enough to become a biopic. After going undrafted in the 2010 NBA Draft, Harvard graduate Jeremy Lin took up some offers to play some summer league games. His performance impressed some teams, and he ultimately signed with his hometown team Golden State Warriors. He hopped around between first team and D-League selection until he ultimately landed in the spotlight in Madison Square Garden with the Knicks. Lin proved his prowess on the court in the absence of big names like Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire. Linsanity soon spread from Manhattan to across the world.
Unfortunately, the Knicks couldn’t quite capitalize on the momentum and lost 4-1 in their second consecutive playoff series in ten years against the Miami Heat. After the season ended, Lin became a hot commodity as a restricted free agent. The Houston Rockets initially offered Lin a four-year $28.8 million contract that was soon revised to $25 million. The Knicks decided not to match the offer, so Lin followed the money. It’s debatable whether Lin is worth $25 million, especially after only playing 26 games last season. Lin returns to New York before Christmas 2012, when the Rockets face the Knicks in Madison Square Garden. Lin will either prove himself as a quality player or a flash in the pan.
2. Ray Allen (Boston Celtics to Miami Heat)
Ray Allen is in the twilight of his playing career, and what a career it has been: all-time NBA 3-point leader, 2000 Olympic Gold Medalist, 10-time NBA All Star, and an NBA Championship (2008). When most players would have retired by now, Allen continues to play. For the last five seasons, Allen along with Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo, and Paul Pierce returned the franchise to its former glory. It was in a Celtics jersey that the 3-point sharpshooter broke the all-time NBA 3-point record, and won a championship in 2008.After an illustrious career in Boston, Allen will go where every other person goes to retire– South Florida.
The Miami Heat showed their shooting prowess in the NBA finals with sharpshooters Mike Miller, Mario Chalmers, and Joel Anthony, so the addition of Allen will only strengthen the team’s artillery. Boston and Miami will start the next season against each other in Miami, but Allen will make his return to the TD Garden in late January. Expect Celtics fans to vocally express their opinions as only the fine people of Boston can.
1. Steve Nash (Phoenix Suns to L.A. Lakers)
This move caught a lot of Phoenix fans by surprise. Seriously! Who would have expected the 38-year-old point guard to jump from the Suns to archrivals Lakers? In the mid-2000s, the two teams battled viciously for Western Conference dominance. Steve Nash’s transfer was a blessing for the Lakers and a curse for the Suns. Former Lakers point guard Ramon Session opted out of his contract after only one season in purple and gold, and left the Lakers without a point guard. Nash’s exit led an exodus of the Suns’ starting lineup with Robin Lopez and Grant Hill leaving Phoenix for different teams. The Suns already struggled last season and haven’t gained a playoff berth since the 2009-2010 season. The team is going through some much needed rebuilding, with the signings of Goran Dragic and Michael Beasley.
The NBA’s leading swingman will add some much needed assists to the Lakers’ offensive plays. Suns fans who once proudly wore his signature no.13 jersey will be disappointed late January when Nash returns to the US Airways Center in his new purple and gold no. 10 jersey (The Lakers retired the no. 13 jersey in honor of NBA legend Wilt Chamberlain).