Yesterday was a good example of the power of social media was it not?
NBA Free Agency went bonkers with a huge group of players moving to new teams and seemingly every 15 minutes there was either a new trade or rumour announced.
And yes, Twitter was the enabler for all of this madness.
Howard in fairness, didn't say a thing about where he was headed until he had notified all parties, (suitors again were the Rockets, Lakers, Mavericks, Warriors and Hawks), but the rampant speculation on Twitter from various media heads made it seem like Howard had switched his mind on numerous occasions, and at one point #Dwightmare was trending in Canada. Remove Twitter from the equation and likely we would have had a couple reports regarding which way Howard was leaning, but not the firestorm of differing accounts and constant updates.
Howard though wasn't the only one garnering Twitter attention yesterday.
It worked, and suddenly there was not only a very intriguing group of players in Oakland, but also potential pieces to work with in a sign-and-trade scenario with the Lakers, if the Warriors were still looking to make a run at Dwight Howard.
That of course didn't play out, Howard chose to head to the Houston Rockets, but the Warriors were still left with a very dynamic club, and suddenly the West looks scary as hell. The Clippers, Warriors, and Rockets all seem to have taken steps forward, and of course clubs like the Grizzlies, Spurs and Thunder are still very strong as well.
This means that some teams though have regressed and the Nuggs, Jazz and Lakers stand out in this capacity.
The Lakers have some very interesting decisions to make with Howard now gone, as Bryant will miss a good chunk of the season via injury, Steve Nash was fairly ineffective last season, and besides Pau Gasol and Mr. Meta (who could be amnestied), the cupboard is pretty bare.
The Jazz are in full Wiggins mode that's for certain. They lost Al Jefferson to the Bobcats, took on the ugly contracts of Richard Jefferson and Andres Biedrins in the trade with the Warriors, and then had to renounce the rights to Paul Millsap thanks to said trade, making him a free agent and thus losing him to the Atlanta Hawks on a two-year deal.
Got all that?
The Jazz puts my count at six clubs now actively looking for a shot at Andrew Wiggins next seasons as the Celtics, 76ers, Suns, Kings, and Magic all project to be pretty awful too, and the Lakers, Bobcats and Pistons don't exactly look like Championship contenders either.
The Bucks grabbed OJ Mayo, the Mavericks agreed to a four-year deal with Jose Calderon and the Hawks, as previously mentioned, snatched up Paul Millsap, but all three could find themselves in the NBA basement depending on other moves still to come. The Hawks have a major decision to make with Josh Smith while the Bucks have to deal with guys like Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings.
And of course there are some teams that look like complete wild cards like the New York Knicks.
They could again be a top four playoff team in the East, but it also wouldn't surprise anyone to see them crash into the lottery.
So where does this leave the Raptors?
I'd argue that the Bargnani trade is addition by subtraction but even so, the club as presently composed, still looks to me as a 40 win team max.
Therefore Toronto still has some work to do if it wants to either join the Wiggins race, or sneak into one of the final playoff spots in the East.
The team's roster is nearly full now (14 guaranteed contracts by my count assuming Bargs trade and Stone signings go through) but the Raps obviously still have needs to fill, something we'll be digging into on Monday. While having Calderon back for sentimental reasons might have been nice for many Raptors' fans, that was an extremely long shot admittedly. There's no way management would have risked another Lowry/Calderon debacle like last year and the club likely couldn't have afforded his services anyways. The team will still likely look for another PG option this summer and best of luck to Calderon in Dallas where he could post great offensive numbers alongside Dirk Nowitzki.
Finally, one more note on yesterday's transactions. As I discussed on Twitter after the news of the Iguodala signing broke, the move is one Raptors' fans have to be happy about. Minus Iggy, the Nuggets take a step back in the West meaning the first-round pick Toronto acquired in the Andrea Bargnani trade (or will acquire post July 10) looks better and better. As a reminder, the pick is the Knicks' own, but the protection on the pick meant that the Nuggets, based on a part of the Carmelo Anthony trade, had the right to swap their own first-round pick in 2016 with that of the Knicks. That means that if the Knicks drop in the standings in 2016, Denver could say "thank you very much," and swap picks with New York, taking the lower pick, and leaving the higher, and likely less valuable, one with Toronto.
However if the Nuggets and Knicks BOTH decline to the point of lottery standings by 2016, it's a win-win situation for the Raps as even if Denver does swap picks with New York, the pick Toronto receives would still be a quite high one. This is the ideal situation going forward, and hopefully the loss of Iguodala starts this process.