Starting with the Southwest Division of the Western Conference, here are some of the noteworthy losses and acquisitions in the Western Conference beyond those that occurred locally to your Dallas Mavericks:
San Antonio Spurs (4-3 Preseason Record)
*Resigned Richard Jefferson, who opted out of his contract to save the Spurs some immediate money, only to make it all back over the lengths of his
new four year deal worth just under $39 million (the final year is a player option for slightly over $11 million)
*Were able to sign Tiago Splitter, a talented rookie fresh off an impressive performance with the Brazilian team in the FIBA World Championships
that many believe will make an immediate impact. He was named the Spanish League regular season and Finals MVP last year.
*Added rookie James Anderson, a 6-6 shooting guard who may hold some link to Dominique Jones due to the Mavs statement just after the draft that
they may have had Jones rated higher than Anderson on their boards. Anderson struggled in the preseason, shooting 38.9 percent from the floor to
average 5.3 points in just over 18 minutes per contest. However, he was impressive behind the arc, hitting 36.4 percent of his three point attempts.
*Signed Bobby Simmons
*Have announced a starting lineup that includes both DuJuan Blair (in the place of McDyess) and Manu Ginboli, with George Hill likely filling the
sixth man role Ginobli leaves behind. Splitter and Antonio McDyess will be notable “bigs” from the bench.
*Losses: Roger Mason and Keith Bogans
Houston Rockets (4-4 Preseason Record)
*Though this happened prior to the deadline last season, Kevin Martin is now starting at shooting guard. Perhaps due to their missing the playoffs,
this still feels fresh.
*Though not a new player, Yao Ming will begin the season as the starting center after missing all of last season with an injury. Though, he will be
playing with a strict 24 minute per game cap.
*Courtney Lee was added via a trade that sent Trevor Ariza to the Hornets.
*Brad Miller added to serve as the primary backup to Yao.
*Drafted Patrick Patterson, an athletic power forward, in the first round.
*Retained Kyle Lowry and Luis Scola.
*Key Loss: Trevor Ariza
New Orleans Hornets (1-7 Preseason Record)
*Acquired Trevor Ariza via a trade that cost them Darren Collison.
*Signed Marco Belinelli, Joe Alexander, DJ Mbenga, Pops Mensah-Bonsu and Willie Green
*Acquired Jerryd Bayless from Portland via trade for a future first-round pick.
*Chris Paul enters the season healthy … and with his summer discontent at least momentarily silenced by a remade roster.
*Key Loss: Darren Collison
Memphis Grizzlies (8-0 Preseason Record)
*Signed Tony Allen, formerly of the Celtics.
*After much deliberation, finally signed their draft picks, including first round pick Xavier Henry, a 6-6 guard.
Outside of the Southwest Division:
Denver Nuggets (5-3 Preseason Record)
*Signed Dallas target Al Harrington.
*Signed Sheldon Williams to help the deficiency of big bodies while Chris Anderson and Kenyon Martin recover from injuries that will keep them out
of the early part of the season.
Utah Jazz (8-0 Preseason Record)
*Traded for Al Jefferson from the Timberwolves – who were wrestling with the Mavs trying to do a Big Al deal -- to replace the lost Carlos Boozer
*Signed ex-Mav Raja Bell, Francisco Elson and Earl Watson (Jeremy Evans)
*Added lottery pick Gordon Hayward who struggled in the preseason, shooting 35 percent from the floor and 11% from behind the arc.
*Key Losses: Carlos Boozer and Wesley Matthews to free agency.
Minnesota Timberwolves (6-2 Preseason Record)
*Traded for Michael Beasley, the former #2 pick overall of the Miami Heat.
*Traded for Martell Webster
*Added Kosta Koufos (formerly of the Jazz), Anthony Tolliver, Sebastion Telfair and ex-Mavs draftee Maurice Ager.
*Signed Luke Ridnour.
*Drafted Wesley Johnson with the fourth overall pick in the 2010 draft.
*Key Losses: Al Jefferson (to Jazz) and Ryan Hollins (to Cavs).
Oklahoma City Thunder (4-3 Preseason Record)
*Perhaps their biggest acquisition is another year of experience for their extremely young core led by Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Jeff Green.
*Added Daequan Cook, formerly of the Miami Heat.
*Drafted Cole Aldrich, a 6-11 center.
*No major losses
Portland Trailblazers (3-4 Preseason Record)
*Acquired Luke Babbitt (16th pick in the 2010 draft) and Ryan Gomes (later cut) in a trade that sent away Martell Webster.
*Traded Jerryd Bayless for a future first round pick.
*If healthy, whatever roles Greg Oden and Joel Przybilla can offer could act as a change to last year’s playoff squad.
*Key Losses: Jerryd Bayless and Martell Webster
Golden State Warriors (3-5 Preseason Record)
*Added former Knick David Lee via trade.
*Signed or added Lou Amundson, Rodney Carney, Dan Gadzuric, Jeremy Lin (the Mavs summer league standout who is now a Bay Area hometown hero) and
*Drafted Ekpe Udoh of Baylor, a 6-10 power forward with the sixth pick in the 2010 draft.
*Key Losses: Nellie (coach) is no longer with the team, Anthony Randolph, Ronny Turiaf and Corey Maggette.
Los Angeles Clippers (1-7 Preseason Record)
*Added an apparently healthy Blake Griffin who missed all of last season after being drafted as the first overall pick in the 2009 draft.
*Drafted Al-Farouq Aminu with the eighth overall pick, and Eric Bledsoe with the 18th. Aminu is a 6-9 small forward who played
collegiately at Wake Forest, while Bledsoe is a 6-1 point guard out of Kentucky.
*Signed Ryan Gomes.
*Key Loss: Steve Blake
Los Angeles Lakers (4-4 Preseason Record)
*Signed Steve Blake, Matt Barnes and Theo Ratliff.
*Drafted Derrick Caracter, a talented player who slipped in the draft due to off-the-court concerns.
*Key Loss: Jordan Farmar
Phoenix Suns (2-6 Preseason Record)
*Acquired Hedo Turkoglu via trade.
*Signed Hakim Warrick and Josh Childress.
*Key Losses: Amare Stoudamire (free agency), Leandro Barbosa (traded to Toronto) and Lou Amundson (signed with Golden State).
Sacramento Kings (3-4 Preseason Record)
*Drafted DeMarcus Cousins, a 6-11 center with the fifth overall pick. They also selected Hassan Whiteside later in the draft, a raw athletic center.
*Acquired Samuel Dalembert via trade.
*Signed former Maverick Antoine Wright.
*Perhaps not of large significance, they do have a player on their roster named Pooh Jeter … which is not a verb for Derek Jeter’s anti-Rangers
*Key Losses: Spencer Hawes and Andres Nocioni departed in the deal for Dalembert.
As you can see, change is in the NBA air. And beyond player movement, the possible return of health will also greatly affect a few teams; see the
Houston Rockets and Portland Trailblazers.
Over the course of the season the Mavs will see many teams arrive as alterations of their former selves – and as our Mark Followill notes, Dallas has made six changes itself. All of this makes
it all the more difficult to accurately place exactly where all teams will stand as the season pushes ahead. … but at least you now have your Who’s Who Cheat Sheet for the Mavs’ rivals in the West.