• Updated 8/1
Improvement. That's the name of the game in the offseason, and it comes in all shapes and sizes. Teams can get better in a variety of ways -- through holdover players raising their games, through trimming deadwood from the previous season's roster, or by adding talent through the draft, trades or free agency. And sometimes, it doesn't even take any of that -- it just takes a different general on the sidelines pulling it all together.
But one thing remains constant: Standing pat is a formula for failure. In a business in which careers tend to be brief, it's imperative to constantly bring in new blood. Just ask the Miami Heat, who were so giddy about winning a championship in 2006 that they brought back the same roster last season -- and watched their aging crew fail to win a single playoff game in one of the weaker title defenses in league history.
Fortunately, half of the league's teams have made additions to their rosters that should prove quite helpful in the coming season, and that's the group I'll be discussing today. While not all of these moves were in the teams' best long-term interests ($24 million for Jason Kapono!?!?!?), what I want to do today is focus on how those maneuvers affect each team for this coming season in particular.
And if we're only looking at the upcoming season, even a fairly reckless move can have positive short-term effects.
With that as the background, here's a midsummer update showing the teams that have made themselves more formidable than they were a year ago:
(Major additions and subtractions are given in parentheses)