In the first of many offseason divisional breakdowns, we begin with the Pacific Division winners and losers (so far).
Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner:
Los Angeles Lakers
But with the Lakers it's just never that simple. They always have something up their sleeve because once you've established a winning tradition, it needs to be upheld. Especially with their co-tenants breathing down their neck. About a week ago, the Lakers traded four future draft picks (two 1st rounders, tow 2nd rounders) to the Phoenix Suns for two-time MVP, Steve Nash, forming a backcourt duo among the best in the league. Other than their two draft picks (one acquired from the Mavericks), the Lakers have thus far kept quiet otherwise, however, they brought back Devin Ebanks on a one-year deal.
It remains to be seen if they are to bring back Jordan Hill, Matt Barnes or even sign free agent Grant Hill. Either way, trading for Nash gives this offense an excitement it has sorely lacked for almost a decade. Showtime is back!
Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers had a great year a season ago. With the addition of Chris Paul and Caron Butler, the young guns bought into the system and hard work paid off as they advanced to the second round of the postseason for only the second time in franchise history. But it is now only that: history.
In order to build on success, the team entered the offseason with depth issues and some unhappy campers. Mo Williams, one of the leading Sixth Men in the league last year had made it known he was accepting the off-guard role against his will and he aspired to be a starting point guard in the league once again. The Clippers were more than happy to accomodate him as they received former Clipper, Lamar Odom in exchange. In a return home to Los Angeles, Odom should refocus and become the player everyone knows he can be in order to help this team night in, night out at around 25-30 minutes per game.
Other commendable moves were the signing and re-signing of Jamal Crawford and Chauncey Billups. Crawford, a perennial scorer throughout his career, will replace the scoring they lost in shipping Mo to Utah. Chauncey, when he returns from intense rehab, will be an instant boost in veteran presence and team morale as his Finals MVP will prove invaluable to a team trying to continue to succeed.