- Utah Jazz
It has been a rough offseason to say the least for the Utah Jazz as they lost 2 of their top 3 players both in free agency. The main loss was Gordon Hayward who was the franchise player for the Jazz for several years and he made the team a legitimate contender in a tough western conference. However, he took less money in order to sign with the Boston Celtics and reunite with his former college Brad Stevens. Utah also lost starting point guard George Hill who had a career year with the Jazz last season. Hill ended up leaving for Sacramento in free agency and the Jazz ended up trading for Ricky Rubio who is a decent point guard, but he isn’t nearly as reliable as Hill was. Utah won’t be an awful team since they still have star center Rudy Gobert and they still have some good veteran players with Joe Johnson and Ricky Rubio. However, I’m losing Hayward and Hill was a huge blow to their playoff chances and now they will have to rebuild their roster once again.
2. Indiana Pacers
The Pacers are heading towards a very lengthy rebuild after basically self-destructing their entire roster this offseason. The Pacers started the process by trading star player Paul George to the Thunder for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis. I don’t blame the Pacers for trading away George since he made it clear that he was going to leave in free agency after next season. However, the Pacers could have waited to trade him during the season and they also could have definitely gotten much more in return than they did. Oladipo and Sabonis are good young players, but the Pacers should have at least received 2 more 1st round picks in return for George. Indiana also lost all-star caliber point guard Jeff Teague for nothing in free agency and they downgraded at the position by signing Darren Collison. The team also is likely to lose key role player C.J. Miles in free agency which shows that the Pacers are accepting the fact that they won’t compete for a few years at least. I don’t blame Indiana for letting George and Teague leave this offseason, but the issue is that they barely got anything in return which means the rebuild process will take much longer as a result.
3. Atlanta Hawks
The Atlanta Hawks are another team that are just at the beginning of what appears to be a very long and painful rebuilding process. Atlanta has basically given away the only quality veteran talent that they had left this offseason. The Hawks traded away quality center Dwight Howard for unproductive veteran players Marco Belinelli and Miles Plumlee. However, the worst part of the offseason was letting star power forward Paul Millsap leave for nothing and they didn’t even offer him a contract to remain in Atlanta. The Hawks still have promising young guards Dennis Schroeder and Kent Bazemore on their team, but the rest of their roster is awful. Also, Atlanta hasn’t added anything in free agency to make their team even competitive. The Hawks are going in the same direction as the 76ers did several years ago as Atlanta is planning on being terrible for several years and acquiring draft picks to try and build their team up again. Atlanta got a lot worse this offseason and that seems to have been their plan all along.