The purpose of the draft--for the NBA, NFL, NHL, or MLB--is to allow a team to find its future stars today. It's a chance to get a player that could very well produce right now, or possibly in a year or two after they learn the professional game.
It's also a chance to fill some holes in the roster, something that is easier said than done. Now that the NBA Draft has come and gone, teams will have to look to free agency in order to fill the holes. So far the early indications make it seem like there could be some very big moves coming very early.
The Big Two
The talk is going to focus on two players until something happens with both of them, New Jersey/Brooklyn Nets guard Deron Williams and Superman himself, Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard. Funny thing is that what happens with one could very well have a significant impact on what happens with the other.
Both guys want to win. Deron wants to see the Nets make more of a commitment to winning; bringing in someone like Howard would definitely do that. Howard has made it clear to the Magic that he wants to be traded to the Nets.
Orlando does not have to of course, but if they don't want to lose him outright in free agency the team will have to trade him. Houston has shown some interest as well. In the past the Rockets have been known for trading the farm in hopes of immediate (but short-term) glory (yea, I'm talking about the Charles Barkley trade). However, Howard has stated that he will not resign with Houston making it kind of stupid for the Rockets to go through with it.
Williams has to be encouraged by the news, but also has to know it doesn't mean anything until it happens. Not willing to wait, he is set to meet with the Dallas Mavericks and Nets (his two front-runners) on Monday. Dallas is appealing since he is a local boy and Mark Cuban has proven to be an owner that will do what it takes to win. However, the Dallas roster is getting a bit older and he has to wonder if some of its aging superstars will have what it takes to go the distance again.
The Other Guys
What makes Deron Williams a little more interesting is that Maverick guard and former Net Jason Kidd has stated that he'll go where Williams goes. Mark Cuban is probably hoping he's saying that to entice Williams into coming to Dallas, but it could also be a way of getting a little more star power to Brooklyn.
Another aging superstar appears to be on the move as well. Phoenix Suns guard Steve Nash appears to be headed back home north of the border. There has been talk of the Canadian superstar leaving the dry heat of Phoenix; it appears that the Toronto Raptors want to help that process along.
According to some early reports, the Raptors will be offering Nash either a two or three-year deal worth $12 million a year. While this would give Nash the respect that he is looking for (by validating his value to the team), it doesn't exactly put him on a championship caliber team. Last season the Raptors finished 23-43, 12 games behind the No 8 seed in the East.
Players also expected to be hot commodities this summer include Jason Terry (Dallas), Ray Allen (Boston), and Brandon Roy (retired).