2012 Free Agency: Deron Damns Dallas, Dwight Decides Destiny

What other tricks might "Batman" have up his sleeve?

And now, Steve Nash to the Los Angeles Lakers. What an offseason. We've already seen a plethora of interesting draft picks and roster moves. Teams moving towards rebuilding or retooling (like Dallas and the Celtics), other teams standing pat (like our Nuggets, to date) with their rosters, and others moving major pieces around.

Take a look after the jump for the latest news on this off-season's free agency moves...

Perhaps the biggest news this off-season has been Deron Williams' re-signing with the Brooklyn Nets for a rumored 5 years and $100 million. In doing so, Deron has not only wrecked the Dallas Mavericks offseason hopes to clear the way for their "hometown hero", but has also turned a former 12-70 team just a few years ago into a playoff contender in the (L)Eastern Conference instantly. This also essentially invalidates much of Dallas' movement in the past few years (like letting Tyson Chandler go) as now they've got a bunch of cap space with almost nothing to spend it on, and now the Mavericks are left searching for a new direction. Unless, of course, they can somehow convince Dwight Howard to play alongside Dirk Nowitzki...

To illustrate the difference from the "Nyets" of years past with this years':

2009 Nets:

Rafer Alston/Devin Harris/Chris Quinn

Courtney Lee/Trenton Hassell

Bobby Simmons/Chris Douglas-Roberts

Yi Jianlian/Josh Boone

Brook Lopez

2012 Nets:

Deron Williams

Joe Johnson

Gerald Wallace

Mirza Teletovic

Brook Lopez

In a perpetually weak Eastern conference (outside of the Miami Heat), that roster should be good enough to cement the Nets with at least a 3rd or 4th seed, which is quite a difference from their bottom of the conference standings just a few years prior. Although Nets GM Billy King has acquired perhaps the worst contract in the league in Joe Johnson, he's also built a team that should be able to make a run into the first or second round in the Eastern conference.

More news and notes from free agency in 2012:

- The Nets and Gerald Wallace are close to verbally agreeing on a four-year, $40 million contract, according to ESPN's Marc stein.

- Kevin Garnett and the Celtics have agreed to a three-year, $34 million deal.

- The Sixers agreed to a two-year, $6 million--plus deal with F/C Lavoy Allen on Sunday.

- The Rockets have agreed in principle to a three-year, $25.1 million deal with restricted free agent Omer Asik on Sunday. Bulls have 3 days to match on July 11th.

- The Nets have completed a trade for Joe Johnson for Jordan Farmar, Johan Petro, Anthony Morrow, and Jordan Williams to the Hawks, along with a first-round pick and a signed-and-traded DeShawn Stevenson.

- The Jazz have traded Devin Harris for Marvin Williams.

- The Trailblazers have agreed with Roy Hibbert to a 4 year, 58 million dollar contract. The Indiana Pacers can match 3 days after July 11th.

- The Celtics sign Jason Terry (formerly of the Dallas Mavericks) to a three-year, $15 million contract.

- Deron Williams announced on twitter that he has agreed to a five-year, $100 million contract with the Brooklyn Nets.

- The Sixers sign Spencer Hawes to a two-year, $13 million deal.

- George Hill signs with the Pacers to 5 years, $40 million.

- Steve Nash is signed to a 3 year, $27 million deal and traded to the Lakers for future first-round picks. Barf.

- Michael Beasley has agreed to a three-year, $18 million deal with the Suns.

- The Suns have agreed to a four-year, $34 million deal with free agent point guard Goran Dragic.

Steve Nash to the Lakers? The mind boggles. All of a sudden the Lakers have now acquired one of the most dynamic point guards in the NBA to go alongside human garbage Andrew Bynum and an aging Kobe Bryant. Beasley and Dragic going to the Suns also helps them retool, but their roster is still loaded with question marks.

This is all without mentioning the drama currently surrounding the NBA's biggest primadonna manchild in Dwight Howard. By opting in to the final year of his contract then later saying that his only preferred destination is the Brooklyn Nets, Dwight has screwed the Orlando Magic and torpedoed his trade value (and the Magic's trading partners) since most teams aren't willing to take a year-long flier for a player that has expressed his sole desire to go to one franchise only. Where once LeBron James was one of the most hated players in the NBA, that onus must now fall on Dwight Howard for his continued public, childish antics and dragging the Magic and their fans through the mud for the last two years - including erstwhile coach Stan Van Gundy.. The Carmelo Anthony saga was tame in comparison. Now that that Brooklyn Nets have locked up their cap space in Deron Williams and Joe Johnson, where will Dwight land? Dallas? The Lakers? The Nets are almost definitely out of the running given their salary obligations at the present time, unless the Magic really find that they want something the Nets have. Brook Lopez, Marshon Brooks and a bunch of picks? No thanks.

Meanwhile, the Nuggets have remained quiet, with the exception of Rudy Fernandez departing to Real Madrid (to nobody's real surprise). Frankly, I've never really liked Rudy Fernandez. He's never seemed to have the toughness needed to compete at the NBA level, he's whined repeatedly about not being in a backup role, and his departure opens the door for more minutes for Jordan Hamilton, who's clearly ready to take his game to the next level with this year's Nuggets squad. Good riddance, in my opinion. Down the road, I can see the Nuggets attempting to package some combination of Kosta Koufos, Timofey Mozgov, Corey Brewer and/or Wilson Chandler for a player, but whom? And what could the Nuggets realistically hope to get in return?

Going forward, there's still plenty of time for the Nuggets to make a splash in free agency with their plethora of talent and large trade exception from the Nene-JaVale deal. But should they even make a move? I'm of the opinion that the Nuggets should attempt as much as possible to keep the current roster intact, with a full offseason, training camp and summer league going into the 2012-2013 season. This squad was just a spare few games from locking up the third seed in the Western conference - no small feat - and should be poised to do so again with the decline of the Dallas Mavericks, Los Angeles Lakers and Memphis Grizzlies.

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