Biggest losers

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Raffy Ledesma

After a whirlwind of trades and acquisitions in the offseason and no more major trades expected for the time being (unless Kyrie Irving gets his wish to be the man), the dust has settled enough for us to know the big winners. The Warriors got their core back including their reserves and added more talent, Russell Westbrook now has a new running mate in Paul George, the Celtics are now poised to knock off the Cavs in the East, and the Rockets have the best backcourt in the NBA.

But what’s not talked about is the failure of some teams to boost their line-ups. Here the biggest losers in the offseason:

1 Los Angeles Clippers – The loss of a generational point guard in Chris Paul means the Clippers can no longer be considered part of the Western elite. Sure they signed All-Star Blake Griffin to a long-term contract, sure they got Patrick Beverley and Lou Williams to man the point but that just doesn’t cut it. Additionally, they also lost shooter JJ Redick and Jamal Crawford. The Clippers are in danger of falling out completely from the playoff race.

2 Chicago Bulls – Ever since the short-lived Derrick Rose era, the Bulls have been looking for a savior to bring them back to the promised land. That man was supposed to be Jimmy Butler but Chicago surprised everyone by trading him away for peanuts and hitting the reset button. What did they got for Butler? Zach Lavine who is recovering from an ACL, Kris Dunn whose rookie season was under­whelming, and the No. 7 pick which turned out to be Lauri Markkanen. The Bulls practically gave away Butler for nothing and fans should expect a lot of losses.


3 Miami Heat – The Miami Heat missed out on every high-end free agent sweepstakes. What did they do instead? They gave out tons of money to above average players who are better off the bench. They are basically throwing away $162 million combined over the next four years for James Johnson, Dion Waiters, and Kelly Olynyk. My fearless forecast? They won’t make the playoffs.

4 Portland Trailblazers – The Trailblazers wind up with exactly the same roster they had last season minus guard Allen Crabbe. Their only upside is their backcourt combo of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum plus the return of rehabbing center Jusuf Nurkic. This team will be hard-pressed to crack 40 wins especially in the tough West,

5 Charlotte Hornets – The Hornets have never reached the Eastern Conference Finals and sadly, they may not even make the playoffs this season. Their only notable acquisition is over-the-hill center Dwight Howard. It is really time to move on from their franchise player Kemba Walker.

6 Cleveland Cavaliers – They signed veteran Derrick Rose, Jeff Green and Jose Calderon but that doesn’t even get them close to the Warriors and now, the Rockets. But the big question is Kyrie Irving who wants out and that’s why the Cavs are on this list since they have not resolved the situation. They can opt to keep Kyrie but his relationship with the rest of the team is now broken. The Cavs lose if they keep him and they lose if they trade him away – their second best player.

raffyrledesma@yahoo.com

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