What's left for Western Conference teams to do this offseason?

By Zach Harper | NBA writer


Howard, Iguodala, and Bryant will all have new adjustments this year. (USATSI)
Dwight Howard, Andre Iguodala, and Kobe Bryant will all have new adjustments this year.(USATSI)

With July almost over and the free agency period grinding to nearly a complete halt, we're starting to lose momentum on the NBA offseason. But that doesn't mean there isn't a lot of work to do. Dwight Howard moved from Hollywood to Houston, Andre Iguodala couldn't beat the Golden State Warriors so he joined them, and the Los Angeles Lakers could be under a complete collapse if Kobe Bryant doesn't heal properly.

With the major moves done -- barring a blockbuster trade -- the teams in the Western Conference still need to round out their rosters and fine tune the rotation options their coaches have heading into next season. Let's take a look at the remaining cap room (if any), unsigned free agents, position needs, salary exceptions remaining, and what each team in the East needs to do to round out their roster before training camp.

(Note: Depth charts below are not meant as steadfast layouts for how each team will be constructed on the court, but simply a broad idea of a distribution of talent at each position.)

Southwest

DALLAS MAVERICKS

Estimated Cap Room: None. $8.67 million under the luxury tax
Free Agents:
Bernard James (waived)
Position Needs:
Backup power forward, backup center
Salary Exceptions Remaining:
Room exception ($2.6m)
What do they need next?

The Dallas Mavericks have had a rough couple of years in the free agency department because they decided to break up the 2011 championship team in favor of being able to pursue big name free agents like Deron Williams and Dwight Howard. Unfortunately for them, the biggest free agent name they've signed during that time is Monta Ellis. At this point, there team is what they are and they just need to round out the roster with a couple of reserve big men to add depth without adding long-term commitments.

Someone like Drew Gooden would do a poor man's job of filling the role Elton Brand had for them or maybe even bringing back Antawn Jamison would do a decent job of adding some depth for the Mavericks. They're set just about everywhere else except for the interior, where they lack serious depth.

Current Depth Chart

HOUSTON ROCKETS

Estimated Cap Room: None. $8.9 million under the luxury tax
Free Agents:
None.
Position Needs:
None. They're set for now.
Salary Exceptions Remaining:
Room Exception ($2.6m)
What do they need next?

The Houston Rockets have no more roster room after their impressive offseason that was highlighted by the signing of Dwight Howard to immediately transform them into a contender in the Western Conference. In fact, they have two players too many on their roster right now and will have to waive a couple of guys before the start of the regular season. My guess for the roster casualties would be B.J. Young and Jordan Henriquez.

Current Depth Chart

MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES

Estimated Cap Room: None. $700,000 under luxury tax (assuming Mike Miller signed for minimum deal after being amnestied)
Free Agents: Austin Daye (Bird rights), Keyon Dooling (Non-Bird rights)
Position Needs:
None. They're set right now.
Salary Cap Exceptions: Mid-Level Exception ($5.1m), Bi-Annual Exception ($2m)
What do they need next?

The Memphis Grizzlies team is another roster that looks ready to go into the regular season as is. After reportedly bringing Mike Miller aboard, it looks like they've found their playoff 3-point shooter that they needed so badly last year against the San Antonio Spurs. The Grizzlies have a lot of roster versatility right now with guys who can play multiple positions and be interchangeable in various schemes and lineups they may want to experiment with utilizing. They still don't have enough outside shooting to make you feel like they've solved the problem, but it's good enough for now.

Current Depth Chart

NEW ORLEANS PELICANS

Estimated Cap Room: None. $8.8 million below the luxury tax
Free Agents:
None
Position Needs:
Backup power forward (?)
Salary Cap Exceptions: Room Exception ($2.6m)
What do they need next?

The New Orleans Pelicans have had an active and somewhat confusing offseason, but they really seem to like what they have moving forward. They have their room exception available to bring in maybe a little more depth at the 4, but really their team is probably fine as constructed because they can go both small and big in numerous ways. The key for them is how comfortable they feel with their center options. If Greg Stiemsma, Jason Smith, and Jeff Withey can give them some sort of confidence in the middle of the paint being protected, then they can run Anthony Davis out there at the power forward position exclusively. Otherwise, they might have to play him at center and then their power forward depth looks thin.

Current Depth Chart

SAN ANTONIO SPURS

Estimated Cap Room: None. $8 million under the luxury tax
Free Agents:
DeJuan Blair (Bird rights), Gary Neal (Bird rights), Tracy McGrady (Non-Bird rights)
Position Needs:
Backup small forward
Salary Exceptions Remaining:
Mid-Level Exception ($635,000 left)
What do they need next?

It's hard to feel like the San Antonio Spurs really need anything because everything they do is so interchangeable. Do they actually need a backup small forward or can they just run Manu Ginobili out there at the shooting guard more and slide Danny Green to the 3 to solve the problem? Even if the depth on the perimeter isn't evenly distributed, they have enough options and Gregg Popovich is a brilliant enough coach to devise a plan to make it work.

There are a few players like Mickael Gelabale, Austin Daye, and their second round pick Deshaun Thomas that would do look great as a reserve for their wing corps, but I'm not convinced it's totally necessary.

Current Depth Chart

Pacific

GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS

Estimated Cap Room: None. $3.76 million under the luxury tax
Free Agents:
None
Position Needs:
Backup shooting guard (?)
Salary Exceptions Remaining: None
What do they need next?

At this point, it seems like a lot of playoff teams in the Western Conference are perfectly stable with their roster depth and don't need to make a lot or any moves. The Golden State Warriors aren't any different. They have plenty of depth for the interior, as long as oft-injured Andrew Bogut remains healthy. They have a lot of depth in the backcourt and on the wings, and they can even go small like they did in the playoffs to make up for any possible injuries that may happen throughout the season.

You could nitpick and say they need another shooting guard to back up Klay Thompson in case Kent Bazemore isn't actually ready to play heavy minutes, but mostly it seems like their depth is perfect right now. Guys like Kent Bazemore and Draymond Green would love the chance at earning regular minutes to prove the depth won't be an issue at all.

Current Depth Chart

LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS

Estimated Cap Room: None. $600,000 over the luxury tax
Free Agents:
None
Position Needs:
Interior big man at either power forward and center
Salary Exceptions Remaining: None
What do they need next?

The Los Angeles Clippers have had arguably the best offseason of any of the contending teams from last year, thanks to the incredible way they beefed up their wing positions with J.J. Redick, Jared Dudley, and drafting Reggie Bullock. They lost Eric Bledsoe and yet replaced him with a perfectly capable backup in Darren Collison. This team looks ready to score on anybody. However, how do they protect the paint with their current big man rotation?

DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin can probably be good enough at times, but if they incur injuries or foul trouble, do you really feel safe going with Byron Mullens and Ryan Hollins full time as backups? There aren't a ton of options either. Unless you can convince Marcus Camby to take a veteran's minimum deal to play with the Clippers, they may have to try to swing a trade somehow to bring in another big man. And even that sounds pretty tricky right now.

Current Depth Chart

LOS ANGELES LAKERS

Estimated Cap Room: None. $4.8 million over the luxury tax
Free Agents:
Devin Ebanks (Bird rights), Darius Morris (Early Bird rights), Andrew Goudelock (Non-Bird rights), Antawn Jamison (Non-Bird rights)
Position Needs:
Franchise center, small forwards
Salary Exceptions Remaining: None
What do they need next?

The Lakers are unlikely to add a franchise center this offseason, so the search for depth goes to the wing position where you're looking for cheap small forwards. Wes Johnson just isn't going to cut it for them, and running Nick Young out there at small forward could be really bad defensively. Without any exceptions remaining for them, it's all minimum deals available, which is better for the long-term cap flexibility they're trying to create for the next two offseasons.

Ronnie Brewer, Austin Daye, James Johnson, Mickael Pietrus, Mickael Gelabale, and Cartier Martin are all cheap options at the wing that could satisfy their desperation for wing depth right now without needing to offer up a big contract. Two-year deals with a team option for year two would be the way to go.

Current Depth Chart

PHOENIX SUNS

Estimated Cap Room: $3.3 million under the cap
Free Agents:
None
Position Needs:
None. They're set to tank
Salary Exceptions Remaining: Room Exception ($2.6m)
What do they need next?

The Suns are good. Well, they're not good but they're set for what they need to accomplish. They have young options at every position, which they can work on developing over the course of next season. They have veterans they can move without killing their depth. They are looking to tanke for the loaded 2014 draft and this is just the team to do it! Go out there and be/lose to somebody.

Current Depth Chart

SACRAMENTO KINGS

Estimated Cap Room: None. They're exactly at the salary cap, which is weird
Free Agents:
None
Position Needs:
Backup center (?)
Salary Exceptions Remaining: Room Exception ($2.6m)
What do they need next?

The new era of the Sacramento Kings is ready to start and they don't really need to add more players to their roster. They currently stand at 14 players and have solid depth, even with Travis Outlaw on the team. Their big man rotation could possibly add another player to it, but really DeMarcus Cousins, Jason Thompson, Carl Landry, Chuck Hayes, and Patrick Patterson are all more than capable of being interchangeable on the court.

In the backcourt, they're completely set with a good rotation of five or six guys that could all earn playing time this season. For once, you can look at the direction of the Kings' franchise/roster and like where things are headed. I say they're done making moves for now.

Current Depth Chart

Northwest

DENVER NUGGETS

Estimated Cap Room: None. $4.9 million under the luxury tax
Free Agents:
Timofey Mozgov (RFA)
Position Needs:
None
Salary Exceptions Remaining: None
What do they need next?

The Denver Nuggets only possible move right now is deciding what happens with Timofey Mozgov. The restricted free agent has yet to sign an offer sheet or just accept the one-year qualifying offer with the Nuggets. He could technically bolt the NBA and go play overseas, but really he's turned into a solid backup option that teams covet, but may no longer have the room or flexibility to go after, at this point.

If the Nuggets keep him around, they're pretty much set for next season with their current roster configuration. Otherwise, they might want to grab a cheap big man left on the scrap heap of free agency. But it's not a necessary move to make.

Current Depth Chart

MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES

Estimated Cap Room: None. $2.9 million over salary cap, (likely to go up with Nikola Pekovic deal)
Free Agents:
Nikola Pekovic (RFA)
Position Needs:
Backup combo guard
Salary Exceptions Remaining: Mid-Level Exception ($650,000 left)
What do they need next?

The Minnesota Timberwolves probably still need a third point guard on the roster. I know, I know; you're probably bursting with David Kahn point guard jokes right now. But really, this team has two primary ball handlers at the position and can moonlight Alexey Shved there if needed. Signing second round pick Lorenzo Brown could solve that problem for them, but it seems like they're happy having 14 players on the roster and leaving the 15th slot open for a possible trade later on down the road.

The big issue right now is figuring out the Nikola Pekovic situation. He still isn't signed and they've offered him a pretty generous deal that his agent isn't keen on him signing yet. The problem is there aren't other teams that really have the room or the desire to throw big money at him, unless the Philadelphia 76ers want to throw away their salary cap flexibility moving forward. Worst-case scenario is Pekovic accepting the qualifying offer and becoming an unrestricted free agent next summer.

Current Depth Chart

OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER

Estimated Cap Room: None. $400,000 over the luxury tax
Free Agents:
Ronnie Brewer (Non-Bird rights)
Position Needs:
Wing scorer
Salary Exceptions Remaining: Mid-Level Exception ($5.1m), Bi-Annual Exception ($2m)
What do they need next?

The need for a wing scorer isn't even a shot at the fallout of the James Harden trade for the Oklahoma City Thunder. They did what they felt they needed to do and looked like they were primed for a second straight NBA Finals appearance before Russell Westbrook's knee went down in the first round. If Jeremy Lamb is ready to step forward and assume some responsibility in the scoring department without disrupting the flow of the team, then the Thunder are probably set there. If not, they could go out and look for someone in a trade because the options on the free agent market are not eye-catching.

They're in the luxury tax after the Derek Fisher signing, so using their MLE on someone like Richard Hamilton or Gary Neal seems unlikely.

Current Depth Chart

PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS

Estimated Cap Room: None. $2.3 million over the cap
Free Agents:
None
Position Needs:
None
Salary Exceptions Remaining: Room Exception ($2.6m)
What do they need next?

Last season, the Portland Trail Blazers were without a bench. They had one of the worst bench productions I can remember in a long time and were forced to have their starters shoulder an unreal amount of the load. After this offseason, they don't just have depth; they have remarkable depth. There isn't a single position the Blazers need to fill right now and look set heading into next season.

Current Depth Chart

UTAH JAZZ

Estimated Cap Room: $3.3 million under the cap
Free Agents:
Mo Williams (Bird rights), Jamaal Tinsley (Early Bird rights)
Position Needs:
None. They're good for this year.
Salary Exceptions Remaining: Room Exception ($2.6m)
What do they need next?

The Utah Jazz are rebuilding or retooling after letting Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson walk this summer. They acquired big money in the contracts of Andris Biedrins and Richard Jefferson, that not only helped them meet the salary floor, but it also gave them big expiring deals heading into next offseason. This means they can be active at the trade deadline or big players in free agency. Regardless, they shouldn't need to add players the rest of this offseason. They just need to concentrate on developing the young guys and seeing where they stand 10 months from now.

Current Depth Chart

View the Eastern Conference teams here.

* - Salary and cap information for this post happened with the help of Mark Deeks at Shamsports.com and Eric Pincus at Hoopsworld.

 
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