New teammate Al Jefferson is a 20-10 machine (yeah, someone has to get numbers on a bad team) and shooter Mike Miller joins enough good, young prospects to make Minnesota a team to reckon with ... later, not now.
It seems that Kevin McHale still remains one Kevin short of making any kind of eye-popping turnaround next season.
Charlotte Bobcats (32-50)
Unless serious hypnosis is introduced, putting Larry Brown with selfish gunners Jason Richardson and Gerald Wallace does not add up to a 60-win season. But it would be fun to have an all-access microphone at Bobcats' practices.
Being able to move Felton for frontcourt help certainly would be a leap in the right direction.
If LB can get Richardson and Wallace to defend regularly and pass the ball once in a while, Charlotte could contend ... for the playoffs.
Indiana Pacers (36-46)
Boston's big jump reinforced the notion that with extremely rare exceptions employing big-time players is required to win an NBA title. The Pacers have set the recent standard for getting rid of big-time players (although no Hall-of-Famers) in exchange for players with less baggage.
High-character players are easy to rally around, but that rally almost never includes the O'Brien Trophy.
Philadelphia 76ers (40-42)
The Sixers have enough cap room for a free-agent boost and enough talented young players to make a considerable improvement through little more than on-court maturity.
Point guard Andre Miller could be a marketable asset, but he wouldn't bring enough in return to generate greatness and his departure would create a playmaking hole.
Sacramento Kings (38-44)
The Kings have something of value to deal in Ron Artest, who now regrets not opting out of the final year on his deal. Let's see if the Kings truly believe Artest who behaved reasonably well last season will act like a prince now that he wants out of town.
Unfortunately, while Artest could be a key final trade piece for a contending team (L.A. Lakers, anyone?), the peripheral hayride he would generate will make it difficult to acquire a player of his ability in return.
Then again, Phil Jackson may decide he has enough coaching presence to prevent Artest from wrecking Laker chemistry.
New Jersey Nets (34-48)
Despite public declarations to the contrary, the Nets may be poised to be at the top of this list in a couple of years.