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Offseason grades: Breaking down the moves in the Southwest Division

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Between a flurry of draft-day trades and a breakneck free-agency period, it's no easy task to remember where everyone landed. Not only does theScore have each team's moves listed in one place, but our news editors have also graded every organization's offseason so far.

Atlantic | Central | Southeast
Northwest | Pacific | Southwest

The Houston Rockets have captured the Southwest Division crown in each of the last three seasons, but could their control of the division be slipping? The Dallas Mavericks, Memphis Grizzlies, and New Orleans Pelicans are all on the rise thanks to excellent draft fortune in recent years, and count out Gregg Popovich's San Antonio Spurs at your own peril.

Houston Rockets

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Last season: 44-28 (.611)
Departed: Russell Westbrook (WAS); Robert Covington (POR); Austin Rivers (NYK)
Drafted: Kenyon Martin Jr. (No. 52 via SAC)
Re-signed: Gerald Green; Bruno Caboclo
Added: John Wall (WAS); DeMarcus Cousins (LAL); Christian Wood (DET); Sterling Brown (MIL); Jerian Grant (WAS); Kenny Wooten (NYK); Jae'Sean Tate (FA); Mason Jones (FA); Trevelin Queen (FA); Brodric Thomas (FA)

New Rockets general manager Rafael Stone acquiesced to Westbrook's desire to split after just one season, sending the 2017 NBA MVP to the Washington Wizards for Wall.

Wall has five All-Star selections to his name but hasn't appeared in an NBA game since December 2018 and hasn't played more than 50 contests in a single season since 2016-17. He said he's ready to go after his lengthy injury layoff, but time will tell, and he's almost certainly a downgrade from Westbrook.

Wall's former Kentucky teammate Cousins has similarly made just 78 total appearances over the last three regular seasons due to a litany of serious injuries. But he's worth the roll of a dice for the price of a non-guaranteed one-year deal.

With a three-year, $41-million deal to his name, Wood has to prove the 19.7 points and 8.1 rebounds he averaged over his final 22 outings with the Detroit Pistons last season wasn't a fluke. If that small sample translates to his new team, he'll be worth every penny.

Still, first-time head coach Stephen Silas has his work cut out for him. At least James Harden's presence affords him a relatively high floor.

Grade: C

Dallas Mavericks

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Last season: 43-32 (.573)
Departed: Seth Curry (PHI); Delon Wright (DET); Justin Jackson (OKC)
Drafted: Josh Green (No. 18); Tyrell Terry (No. 31); Tyler Bey (No. 36 via PHI)
Re-signed: Willie Cauley-Stein; Trey Burke; Jose Barea
Added: Josh Richardson (PHI); James Johnson (MIN); Wesley Iwundu (ORL); Devonte Patterson (FA); Freddie Gillespie (FA); Nate Hinton (FA)

The Mavericks didn't have much room to operate on the free-agent market after Tim Hardaway Jr. exercised his player option. Instead, they effectively flipped Curry and Wright for Richardson and Johnson in separate trades, sacrificing outside shooting for defensive toughness.

With Luka Doncic running the offense, Richardson can conserve the bulk of his energy on the defensive end, where he'll be tasked with keeping opposing backcourt threats in check. Johnson and Kristaps Porzingis show the makings of a versatile frontcourt tandem, as well.

Green and Bey could develop into impact defenders, and Terry can shoot the heck out of the ball. All three will have to earn Rick Carlisle's trust before locking down consistent minutes, though.

Grade: A-

Memphis Grizzlies

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Last season: 34-39 (.466)
Departed: Anthony Tolliver (FA); Yuta Watanabe (TOR)
Drafted: Desmond Bane (No. 30 via BOS); Xavier Tillman Sr. (No. 35 via SAC)
Re-signed: De'Anthony Melton; Jontay Porter; John Konchar
Added: Mario Hezonja (POR); Killian Tillie (FA); Sean McDermott (FA); Jahlil Tripp (FA)

Despite lacking their own first-round pick, Memphis still managed to add win-now talent on draft night. TCU combo guard Bane and Michigan State center Tillman are both older than the average rookie, putting them right on track with the development timelines of blue-chippers Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr.

The team also re-signed Melton to a four-year, $34.6-million deal. That's a tad rich for a backup point guard who's yet to average more than 20 minutes per game in a season, but the reported structure of the deal does drop the 22-year-old's annual salary from $9.6 million in 2020-21 to $8 million in Year 4.

Grade: B

San Antonio Spurs

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Last season: 32-39 (.451)
Departed: Marco Belinelli (Italy); Chimezie Metu (SAC); Bryn Forbes (MIL)
Drafted: Devin Vassell (No. 11); Tre Jones (No. 41)
Re-signed: Jakob Poeltl; Drew Eubanks; Quinndary Weatherspoon
Added: Cam Reynolds (MIL); Keita Bates-Diop (DEN)

The Spurs are in a holding pattern. DeMar DeRozan, LaMarcus Aldridge, Rudy Gay, and Patty Mills are all on expiring deals, and it would be a surprise if all four finish the upcoming season with the team. They represent 59.5% of the team's cap, so Popovich and R.C. Buford didn't have the flexibility to improve the team via free agency.

Vassell, a prototypical 3-and-D wing out of Florida State, could play meaningful minutes in Year 1, especially with sharpshooter Belinelli going back to Italy.

But this upcoming season is really about the continued development of the Spurs' intriguing backcourt talents - Dejounte Murray, Derrick White, Keldon Johnson, and Lonnie Walker IV chief among them.

Grade: C

New Orleans Pelicans

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Last season: 30-42 (.417)
Departed: Jrue Holiday (MIL); Darius Miller (OKC); Kenrich Williams (OKC); Joshua Gray (FA)
Drafted: Kira Lewis Jr. (No. 13)
Re-signed: Sindarius Thornwell
Added: Eric Bledsoe (MIL); Steven Adams (OKC); Willy Hernangomez (CHA); Wenyen Gabrial (POR); Jarrod Uthoff (WAS); Ike Anigbogu (FA); Will Magnay (FA)

The Pelicans more or less shuffled the deck this offseason, moving Holiday to the Milwaukee Bucks for a package featuring a boatload of future first-round draft picks and swap rights.

The two big returning players in that deal - Bledsoe and Adams - have played important roles on strong regular-season teams but have been unable to break through in the playoffs.

Bledsoe's skills lend themselves to both on- and off-ball roles, and he'll be a good fit alongside either point man Lonzo Ball or shooting guard JJ Redick.

The Adams acquisition - and subsequent two-year extension - is more of a head-scratcher. Zion Williamson already has a starting role locked down for the foreseeable future, which means spacing will be a concern for new head coach Stan Van Gundy, especially if the Pelicans opt to move Redick's expiring contract during the season.

But all of these moves - including a maximum extension for reigning Most Improved Player Brandon Ingram - are about the next half-decade. With that in mind, David Griffin's wheeling and dealing earns high marks.

Grade: A

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