When it comes to the NBA Draft "report cards," there is plenty to debate about the grading system.
There simply are too many unknowns, not only translating the college game into pro potential, but also evaluating players just a year removed from their high-school proms.
But grading free agency and offseason personnel moves is not nearly as much of an abstract. For the most part, the players signed or lost are known quantities. There is a basis for comparison.
So after happily handing off grading of the NBA Draft to others, and now removing the rookie part of the equation, we get out the marking pens and try to make sense of what has transpired thus far, appreciating that the subtleties of one additional move could alter the grade-point average.
Miami Heat: Forget how it came together. Consider rather that it came together, one-quarter of the U.S. Olympic team now under one roof.
This is not only a stand-alone offseason, but the greatest haul in free-agency history.
This is not just the Lakers landing Shaquille O'Neal from the Magic. This is not just Grant Hill leaving the Pistons for the Magic.
This is going to the top of the free-agent list and putting check marks next to the first three names.
A little humility eventually would help. But for now, it's the humidity that rules.
Chicago Bulls: Plan B left Chicago with far more than a passing grade.
A team that desperately needed a post presence got one in Carlos Boozer. A team that lacked outside shooting landed the 3-point artistry of Kyle Korver. A team that needed to replace the defensive grit of Kirk Hinrich got the defensive motor of Ronnie Brewer. Heck, there now is even a competent backup point guard in place behind Derrick Rose in C.J. Watson.
Oh, it would have been nice not to have lost Ben Gordon a year ago, not to have sacrificed Hinrich in the name of cap space, and not to have seen Brad Miller walk. But from the coaching seat to the depth of the roster, the Bulls came out just fine for a team that failed to land James, Bosh or Wade.
Dallas Mavericks: This is what we don't get about the Mavericks: At every trade deadline, during every offseason, Dallas comes out a huge winner. Seemingly always.
So why aren't there more NBA finals appearances? Why isn't there anything tangible from the continued heists?
Not only was Dirk Nowitzki retained, and retained below the maximum, but the Mavericks heisted Tyson Chandler from the Bobcats and retained Brendan Haywood in case they opt to go to an all-center lineup.
In July and mid-February, Mark Cuban continues to top the polls.
Boston Celtics: The most significant gain for Boston was not in free agency, but in the return of coach Doc Rivers. The Celtics remain in good hands.
Boston accomplished all it needed to accomplish by retaining Paul Pierce and Ray Allen. No matter what the regular season brings, the playoffs again will deliver the type of fear associated with an experienced roster.
Getting Jermaine O'Neal to fill in while Kendrick Perkins rehabs was a master stroke. And with Nate Robinson back, the legend of Donkey and Shrek continues.
New York Knicks: No, the haul is not overwhelming, certainly nothing along the order of Wade, James or Bosh.
But the Knicks set out to offer change, dramatic change, and did just that by going into instant-attack mode in landing Amare Stoudemire and then upgrading at point guard with Raymond Felton (albeit as one of the league's few teams that could call Felton an upgrade).
And while David Lee was sacrificed in a sign-and-trade with the Warriors, the depth of talent landed from Golden State will go a long way on a roster that previously only listed the depths of despair.
Orlando Magic: They're playing for keeps, when they could have folded to the ridiculous front-loaded offer sheet the Bulls extended to J.J. Redick. It was the correct and brave move for a team moving into a new arena.
Quentin Richardson also will help, although we're not as sold on Chris Duhon.
San Antonio Spurs: Tiago Splitter. Remember that name. Gregg Popovich and R.C. Buford will make you remember that name.
And then they'll laugh that arrogant little laugh, the one they laughed after nabbing Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker. For the rest of the league: hoodwinked again.
Phoenix Suns: The sting of the loss of Amare Stoudemire would have been far more severe to almost any other organization.
Instead, Channing Frye was retained and Hedo Turkoglu, Hakim Warrick and Josh Childress were added.
All in all, it was quite a feat for an organization operating without a general manager.
Utah Jazz: Just like the Suns made a nice recovery after the loss of Amare Stoudemire, so, too, did the Jazz from the loss of Carlos Boozer.
With Al Jefferson, there is a post presence to replace Boozer. With Raja Bell, there is a perimeter option to replace Wesley Matthews. Now there needs to be a 3-point shooter to replace Kyle Korver. It is not out of the realm that Kevin O'Connor gets that done, too.
Houston Rockets: Daryl Morey tried to make his splash with Chris Bosh and apparently made a pretty compelling pitch. But the lack of cap space was the Rockets' undoing.
Still, a good team that is getting Yao Ming back also bolstered its power rotation with the addition of Brad Miller and the re-signing of Luis Scola. Retaining Kyle Lowry was a bonus.
Los Angeles Lakers: Derek Fisher was retained at close to the amount Jerry Buss had budgeted and Steve Blake arrived as an upgrade on free-agent casualty Jordan Farmar.
A championship core got slightly better. Nothing wrong with that.
As with the Celtics, getting the coach to stay made free agency secondary.
Milwaukee Bucks: A team of limited means made limited upgrades.
Retaining John Salmons was a positive step, as was the addition of Corey Maggette. And Keyon Dooling will do just fine in place of Luke Ridnour. Drew Gooden? We're not as sold on that one.
With Andrew Bogut back, the Bucks will remain in playoff contention. A typically solid John Hammond offseason.
Memphis Grizzlies: We know we should feel better about Rudy Gay staying, considering there was considerable thought that he would attract a make-management-think-twice offer sheet.
But the fact that the Grizzlies immediately tossed max money at Gay made it seem like a surrender to the process. Yes, Tony Allen can defend, but so could a healthy Ronnie Brewer, who was cast aside.
Basically, just more running in place.
Portland Trail Blazers: Sure the Blazers overpaid for Wesley Matthews. But there is something to be said about scoring guards out of Marquette. And while the loss of Martell Webster offset some of the gain, Portland did a decent job of holding its ground.
Golden State Warriors: We know we should be more excited about the Warriors landing David Lee. But if Don Nelson is still around, will Lee's stats prove to be as inconsequential as they were in New York?
The sense is that until the Monta Ellis situation is settled, the Warriors will remain somewhat stuck in the middle in the offseason personnel game.
Los Angeles Clippers: We probably should have put them somewhere in the "B" range because the Clippers are simply a story about B-list players.
Drew Gooden, Steve Blake and Travis Outlaw go out, and Randy Foye and Ryan Gomes take their places, with Craig Smith staying.
For now, it's all about Blake Griffin trying to get the franchise back on the A-list.
Oklahoma City Thunder: Typical Sam Presti, something for nothing.
If Daequan Cook or Mo Peterson can contribute, all the better. If not, there is a youthful core capable of maximizing the minutes.
Atlanta Hawks: No, the Hawks are no worse for the experience, having retained Joe Johnson, when many were considering Johnson among the most likely to flee.
But at the cost of the largest contract offered this summer, the league's only $120 million deal? Talk about the rule of diminishing returns.
And then nothing more than a second-round pick for Josh Childress? Talk about being stuck in idle.
Philadelphia 76ers: Don't understate the addition-by-subtraction angle of the casting aside of Samuel Dalembert to the Kings. Something just wasn't right with that partnership.
Now it's up to coach Doug Collins to get the rest of the previously mismatched pieces to mesh.
Washington Wizards: Normally, adding Hilton Armstrong and Kirk Hinrich and losing Mike Miller, Randy Foye and Shaun Livingston would be considered running in place. But with Gilbert Arenas returning and John Wall arriving, there figures to be a net gain.
Minnesota Timberwolves: Put it this way, the prime component lost, power forward Al Jefferson, is better than all the riff-raff collected — Darko Milicic, Michael Beasley, Luke Ridnour and Martell Webster.
If things go right, David Kahn might just have this team positioned for a D-League playoff berth.
We know, we know, for the T-wolves it's all about the future. Fine, wake us up then.
New Jersey Nets: The targets were Wade, James, Bosh, Stoudemire.
The results were Outlaw, Farmar, Petro, Morrow.
From the first group, you know the first names. From the second, we're not so sure.
Of course, a move to mediocrity would be a significant step forward for the Nets. They appear to be headed there.
Sacramento Kings: Ask most NBA players about Sacramento and they'll tell you nothing happens there. It was that sort of offseason, as well. Where's the buzz?
Charlotte Bobcats: Raymond Felton and Tyson Chandler depart, Shaun Livingston, Dominic McGuire, Matt Carroll, Eduardo Najera and Erick Dampier (for a while) arrive.
OK, granted that Felton never quite lived up to the promise. And granted, you never knew when Chandler was going to be able to make it to the court.
But how, in any way, does this make the Bobcats better? Apparently, coach Larry Brown already was in love with what was in place (as if).
Indiana Pacers: This is such a dreary mix of players, it's as if the Pacers are doomed to a roster encore. The Pacers are like an episode of Seinfeld. They're about nothing.
Detroit Pistons: Ben Wallace is back. That's about it. The trouble is the Pistons spent all of their cap space last summer on Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva, leaving little flexibility this offseason.
Joe Dumars continues to pay for the missteps of July 2009.
Toronto Raptors: Look, free agents leave, as Chris Bosh did, and sometimes there's nothing you can do about it (see Cavaliers, below).
But when you also give up on your prime acquisition from the previous summer, in Hedo Turkoglu, well, that puts you a step below even how it has gone these past two summers for Joe Dumars. At least he might yet realize something from Ben Gordon or Charlie Villanueva.
Cleveland Cavaliers: Through no fault of their own.
Denver Nuggets: It all comes down to whether that extension gets done with Carmelo Anthony. If it does, the Nuggets will be able to breathe easier, even at altitude.
New Orleans Hornets: We're convinced something has to happen, simply has to happen, to keep Chris Paul from spending 2010-11 considering brighter vistas. So we withhold adjudication.
Ira Winderman writes regularly for NBCSports.com and covers the Heat and the NBA for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.