NBA Offseason Recap

By Lenny Rodriguez
Sports Business Writer

The NBA landscape shifted dramatically this summer, with a multitude of stars swapping teams (Photo courtesy of ESPN)

The new NBA season is approaching, and it is surely coming with a bang. This has been one of the most exciting and most breath-taking offseasons ever. When it began, the consensus being that Zion Williamson was to be picked by the New York Knicks as the first pick of the draft and team up with players such as Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant. However, things didn’t go as so many fans and rumors predicted.

The New Orleans Pelicans had received the luck in getting the first pick of the draft, acquiring Zion Williamson. This was a good way for the Pelicans to build around Zion after trading away Anthony Davis for Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, and draft picks, while also trading for Derrick Favors.

On the other hand, the Lakers not only wanted Anthony Davis but were desperately waiting for Kawhi Leonard’s free agency decision. Kawhi Leonard silently shocked the world when he went to the Clippers on a four-year, $142 million contract. Not only did Kawhi sign with the Los Angeles Clippers but he had Paul George tag along side with him as the Clippers traded multiple players and round picks to assure Paul George’s spot on the roster. When the Lakers heard the news, they immediately started to head in a different direction, acquiring new players such as Demarcus Cousins, Avery Bradley, Danny Green, Quinn Cook, and Kostas Antetokounmpo.

As most people believe that the Lakers are the team to catch coming into this season, other teams also made big moves as well to try and stay in competition. Once Paul George left the Oklahoma City Thunder, many wondered what would be next for Russell Westbrook. Russell Westbrook has been with the Thunder franchise since 2008, but it was time to part ways and go team up with James Harden and the Houston Rockets on a trade with the Thunder receiving Chris Paul.

While these teams are making moves to get a chance to the NBA Finals, the Warriors dynasty might just be on a downfall. After losing the NBA Finals to Kawhi Leonard and the Raptors, Klay Thompson stayed and received a five-year, $190 million max contact, but Kevin Durant left and went to the Brooklyn Nets on a four-year, $142 million contract. Not only did Kevin Durant leave but so did Andre Iguodala, as he went to Memphis to play with the Grizzles this upcoming season. As a few key players left and Klay Thompson is injured, the Warriors acquired D’Angelo Russell from the Brooklyn Nets on a four-year, $117 million contract. The Nets did not stop there, they also signed Kyrie Irving to a four-year, $141 million contract after he decided to leave the Boston Celtics. As many Celtics fans were upset with the perceived betrayal from Kyrie Irving, their team made a trade that included sending Terry Rozier to the Charlotte for Kemba Walker. Al Horford also left the Celtics to go play alongside the young talent in Philadelphia with the 76ers on a four-year, $109 million contract. The 76ers were quite active themselves, giving Ben Simmons a five-year $168 million contact, and Tobias Harris a five-year $180 million contract. Philadelphia also sent Jimmy Butler to Miami in a trade, giving up their star player to focus more on their talented youth.

In Utah they acquired Mike Conley to team up with Donovan Mitchell, but lost Jae Crowder, Grayson Allen, and Kyle Korver to the Grizzles. While most teams are making big splashes with major trades, teams like the Portland Trailblazers (who made it to the Conference Finals), stick with their main pieces by giving Damian Lillard the super max contract, to assure a potential Finals run. The Denver Nuggets, who fell short during the playoffs, also keep their same key players, giving Jamal Murray a five-year max contract deal, to once again aim for a Finals run.

As there’s a lot of new young talent coming into the league, veteran Derrick Rose (a former MVP), is finding his way back, by signing a two-year $15 million contract with the Detroit Pistons to play alongside big men Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond. Isaiah Thomas is also one of those players grinding to get back on top, as he signed a one year, veteran’s minimum contact with the Washington Wizards.

Many teams have become a championship contender, leaving fans trying to predict who will win this year’s Finals Trophy. NBA commentator from ESPN’s First Take, Stephen A. Smith, revealed his top five NBA duos for this upcoming season, which ranked at 5. James Harden and Russell Westbrook, 4. Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, 3. Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, 2. Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, and at 1. Lebron James and Anthony Davis. NBA analyst Jalen Rose had a different approach for his top five NBA duos this upcoming season, which ranked at 5. James Harden and Russell Westbrook, 4. Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, 3. Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, 2. Lebron James and Anthony Davis, and at number 1. Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. There are plenty of different opinions on who is the best team coming into this season and who will win this year’s championship, but as the opening game night of the NBA season is approaching on October 22, 2019, we’ll just have to wait and find out.


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