The NBA free agency has exploded following the defeat and collapse of the Golden State Warriors.
For the last decade, the Eastern Conference has slowly lost weight as its stars began to dwindle, whether they retired or were traded to the West. The East became weaker and the West began to turn into a bloodbath every time the playoffs came around. But for the longest time, one player kept the eastern Conference dangerous. His name was Lebron James. When James went to the Los Angeles Lakers he left the Eastern Conference in a perpetual state of chaos. With a dozen previously “bottom feeder” teams fighting to claim the East, It was clear the balance of power was completely broken. But now it seems like power is back.
The biggest threat to the dominance of Lebron James is Kevin Durant. For the first time in Durant’s 12 year career, he is moving to the eastern conference to play with his good friend Kyrie Irving. Teaming up with Kyrie Irving and breaking up the Warrior’s super team has brought back a semblance of balance to the league. Though not as absolute as the Lebron Era.
Although Kevin Durant is injured he has not left Kyrie without any help. The Net’s already have a solid young lineup with adequate young shooters such as Caris Lavert, Spencer Dinwiddie, and Joe Harris. They are able to dominate shut down opposing teams from the perimeter. They have the veteran leadership of Vernon Dursley who is able to orchestrate the offense in a clear and concise way that is similar to Lebron James’s offense albeit less talent. But now that the Net’s have Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving they should be able to run an offense extremely similar to the Golden State Warriors. In addition, the Net’s retained rising star Jarret Allen who holds the current league record in blocks at 3.59 blocks per game. The Net’s have signed Deandre Jordan who they say will be Kyrie Irving’s pick and roll partner.
The Toronto Raptors are now shorthanded with an aging Kyle Lowry and most of their shooting lineup gone, their only hope now is to develop Pascal Siakam into a fresh new player that can help rebuild their franchise. It is important to note that they are in worse shape than the warriors that they defeated in the finals. The Milwaukee Bucks have lost one of their premier point guards but have signed Brook Lopez’s brother Robin Lopez who they say will help with some of the depth issues they had in the playoffs. They also signed Thanasis Antetokounmpo who will help orchestrate their pick and roll offense.
The Philadelphia 76er’s lost out on Jimmy Butler but they did manage to retain Tobias Harris who will give them the perimeter offense they desperately need and he can play as a spot-up shooter. They also lost JJ Redick which puts the sixers far below standard as they have lost their entire shooting Lineup apart from Mike Scott. Their biggest move was signing AL Horford which means they will dominate the paint. No other Nba team has this many big men apart from the Denver Nuggets.
The West is the definition of loaded, with almost 9 title favorite teams, including the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, Houston Rockets, Denver Nuggets, Utah Jazz, Golden State Warriors, New Orleans Pelicans, Dallas Mavericks and the Sacramento Kings.
The Sacramento Kings did a good job this free agency quietly signing their best players to supermax contracts and letting go of bad players.
The Dallas Mavericks now have the 2 of the 6 tallest players in the league with Kristaps Porzingis a big man who has one of the highest three-point percentages in the league behind Damian Lilliard. They also have Boban Marajnovic who will bully his way into the paint without giving players any room to defend. These two alongside rookie phenom Luka Doncic will give this team huge playoff chances. And then the Mavericks signed Seth Curry a mediocre point guard that can help stretch the floor and allow other players to shoot.
The Pelicans received Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Josh Hart from their trade with the Lakers. They drafted Zion Williamson and acquired JJ Redick giving them a decent shooting lineup and with the help of Jrue Holliday will have an excellent offensive pick and roll situation.
The Warriors free agency period opened up with a brutal blow to the franchise as Kevin Durantannounced he was leaving. Combine this with a lingering injury to Klay Thompson and the Dubs felt like they may be facing the end of a dynasty. As they always do, the Warriors managed to scrape together a decent unit. Their first move was to flip losing Durant into acquiring DeAngelo Russel. The first time All-Star made a huge leap in his game last season and will provide the Dubs with a unique dynamic. His play making ability is going to make this team more versatile than ever and he is more than talented enough to score in isolation.
The Lakers were previously designated as the franchise that didn’t know what it was doing. However they finally pulled off a feat that has me and ESPN convinced they may just win the title.If nothing else, Rob Pelinka and company managed to tweak and massage their trade with the Pelicans for Anthony Davis to, in the end, to include a treasure trove of possibility. The net gain of the team is 32 million dollars in cap space the Lakers can now use to sign one superstar or divide it to create a team rich in depth.
The Los Angeles Clippers won the wildest offseason in NBA history by convincing Kawhi Leonard to sign with his “other” hometown team, also making the stunning move that sealed the reigning Finals MVPs fate, trading for Paul George. Their collective acquisition is one of the biggest player-movement coups the league has ever seen, not just immediately thrusting the Clippers to the top of the championship hierarchy, but knocking the rival Los Angeles Lakers from its peak, too. Before I talk about who I think will win I need to discuss one team that I as a Warriors fan am terrified of.
The Houston Rockets.Only a few minutes into his introductory news conference, Russel Westbrooksaid something Friday that would’ve caused every player in the nba to drop their jaws take around the NBA just a few weeks ago. “I only care about one team,” Westbrook said, “and that’s the Houston.”After spending his first 11 seasons with the Oklahoma City Thunder, Westbrook officially embarked on a new chapter Friday. It was a somewhat surreal image, Westbrook dressed in Rockets colors with general manager Daryl Morey sitting to his right.”To get something great, you’ve got to give up something great,” Morey said.The Rockets traded Chris Paul and future draft compensation to Oklahoma City on July 11, reuniting Westbrook with former Thunder teammate James Harden. Westbrook says he’s ready to sacrifice to get his ring, which terrifies me because Russel Westbrook is basically a walking triple-double if you combine that in the right way with James Harden, one of the greatest scorers ever, you are potentially looking at the best duo the league has ever seen.
The Los Angeles Clippers surprised the Los Angeles Lakersalong with the entire NBA by signing Kawhi Leonard and trading for Paul George. The Clippers traded away a plethora of future draft picks along with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Danilo Gallinari.he best duo in NBA history.It could’ve been questionable if the Clippers dealt that entire package for just Paul George, but they didn’t. Rather, Jerry West made the blockbuster trade knowing that Kawhi Leonard would sign with the Clippers if executed. So, for the few people that think the Clippers gave up too much, you’re wrong. They didn’t just acquire Paul George in a trade, they also acquired Kawhi Leonard from it.
The only LA team with championship banners hanging in the Staples Center was caught completely off-guard. The Lakers felt like they were the frontrunners to land Leonard. At the very least, the Lakers would’ve been fine with Leonard re-signing with the Toronto Raptors. Instead, he joined Paul George in Los Angeles, igniting a potential Clippers dynasty.
After the Kawhi Leonard-Paul George news shook the NBA world, Pelinka immediately began executing his backup plan. He signed a total of six players shortly after; Danny Green, Demarcus Cousins, Quinn Cook, Jvale Mcgee, Rajon Rondo, and Alex Caruso. Each of the signings is for two years, besides the one-year deal made with Cousins. That allows the Lakers future flexibility but even more importantly, puts them right back into the mix of title-contending teams this season.
Right now I don’t have any opinions and as a true fan of basketball I think that whoever plays the best will win the title even if they don’t have the most stacked roster.