What a momentous NBA offseason

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Updated: September 29, 2017
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As of now, we’re seemingly wrapping up what was the craziest NBA offseason in league history. Crazy may not even be the best word to describe it. Momentous is a better way to sum up the madness we’ve witnessed over the past few months.

Teams began training camp earlier this week, and 12-time All-Star Dwyane Wade recently reunited with LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Normally when star players make the transition to a new team, questions instantly arise. How will they fit? Are they in a better position to win a championship? This offseason was nonetheless full of transactions by teams to try and dethrone the reigning 2016-17 NBA champion Golden State Warriors.

Last offseason was highlighted by Kevin Durant leaving the Oklahoma City Thunder to join the Warriors. Which ended exactly how Durant envisioned:

As expected, Golden State was entirely too dominant. Even for the greatest player on the planet. Depending on who you ask, we may be witnessing the greatest team ever assembled. Whether people think it’s good or bad for the NBA is irrelevant at this point, because spectators will continue to watch.

The biggest surprise this offseason was Kyrie Irving requesting a trade from the Cavaliers. Obviously Irving received a great deal of criticism in regards to his request from analysts, media, etc. Who doesn’t want to play alongside the best player in the world?

Well, he answered your question. Irving wants to be the man — plain and simple. His request was indeed granted in a trade to the Boston Celtics for guard Isaiah Thomas, forward Jae Crowder, center Ante Zizic, Boston’s 2018 first-round pick and the Miami Heat‘s 2020 second-rounder.

What surprised you more: the trade request or Irving landing in Boston?

Either way, the Eastern Conference Finals is basically set in stone and tickets might as well go on sale now. The fact that Boston had already signed swingman Gordon Hayward made the trade even more significant. They only return four players from last season’s roster, but the Celtics add two All-Stars who will have an immediate impact.

For the first time in awhile, it feels like James has some real competition out East.

 

All thanks to Golden State, the Western Conference received the biggest shake-up. One of the most improved teams in the West last year was the Houston Rockets. Head coach Mike D’Antoni made the decision to move James Harden to point guard, which led to an MVP-caliber season for The Beard.

This offseason Houston traded Patrick Beverley, Sam Dekker, Lou Williams, Darrun HilliardDeAndre Liggins, Montrezl Harrell, Kyle Wiltjer, a top-three-protected 2018 first-round pick and $661,000 to the Clippers in exchange for point guard Chris Paul.

Honestly, on the NBA 2K video game, this makes total sense. But in the real world — in the real NBA — it makes none. As mentioned earlier, Harden is coming off his best season yet after becoming the team’s distributor/point guard. He’s a player who needs the ball in his hands in order to be effective. Then you add Paul, who also needs the ball in his hands? On paper it looks great. But I’m not sure how much Houston truly improved by making this move.

 

Finally, we’ve reached the team that made the biggest splash this offseason — OKC.

Let’s begin with the sweepstakes for Paul George. Apparently news surfaced that George would sign with the Los Angeles Lakers when he becomes a free agent after the 2017-18 season. As you can imagine, that put the Indiana Pacers in a tough position. Since the Lakers could just wait for George to enter the free-agent pool next offseason, it wasn’t necessary to trade for him. So any team that traded for George, ideally, would be getting the 27-year-old on a one-year rental.

That didn’t scare away Oklahoma City. Since it reached a point where the Pacers basically wanted anything in return for George, they took what they believed was the best offer. The Pacers sent George to the Thunder for guard Victor Oladipo and forward/center Domantas Sabonis.

One of the most noticeable issues with Oklahoma City, outside of reigning MVP Russell Westbrook, was there wasn’t a ton of scoring help. George instantly helps fill that void.

And just when you thought Thunder general manager Sam Presti was done, he did it again. Unprecedentedly, the Thunder traded center Enes Kanter, forward Doug McDermott and the Chicago Bulls‘ 2018 second-round draft pick to the New York Knicks for Carmelo Anthony. In a nutshell, Oklahoma City has a new Big Three that quite possibly pose the biggest threat to the Warriors. It’ll be interesting to see how these guys adjust to playing alongside one another.

The summer of 2017 is so far removed from anything resembling a reality for me. Deep down, I figured Anthony and George would find themselves on a new team. But I’d be lying if I said I thought they’d both end up in OKC with Westbrook. You have to give kudos to Presti for wrapping up what has been an eventful offseason that has reshaped the NBA’s future.

DC Hendrix

DC Hendrix

Report for Sideline Sports Report. Producer/Host for ESPN 1380 in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

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