Stars on the Move
This past summer, we witnessed one of, if not, the greatest NBA offseason of all time. With the 2017 NBA season on its way, let’s recap all the moves that happened this year.
First off, the Golden State Warriors won their second NBA championship in three years, beating the Cleveland Cavaliers in five games. Kevin Durant finally got a ring.
After the finals, there was the 2017 NBA draft. Players like Lonzo Ball, Markelle Fultz, Jayson Tatum, Josh Jackson, and more made up some of the exciting talents for this year’s draft. The top three picks of the draft went to the 76ers, Lakers and Celtics. They chose Markelle Fultz, Lonzo Ball and Jayson Tatum respectively. This draft showed promise with the young, upcoming talent.
Here’s where all the fun parts of this NBA offseason happened. Free Agency. What do I mean by free agency? This is where all the big-name stars can make their money. First of all, James Harden, Stephen Curry and Russell Westbrook became the first few players to ever have $200M+ contracts. Also, Golden State was able to keep their “Big 4” by keeping Kevin Durant for a two-year, $58M contract. They also added Nick “Swaggy P” Young, and basically kept everybody from their championship team. With those acquisitions, NBA analysts believed that Golden State would win again and everyone should quit now.
In reality, that was never going to happen. Teams like the Houston Rockets, Oklahoma City Thunder, and Minnesota Timberwolves pulled off some blockbuster trades and wrote out heavy contracts to get some superstars. For example, the Rockets acquired Chris Paul from the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday, June 28, 2017, in exchange for Patrick Beverley, Lou Williams, Sam Dekker, Montrezl Harrell, Darrun Hilliard, DeAndre Liggins, Kyle Wiltjer, a protected first-round pick next year and cash considerations. This was the first of many blockbuster trades in this offseason.
Here’s another one: Paul George was dealt to the Oklahoma City Thunder. In return, the Pacers were expected to receive guard Victor Oladipo and forward Domantas Sabonis. While we are on the topic of the Oklahoma City Thunder, the New York Knicks traded perennial All-Star Carmelo Anthony to the Oklahoma City Thunder. As part of the deal, New York received Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott and a 2018 second-round pick via the Bulls.
Another trade in this NBA offseason raised the competition level in the Western Conference: The Jimmy Butler trade. The Chicago Bulls had traded three-time All-Star Jimmy Butler and the 16th overall pick to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and the No. 7 overall pick.
A few other moves that happened was Paul Millsap signing a three-year, $90M contract with the Denver Nuggets and Blake Griffin signing a five-year, $173M extension with the Los Angeles Clippers. All in all, the Western Conference has gotten a lot more competitive after many transactions in this NBA offseason.
In the Eastern Conference, some of the biggest moves that happened were between two teams: the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Boston Celtics. The Boston Celtics were able to sign Gordon Hayward to a four-year, $128M contract. Next, came the biggest blockbuster trade in the entire NBA offseason. The Cavaliers traded Kyrie Irving to the Boston Celtics for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, a 2018 first-round pick (via Brooklyn Nets), and a 2020 second-round pick. This trade really made Boston a contender, not just for the Eastern Conference, but for the entire NBA.
However, you cannot rule out Cleveland. The Cavaliers prior to and after the trade picked up Derrick Rose, Dwyane Wade, Jose Calderon and Jeff Green. With these trades and acquisitions, Boston and Cleveland are two favorites to come out of the East.
This NBA offseason was possibly the greatest and most bizarre of all time. With all the acquisitions and trades that happened, this NBA season could be one of the most entertaining and interesting seasons in a long time. At least eight NBA superstars from the East moved out West in this off-season. This was one of the greatest migrations of stars that the NBA has ever seen. Now, if you think the Golden State Warriors are going to be running over everybody, that’s not going to happen. We’ll just leave that for another discussion.
Shawn Yeboah, a junior, studies biomedical engineering. He is a staff writer for Le Provocateur.