This year’s NBA offseason provided more excitement than the NBA regular season games, NBA playoffs and NBA Finals. This is what happens when the games have been unwatchable in the 2016-2017 season.
After the Knicks stunned the league by firing disgraced Knicks president of basketball operations Phil Jackson, several NBA teams made game-changing acquisitions in an attempt to thwart the 2017 NBA champion Warriors in the 2017-2018 season.
It doesn’t matter whether it works or not. It’s refreshing to see several Western Conference teams do something about beating the Warriors rather than do nothing and keep losing to them. It generates interest in a league that needs some buzz. It represents hope to those cities, which should please NBA commissioner Adam Silver to no end. That also means ratings and revenue heading to next season just to see how it all pans out.
Also, there are some NBA teams that are trying to be competitive this season rather than go for tanking, which is refreshing in this day and age.
For the NBA to be talked about in the summer, it’s a great thing. It means the league is relevant. When everyone is on Twitter all day and night to find out what news ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski or The Vertical’s Shams Charnia will bring, the league must be doing something right. Remember it was just few years ago a basketball fanatic did not see or hear much about teams making moves.
The chain reaction started with the Rockets acquiring Chris Paul from the Clippers for Patrick Beverly, Sam Dekker, Montrezl Harrell, Darrun Hillard, DeAndre Liggins, Lou Williams, Kyle Wiltjer, a future first round pick and cash considerations. It was the first preemptive strike at the Warriors. They followed it up by resigning Nene and signing forward P.J. Tucker to provide defensive presence that the Rockets lack.
Not to be outdone, the Thunder surprised the basketball world by acquiring Pacers star Paul George to team up with Russell Westbrook in an attempt to slow down the Warriors. They gave up nothing to get him by dumping spare parts in Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis to the Pacers.
The Timberwolves are trying to end the longest NBA postseason drought by acquiring Jimmy Butler and signing Jeff Teague to help complement Karl Anthony-Towns and Andrew Wiggins. They feel they can make a quantum leap from being on the sideline in the playoffs this year to making the Western Conference Finals.
The Celtics made a move of their own to compete with LeBron James and the Cavaliers. They overpaid Gordon Heyward to come play for them. Apparently, Celtics fans feel they found their next Larry Bird in him. He’s a nice player, but he will not make that much of a difference.
The Jazz acquired Ricky Rubio in an attempt to convince Hayward to stay, but to no avail.
The Heat overpaid for Dion Walters and Kelly Olynyk to be relevant in the Eastern Conference.
The Sixers are trying to convert process into results of making the playoffs by signing J.J. Reddick to complement this trio of Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and Markelle Fultz.
Even the Knicks and Nets can’t help themselves. They decided to overpay Hawks’ Tim Hardaway Jr. by signing him to a ridiculous four-year, $71 million offer sheet, and it’s likely the Hawks will not match it. The Nets for some reason are desperate to have anyone play for them that they signed Otto Porter to a four-year, $106.5 million offer sheet that the Wizards have to match.
What do these moves mean? Honestly, nothing. The Warriors are still the team to beat, and LeBron James has an easy ticket to the NBA Finals next season. Maybe the Rockets can make it interesting if they play the Warriors come playoff time.
No matter what, fans are going to be tuned in this coming season to see how all these moves work out. That was the purpose of these moves by the teams.
The Warriors have given teams something to think about. They have forced teams to not go with the status quo. They have made teams get star players to join forces to beat them, even though there is no guarantee for success on the court and off the court. They have made teams be busy. How could it be a bad thing?
Oh, and the Warriors got even better. They signed quality role players in Nick Young and Omri Casspi to make their bench more lethal, and they were able to keep defensive specialist Andre Iguodala rather than let him sign with the Rockets. They are already great as it is with Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Iguodala.
All eyes will be on the Cavaliers. Which general manager will they hire? Will they acquire Carmelo Anthony or get another superstar to team up with James? They should be in the NBA Finals, but they are not good enough to beat the Warriors just yet.
We can hate the Warriors all we want, but we should appreciate them for making the league interesting and better by having other teams be proactive in beating them.
It may or may not work, but it beats doing nothing.