By Matt Ambrose,
Sports Business Writer
With the NBA season set to begin in just over a month, each team’s roster looks to be set in stone. This brings perhaps the wildest NBA offseason of all time to an end, and how entertaining it was. Big trades, big signings, a ton of money being thrown around, this offseason left nothing to be desired and ensured that the NBA landscape will look significantly different in 2017-2018.
The most active team of all this summer was the Boston Celtics, who will only have four returning players from last year’s team that lost in the Eastern Conference Finals to the Cleveland Cavaliers. They started and ended the offseason with a bang, landing the top pick in the NBA Draft only to trade it days before the draft to the Philadelphia 76ers. The Celtics got Jayson Tatum (Duke) out of it, who seems like a great fit so far as he was one of the stars of the Summer League in Utah.
The Celtics then traded guard Avery Bradley to Detroit, getting frontcourt man Marcus Morris in return. Next up it was Gordon Hayward, who inked a 4-year – $128 mil deal to come to Boston. This looked to be the final move for Boston, but that would prove to be incorrect.
Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving requested a trade from the team in July, and after trade talks had died down for a couple weeks, the Celtics swooped in and made a monster deal, landing Irving and sending Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, a first-round pick and others to Cleveland. This was a trade that sent shockwaves throughout the NBA, and took about a week to finalize after some questions surrounding Thomas’ hip injury.
Irving’s move will certainly take the Cavaliers-Celtics rivalry to the next level, as both teams met in the Eastern Conference Finals last season.
Boston wasn’t the only team pulling off major trades this offseason. The Minnesota Timberwolves pulled off the first one of the offseason, acquiring Jimmy Butler from the Chicago Bulls. Paired with Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins, the Timberwolves became a Western Conference contender overnight.
The Houston Rockets already were a contender, but still needed that extra push to get over the edge. They made a big time splash right before the free agency period began, dealing for Clippers floor general Chris Paul. With this deal, the Rockets formed one of the guard duos in the NBA, and helps Houston’s quest to knock off the mighty Golden State Warriors. The team is still rumored to make a move for Knicks’ star Carmelo Anthony, however the two sides could not reach an agreement.
The Oklahoma City Thunder got in on the action as well, as Paul George headed west a season before most expected. With many anticipating him signing with the LA Lakers next offseason, Pacers GM Kevin Pritchard pulled the trigger to try and get something in return for the All-Star forward. He dealt him to the Oklahoma City Thunder, and now George teams up with reigning MVP Russell Westbrook. The already strong Western Conference got even better in just a few short months.
This offseason also included two major contracts given out to two of the game’s best. Stephen Curry, who’s contract was up after this upcoming season, inked a then-record five-year $201 mil contract to stay in Golden State. Just a few weeks later, James Harden signed a more lucrative contract in terms of average annual value, as the Rockets locked him up with a four-year $169 mil extension that will pay him close to $50 million per year near the end of the deal.
In terms of the local teams, both the Knicks and Nets look as though they will struggle this season. Phil Jackson stepped down as the Knicks’ team president, a move that many fans had been impatiently waiting for. The team still has a decision to make regarding their star, Carmelo Anthony. Budding superstar Kristaps Porzingis was also at the heart of potential trade talks, however it appears the team will hold onto him as their franchise centerpiece.
In Brooklyn, the Nets appear to be heading in the right direction. The team acquired DeAngelo Russell from the Lakers, and has a number of young pieces in place. The team seems to be headed in the right direction, but it will still take some time for them to emerge as a legitimate contender.
The dust has finally settled on this wild NBA offseason. The drama will certainly continue, especially with LeBron James set to be a free agent after this upcoming season.
For the time being, rosters are set, now let the games begin. The 2017-2018 NBA season will certainly be an interesting one given all of the drama this offseason.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, September 12th print edition.
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