West is best. Paul George, Jimmy Butler, and Paul Millsap are all jumping ship to the Western Conference making the West even better than what it was last season. One Star going to the East is Gordon Hayward shipping up to Boston reuniting with former college coach Brad Stevens. There are plenty of moves worth noting and here are some thoughts on the biggest to occur so far.
Paul George traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder For uhhhhh- Frankly, this was a great move by OKC. Last time Russell Westbrook had a superstar small forward next to him he took the Thunder to the 7th game of the Western Conference Finals against the record setting 73 win Golden State Warriors. George may end up being a rental for OKC considering he is a free agent after the season but OKC will be in great position. In acquiring George they gave up Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis. Sabonis is a good young player but nothing to write home about and Oladipo is due $21 million a year for the next four years. When the Thunder traded Serge Ibaka for Oladipo they were expecting a sidekick for Russell Westbrook but didn’t get what they were looking for. Dumping his contract for a superstar player that can potentially be back after next year is a great move.
The Pacers on the other hand blew this trade. Oladipo isn’t a star and neither is Sabonis yet they gave up one for both of them. They also had a larger offer on the table from the Boston Celtics according to multiple reports. Chris Broussard even relayed that a trade between the Pacers, Cavs, and Nuggets agreed to a deal but Indy general manager Kevin Pritchard “went dark”. Pacers are not going to be contenders any time soon so trading George for an ugly contact and no future picks is a pretty crappy way to go.
Chris Paul sign-and-trade to the Houston Rockets for the Entire Team- The Rockets are clearly trying to catch up to the Dubs just like every other NBA team (except for the Knicks who’s front office isn’t sure what left from right is). The Rockets gave up a pick and pretty much their whole bench with the exception of Eric Gordon. CP3 is 32 years old and isn’t going to find the fountain of youth so it is a risky move. The move is also pretty bold because Paul and Harden both have a top 10 usage rate in the league so that begs the question of how the ball is going to be spread out. Harden played last season as Houston’s point guard and posted plenty of career highs so who knows if he is ready to slide over for the addition of Paul. Only time will tell whether the trade will work but I’m sure Mike D’Antoni can find a way to help the two mesh.
Blake Stays put- Clippers didn’t do anything with CP3 and Blake so does subtracting CP3 make the team better? No way so I am not sure if Griffin expects to win. He, like many other stars, probably just went to wherever they could get the most money and in his case that was in LA.
Jimmy Butler to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Some Young Bloods- The Bulls have finally decided to tank after watching their season filled with drama finally come to an end after losing to the Boston Celtics in the first round of the playoffs. The return was questionable but Kris Dunn may bounce back from a bad rookie year and Zach LaVine looks like he can be a good player in this league. Chicago may have been able to get more for Butler since Jimmy is a bonafide stud at this point. I’d probably give Chicago a B on this deal.
Minnesota got a superstar to pair with Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins to hopefully push them over the top. Butler’s career took off under coach Thibedeau who he is reuniting with in Minnesota. The T-Wolves may become a force to be reckoned with.
Gordon Hayward signs with the Boston Celtics to rekindle his Bromance with Brad Stevens- Gordon Hayward decided to leave the Utah Jazz to reunite with his college coach giving Brad Stevens and Boston another scorer on the floor. The C’s needed a scorer badly and Hayward fits the bill but there are two problems with the move. 1. It potentially blocks the path for Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown and 2. how in the hell are the Celtics going to rebound. The C’s also had to trade Avery Bradley to make space for Hayward. A pretty disappointing move when they could’ve moved either Jae Crowder or Marcus Smart instead.
Paul Millsap heads to the Rocky Mountains- Denver Nuggets made a good move signing Paul Millsap. Adding a veteran presence to help Nikola Jokic grow as a player and help them win in the short term.
D’Angelo Russell shipped to the Brooklyn Nets for Brook Lopez- Brook Lopez was often injured and getting older. The Nets absorbing the terrible Timofey Mozgov contract may be annoying but they probably still won’t be contending at the end of his deal. Russell gets a fresh start and could maybe reboot the Nets. Remember, Russell was a top 2 pick just a few years ago.
The Lakers had to move on from Russell if they wanted to draft Lonzo Ball. Russell was never going to grow in LA especially because of the whole Nick Young Iggy Azalea fiasco. People on / within the Lakers organization can say that it was over and done with but you can’t really believe that. Getting rid of Mozgov’s contract was a big plus to the deal because they will now be able to go out and afford superstar free agents like Paul George next summer.
Dwight Howard hits another team but this time he lands in Charlotte- It’s sad to see superman lose his cape. Dwight Howard didn’t lose his cape, he threw it away. After going to the Lakers and Rockets, Howard was followed by drama. He hasn’t been the same player since leaving the Orlando Magic. The Atlanta Hawks gave up Howard for pretty much nothing and that’s pretty much sums up what Howard’s career has become. He is an often injured former star who isn’t worth the baggage anymore. He is still a good player grabbing boards and dunking home some points so he can help the Hornets become a better team. Charlotte still won’t be able to beat the C’s or Cavs but adding Howard could possibly put them in the second tier of Eastern Conference teams with a formidable lineup of Kemba Walker, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Nicholas Batum, Marvin Williams, and Dwight Howard with rookie sharpshooter Malik Monk coming off the bench.
The offseason has been nothing short of insane so far and hopefully the fun around the league continues.