What a wild summer it was. Star players moved. Star players stayed. Star players decided to take a pay cut to win a championship and recover in a stress free environment. Now that all the dust has settled, what moves actually mattered and which will just save someone’s job for one more year?
Los Angeles is back: Surprise, surprise, Lebron James is now a Los Angeles Laker. Did I say surprise? What I meant was, “Ugh, finally we can all stop pretending he was going to sign anywhere else.”
Yes James becoming a Laker definitely matters. Not only does it make the Lakers a playoff team immediately, a National Basketball Association (NBA) where the Lakers are good is just a better NBA, no matter what your opinion of James or the team is. The league is just more fun when we have a good Los Angeles team. And no, it can not be a good Los Angeles Clippers team, we tried that it did not work.
Paul George shocks the world: Now this was surprising. After being bounced out the first round and having one of the worst playoff showings of his career, everyone was ready for Paul George to fulfill the Laker prophecy and join James in Los Angeles. However, George’s re-signing with the Oklahoma City Thunder (OKC) could end up being a great move for him.
With Carmelo Anthony getting shipped out and picking up Dennis Schroder as a second unit scorer, OKC could revive their playoff push dreams.
This move will still mean very little. Now that George and Russell Westbrook are locked in long term, it is difficult to see this team being able to build upon more than what they already have in order dethrone the Golden State Warriors.
Golden State Warriors got better… again: I might be one of the only people who thinks this is a great move for DeMarcus Cousins, and not bad for the league.
Yes Cousins is one of the best centers in the league, but he will not even be close to 100 percent until late February at best. The Warriors were already going to walk to the finals, Cousins’ just hopped on the train and will not wake up from his nap until the trip is half over. It is a win win.
The big trade: This trade was the highlight of the NBA summer. I can just imagine Greg Popovich laughing to himself as he sends Kawhi Leonard to cold Toronto when he wanted to be in bright and sunny Los Angeles.
DeMar DeRozan for Kawhi Leonard has been one of the most interesting trades to follow.
Ultimately I think this makes both teams better. Leonard was not going to play for the San Antonio Spurs and the Toronto Raptors were not going to contend with the same old roster that could never get past the Cleveland Cavaliers. This makes the Spurs a legitimate number two in the West.
For the Raptors we get something new, and that something new is the best perimeter defender in the league when healthy. Does it matter? No probably not. The Spurs are too old and the Raptors still are not the best team in the East.
What did we learn? The NBA regular season will be exciting and full of new teams, which in a league full of repetitiveness is refreshing.
However, we also learned that the Warriors made the best team ever assembled even better, and that the teams closest to them actually got worse.
So get ready for at least one more Warriors title before we see someone new lift the trophy at the end of the season.