NBA teams making trade looking to close the gap on the Golden State Warriors.
By Harrison McQuinn, Sports Editor
Coming off the Warriors’ nearly perfect playoff run and fifth NBA title, the rest of the league looked to reinvent their rosters in one of the most fruitful off-seasons for free agents.
“It’s a weapons race in the NBA and you’re either in the weapons race or on the sidelines,” Houston General Manager Daryl Morey said.
And after their latest title, the Warriors still look like they have the most weapons. They resigned two-time MVP Steph Curry to a five-year, $201 million deal, and inked Finals MVP Kevin Durant on a discount, and resigned Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston.
Kyrie Irving forced the Cavaliers to trade him and they partnered with the Celtics, which saw Boston send all-star point guard Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, and the Nets’ unprotected 2018 first-round pick in return for Irving. Cleveland resigned Kyle Korver and added 2011 MVP Derrick Rose, who has faced an injury-ridden career. Rose averaged a total of 32.5 minutes in his 64 starts during his Knicks 2016-2017 season.
Before the Irving trade, the Celtics made a big-summer splash by signing free agent Gordon Hayward to a four-year, $128 million contract. The organization also cashed in on a third overall pick in the 2017 draft gaining Duke forward Jayson Tatum.
The Raptors had an even tougher playoff series against Cleveland, which ended in a sweep. Toronto most notably resigned all-star Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka. They also picked up free agent C. J. Miles.
Although the Western Conference (Jazz) lost Hayward to the East, they gained Paul George as well as Jimmy Butler.
The Pacers traded George to OKC in return for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis. And in the NBA’s most recent trade, the New York Knicks sent perennial all-star Carmelo Anthony to OKC for Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott and the Chicago Bulls’ 2018 second-round pick.
Butler also saw the end of his 2011–2017 run with the Bulls, turning over a new leaf in Minnesota. The Bulls walked away with Kris Dunn, a 2017 No. 7 pick and two-time NBA Slam Dunk Contest champion Zach LaVine.
Los Angeles has seen some exciting changes for both the Clippers and Lakers.
This summer marked the free agency of franchise player Blake Griffin, whom the Clippers resigned and the end of Chris Paul era.
In one of the more blockbuster trades of the offseason, Houston acquired 32-year-old Paul in exchange for Patrick Beverley, Lou Williams, cash considerations and a protected first-round pick next year.
The top prospect of the draft, Lonzo Ball, signed with the Lakers following his father’s demands to be in LA. With Ball now starting PG, the Lakers waved farewell to 2015 2nd overall pick D’Angelo Russell.
The purple and gold traded Russell as well as Timofey Mozgov (and his 4-year $64 million contract) for Nets center Brook Lopez and 2017 No. 27 pick.