After the Golden State Warriors avenged its 2016 finals loss by demolishing the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 5 of the National Basketball Association Finals, the league immediately went into a state of flux. Every team scrambled to sign or trade for the best players possible in the hope of competing against the two Goliaths of the NBA.
The Eastern Conference
The headlines dominating the East Coast revolve around the Boston Celtics and the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Celtics probably made the biggest splash in the East, signing Gordon Hayward and trading for Kyrie Irving. After playing seven years with the Utah Jazz, small-forward Hayward will join a young and versat
ile team, led by Al Horford and Kyrie Irving. Irving, who played second fiddle to Lebron James the past three years, requested a trade from the Cavaliers in hopes of leading his own team. Although the Celtics received a legitimate superstar in Irving, the Cavs certainly did not end up on the short end of the trade after receiving Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, and the Brooklyn Nets’ 2018 first round pick draft pick in return. Along with the trade, the Cavaliers reunited James with his former Miami Heat teammate, and eight time All-Star, Dwyane Wade “I’m interested in who, if anyone, is going to be competitive with the Cavs in the East,” says Mr. David Montgomery. Unlike the majority of basketball fans, the TAS varsity basketball head coach, is actually more interested in the East than the West. He says, “I want to see what the Sixers can do with players all under the age of twelve and JJ Redick, who is as old as me!”
The Western Conference
On the other side of the country, the West Coast was introduced to many of the league’s biggest stars. The Minnesota Timberwolves kicked things off, trading for Chicago Bulls shooting guard, Jimmy Butler. Butler is the superstar presence that the Wolves have been looking for to lead its two former Rookie of the Year winners: Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns. The Houston Rockets continued the trend, trading for nine time All-Star, Chris Paul, to pair with Most Valuable Player runner-up James Harden. The Oklahoma City Thunder, which had arguably the best offseason in the entire league, traded for four time All-Star, Paul George, and former scoring champion Carmelo Anthony. After, finally, getting reigning MVP Russell Westbrook some help, the Thunder and Westbrook agreed on a five year, $205 million contract extension, the largest contract in NBA history. Not to be outdone, the Warriors re-signed star Stephen Curry, 2017 NBA Finals’ MVP Kevin Durant, and their bevy of role players. Like Westbrook, Curry finally received his well-deserved pay day with a five-year, $201 million contract.
The Timberwolves, Rockets, and Thunder, along with the San Antonio Spurs, pose the biggest threats to the Warriors, but the Dubs are still clearly the favorites to repeat as NBA Champions this season. Varsity basketball player Victor Chang (‘18) says, “I’m very excited to watch the Thunders after they created their own big three: Carmelo Anthony, Paul George, and Russell Westbrook. However, it’s hard imagining any team other than the Warriors winning it all.”
It’s been a long four-month wait, but the NBA is finally back!