With the finals well underway, the NBA season is over for 28 put of every 30 NBA fans, which means the offseason is upon us. After a rather hectic offseason last year, we can likely prepare for more of the same this time around, with trades, free agency moves, and the draft all still to come. With the dog days of summer upon us, here’s the top 5 storylines for the NBA offseason.
The 2019 NBA Draft will likely be the talk of the town over the course of the next few weeks, with the first round kicking off Thursday June 20th. A lot teams have a great deal of talent to look for, but with Zion Williamson as the likely first overall pick, the question has become who the second over all pick will be. R.J. Barrett of Duke and Ja Morant of Murray State are both top contenders, with not much indication as to who the 2nd placed Grizzlies will leave behind for the 3rd placed Knicks to settle with. All eyes remain on New Orleans, however, with much concern to be had as they ponder their top selection.
Free Agency Frenzy 2.0?
After the craze about big free agent signings last year, it’s safe to say we can expect more of the same this time around. With significant players hitting the open market, a lot of teams might look completely different when the season kicks back up on October 22nd, not limited to title contenders either, with large market teams like the Knicks and Clippers who have had limited recent success coming up often as likely destinations for hot ticket players. Kevin Durant likely won’t be a Warrior, Klay Thompson may seperate the splash brothers, Kawhi may flee the Great White North for greener (and likely warmer) pastures, Kemba Walker could stroll comfortably into his big payday in either conference as well. The point is, the Kyrie Irving’s of the league may stay or go, but regardless there are still plenty of contracts to sign. Expect a few surprises.
The AD Trade
Anthony Davis hasn’t been the talk of the town since the trade deadline passed swiftly by, along with the New Orleans Pelicans playoff hopes. Apparently, getting the number 1 pick in the draft wasn’t enough for New Orleans to convince him to stay, so this offseason is Davis’ last in ‘The Big Easy’. Where he ends up will likely not be the team with the most to offer, but the team with not much more to gain. Anthony Davis is a competitor of rare class and size, and any team within reach of a championship will take a swipe at the sweepstakes. Word on the street is he’s limited his trade destinations to either L.A. team, or the infamous Knicks in New York.
Midseason Tournament Talk
NBA commissioner Adam Silver has come out swinging with the latest in a string of potential league changes, perhaps most notably the potential for the inclusion of either a mid-season tournament or an expanded playoff system. These formats exist in multiple sports and leagues worldwide, giving plenty of reference material for the league to execute a potential plan off of, but that new development wouldn’t take effect until the 2020-2021 league year at the earliest. Regardless of the implementation of these changes, the basis for them lives or dies this offseason, where the proposals will be further discussed amongst owners and league executives. If it goes to a vote, who wants more playoff basketball?
As always, LeBron James’ popularity in the media is because he maintains his elite status in all settings. His decision to sign with the LA Lakers last offseason was long in the making, and he knew going in that it wasn’t a get (championship) rich quick scheme. So close to genuine title contention, the Lakers are a large market team and those two factors alone may make them the hottest destination for any free agent with finals aspirations. Playing alongside one of the greatest players of a generation is often enough for notable free agents, but if the Lakers do end up trading for their missing link, they have plenty of young talent and assets to auction off. It’s finally looking up, Lakers fans.
Regardless of the outcomes, these storylines will give plenty to follow for the avid NBA fan, as well as a new look league in time for the October tip-off.