The New NBA Season

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The New NBA Season

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It would be an understatement to say that the NBA league had shaken up over the summer. Players switching teams in free agency and asking for trades was a common theme over the offseason. In fact, nearly 40 percent of the league hit free agency this year. Fans and front offices were equally optimistic that their team would win free agency.

Even before free agency officially started on June 30th, big news was developing around the league. One of the biggest stars in the NBA, Anthony Davis, was traded to the Lakers after requesting a trade to the team in late January. The move wasn’t a surprise, as the New Orleans Pelicans (Anthony Davis’s first team) had gotten the first pick in the 2019 draft, which included the electric Zion Williamson from Duke. The move also meant that the Lakers had to trade Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, and 3 first-round picks. This move kickstarted the madness of free agency. Even some of the biggest superstars switched teams. Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving both surprised the world when they both signed to the Brooklyn Nets and not the New York Knicks, which most thought was the ideal destination for the two.

Because of this, the Warriors traded for D’Angelo Russell from the Nets so that the Warriors wouldn’t lose Kevin Durant for nothing in return. Kemba Walker signed to the Boston Celtics, replacing Kyrie Irving. The biggest free agent was Kawhi Leanord and boy, did he take his time compared to some of the other players in the league. Rumors were circling from everywhere about where Kawhi Leanord would land in free agency. Jalen Rose, a former player and host of ESPN’s, “Get Up” said that there was a 99 percent chance that Kawhi would return to the Raptors after winning the NBA Finals. Others were saying that a deal with the Lakers and Kawhi was done, which would team Kawhi Leanord with AD and LeBron James. In the end, it was reported that Kawhi was signing with the other LA team, the Los Angeles Clippers, for 3 years/53 million which was the possibility that everyone was ruling out.

Minutes, in fact, seconds later, it was also reported that Paul George had been traded to the Clippers, a year after signing a 4-year deal to the Thunder. It had been reported later that Kawhi had recruited Paul George to the Clippers. This news set up the match up that a lot of NBA fans are looking forward to, LeBron and AD on the Lakers vs Kawhi Leanord and Paul George on the Clippers. This matchup has been debated over throughout the offseason and we’ll see the two face off opening night of the season on October 22nd, but Paul George is out for the game due to his shoulder surgery over the offseason.

The Paul George trade caused a domino effect,  Russell Westbrook was traded to the Houston Rockets to play with the runner up MVP, James Harden in exchange for Chris Paul and two-first round picks. This ended a long chapter in Russell Westbrook’s career with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Days after, it was reported that Chris Paul was going to be traded as the OKC Thunder were a rebuilding team and had no need for a 3 year/115.5-million-dollar contract, which is considered the worst contract in the NBA right now. A deal was never made as no team wanted to pull the trigger on an aging overpaid point guard.

The NBA is now a dynamic duo league. The Lakers have Anthony Davis and LeBron, the Clippers have Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, the Rockets have James Harden and Russell Westbrook, and many more exciting duos in the league. The offseason has caused a new hope for NBA fans for the first time since Kevin Durant had joined Steph Curry and Klay Thompson in the Golden State Warriors back in 2016. There are no clear-cut favorites to win the Finals unlike how it’s been for the last 3 years with the Golden State Warriors. Ratings for these games are already projected to go up compared to last year which is good for everybody. It is fair to say that there are nearly 8 or 10 teams competing for the title and that’s what fans wanted, and they got it.