The NBA offseason started with a bang after a blockbuster trade that sent Anthony Davis to the Los Angeles Lakers for Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and three first round picks. That was the first of what is expected to be many big moves this offseason. This offseason has the chance to shift the balance of power in the NBA next season and beyond. With all of the big name free agents on the market, we could possibly see some shocking moves being made that will send shocking waves throughout the NBA. The NBA’s championship scene could be altered by this year’s offseason, there could be minor changes or things could remain the same that’s the magic of the offseason is that we may never know what could happen. From the NBA draft to free agency to possible trade rumors here are the biggest storylines going into this offseason.
1. What’s next for the New Orleans Pelicans/Los Angeles Lakers?
As I mentioned before the Lakers and Pelicans made the first big move of this NBA offseason. Fans will now await to see how both teams will capitalize off the trade going forward. For the Pelicans, they have two top five picks in this year’s draft the number one overall pick that is expected to be Zion Williamson and the number four overall pick. In addition, forward Julius Randle just declined his option on the second year of his contract making him an unrestricted free agent expected to receive a bigger contract this offseason. The Pelicans will be faced with the big decision on whether to re-sign Randle to a bigger contract or to look elsewhere.
For the Lakers, they are looking for another max contract player to pair with Anthony Davis and Lebron be able to compete for a championship in the coming years. The Lakers will look to target big name free agents Kawhi Leonard, Kemba Walker or Jimmy Butler. It will be interesting to see what free agents the Lakers are able to acquire in their request to contend for a championship.
2. How will the Golden State Warriors rebound from NBA Finals?
The Warriors are coming off a loss in this year’s NBA Finals in six games to the Toronto Raptors. Beyond that they lost Kevin Durant to an achilles tear and Klay Thompson to an ACL tear injuries that will possibly keep them both out for the entirety of next season. Coincidentally, both players are free agents this offseason still in line for max contracts this offseason despite their injuries. Both players will still be sought after by multiple teams in spite of their serious injuries making this an interesting storyline of whether the Warriors will be able to retain one, both or neither of their star players in addition to other possible signings.
3. Where will Kawhi Leonard sign?
Reigning NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard is possibly the biggest free agent in a stacked free agent class this offseason with many teams will be looking to sign him to a big contract. In addition to the Raptors looking to re-sign him, the Los Angeles Lakers, the Los Angeles Clippers, the Miami Heat, and the Brooklyn Nets are also possible destinations for Kawhi. If rumors are to be believed, the Clippers are the frontrunners to sign the star forward but there is no telling what could happen. If it were up to me, I would like to see Kawhi re-sign with Toronto. I like how he fits with the Raptors and I think they could continue to be a championship threat for years to come with a prime Kawhi Leonard leading the team.
4. What going on in New York?
One of the things the New York Knicks and the Brooklyn Nets have in common is that they are expected to attract the attention of big name free agents this offseason as they have the most cap space of any team this offseason. The difference is the Nets are looking to build on a nucleus that has had success making it to the playoffs and the Knicks are looking to become relevant again. The Nets are believed to be the favorites to acquire Kyrie Irving while the Knicks are the possible favorites to acquire Kevin Durant. However, if free agency has taught us anything in the past its that anything can happen as plans can change in an instant (i.e. DeAndre Jordan agreeing to sign with the Dallas Mavericks only to change his mind at the last second). No matter what you predict these two teams are going to do, these are the teams that I will be watching closely to see what moves are on their horizon.
5. What trades are on the horizon?
The NBA offseason always brings the potential for big trades to occur each year. Whether it be during the NBA Draft or during free agency, there is almost always a trade that shakes up the core of the NBA. This offseason there have been trade rumors involving Houston Rockets guard Chris Paul, Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal and Memphis Grizzlies guard Mike Conley. If the rumors are believed to be true, there will be at least one big trade that will change the atmosphere of the NBA. It will be interesting if one of the players or any other big name player will be moved this offseason and what impact it will have on the NBA.