In the NBA offseason, storylines shift ever so quickly.
Just last week, the talk of the town was Paul George getting traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder and the lack of competitive balance between the two conferences. All of a sudden, Basketball Twitter is starting to talk about similarities between Rudy Gay taking a paycut to get to the Spurs versus Kevin Durant taking a paycut for the sake of the Warriors, and of course, Lonzo Ball in the Summer League.
That’s just how the NBA offseason works. It’s an absolute blessing for basketball fans, because you’re never left without any stories to discuss with your friends. But this madness can also be a curse. Sometimes, you’re left overwhelmed amidst all of the deals that are happening.
This piece hopes to help you with just that. Instead of throwing to your piece EVERY deal that happened this week, we’ll throw you the ones that are important. We’ll discuss and analyze briefly the signings or trades that play an important role in a team’s chance of at least competing in the playoffs.
Let’s break it down:
Gordon Hayward plans to sign with the Boston Celtics
It would be wrong to say that Gordon Hayward has already signed with the Boston Celtics, since as of this writing, Boston hasn’t cleared out the necessary cap space yet to acquire Hayward. Unless Danny Ainge fails to make a way to clear space for Hayward or if Rudy Gobert and gang lock him in a house with a contract in hand, we’re going to see the former Butler standout wearing a Boston Celtics jersey come the start of the 2017-2018 season.
The question that lingered when Hayward came out with his Players’ Tribune piece was, “Is this enough to put the Celtics past the Cavaliers?” The simple answer to that question is “No.”
Cleveland is simply a completely different animal right now compared to the rest of the East. But what this does is put that Celtics a tad bit closer to contending for a Finals spot.
He isn’t a seamless fit beside Isaiah Thomas considering that Hayward likes to play the pick and roll as well, but if there’s someone who can make it work, it’s Brad Stevens. Don’t be surprised to see action where Gordon is the one initiating the play, while Thomas runs around screens (which is how he gets his most efficient buckets) to get himself free for the three. He can also move off the ball, and in the process attacking off the bounce for the drive, or off a simple catch and shoot.
Hayward’s decision is by no means in the same level as a Kevin Durant or a LeBron James moving to another team, but he still makes the Celtics a deadlier threat against James and the rest of the Cavaliers.
Paul Millsap agrees to sign with the Denver Nuggets
The Nuggets’ acquisition of Paul Millsap is one of the more underrated signings this offseason. Millsap has been one of the steadiest players in the league for quite some time now, providing versatility on both ends of the floor on a nightly basis. For a team on the rise like Denver, adding someone like Millasap is huge for them.
This move doesn’t catapult Denver 4th seed in an instant, but they’re close. A big part of that is their signing of Millsap, whose main task in the team is to serve as help beside franchise cornerstone Nikola Jokic. He’s a great fit beside Jokic, someone who makes smart cuts and reads off the ball, and is a versatile player on both ends of the floor. He is a glue guy by all means, but he’s a very good one at that. The Nuggets got themselves someone who will fast track Denver’s rise from young team to legitimate contender.
Nick Young and Omri Casspi agree to sign with the Golden State Warriors
While the rest of the league tries to build their own superteams, the Golden State Warriors lie down on a cabana, simply waiting for solid role players to take respectable pay cuts for a shot at the title. That’s the power winning has. Nick Young and Omri Casspi just happened to succumb to the power of winning by taking smaller deals to go to the Bay.
Between those two names, it’s Swaggy P who’s the easiest to talk about. He’s one of the most eccentric players ever, who embodies the shoot your shot ethos. That doesn’t mean that he’s a bad fit in the pass-happy system of the Warriors. It’s the complete opposite, as his efficient sniping from downtown is a weapon that Steve Kerr will gladly use for Golden State. It’s also a great help that he’s managed to turn into a solid defender.
When talking about Omri Casspi, there are some fans who will say, “Omri what?” Here’s a reminder of what Casspi is all about:
Casspi provides the Warriors EVEN MORE shooting, someone who is best used as a spot up shooter. He can also move off the ball, but if you want the best shot from him, it’s off a spot up situation.
With Young’s addition, you get someone who can play the shooting guard position as a back up to Klay Thompson. That’s cool. But with Casspi, you get someone who’s capable of playing the 3 and 4, or if you want to go crazy, go ahead and play him as a shooting guard (just surround him with guys who can hide him on defense). There are so much possible combinations because of this, and Warriors fans should rejoice. The affluent get even more pieces to play with. Life is indeed unfair.
Kelly Olynyk agrees to sign with the Miami Heat
After Miami struck out on the Gordon Hayward sweepstakes, Pat Riley opted not to….. stand pat *bad um tsss* and went ahead and signed Kelly Olynyk to a four year 50 million deal. A number of Heat fans were left dumb founded at the decision. It’s not a move that brings the Heat from a dark horse into a legitimate contender, but they still became a better team in the process.
What Olynyk brings to the table is outside shooting, something Miami needs beside Hassan Whiteside. It’s a perfect match between the two, as Hassan can hide Olynyk’s sub-par defense, and Olynyk can space the floor for Whiteside. This move also allows Bam Adebayo to breathe easy, as that means he’ll most definitely play center instead of a big power forward. Decent move by the Heat.
Danilo Gallinari and Milos Teodosic are acquired by the Los Angeles Clippers
Losing someone like Chris Paul is a huge bummer for any team. Teams will undoubtedly scramble to make moves, and more often than not, teams that try to rebuild just end up making deals that don’t benefit them. That hasn’t been the case at all for the Clippers, as they’ve managed to acquire some great players aside from the ones they received from the CP3 trade.
Gallinari is the one who is the most familiar for NBA junkies. Gallo is a versatile offensive player, a combo forward who can score at a variety of ways. Beside Blake Griffin, he’ll likely have to play off the ball most of the time since Griffin will be the one to do the creating for the Clippers. But there’s also the option of Gallinari handling the rock and creating plays for LA, as he is someone who is adept at attacking the basket and creating for himself and others. He’s the wing type of player that the Clips have dreamt about for so long. It’s sad that he couldn’t arrive any sooner, but LA will have to simply take in Gallinari. He’s a good signing for LA.
On the other hand, Teodosic is someone who hardcore basketball fans have been looking forward to for so long now. In Teodosic, LA gets someone who can flat out make plays for the team. Many compare him to Ricky Rubio, and I think that’s not doing him any justice. Both players are creative passers, but Teodosic is a far better shooter compared to Rubio. His ability to pass makes him the sure-fire back-up point guard behind Patrick Beverley, while his shooting gives Doc Rivers the flexibility to play him beside Beverly.
The Clippers aren’t going to be title contenders just because of these acquisitions. But that doesn’t mean that Clipper fans don’t have any reason to be excited. Both of these players are solid pieces who make Blake Griffin and company not just entertaining to watch, but a team that should be taken seriously in the war zone that is the Western Conference.
The Boston Celtics trade away Avery Bradley to the Detroit Pistons for Marcus Morris
A number of Boston fans were left confused after this deal between Detroit and Boston took place, and for good reason. Bradley is someone who is very close to the heart of Celtics fans, and his elite defense is one that will be sorely missed. But let’s take a step back and try to make sense of this trade.
In the first place, does the trade even make sense for Boston? Easily, yes, it does. First of all, Bradley’s contract expires after next season, which means that it is likely that the Celtics lose him for nothing. Managing to get Marcus Morris who has two more years on his contract is a good get. Second, lots of Celtics fans are frustrated that Bradley will no longer be there to shut down opposing guards. That’s reasonable, but Boston has Marcus Smart to do that for them now. Bradley is severely undersized at the shooting guard position, and Smart has the tools to be an even better defender than the former Celtic. Smart is two inches taller, and has a longer wingspan than Avery. Boston should be just fine with Smart taking on perimeter defense duties.
Which then brings us to Marcus Morris. Many reacted to this signing by saying, “Oh look, the Celtics got themselves another wing!”, which is a totally valid concern. But he’s someone who can make buckets, something which Boston needs versus the Cavaliers. He’ll work very well in spot up opportunities with the Celtics.
He isn’t just a wing though. Morris is someone who is completely capable of playing as a power forward when need be, and if Brad Stevens decides to go crazy, he may even elect to play Morris as a center beside Crowder, Hayward, Smart and Thomas. That kind of line-up will give Cleveland trouble considering the amount of shooters that LeBron and crew will have to close out on. This deal is good for the Celtics, but it still doesn’t put them past the Cavs.
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