This year's draft ranks one of the most talented drafts ever. Everyone looked at Boston to use the number 1 pick to get either Paul George of the Pacers and than make a splash for Gordon Hayward of the Utah Jazz or Jimmy Butler through trades. What happened next changed the whole scenario of this year's free agency period. Boston decided to swap the number 1 spot for the number 3 spot with the 76ers. I think the Celtics were convinced they could either get Butler or George through a trade and sell them the idea of playing next to Isaiah Thomas and a top 3 talent out of the draft. But then everything changed before it was even the 1st of July. Butler was traded to the Timberwolves for young talent such as Zach LaVine and Kris Dunn. OKC came up as the surprise destination for Paul George.
The Timberwolves were also able to unload Ricky Rubio to the Utah Jazz and added Jeff Teague from the Pacers to their roster. Adding those two players to a roster that also has Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns, means we’ll be hearing a lot of howling from the Wolves next season.
So Boston, what is your game plan now? You didn’t get the second-star player you wanted (because I think Gordon Hayward will not sign with the Celtics, now either Butler or George is joining them). Cleveland will only get better because Dwyane Wade will be taking the buyout from Chicago and sign with the Cavaliers with Butler gone and Rajon Rondo waived.
It’s perfect for OKC and Russell Westbrook that Paul George will be joining OKC. But is that enough to get them over the hump? Not even close. They are still using the same roster only now with George instead of Durant, which is not exactly an upgrade. I am convinced he will be leaving for the L.A. Lakers next year and he may even convince Russell Westbrook to join him if they mash well together. If they don’t work out on the court, Paul George will get traded again before the trade deadline in February 2018.
Chris Paul going to Rockets has the biggest impact thus far of all the players that switched teams. Houston gave up a lot of scoring in Lou Williams, a rugged defensive point guard in Patrick Beverley and a solid talent in Sam Dekker. In return, they’ve got the best point guard in the league without giving up half the team. With Paul being the point guard it relieves the burden of James Harden and adds an extra shooter to the mix. I am very curious to see how that pans out because even though Phil Jackson is out of New York Carmelo Anthony will wave his no trade clause and sign with the Rockets. That is a roster that will have a chance to come out of the West next year.
Blake Griffin staying with Clippers was not expected but makes sense since they’ve traded Paul and just couldn’t start from scratch again. Worth noting that J.J. Redick is leaving the Clippers to join the talented and young 76ers. The Clippers will definitely miss him and have a new starting backcourt upcoming season. Adding Danilo Gallinari gives them a great frontcourt.
The most anticipated signing happened directly on the 1st of July. Steph Curry became the first player that signed the super max contract above 200 million. Kevin Durant has made it clear he will re-up with GSW and take less to keep its team together.
KD will be signing on the 6th of July. The Monster is back at full strength.
Conclusion so far three days into free agency: the West only got better, and the East again got weaker. But yet again, we are just three days in ;)
Keep you posted!