Alex Park, Managing Editor
The last time we saw meaningful basketball action, it ended with Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors hoisting the Larry O’Brien Trophy in the air. It was a fitting end for a team that finished with the best record in the NBA. Since then, teams have been mercilessly plotting to dethrone the current champions. Here are the key things you need to know about the offseason before the start of the next NBA season:
One More Shot
The careers of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili are all nearing their end. Duncan, Parker, and Ginobili have played together since the 2002-03 season, eventually breaking the record for the most playoff wins of all-time as a trio in 2014.
The emergence of Kawhi Leonard has allowed the trio to play well beyond their years, and with the addition of four-time All Star, LaMarcus Aldridge, the longtime San Antonio trio can make what might possibly be their last serious push at a title.
Another signing that made waves was the addition of David West. The former Indiana Pacer turned down $11 million to head to San Antonio for $1.4 million and a chance to contend for an NBA Title. The Spurs also re-signed Danny Green to a 4-year, $45 million deal.
For the first time in what seems like an eternity, a team other than the Cleveland Cavaliers held the first pick in the NBA Draft. The Minnesota Timberwolves, already making progress on their rebuild, built on their solid foundation by selecting Karl-Anthony Towns (Kentucky).
Followed by Minnesota was the Los Angeles Lakers, who took D’Angelo Russell (Ohio State) with the second pick. It almost seemed like a dream come true for New York Knicks fans everywhere as it seemed like Duke Center, Jahlil Okafor, would fall right into their laps. Instead, Philadelphia, living by their mantra, “pick the best player on the board,” took Okafor leaving the Knicks to take Latvian big man Kristaps Porzingis.
Croatian Guard, Mario Hezonja, was selected by the Orlando Magic to round out the top five. Several impact rookies were selected outside the top-five, most of whom are expected to make immediate contributions.
New York State of Mind
After finishing with a franchise-worst record of 17-65, it’s hard to go anywhere but up for the Knicks. The return of Carmelo Anthony brings back the firepower that New York so desperately needed last year. How he fits into the triangle with Porzingis is yet to be seen, but it was a bevy of moves that has the Knicks’ stock rising.
The Knicks added Robin Lopez, Arron Afflalo, Derrick Williams, Kevin Seraphin, and Sasha Vujacic in free agency while also acquiring Kyle O’Quinn (trade) and Jerian Grant (19th overall pick in 2015 NBA Draft).
The Brooklyn Nets have finally ditched the “buying a championship” approach and went for value. The Nets aren’t contenders by any means this season, but the addition of young talent such as Shane Larkin, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, and Chris McCullogh means the Nets have established their plan: take your time.
They kept Brook Lopez around, re-signing him to a big contract, but also waived Deron Williams, formally putting an end to Brooklyn’s Big Three.
Other Moves or Non-Moves
LeBron James, Marc Gasol, Kevin Love, Draymond Green, Jimmy Butler, Dwyane Wade, DeAndre Jordan, Brandon Knight, Paul Millsap, Tobias Harris, and Reggie Jackson all remained with their respective teams.
Greg Monroe took his talents to Milwaukee, DeMarre Carroll relocated from Atlanta to Toronto, Monta Ellis flew under-the-radar, signing with Indiana, and Wesley Matthews received a max contract from the Dallas Mavericks after tearing his Achilles the season before.
Roy Hibbert was also traded to the Los Angeles Lakers in what seemed to be the only notable trade this offseason.