Where the hell do I start with this then?
Free agency in the NBA started on Sunday night, I’m currently writing this on Tuesday morning and it feels like the whole summer has passed. Paul George has signed on with the Thunder, Chris Paul is staying put in Houston, LeBron James went to LA, Kawhi Leonard still hasn’t been traded and Golden State just ended the season before it started by adding another All-Star to their roster. There’s also the undecided future of Lonzo Ball, Anthony Davis and many more stars who may be moved over the course of the summer.
However, I’ll be looking at what has happened since Sunday night and giving my opinion on it, sound good?
PG13 stays put
Now, I know most of you will be thinking that I’m stupid to not start with the LeBron news, however, I wanted to give my thoughts on the deals being made in chronological order, rather than the biggest news first. It also makes you lot scroll down and read my article before you get to the bit you want, clever thinking from me.
The PG13 news broke before free agency even opened up. It was reported that Westbrook was hosting a massive house party on Sunday night and people were speculating whether it was a goodbye for Paul George or whether it was the grand stage to announce he was staying put. It turned out to be the latter and he has since resigned with the Thunder.
Before the weekend there was a strong belief between NBA teams that he was going to move on, the Boston Celtics being one of the favourites to land him, however, I knew this would never happen and PG would sign with the Thunder. Honestly, I like this move. Russ and PG seem great friends, probably the best friend Russ has had over the years and they do play well with each other, contrary to what most believe. Of course, this season didn’t end well for the Thunder, but convincing PG13 to stay rather than him joining LeBron in Los Angeles is a great move and sets OKC up for another big playoff push.
If the Thunder can perform like they did last year and add a little more to their playoff games then we could be seeing an early dark horse for the conference finals, however, I think they still lack that extra star or two to really convince the league that they can go all the way to the Championship. I also like the fact that PG seems to want to win a ring legitimately and not rely on LeBron to get him that ring, he’s still quite young and has many years ahead of him, so I like the fact that he is sticking to OKC and trying to help them get that ring. Good on you,Paul!
Even though I previously stated I was writing this on Tuesday, it is now Thursday and I have had some time to think about this move by PG. It would have been interesting to see if he followed the same pattern as every other big star to leave Russ. Harden left Russ and became a world star, winning the MVP award this season, Oladipo just won most improved player and is basically carrying his own franchise after leaving Russ. If PG has have joined LBJ over in LA it would have been interesting to see if he became a better player like the others, or whether he would have been denied that opportunity because of playing with LBJ, rather than the others who had a franchise to themselves.
CP3 stays in Houston
The next big news to come from free agency was the fact that CP3 has decided to stick with James Harden and Houston for at least another season. I was so happy when this news was announced as watching Houston last season was an absolute pleasure and Harden couldn’t have done what he did and win the MVP award without CP3’s ball skills and brilliant partner play.
This just keeps one of the big weapons in the West together and really keeps the competition high on the Warriors. If CP3 had left, I’d have been really upset, he’s a perfect partner for Harden. He isn’t greedy, he passes the ball immensely and when Houston need someone to pick them up, especially if Harden isn’t doing what he does, CP3 always seemed to be there.
Like I previously said, to keep the West interesting, we need multiple teams to have multiple weapons in their side to really keep up with Golden State and Houston being able to keep CP3 with Harden just keeps the pressure on.
LABron or LeBronzo – which one is it?
Now, if you’re a long-time reader of mine, firstly, get your head checked out and secondly, you know I don’t like LeBron one bit. Don’t get me wrong, he’s one of the greatest players of all time and I am honoured to have been able to watch him when I was growing up but I just don’t like the persona around him and for me, Jordan will always be the GOAT.
Anyway, LeBron wasted no time in telling us which team he was signing for when it was released as the LA Lakers. It was genuinely between two teams for LeBron, Philly and LA, with LA always being the favourites. LeBron spent all his offseason over in LA and it just became the normal thinking that LeBron would end up over West.
Let’s get the original move out of the way and then move on to what it means to LA. Obviously, LBJ is a massive coup for any team, however, it probably means more to LA who have fallen quite a bit in quality since their main rivalry with my Boston Celtics. The contract is for four years and I think LBJ has completely mugged them off with this deal. I can’t believe LA thought it was a good idea to give LBJ a four-year contract when he probably won’t be in the league for that long, especially if he fails to crack the West with LA.
Now, the move itself has a much wider effect to pretty much everything to do with basketball. It affects most team’s future trades, especially LA’s west rivals San Antonio who are trying to offload Kawhi. Now, I must say, Kawhi is a fantastic young player who has the world at his feet. However, with that being said, LA shouldn’t move for him. LA would have to sacrifice multiple young talents, which they worked hard for, for just another young talent. Letting go of Kuzma or Lonzo would be like erasing the past year or two of work. If they stick it out with LBJ and the kids for a year, see how it goes and then make a trade judgement on young players.
However, the point above does lead to another question that’s being raised. Should LA trade Lonzo for Kawhi to get rid of the LaVar issue?
For me, yes trade him every day of the week to get LaVar away from LA and LeBron. LA have everything sorted out right now, everything apart from LaVar and trading Lonzo away would fit that perfectly. It’s just a tragedy waiting to happen and LA need to get their priorities in order if they want to win at least one ring with LBJ.
One last thing, LeBron may leave LA sooner than we thought as it’s come out that Lance Stephenson has signed a deal with LA and this is just brilliant. Lance will blow down LeBron’s ear that many times during practice that LeBron will become scared whenever some wind tickles his ear, probably mistaking it for Lance just standing behind him at all times.
Has free agency unbalanced the league?
Honestly, in terms of quality, of course it has and it seems it will be for a while. However, I believe that the East actually isn’t irrelevant, contrary to many people’s belief. The East possesses the best young talents in the league. Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown etc. all play for East teams so it will be interesting to see how the future stars of the league progress. Also, with LeBron leaving the conference, the East is blown wide open. The early favourites would be Boston and Philly, however, teams like the Milwaukee Bucks, New York Knicks, Miami Heat etc. could all surprise us and really push for the finals, now they don’t have to deal with LeBron.
Another thing that interests me with the so-called unbalanced conferences, is that many NBA fans are writing off the East’s teams before the season has started, and this isn’t a good thing to do. You are simply leaving East teams with nothing to lose and everything to win. No one is expecting them to win so that leaves them with something to prove and the Warriors have to fall at some point, but it doesn’t have to be to another West team. Why can’t someone like Boston rise up and take that Warriors spot?
What’s next for Boston?
It wouldn’t be a Stephen Beavon piece without some Celtics talk. Boston are always that dark horse in trades, so far, we have been linked with PG13, Kawhi, Karl-Anthony Towns and many others. Obviously, PG13 has now stayed on at OKC and Kawhi looks set on LA but one interesting name came up and that name is Anthony Davis.
Davis was clearly trying to convince DeMarcus Cousins to stay in New Orleans, however, it failed and Cousins has since moved to GSW, which is just too stupid to comment on. Now, he is obviously upset about Cousins leaving and may look at leaving himself, specifically to Boston. Imagine if that came off, arguably the best defensive player in the league paired with the best defensive team in the league. It’s actually quite scary and with Danny Ainge involved, he can always come up with some cheap deal like he does every summer.
One little bit of news coming out of Boston is that Kyrie reportedly has his eyes set on the Knicks next season when he enters free agency. Honestly, I don’t really care if Kyrie leaves. Obviously, it would be a huge loss because he is easily one of the best talents in the league, however, we proved this season that we can play at the highest level without him.
Imagine Tatum and Brown with another season under their belts just like this season, we would be in a brilliant position. One thing that caught my eye, is that we are reportedly looking into trading him this offseason and getting max profit from him. This I do not like as we haven’t seen a massive test sample size to make that judgement and risk losing all the progress we have made, but if he did leave next free agency, then fair play to him but he would be the one regretting the decision, not us.
I Need A Lie Down!
That is where I am calling it on this bumper free agency piece. Since Sunday we have seen PG13 and CP3 stay on their respective teams, LeBron announce which team he is joining, the Warriors add a fifth All-Star to their starting line up and the East becoming quieter, which is never a good thing in basketball. Who knows, if some more mental deals come off you may find me returning with a second part but for the meantime, stay safe in this offseason and a quick reminder that the 2019 NBA Champs will be Boston!