In the words of the legendary Kevin Garnett, ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE! This NBA offseason has been everything but predictable. Having topped $3 billion in the first 24 hours of free agency, an offseason record, the amount of money spent does not justify the magnitude of the moves that took place this offseason. With a whole new era of basketball on the horizon, we shall look into 10 best acquisitions of the 2019 NBA offseason.
10. Al Horford leaves Boston for Philly
In a world with one 6’10” point guard who struggles to shoot the ball but is exceptional at making plays in transition and at the half court, the 76ers must look ways to surround their young nucleus with solid 3 point shooters. Enter Al Horford, a 6’10” center who can shoot the three and play defense in the interior. Horford will be joining the 76ers after being on the rival Boston Celtic squad for the past 3 seasons. Horford was a key contributor during the Celtics 2018 playoff run in which ended in a game 7 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals. With the addition of Horford, the 76ers wll be able to space the floor more allowing for a more effective post-game for Joel Embiid and also allows for a solid three-point option when Simmons is running the one.
9. Ricky Rubio signs with the Phoenix Suns
Yes you read that right, Ricky Rubio made this list. You may have not even noticed this signing but having Rubio, a pass first point guard with veteran experience, is everything that this young Suns squad needed. Having already signed Devin Booker to an extension, the Suns will allow him to remain the number one scoring option with a Rubio assuming playmaking responsibilities. Rubio has spent the last two seasons as a member of the Utah Jazz where he played with Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert and will be looking to help the Suns in their quest to a playoff berth.
8. Mike Conley Jr. joins the Utah Jazz (via trade)
After spending a decade wearing Grizzlies blue, Conley finally makes his way out of Memphis and into Utah where the playoff awaits. Conley is coming off a season where he put up an average of 21 points per game along with a steal per game. Conley, who has never been selected to an all star game, will be joining a Jazz squad that has made the playoffs the last two seasons and will be partaking in the era of dynamic duos as he will share the frontcourt with Donovan Mitchell. Conley will add a tough minded defensive point guard who will serve as the second option to a young Donovan Mitchell who has already proven to be the best player on this Jazz squad.
7. D’Angelo Russell signs with the Golden State Warriors
(Insert D’Angelo Russell snitching joke), we all know that Russell’s time as a Laker will be defined by the infamous recording which was later posted about the infidelity of former Lakers forward Nick Young. Russell may have also tried to hide weed in contraband just this past month. Russell who has been apart of one playoff team, 2018-2019 Nets, was acquired through sign and trade, as compensation to losing Kevin Durant in free agency. Although, Russell has had an immature past but being paired up with leaders and champions in Draymond Green and Stephen Curry can ultimately be the difference-maker in this acquisition. Russell, who stands at 6’5″, can run the one allowing for Stephen Curry to assume the roles of the shooting guard position allowing for a more high paced offense. Not only would this allow Curry to essentially play his true position but having Russell at the one would allow Steve Kerr the flexibility of having a 6’5″ point guard when he puts the new version of the small ball five lineup on the floor this upcoming season. Having made the all-star game last season as a reserve, Russell who turned 23 back in February, will have a lot of interest from other teams allowing for the Warriors to make a move if they feel as if Russell will not fit with Klay Thompson who returns for the 2020-2021 season.
6. Russell Westbrook is traded to the Houston Rockets
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I can’t even begin to put into words all of the emotions I have right now. It’s been one heck of a journey Oklahoma! When I came here, I was 18 years old, bright eyed, and completely unaware of all the amazing things that would soon take place. I grew up in Oklahoma with an amazing bunch of people. The people here are what makes this place so special. From the fans, my coaches, my teammates, the entire Thunder organization, Mr. Bennett, Sam Presti, my friends, and everyone in the entire community. You are all what makes Oklahoma such a beautiful place, and the reason I’ve loved playing here all of this time. You have supported me through all of the ups and the downs, and stood by me through the good times, and tough times. For that I am eternally grateful to you. I’ve met so many amazing people who have helped shape me into the man that I am today. I hope I have impacted the Oklahoma community as much as Oklahoma has made an impact on me and my family. I’m leaving Oklahoma with so many friends and so much gratitude. I could never thank you all enough for sticking with me. It’s been a dream and a whirlwind. #WHYNOT
Russell Westbrook, the most interesting man in the NBA. Whether its his over the top fashion or his style of play Westbrook has become the subject to both admiration and also scrutiny. After his third straight 1st round exit where he got outplayed by Damian Lillard, Westbrook will get a fresh start as a member of the Rockets. Joining forces with James Harden may be a cause for concern due to the ball dominant tendencies in both players but with reports indicating that Westbrook and Harden wanted to play together, this dynamic duo hopes to bring a championship to the city of Houston. Having the stamp of approval from James Harden is an encouraging sign especially after being evidently upset with former Rockets point guard Chris Paul. Often times both players would look disinterested while the other was running the offense. With Westbrook, who is a much younger option than CP3, Harden will be alongside a player who he has played with multiple times dating back to their days at the Boys and Girls Club in South Central Los Angeles.
5. Kyrie Irving signs max with Nets
After his decision to be apart of Roc Nation Sports it became clear that Kyrie Irving was going to be a Brooklyn Net. Irving who is coming off an abysmal playoff performance, which resulted in a second round exit to the Milwaukee Bucks, will be entering a new situation in Brooklyn. A big reason for Irving’s shortcomings as a member of the Boston Celtics was due to the influx of talent on the roster. Having too many guys who at one point were considered the best players on their former teams proved to be too much of an obstacle to overcome. Irving who had requested a trade from the Cleveland Cavaliers to become the vocal point of a team was traded to the Celtics. Irving’s inability to step down and play a role in a talented Celtics squad, who the previous year were one win away from the NBA Finals without the likes of Kyrie Irving, led to one of the most dysfunctional and disappointing Celtics seasons in recent memory. However, for the first time in his career Irving is choosing where he will play and with the already existing culture and talent, the Brooklyn Nets currently have, Irving will be looking to lead this Nets team to back to back playoff berths and ultimately lead this Nets team to its first NBA title.
4. Kevin Durant to the Brooklyn Nets
As a fan of my beloved New York Knickerbockers, it brings sorrow to my heart that this is in fact real life. Kevin Durant is a Brooklyn Net. Durant suffered a torn left achilles in game 5 of the NBA Finals, after he returned from a calf strain that had him out of action since game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals. Their is a possibility that Durant, who will be turning 31 in September, is a shadow of his former self coming off a achilles tear but with a solid supporting class upon his return Nets fans have a reason to stay optimistic.
Even though he will be sitting out for the first year of his 4 year $164 million contract, Durant will provide a much more consistent scoring option alongside Kyrie Irving for the 2020-2021 NBA season.
3. Paul George to the Los Angeles Clippers
The Staples Center will be the host of the greatest show on hardwood floor this season. It does not matter if the Lakers or Clippers are playing the Staples Center will hold the title of “The Mecca” for this upcoming season. The moment it was made public that George would be joining the Clippers, their title odds split in half and to many are the favorites to win the Larry O’Brien trophy for the 2019-2020 NBA season and rightfully so. George is coming off his best season where he had career highs in point per game (28.2), rebounds per game (8.2), steals per game (2.4), win shares (11.9) and had a player efficiency rating of 23.3 all while playing with a ball dominant point guard.
2. Anthony Davis traded to the Los Angeles Lakers for Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart
If you have the opportunity to get a transcendent talent like Anthony Davis to pair up with LeBron James you must do everything in your power to make it happen. Despite having front office problems between GM Rob Pelinka and former president of basketball operations, Magic Johnson, and having to wait a full season causing the morale of the existing Lakers young core to plummet, the Lakers on June 15 finally pulled the trigger for Anthony Davis. The Lakers who gave up Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and 3 first round picks (including the number 4 pick in the 2019 draft) managed to keep their most promising young player, Kyle Kuzma. In keeping Kuzma the Lakers, who have announced that LeBron James will play point guard this season, can have a starting lineup of:
PG LeBron James
SG Danny Green
SF Kyle Kuzma
PF Anthony Davis
C DeMarcus Cousins
This would give the Lakers one of the tallest NBA starting lineups in recent memory, with their shortest player being Danny Green (6’6″). The lineup allows for the Lakers to have flexibility on the offensive end combining size and the ability to space the floor effectively, while also having a starting five capable of being one of the better defensive squads for next season with Anthony Davis as its anchor.
1. Kawhi Leonard to the Los Angeles Clippers
The silent assassin takes the top spot for best acquisitions of the 2019 NBA Offseason. His impact on both ends of the court was evident in the Finals as he took home the coveted Finals MVP but his fit with this current Clippers squad seems to be a match made in basketball heaven. Having lured Paul George away from Oklahoma City, this will give Leonard the flexibility of deferring to Paul George down the stretch during regular season and playoff games. Leonard joins a team that forced a healthy Golden State Warriors squad to six games, inserting Leonard into the starting lineup can put this Clipper squad in the discussion to possibly be one of the greatest defensive trios in NBA history. Having elite perimeter defenders in Patrick Beverly and Paul George, Leonard does not always have to guard the toughest assignment allowing for him to exert more effort on the offensive end of the court.