Off-seasons in sports have become very interesting over the past few seasons, with big stars signing to new cities or blockbuster trades that shake up the entire league. This is especially true in the NBA as of now, as we have seen some incredibly big moves being made in the summer over the past couple of seasons in the National Basketball Association. Throughout the season, many speculate on what is going to happen the summer after, and a lot of good theories were brought about, long before it actually made news that it was a confirmed move. While there were a handful of signings, trades, or draft picks that we saw coming before they even happened, there was certainly some moves that had everyone surprised. The NBA is going to look a lot different next season, and that's all thanks to this off-season.
In this article, we will be looking at 1o NBA offseason moves that we saw coming, and 10 moves that surprised us. This article will include any of the following: a trade, signing, draft selection, or any front office move a franchise decided to make this summer.
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Here are 10 NBA off-season moves that we saw coming and 10 moves that surprised us.
20 Surprising: Kawhi Leonard Traded To Toronto
Kawhi Leonard decided his time with the Spurs was over for reasons pretty much unknown to this point.
He made a few teams known as his desired destinations, and the Toronto Raptors were not one of the cities he asked for.
Perhaps the Spurs traded him to Toronto in part to spite him, but when the Raptors offered DeMar DeRozan, the Spurs had to take the deal.
Leonard was traded to the Raptors, and this will shake things up in the East, as Leonard will have to play in Canada for a season, before he can join up with one of the teams he was asking for, such as Los Angeles or New York.
19 Obvious: Suns Select Deandre Ayton
When the Suns won the NBA Draft lottery, many expected that they were going to select center Deandre Ayton with the 1st pick. Some were arguing for Luka Doncic, given that he may be more pro ready, but Ayton's upside is just too big to ignore. The consensus pick turned out to be true, as Phoenix drafted him, as they are hoping he can be their star center for years and years to come.
Paired up with Devin Booker, Ayton is on a team that could be primed for serious contention in the Western Conference in just a few years or so.
18 Surprising: Trevor Ariza Signs With The Suns
Trevor Ariza had a great spot with the Rockets as being their starting small forward, so it was surprising that he left the title contending Rockets to sign with the rebuilding Phoenix Suns. It was thought that Ariza would sign back with the Rockets, so it was a surprise to many when it was announced he is headed to Phoenix, for most likely a bigger role than what Houston had in mind for him this upcoming season. Given that the Suns are such a young team, they'll want Ariza to be a veteran presence for them, and it could help the Suns experience a quick turnaround this season.
17 Obvious: Carmelo Anthony To Houston
Melo had a unsuccessful season with the OKC Thunder this past year, which is why it is not a surprise that he will be playing with a new team this upcoming season, the Houston Rockets.
It will be a really good fit for the aging star player, as he will be playing alongside the likes of James Harden and Chris Paul.
These are two guys who really could bring out the best of Melo, who could be the piece needed for the Rockets to beat out the Warriors this season. It would be an added bonus if Melo is willing to accept a bench role with Houston.
16 Surprising: Paul George Stays In OKC
Paul George has been linked to Los Angeles for a few seasons now, so not many people expected him to stick around with Russell Westbrook in Oklahoma City for more than just a season, especially after their second round exit against the Utah Jazz.
Paul made headlines this summer for staying with Westbrook however, and not for joining another team, such as the Los Angeles Lakers to team up with LeBron James. A move like this has given Raptor fans hope that Kawhi will do the same thing and fall in love with the city of Toronto.
Let's see if another season of George and Westbrook playing together sans Melo will help the two superstars go deeper into the playoffs.
15 Obvious: Hawks Trade Dennis Schroder
The Hawks gave Dennis Schroder the keys to the organization last season, and apparently Dennis was not happy with this, as he asked for a trade which the Hawks smartly complied with. He was traded to the Thunder this summer to play behind Russell Westbrook, and he is quote "the happiest" he has been since entering the league. Why he is happy to come off the bench rather than being a star player is a mystery, but we saw the Hawks trading Dennis coming from a mile away. Schroder should be able to succeed in OKC, as he has two of the best players in the game to pass to.
14 Surprising: Cavaliers Give Kevin Love Extension
With LeBron James leaving his hometown of Cleveland to begin his new chapter in Los Angeles, many wondered what the Cavaliers were going to do with their now best player, Kevin Love.
While rebuilding the team and trading Love for younger assets seemed like the right move, following LeBron's decision to leave, the Cavs scrambled to keep at least one star in town.
The Cavaliers gave him a large extension, meaning we will continue to see Kevin Love play for Cleveland. It will be interesting to see how he will react to once again being the best player on his team.
13 Obvious: Isaiah Thomas To Denver
Isaiah Thomas was most likely not going to stick around for the new look Lakers with LeBron James, and it is not a surprise that he is headed to the Denver Nuggets, a promising young team in the Western Conference. Isaiah was one of the best, if not the, best scorer in the league just two seasons ago, and we will see how he does with the Nuggets, as he really could end up having a serious bounce back season. This is essentially a one-year, prove it deal, as Thomas hopes he can rebuild his value going into next year's free agent market.
12 Surprising: Tony Parker Signs With Charlotte
What in the world was Tony Parker thinking? Signing with any other team other than the San Antonio Spurs was unthinkable to us fans, as Parker has been a staple of Spurs basketball for years and years now, and it was a total surprise that he signed with the Hornets.
He will now be backup point for a mediocre team in the Eastern Conference, and possibly the starter if Kemba Walker ends up getting traded later in the season.
It will be very odd seeing him in those light blue jerseys rather than the iconic black and white of the Spurs.
11 Obvious: Julius Randle Signs With New Orleans
Julius Randle is going to be one of the best big men in the league in a season or two, and he wasn't trying to stick around for LeBron to come to L.A. and take over the team. So, Randle decided to sign with the New Orleans to play alongside Anthony Davis, making a dangerous front-court.
Randle held out on signing with the Lakers during the year, and it was a known fact he wanted to test his value in free agency and sign with a new team other than the Lakers. He may end up being on his own in a couple of years if Davis decides to move on when he hits free agency.
10 Surprising: Sixers Don't Add Stars
As a Sixers fan, I really thought that a star would be added to the fold this summer, such as LeBron James or Kawhi Leonard. We can't say Philadelphia didn't try to add a star to their incredible young core of Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, as the 76ers let LeBron know he was their primary target this summer. They also tried to trade for Kawhi Leonard, but the Spurs were asking for just too much for the 76ers to pull that trigger.
There's always next summer though, as more big names will be available, and if the Sixers want to take the next step, they'll have to get something done.
9 Obvious: Clint Capela Signs Extension With Houston
Clint Capela has kept quiet since entering the league a few years ago, but he has certainly become one of the best centers in the league playing for one of the best teams in the NBA.
Capela could have signed a major contract with pretty much any team he wanted to this summer that had the cap space.
He made the right move and signed back with Houston, as he is playing with James Harden and Chris Paul, possibly the top two playmakers in the NBA. Capela is in a good situation and admirably chose team success over money.
8 Surprising: Toronto Trades DeMar DeRozan
No one thought that the Raptors were going to part ways with probably the greatest Toronto Raptor of all-time in DeMar DeRozan. However, that's exactly what they did, as they traded him away for Kawhi Leonard, one of the best players in the league.
A lot of people around the basketball world showed their distaste with the Toronto organization, as they just traded away their loyal All-Star for Kawhi Leonard, who most likely will leave the team after this season to play somewhere else.
The Raptors promised changes this offseason, but most felt DeRozan would be the one untouchable player.
7 Obvious: Pistons Hire Dwane Casey
Dwane Casey must have really had a turbulent few days when he was awarded with the Coach of the Year award after being fired from the Toronto Raptors. He really is a great coach, but the Raptors felt like he didn't have the answer to defeat LeBron James, which really is on the players more than the coach in my opinion.
The Pistons needed a new coach, and he was a great guy to select after leading the Raptors to the 1st seed in the East. Detroit should be able to contend for a playoff spot this year with Casey leading the way.
6 Surprising: L.A. Provides LeBron No Other Star
It looks as though it will be just LeBron leading the young Lakers this upcoming season, as no other big name star joined up with him despite many believing the Lakers were going to sign another star.
Names such as Paul George and DeMarcus Cousins were heavily rumored on signing with the Lakers, and reports even surfaced of Kevin Durant possibly joining the Lakers.
Only LeBron ended up signing there however, and he will have to carry a lot of the weight if he wants to go back to the championship. Meanwhile, the Lakers added the likes of Rajon Rondo, Michael Beasley and Lance Stephenson.
5 Obvious: Sixers Re-Sign J.J. Redick
The 76ers wanted to make a splash this offseason, by either signing King James for big money, or trading for Kawhi Leonard from the San Antonio Spurs. None of those plans went through for the team, so it was vital they re-attained their 3rd best player in J.J. Redick, the sharpshooter from Duke. They were able to sign him to a more friendly contract than the previous season. This was a move the 76ers had to make. They should remain in contention for the top spot in the East, but will be in tough against a healthier Celtics team this season.
4 Surprising: Rajon Rondo To The Lakers
Rondo had a nice season with the Pelicans last season especially in the playoffs, and it was expected he was going to sign back with New Orleans to play alongside Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins.
With Cousins going to the Warriors, Rondo made a power move and signed with the Los Angeles Lakers, who will have all eyes on them all season with the new addition of LeBron James.
Even though Lonzo Ball is one of the cornerstones of the Lakers, don't be surprised if Rajon Rondo beats him out for the starting spot. If his head is right, he could be a valuable addition for Los Angeles.
3 Obvious: Mavericks Get Luka Doncic
Luka Doncic was the most hyped prospect to ever come from Europe.
He has been a pro player for Real Madrid since he was 13, yes, that age is correct, and he became the youngest player to win MVP overseas there at 18 years of age.
The Mavericks were very interested in pairing him up alongside Dennis Smith Jr., and that's exactly what they did, trading Trae Young for Doncic on draft night. Doncic will have every chance to succeed in Dallas and will have a legendary star from Europe mentoring him in Dirk Nowitski. It was a perfect landing spot for Doncic.
2 Surprising: DeMarcus Cousins Signs With Warriors
Incredible. No one saw this coming. DeMarcus Cousins, the best big man in the game of basketball, decided to sign with the greatest team ever assembled for just $5 million, making the team even more dominant than it already has been.
He won't be able to play the first half of the season, but it will be something to see when he joins the starting lineup, creating a 5 All-Star lineup for the first time ever in the history of the NBA. The Warriors were already favored to three-peat in 2018-19 and adding Cousins is just icing on top of an already decadent cake.
1 Obvious: LeBron To Los Angeles
LeBron James has begun a new chapter of his illustrious career, as he is now playing in the Western Conference for the first time, with possibly the biggest team in sports history, the Los Angeles Lakers. We saw this one coming however, as LeBron made the Lakers one of his top teams for his free agency decision, and many speculated he would be moving his family to sunny Los Angeles.
While this was possibly the biggest move of this summer, we could have told you about it before it even happened. It would have been very surprising if he pulled a 180 and decided to stay in Cleveland.