Stephen Curry, Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, Derrick Rose, Jrue Holiday, Zach Randolph, Jeff Teague will all be free agents in the upcoming NBA offseason. There are many more, but these are just a handful of the top names who we will be focused on after the 2017 NBA Finals (well, not just us. Everybody will be focused on these guys after the season is over). Not all of these athletes will be moving on to a new team, but some of them will be and they are included in the 15 huge NBA offseason moves that we will be ranking with this list.
If you thought an offseason with a LeBron James signing was big, you better prepare yourself because the 2017 offseason will prove to include some of the most surprising moves in NBA history. The upcoming offseason will create a lot of emotion from fans as guys who were seemingly set move on to new teams. This will hurt some, while helping others. And it’s going to be tough for a lot of people. Some stars will be traded for first round draft picks while others will be traded for other star players. There will be some huge free agent signings while there will even be a few retiring athletes that will catch you off guard. But these moves keep all of us NBA fans entertained during the offseason, and now is a perfect time to begin getting ready for them. So, here we go with our list of predicting the 15 huge NBA offseason moves.
15 15. Boston receives No.1 pick, Selects Markelle Fultz
We begin the list with the first overall draft pick in the next NBA draft. This is the only draft pick that makes this list as the No. 1 pick is a huge deal. The selection of the team and the player are both heavily anticipated and scrutinized. It won’t be any different this offseason. This one hurts for the Nets as they will be forced to swap picks with Boston because of a previous trade. This is a huge blow for the Nets but it will be an even bigger boost for Boston.
The Celtics are one of the best teams in the league this year, but it will be obvious that they need some help after they will lose quickly in the postseason. The addition of Markelle Fultz, who is a well-rounded big point guard without many flaws, will be a huge boost for Boston next season.
14 14. Jrue Holiday Signs with the Denver Nuggets
Jrue Holiday has the ability to become one of the NBA’s best point guards but that will heavily depend on where he ends up signing this offseason. Holiday’s talents are wasting away with the Pelicans, who are comfortably sitting near the bottom of the NBA in terms of regular season record. He’ll be turning 27 in June, and the next few years are crucial for Holiday’s career. To this point, he’s been selected to just one All-Star game, but that will all change once he signs with the Denver Nuggets.
The Nuggets are and will continue to be at the edge of the playoffs if they can’t find a suitable fit for a point guard playing alongside Nikola Jokic. Holiday may need some time to get used to the big man’s untraditional style, but he’ll acclimate by midseason. The Nuggets will need to get rid of one of their current guards for this, but that won’t be an issue given Holiday’s talent.
13 13. Gordon Hayward Signs with the Dallas Mavericks
Gordon Hayward looks to move on to greener pastures, but the grass isn’t always greener on the other side of the fence. Well, in this case the level of play isn’t always as good as it seems on a new squad. Hayward has seen great individual success while playing for the Jazz since he was drafted with the ninth overall pick in 2010. This year might be his best yet as he was recently selected to his first All-Star game. And the Jazz will enter the postseason with one of the better records in the league.
But as the Jazz fail in the postseason and Hayward goes largely unnoticed, he’ll decide to move onto a bigger market team. The Mavericks will seem like the best fit as they’re willing to shell out the type of contract to attract Hayward, but the Mavs lackluster team play will have Hayward wishing he was back in Utah.
12 12. Luol Deng is Traded to the Denver Nuggets
Currently, the Lakers are paying the most money to Luol Deng and Deng isn’t even currently playing on the court because the team is just so bad. Rather than utilizing one of their best athletes, Deng is sitting and resting so that some of the younger players in Los Angeles can get some more time on the court. It’s a respectable move, but the Lakers need to part ways with Deng as his presence isn’t going to be the reason why the Lakers will rebound next season.
As the Lakers will be rebuilding around new faces (more to come on that later), Deng will be another new face in Denver that will be leading the Nuggets next wave of incoming talent. And Denver won’t have any issue giving up one of the team’s veteran forwards or guards. The Nuggets are going to be one of the most aggressive teams in the offseason, partly because some of their current talent will be moving on.
11 11. Danilo Gallinari signs with the Los Angeles Lakers
This is part of the reason Denver is so aggressive in the offseason. With just a couple of changes to its current roster, Denver could be a true competitor in the postseason. But the Nuggets will be forced to do more than just a couple minor changes as Danilo Gallinari will sign with the Los Angeles Lakers. This signing will set of a string of events that will completely alter the Lakers from what we see today (some of the moves you’ve already read about and there will be another major signing for L.A. coming up).
Gallinari will be one of two veteran faces who will be leading the charge for the Lakers next year. He will be part of a Lakers team who will have the power to make a postseason push. Although Gallinari has made a name for himself in Denver, his status will skyrocket playing in Los Angeles.
10 10. Kyle Lowry Signs with the Los Angeles Lakers
By the time free agency rolls around, Kyle Lowry will be 31 and that will scare off some potential suitors. Toronto has been good to Lowry, but he’ll be looking to move on to a team where he can make waves in the postseason. He’s been an All-Star selection for each of the past three seasons, but that’s been an uphill battle playing in Toronto. Things will get much better once he signs with the Lakers.
Lowry will be moving to a team that’s at the bottom of the league, but that’s what will make this decision so good. He’ll bring his veteran talent to a very young squad while being a major factor in bringing this team back to the postseason. It will be a tough road, and it could be a couple years until they’re a true postseason competitor, but it will be worth it for Lowry. Revamping one of the NBA’s most followed teams will be a huge boost in Lowry’s stock as a player.
9 9. LaMarcus Aldridge Retires
Up until recently it seemed that there was no reason to worry about a LaMarcus Aldridge retirement. The 6-11 star had been averaging about 35 minutes per game for his career and was selected to five-straight All-Star games before this year. This year, something really scary and completely out of Aldridge’s control happened. He had a minor heart arrhythmia and it was announced that he will miss an unknown amount of time.
Aldridge has had issues with his heart in the past as he was dianosed as a rookie with an abnormality that can cause a rapid heartbeat. Tests will need to be done to determine how the recent heart issue will affect the future in the NBA, but from a speculative standpoint, this can’t be good. Even if everything checks out OK, any person in his shoes would worry about the future and is playing a game enough motivation to risk long-term health? Unfortunately, this is seeming like the last year Aldridge will see time on the court.
8 8. Pau Gasol Opts Out, Signs with OKC
Russell Westbrook needs help in Oklahoma City. Although it would be easier to demand a trade to a better team, Westbrook seems like he wants to win a championship with the Thunder. To do that, he could really use some help from an All-Star big guy to provide assistance in the post. The Thunder won’t be able to afford trading draft picks or sending away any of the talent that they currently boast. Instead the team will need to look to free agency to find its big guy.
Currently, it looks like Pau Gasol is happy with his decision to sign with the Spurs, but that will slowly change leading into the postseason. Largely due to the fact that Gasol will get more money if he opts out of the second year of his contract to move to OKC. Sure, he’s going to get $16 million with the Spurs, but he can increase his payout in one of his last seasons if he signs with the Thunder.
7 7. Rubio to Nets, Lin to Timberwolves
Let’s face it. Neither of these guys have shown that they properly fit on the team they’re currently playing with. Both Ricky Rubio and Jeremy Lin have shown flashes of consistency on their current team, but there seems to be issues more of the time. The awful thing is that the Timberwolves have a lot of young talent, and a more experienced point guard like Lin could translate to many more wins for Minnesoa. Rubio won’t have the easiest time in Brooklyn, but he has a chance to rebrand himself as the Nets work to get out from the bottom of the league.
The Nets will be able to add some young talent in the draft, which will be a great start to their rebuilding process. Although this move doesn’t immediately help them, it will help begin a good base for operations going forward. While Minnesota will now be much more consistent and a true playoff competitor next season.
6 6. Chris Bosh Retires
Chris Bosh is a known star but he tends to be underrated for how good he is (well, maybe not entirely underrated since he has been selected to 11 All-Star games). Due to a continuing blood clot issue, Bosh missed this entire season. The two seasons before that he played a total of 97 games, but continued his streak of 11-straight All-Star appearances. When Bosh is on the court, he’s an absolute beast.
But when he failed a physical before the beginning of the season, the Heat had to begin planning for a future without Bosh. He’s been off the court for more than a year now, and although he still wants to play, it’s entirely out of his control. If this issue continues, he’s not going to be allowed back on the court. And since it was reported that the Heat didn’t expect Bosh to ever be healthy enough to return to the court, we can’t expect anything else. He’ll announce his retirement this offseason.
5 5. Kyrie Irving is Traded to the Los Angeles Clippers
This trade will be made so that the Cavs can acquire a couple first round draft picks as the team looks to add some youth to their largely veteran squad. Although Cleveland is undoubtedly shooting for a championship with LeBron, the team needs to keep a focus on the future of the organization. This trade is also needed to open up a roster spot for a point guard that the Cavs are going to sign (more to come on that later on the list).
The Cavs won’t have to look far to find a team willing to trade away a couple of first round picks for the rising superstar. Although Irving and Cavs fans will likely be fuming at this trade, it will all work out for the best (at least it will for Cleveland). Once Chris Paul begins seeking options on the free agency market, the Clippers will jump at the opportunity to implement another star guard and they won’t mind giving up their next first round pick along with a future one.
4 4. Dwyane Wade Retires
Dwyane Wade plays like an old man and his recent injury will be the final factor that forces him out of the NBA. Wade seems like he doesn’t have much time left while guys who came in during the same year as LeBron James, who seems to be at the top of his game. Wade is barely more than a couple years older than James but they almost seem like athletes from a different generation. Wade, a three-time NBA champion (two of which were won with James), currently plays with the Bulls but will go down as one of Miami’s greatest players in team history. Wade is a 12-time All-Star selection, a Finals MVP and was the scoring champ in 2009.
But all of this will come to an end by the end of this season. Injuries have slowed Wade’s play to a point where he’s almost unrecognizable. He’ll rarely see action in the starting lineup and will struggle when he is on the court.
3 3. Derrick Rose Signs with Golden State
For Golden State, the time is still now to win another championship. As the Warriors will be without their star point guard for the first time (more to come on that move later on the list), they will be looking for ways to maintain a championship squad. For starters, that will mean keeping Kevin Durant on board and surrounding him with talent. Although they won’t be able to match the talent level that Stephen Curry brought to the game, there are suitable options.
The best fit for the team will be trading for Derrick Rose. But this will come at a somewhat heavy cost, yet it will seem like a steal given the boost that the Warriors will receive from Rose. The Warriors will need to shell out a big, short-term contract, but it will be obvious that it’s worth it by the end of the season.
2 2. Chris Paul Signs with the Cleveland Cavaliers
Once again, we’ll see the Cavs place too much of their championship hopes in LeBron James. Of course, James can handle the pressure but when he goes up against Golden State in the Finals it will become obvious that Cleveland needs to acquire more talent to win another championship. Although Chris Paul doesn’t necessarily seem like the best fit for Cleveland now, it will become abundantly clear in the offseason that Paul is the perfect fit for the Cavs.
Paul can compliment James on the court, maintain his superstar status and facilitate the Cavs offense without stumping LeBron’s powerful presence. King James has been so good partly because of the fact that he makes everyone around him better. The addition of Chris Paul to this team will mean every players performance will be elevated even higher.
1 1. Stephen Curry Signs with the New York Knicks
Did you think the Warriors were set when they paired up Stephen Curry with Kevin Durant? So did we. But even after the duo takes down the league’s best regular season record this year and then continues that success in the postseason, Curry will be looking for a new challenge. After running through one of the easiest postseasons for a championship team, Curry will want to return to the solo spotlight and win a championship of his own in a city that will go crazy for him.
Curry’s a big star, but he’ll be looking to spotlight his talents on the game’s biggest stage. There’s nowhere better than Madison Square Garden. Steph will join the Knicks with the hopes of bringing a championship to New York, and the entire journey will be fun to watch. The media circus will be insane and game nights will be unbelievable in New York with Curry on the floor each night.
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