In less than two weeks, the National Basketball Association landscape has changed significantly. This year’s free agency showed why the NBA offseason is unmatched in spectacle.
ESPN Writer Adrian Wojnarowski deployed one of his signature “Woj-bomb” tweets, announcing that Kawhi Leonard and Paul George were going to the Los Angeles Clippers. Leonard, who’s fresh off an amazing championship run with the Toronto Raptors, shocked many with his decision. The Paul George acquisition happened through trading Danilo Gallinari, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and several draft picks to Oklahoma City. There were also reports that before his meeting with the Lakers, Leonard first met up with George, advising him to request a trade to the Clippers. The Clippers may possibly have a starting lineup of Leonard, George, Landry Shamet, Ivica Zubac and Patrick Beverly. With a deadly combination of all-league defenders and two-way players, the Clippers are looking like a clear favorite for next season.
Despite losing out on the Kawhi sweepstakes, the Lakers didn’t leave this offseason empty-handed. Big man DeMarcus Cousins, who just last year left New Orleans to have a chance at winning a championship, took his talents to the purple and gold. He projects to be a starting center who can provide inside scoring and rebounding. After losing the finals and then Kevin Durant, Golden State reloaded their roster by plucking D’Angelo Russell from Brooklyn. The six-foot-five guard had a breakout year with the Nets that included getting his first all-star appearance. He gives the Warriors solid scoring and positional flexibility in the backcourt.
In the southwest, OKC stunned everyone by trading Russell Westbrook to Houston in exchange for Chris Paul. The Harden-Westbrook pairing may present challenges as they’re both ball-dominant guards. The Jazz‘s pickup of Michael Conley was one of the more understated signs in the association. Conley brings a locker room presence and takes off much of the pressure put on star guard Donovan Mitchell. Last season, Mitchell had taken on much of the playmaking responsibilities despite only averaging 4.2 assists per game.
In the east, the Milwaukee Bucks had a major shake up in their roster. Malcom Brogdon was a fixture in the Bucks’ rotation as he provided solid defense and an ability to shoot at nearly 43 percent from downtown. They also retained Khris Middleton for a five-year deal worth $178 million. These were some of the more notable transactions among the many that went down this summer. 2020 is shaping up to be a high point for the league.