The NBA finals finished on June 13, 2017 with the Golden State Warriors defeating the Cleveland Cavaliers in 5 games. Basically, the inevitable end to a remarkable season has resulted in a month of relative chaos. As teams scramble to assemble enough talent to somehow topple the mighty Warriors, or discard potential cap clogging players with an eye to building once the Golden Empire crumbles.
From pre draft trades, to draft day trades, to post draft trades, to $870 Million committed to Free Agents by the end of Day 1, the NBA has been burning hot through the Summer. While many have lamented the Dubs and Cavs seemingly unrelenting grip on their respective conferences, the need for talent seems to have galvanized many into swinging for the fences. Others are looking to the future and hoping to assemble tomorrow’s juggernauts. Sitting on the fence has never been less appealing.
With the doldrums of NBA Winter coming (and Game Of Thrones only airing episodes once a week), the time is right to look back at some of the most noteworthy developments of the past month that don’t include Lonzo/LaVar Ball. To illustrate these transactions, I have enlisted the interpretive skills of Gifs to properly express the way the people felt when everything went down live.
Sixers Trade For #1 Pick
This is what started the madness. Boston agreed to give the Sixers the capstone to their rebuilding efforts, finalising their process and setting them on course for a return to relevance. Markelle Fultz has shown the exact skills that Philly envisioned meshing so well with Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons: deft touch around the cup, playmaking out of ball screens, strong scoring off the dribble and the ability to space the floor. An ankle injury has hampered his Summer League (classic Philly), but Fultz projects as the real deal. The cost – Jayson Taytum and either the Laker 2018 or Kings 2019 First Round Pick. Colangelo now has the foundation set, #theprocess has arrived.
Shock Rating: 7.5/10
Curry Highest Paid Ever
In a move that surprised no-one, Golden State locked up the former best-value-contract-player to the richest deal in NBA history. 5 years, $200+ million. That, my friends, is a lot. But, LeBron thinks he should have more, and it’s hard to argue when the Warriors were purchased for $450 Million in 2010, and now they are valued at $2.6 Billion. That is the definition of a sound investment, just like paying Curry is.
Shock Rating: 0/10
Bulls Trade Butler To Wolves
All you need to know about Jimmy Butler ending up on the T’Wolves roster is Chicago fans have crowdfunded enough money to erect a ‘Fire #Garpax’ billboard in Chicago. The fact that Chicago traded Butler was not surprising. The fact that Minnesota acquired Jimmy wasn’t that surprising. The fact that ‘Sota stole Butler without giving up Andrew Wiggins and swapped picks with the Bulls just couldn’t be fathomed. In the past, you had to give up heaven and earth to acquire a superstar, in his prime, with years on his contract. Now, it just takes an underwhelming rookie (Dunn), an ACL injury (LaVine) and the chance to draft the next Nowitski (Markannen). Yep, Thibs is still laughing his ass off.
Shock Rating: 9/10
Boston Miss Out On Butler And George
So let’s start with this first: Boston did manage to convince Gordon Hayward to leave the comfy familiarity of Utah, and Jayson Tatum has looked good in Summer League. With that out of the way, damn. Either PG13 or Jimmy Buckets would have been a major step forward, and it’s likely neither of them would have prevented Boston from acquiring Hayward. Ainge has been consistent in looking for lopsided deals only for his horde of assets, and it might be starting to come back and get him a little. Teams are wary of getting swindled by Boston now, so they are seemingly willing to take lesser deals to not let Ainge have his way. The reports of Ainge offering multiple picks and starters also comes loaded with intrigue, as the only player of note seemed to be Marcus Smart and none of the Brooklyn picks were offered for George. Ultimately, Boston are fine. But, they could have been Cleveland level good. Time will tell if Ainge has made the right decisions.
Shock Rating: 7/10
Aussies Making $50s – Patty Mills & Joe Ingles Get Paid
Has there been a better time to be an Australian Role Player? Off the back of an out-of-nowhere season, Joe Ingles has received a $51 Million pay rise thanks to the Utah Jazz. And who can blame them? As Sam detailed, Slo-Mo Joe was a vital cog for Utah this season, especially come playoff time. Meanwhile, Patty Mills finally cashed in on his consistent play (bar the Golden State series) and got himself a $50 spot too. Mills has institutional knowledge of the Spurs schemes, and provides a steady influence while Parker recovers from injury and the kids (Forbes, White and Murray) gain experience.
Shock Rating: 4/10
Clips Trade CP3 To Rox
The Master of the Mid-Range, the Point God. Mr Second Round himself. Chris Paul leaves the glitz and glam of LA to team up with The Bearded One to form perhaps the most devastating offensive back court…ever? For CP3, the benefit is obvious. 1) Leave Doc Rivers (and Austin). 2) Play with a Top 5 talent (and player who eliminated you from the playoffs in humiliating circumstances). 3) Play in an up-tempo offense that emphasizes a spread floor, ball screens and shooting shooting shooting. 4) Play with a franchise that has clear intent to add talent that compliments the star players, and has the cajones to compete with the Warriors. While some might question the fit, especially for James Harden moving back off the ball some, this pairing looks great. If Paul had excuses about not making it to the Conference Finals before, he certainly doesn’t have them now. Lets also tip our cap to GM Wizard Daryl Morey, for playing some serious Cap Gymnastics to pull this move off.
Shock Rating: 6/10
Kings Have A Good Draft, A Good Free Agency, A Good Summer!
Who on earth would have seen this coming? The Kings have been universally applauded for turning around the perception of their franchise in one offseason. It started with the Draft, turning the #5 pick into the extremely exciting De’Aaron Fox. Fox has flashed his quickness repeatedly in SL, and his personality is exactly what the Kings have lacked since Chris Webber was in town. From there, Vlade was able to flip the #10 pick for the rights to solid wing (and National Champion) Justin Jackson and the high upside (and shakey knees) of Harry Giles. Divac seems to have a clear direction for the Kings – young, high character players with minimal baggage and plenty to prove. That has been supplemented with a strong incoming veteran presence on reasonable contracts – George Hill, Vince Carter and Zach Randolph. With the strong moves this summer and the positive return from the Boogie trade, we may no longer be able to shout KAAAAAAAANGZ.
Shock Rating: 8.5/10
Blake Resigns For $173 Million
Blake Griffin should deserve this. If it wasn’t for him, the Clippers would have never been in a position to acquire Chris Paul for ‘basketball reasons’. Largely thanks to his play, the Clips have been a perennial playoff team and consistently better than the Lakers for at least the past 5 years. Unfortunately for Griffin, nothing is ever that easy. His laundry list of injuries and bizarre events makes this deal worrying, even though it is easy to imagine him being able to play above the lofty contract number. Griffin is now unequivocally the face of a franchise that just lost it’s best player in an unforgiving Western Conference that has 11 would-be playoff teams. Sounds like a metaphor for his career so far.
Shock Rating: 1/10
Knicks Fire Phil Jackson…And Stay The Knicks
James Dolan literally paid Phil Jackson $24 Million to piss off the best draft pick the Knicks have had since Patrick Ewing for 2 months. It is somewhat inconceivable that the most ring-laden coach in NBA history is going to be remembered as a crotchety, stubborn, self-absorbed old man who clung to the past despite witnessing the future drop into his lap. Jackson was widely lauded as bringing some credibility to the Knicks when he took over as President and removed owner James Dolan from decision-making powers. How 3 years can change us all. Despite Phil being relieved of his duties, his spirit of poor decisions lives on in Tim Hardaway Jr’s contract.
Shock Rating: 2/10
Kyle Lowry & Serge Ibaka Return To T.Dot On ‘Reasonable’ Contracts
Masai Ujiri has turned water into wine. Kyle Lowry was widely expected to demand the Brinks Truck that Isaiah Thomas has been so fond of talking about, with many thinking a return to Philly might be on the cards. But when the Sixers traded to acquire Fultz, that seemed to end that option, and Lowry decided to run it back with good buddy DeRozan for another 3 years. The fact that Ujiri was able to get Lowry for below max money – plus on a ‘short’ contract – highlighted a deceptively successful summer for the Raps President. Toronto can now reload and take another swing at Cleveland, whilst not completely restricting their long term viability with a Lowry or Ibaka Albatross.
Shock Rating: 5/10
Pacers Send PG13 To OKC
Multiple picks and players from Boston. Kevin Love from Cleveland. Multiple picks and players from Portland. Nah, gimme the $21mil per year contract of Victor Oladipo and up/down/very down rookie Domantas Sabonis. Cue Paul Allen’s face and attached it to 28 other GMs. Sam Presti should win Executive of the Year just for pulling this off. And yes, Indy President Kevin Pritchard was operating from a position of weakness, but c’mon. Rebuilding takes draft picks and young players on cheap contracts. Indy got neither. For PAUL GEORGE. The only explanation would be owner Herb Simon didn’t want to go into full tear-down mode, but that isn’t really going to make Indy fans feel any better.
Shock Rating: 10/10
Dwight Traded For Miles Plumlee
Remember when Dwight was traded from Orlando to the Lakers for what felt like 1,000,000 players and picks? Remember when acquiring Dwight Howard automatically made you “now a title contender”? Remember when Dwight Howard was an MVP candidate and 3 time Defensive Player Of The Year? Remember when Dwight Howard was, ya know, visibly good? Remember when you didn’t have to trade down picks and take on MILES PLUMLEE just to rid yourself of 2 years of Howard?
Shock Rating: 3/10