9 Biggest NBA Off-Season Shakeups So Far
It’s hard to imagine a busier and more high-profile offseason than what the NBA has experienced this year. Every June and July, front offices wait with bated breath while the biggest free agents weigh their options, but this year was especially crazy.
This year, moves were made in anticipation, and while many panned out as planned (or as hoped), the residual effect after those dominoes fell would have made for an interesting offseason all by themselves. There were big stories, little stories, and medium stories, and only time will tell how they rank, though it’s a pretty safe bet that one move was bigger than the others. Dollars to donuts says you can guess which one, but in case you’ve been living under a rock, find your way to the bottom of the list, and we’ll walk you through it.
Let’s start small on this list. At 741 years old, and a billion postseason games, Paul Pierce wasn’t exactly the belle of the offseason ball. But he was a guy that has a lot of success under his belt, and matching him up with some promising young talent at a reasonable price, while not the sexiest move on this list, was good enough for the #9 spot. Are the Wizards the team to capitalize the most on such an acquisition? With a shaky bet, it’s uncertain, but it’s a gamble worth making for a team that was two-and-done in the playoffs last year.
9. Paul Pierce becomes a Wizard
If there was a phrase “Dirk being Dirk,” this move would be pretty indicative of it. Granted, he showed only a shadow of his former self in a surprisingly strong run against the Spurs in Round 1, but his pay cut to stay with the team for a few more years at a drastically reduced rate shows his commitment to his team and its success more than his pocketbook. His move, while fairly significant on its own, leads to…
8. Dirk Nowtizki stays put for pennies on the dollar
Some cap space afforded by the above move, and Houston’s myopic pursuit of Chris Bosh to complement Dwight Howard and James Harden, allowed Parsons to seek greener pastures in the way of a big pay hike from Dallas, unmatched by Houston. Parsons is on the rise, and coupled with a stabilized, aging Nowitzki and a few other off season moves, Parsons could serve a tipping point for the Mavs that could serve as a far better value and asset than even Melo or Bosh.
7. Chandler Parsons moves north in Texas
Kevin Love has had a rough go of it in Minnesota. His supporting cast has been lackluster for years, and despite putting up gaudy numbers in both points and rebounds, he hasn’t been able to convert his talents into a single playoff appearance since joining the league/team. So with this beehive of activity going down, he found now a pretty good time to speak up on his desire to join the Cavs with LeBron and Co. for the long haul. Now, considering he’s not a free agent, this has to be vetted and approved via a trade from the Wolves, but surely the front office knows they can trade him now for some value or have him trudge through games and leave via free agency for nothing. It’s not technically a shake-up among the league, but I’m guessing Minnesota management is feeling pretty shaken up.
6. Kevin Love speaks out
In what may have been the most anticlimactic story line of the off-season, Carmelo Anthony didn’t go to Houston. He didn’t go Chicago. He didn’t go to either LA team. He looked around and stayed put for a team that hasn’t seen a tremendous improvement over previous lackluster seasons. There’s always a plan in place , but this decision “shakes up” the league about as much as a stiff breeze on paper. That said, when you see all the moves that were made to accommodate Melo by suitors on paper, there will be fall out from his decision in Houston and Chicago.
5. Carmelo (begrudgingly?) remains a Knick
The fate of the Miami Heat vacillated between “remains a juggernaut” and “screwed” so quickly that it was hard to determine how they fared once the dust settled. But once the LeBron James domino fell, their ability to not only keep the core intact, but add talent due to cap relief, is pretty impressive. Dwyane Wade doesn't appear to be the guard he was three years ago, but now that the context has changed, we can see if he can start to resemble his former self and remain the alpha dog for Miami.
4. Dwyane Wade re-signs
Those big metaphorical shoes, by the way. And probably large literal shoes, but I’m not a foot guy, so I’m guessing the size doesn't change much from James to Deng. While Deng certainly doesn’t command the presence of James either on or off the court, he’s an asset, and when you couple him with Bosh and Wade, then remove the “Big 3” context from the discussion, and you’ve got a versatile player on top of a versatile Bosh and a questionable Wade. Will it be enough to keep the wolves of the Eastern Conference at bay? Let’s talk in December.
3. Luol Deng Steps into LeBron’s Shoes?
See above, for the high-level Heat analysis, but Bosh’s staying put had an effect on more than the Heat. Namely, Houston, who did everything but offer to carry him from Miami to Houston in a rockets jersey. Lin was cleared out, Chandler Parsons was let out of his cage (though the Rockets had the opportunity to match until late in the game). Will Bosh become more than the third-best guy on the team? One would hope now that the first-best left, and the second-best shows signs of wear and tear that may be hard to shake.
2. Chris Bosh keeps his talents in South Beach
Yeah. This was a big one. The LeBron sweepstakes didn’t just affect the team that got LeBron and all their rivals, but also the Heat, and all the teams that were pursuing the other 2/3rds of the triumvirate. There’s not a lot here that hasn’t already been said, but from a human interest perspective, this is probably the pro sports story of the year, and the competitive ramifications…well, let’s wait until opening night to see what damage was REALLY done with this move.