The NBA Offseason is a frenzy like no other. The league has turned itself into a 12-month flurry of rumors and news that makes it feel as if it never stops. While there still could be some surprise moves to cap off the offseason, most of the teams have made their most notable changes already. As things currently stand, here are the four biggest NBA offseason winners.
It seems rare that the Kings end up on a list of winners. However, the franchise took further steps toward the win-now mode they are currently in. Sacramento traded Justin Holiday, Mo Harkless, and a protected first-round pick for Kevin Huerter and also signed Malik Monk to a two-year deal worth $19 million. Monk was the lone bright spot on the Lakers last season and it is a bit of a surprise he did not land a more lucrative deal. Both Huerter and Monk will be solid pieces to surround Domantas Sabonis and DeAaron Fox this year. They also are each still 24 years old and have room to continue growing.
It is a difficult task to climb from the dredges of the NBA to becoming a respectable contender. However, the Kings seem to be heading in that direction for the first time in a long time. It is difficult to take a drastic leap in the standings, but Sacramento is trending in the right direction. Next year could finally be the season they snap the NBA-record 16-season playoff drought after looking like one of the offseason winners.
The Boston Celtics have been connected to a flurry of rumors this offseason, most notably surrounding Kevin Durant, but mostly stayed out of the mix when things were all said and done. The franchise is coming off of a season in which they fell just two wins short of winning a championship. With Jaylen Brown, 25, and Jayson Tatum, 24, still entering their primes jeopardizing the team’s future would have been a massive overreaction. The most notable hole in the Celtics last season was with their point guard play.
Boston addressed this in the offseason by trading for Malcolm Brogdon. For the cost of Aaron Nesmith, Daniel Theis, Nik Stauskas, a protected first-round pick, and two additional players, the Celtics got their point guard. While there are notable injury concerns
One of the largest storylines of the offseason has been James Harden. The Sixers and Nets swapped disgruntled stars last season by agreeing to a trade centered around James Harden and Ben Simmons. Harden underperformed in his half of a season with the Sixers which led to some major speculation surrounding his contract. The former MVP had a $47.4 million player option and the expectation seemed to be that he would opt in.
Instead of this, Harden elected to pass on the player option and signed a team-friendly deal which gave the Sixers room to sign PJ Tucker and Danuel House. The star point guard still is set to make $33 million next season and is looked at incredibly positively by Sixers fans. There also has been a great deal of content circulating the internet of impressive workout videos of James Harden looking sharp and more in shape. While what he does on the court will still be the most important thing, the red carpet has been laid for James Harden to look like a hero in Philadelphia and is one of the NBA offseason winners as a result.
It has been a whirlwind offseason for the Brooklyn Nets but they seem to have come out on top. The biggest storyline has been the Kevin Durant saga. After requesting a trade from the Nets and turning the NBA world upside down, Brooklyn ultimately won the staring contest. Durant rescinded the trade request and the two sides are set to continue their partnership. Having KD on the roster certainly increases the chances of contending as it is impossible to replace a player of his caliber.
Kyrie Irving will also be returning to the team after opting into his player option. With the Covid restrictions lifted and Irving heading into a contract year, expect him to be on his best behavior and ready to contribute this season.
In addition to getting their two stars back, the Nets made some nice moves around the margins during the offseason turmoil. They traded for Royce O’Neil, signed TJ Warren, and also brought back Nic Claxton on a cheap deal. The loss of Bruce Brown will be more noteworthy than it has been given credit, but the Nets have the tools to compete. It was a hectic offseason but Brooklyn got the job done. They should be considered major NBA offseason winners for their ability to navigate amongst the drama.
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