There seems to be a lot riding one what happens over the final few games of the NBA Finals. However, teams not taking part in the championship round are already focusing on what promises to be an active offseason.
All four teams in the nation’s largest media markets will be extremely active during the NBA offseason. For the Lakers and Knicks, that might not include what they had hoped. Interestingly, the Clippers and Nets seem to be attractive destinations.
A lot will also be riding on free-agent decisions from the likes of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. Their current teams will be impacted.
These are among the 10 NBA teams we expect to be the most active during the offseason.
Los Angeles Lakers
At this point it’s too early to conclude that the Lakers will see a massive improvement this summer. LeBron James is even concerned that the drama we’re seeing within the organization could deter top-end free agents from signing in Los Angeles.
With that said, there’s the allure of Hollywood and financials we have to take into account. The Lakers have room for one max contract player in free agency. They also have a ton of young assets and the No. 4 overall pick in this month’s draft to use as trade bait. There’s going to be widespread changes to this roster. How those changes look remain to be seen.
Here’s an interesting team to watch during the 2019 NBA Draft. By virtue of taking on Allen Crabbe’s lofty contract, Atlanta added a third first-round pick. It now boasts six of the first 44 picks, including two within the top 10.
General manger Travis Schlenk is doing everything possible to build this team in the theme of his former Warriors squad. That’s likely going to include multiple trades during the draft. In fact, we would not be surprised if the Hawks moved the eighth and 10th picks in a trade up into the top five. This would help Schlenk and Co. add another young star to team up with Trae Young, John Collins and Kevin Huerter.
New Orleans Pelicans
It all starts with the looming Anthony Davis trade. First-year general manager David Griffin is now listening to offers for the embattled six-time All-Star. And while we have one trade in mind, any deal will send reverberations throughout the Pelicans’ roster. That’s only magnified by the imminent selection of Duke’s Zion Williamson No. 1 overall in the 2019 NBA Draft.
Though, it’s not all about Davis and Williamson here. We’re fully expecting New Orleans to add at least one first-round pick in the draft. Star point guard Jrue Holiday could also be on the move. The Davis trade will be one of many this offseason for a bumbling Pelicans squad.
Milwaukee’s Eastern Conference Finals meltdown at the hands of Toronto could have wide-ranging ramifications for the organization moving forward. As many as seven of the team’s top players behind Giannis Antetokounmpo are slated to become free agents.
Whether it’s retaining all of these core guys or finding mid-level replacements to team up with Giannis moving forward, the Bucks’ relevance back east will be tested during the offseason. That makes this one of the teams to watch.
The decision to trade Allen Crabbe’s contract and two first-round picks earlier in the week changes the entire dynamic in Brooklyn. Up-and-coming general manager Sean Marks now has either two max-contract spots or one and the ability to retain D’Angelo Russell this offseason. That’s a lot to work with.
Brooklyn also remains an attractive destination in that it’s a solid young team in the hub of the basketball world. Kyrie Irving has been floated as a real possibility. Suggestions are that he’s already looking to recruit Kevin Durant. Either way, the Nets are going to be extremely active.
Golden State Warriors
Much like Milwaukee back east, the Warriors could be in store for some massive changes in the offseason. It starts with impending free agents Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson. While Klay is more than likely to return on a max deal, Durant’s future as the Warriors head to San Francisco is up in the air.
What happens with Durant will drastically impact how Golden State approaches this offseason. If he were to leave, the Warriors would have to hit free agency hard (with no cap room) to find a starter-caliber small forward. DeMarcus Cousins’ status as a free agent is also something to watch. One thing is clear. The Warriors will remain a go-to spot for veteran free agents. Opening up a new waterfront arena in SF adds to that.
Two names that are seemingly tied at the hip. Kyrie Irving and Anthony Davis. It seems reasonable to believe that Celtics general manager Danny Ainge will only look to pull off a massive Davis blockbuster if Boston is able to retain Irving. At this point, that scenario seems iffy at best.
Let’s say Irving does depart. What would that mean for the remainder of the offseason? With Davis likely off the table, Ainge would have to dig deep to build a contending team next season. The good news? Boston boasts three first-round picks and could have some cap room to add to a core that would then include Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. There’s a lot riding on this offseason in Boston.
It’s already known that the Rockets are looking to blow up their roster. While that likely won’t include James Harden, stranger things have happened around the Association in recent years. What we do know is that Chris Paul, Clint Capela and Eric Gordon are among the names that could be traded this offseason.
We’re highly intrigued to see how respected general manager Daryl Morey handles the build on the fly mentality. First off, he’ll have to find a point guard that works better with Harden in the backcourt. Morey must also navigate through a draft that has his Rockets with no picks and a Paul contract that seems untradeable. If he’s unable to do this, Houston’s championship window will have closed completely.
Los Angeles Clippers
Even more so than the Lakers, it appears this other Los Angeles team will be an attractive free-agent destination. The Clippers are already favored to land Raptors star Kawhi Leonard. Meanwhile, they have the assets to pull off a major blockbuster trade.
It’s the long-term thought process that came with trading away Blake Griffin and Chris Paul that has these Clippers in this situation. Does that mean Leonard and maybe Anthony Davis could be suiting up in Los Angeles next season? Maybe a bigger name in Kevin Durant becomes a possibility. Everything is seemingly on the table here.
New York Knicks
It might be pie in the sky to believe these Knicks are going to add some of the big names in free agency. Sure they have been linked to Kevin Durant more than other squad. But recent suggestions are that New York might be changing its focus to Kawhi Leonard. That could have to do with Durant’s potential uneasiness over playing in the Big Apple.
Whether the Knicks are able to add star power remains to be seen. What we do know is that their roster will look incredibly different next season. That starts with the likely selection of R.J. Barrett No. 3 overall in the draft. It will then continue with what promises to be an active team on both the trade front and free agency.