2017 NBA offseason moves: Pacific Division
Adrian Dy on Oct 06, 2017 08:56 AM
Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) and forward Kevin Durant react after scoring against the Cleveland Cavaliers during the first half of Game 1 of basketball's NBA Finals in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Ahead of the start of the 2017-18 NBA regular season, we’re taking a look back at the major moves each team made, be it re-signing their own guys, free agent acquisitions, or trades.
For today’s installment, we look at the Pacific Division:
Golden State Warriors
2016-17 season: 67-15, #1 seed, won the Championship
Biggest move - bringing back the gang
You rarely break up a championship team, and with the help of Kevin Durant agreeing to a lower-than-expected contract, the Golden State Warriors were able to bring back just about every key contributor that was a free agent - Stephen Curry, the aforementioned Durant, Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, Zaza Pachulia, David West, and JaVale McGee. The only guys they had to bid goodbye to were Ian Clark, James Michael McAdoo, and Matt Barnes.
The Warriors were always going to be the favorites to win it all (again), but the fact that they’re gearing up for another run to the Finals with largely the same team should not be ignored. Look across the NBA landscape and other squads have undergone massive revamps in the hopes of competing with the team by the Bay, but that means they’ll need to hope that the pieces all fit together come the Playoffs. Not so for Golden State, as they will have the benefit of continuity, which for this squad, means passes that are always ahead of the opposition, and a defense that plays on a string. Scary? Definitely.
Underrated move - signing Omri Casspi
The Warriors made two moves in free agency, and came away with a pair of shooters. While Nick Young might get the headlines (and sometimes, for the wrong reasons), Casspi could turn out to be the bigger contributor. The 6’9” Israeli can play 2, 3, or 4, and when he gets the minutes, is more than capable of lighting up opposing defenses. Swiss army knife versatility? Deadeye shooting? Definitely a Warriors player.
Other additions: Nick Young, Michael Gbinije
2016-17 season: 51-31, #4 seed, lost to the Utah Jazz in round one of the Playoffs
Biggest move - trading Chris Paul for depth
As detailed by John Schuhmann of NBA.com, the Clippers were always a top-heavy team in its Lob City incarnation. Beyond Chris Paul-Jamal Crawford-JJ Redick-Blake Griffin-DeAndre Jordan, the front office struggled to fill out the rest of the roster. Well, when the team decided it was time to part ways with CP3, they got back quite the haul from the Houston Rockets, adding rotation players Patrick Beverley, Sam Dekker, Montrezl Harell, and Lou Williams. Now, even if you somehow merge all four players together, you probably won’t be able to straight-up replace Paul’s production, but what you do have is a nice mix of youth and veterans, two hustle guys, and a ton of shooting. That will give the Clippers some options, as they enter a new era.
Hey, if you’re going to part with such a tremendous player, you best get a ton back, and especially compared to some of the other trades for superstars, the Clippers certainly did in this case.
Underrated move - signing Milos Teodosic
Here’s “he’s not going to fully replace Chris Paul” part two, but what Milos Teodosic brings to the table is some irrepressible court vision. Sure, we’re not quite certain if he can defend on an NBA level, and if his shot can be relied upon, but with Teodosic likely running the second unit, Lob City is still going to be in operation. In fact, it might be even flashier, if his preseason highlights translate to the regular season.
Other additions: Danilo Gallinari, Willie Reed
2016-17 season: 32-50, #12 in the West
Biggest move - bringing in veterans
As the Kings kick off their first full season in the post-Boogie Cousins era, the team made sure to change up their locker room mix, by adding a trio of character veterans: George Hill, Zach Randolph, and Vince Carter. Now, why would you add guys who would normally be chasing rings at this point? To show their young dudes, and they have a lot of them, the ins and outs of the Association, something their counterpart in the East, the Philadelphia 76ers, are only getting around to doing now. The likes of De’Aaron Fox, Skal Labissiere, Justin Jackson, Willie Cauley-Stein and Buddy Hield can only get better under the tutelage of that trio, and with two of those, Carter and Randolph, having played under Coach Joerger with the Memphis Grizzlies, you can be sure everyone’s going to be on the same page.
But wait, doesn’t this clog up the team’s cap space or soak up some of the playing time of those very same young dudes? Well, each of the three are signed to some very reasonable contracts. If all goes well, they might just fetch a nice return on the trade market, after imparting their words of wisdom on the young core. Talk about a nice return.
Underrated move - signing Bogdan Bogdanovic
At 25, Bogdanovic is too young to be lumped in with the above trio, but a bit older and more experienced than the other members of the Kings youth movement. The 6’6” wing is instead in the middle, and he could serve as the bridge between the two sides.
Bogdanovic has a stacked resume, and it’ll be interesting to see if he can parlay his European success to the NBA. If he can, well, he’s coming off a campaign where he scored 14.6 points on 50 percent shooting, 43 percent on three’s. Those are numbers that would make for a very compelling Sixth Man of the Year case.
Other additions: none
2016-17 season: 26-56, #14 in the West
Biggest move - trading for Brook Lopez
The Lakers’ early offseason deal with the Brooklyn Nets accomplished multiple objectives. For starters, it allowed them to move on from the hefty contract they gave Timofey Mozgov. Second, it also gives D’Angelo Russell a chance to shine somewhere else, after a rocky start to his NBA career. Third, they get back Brook Lopez, a definite upgrade to Mozgov on both ends of the court. Fourth, Lopez is an expiring contract, which will help them in their quest for cap space to go after big names. Heck they can even retain Lopez afterwards if they want.
While it didn’t land them a huge superstar like Paul George or Kyrie Irving, the trade could be the start of something good for the Lakers, both in the short- and long-term.
Underrated move - signing Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
The unexpected consequence of the Kyrie Irving trade that the Boston Celtics pulled the trigger on was Kentavious Caldwell-Pope suddenly becoming a free agent, after his old team, the Detroit Pistons, renounced their rights to him when they got Avery Bradley from the C’s. The Lakers swooped in, and got a guy who plugs in some major holes on their roster. While he’ll be able to motor up and down the court with Lonzo Ball running point, KCP’s defense will make him an integral part of the Lakers rotation. His one-year deal also allows them to keep their options open, just in case a superstar or two come calling in the summer of 2018.
Other additions: Vander Blue, Briante Weber, Andrew Bogut
2016-17 season: 24-58, #15 in the West
Biggest move - extending TJ Warren
The Phoenix Suns didn’t make any major, status quo altering moves, but they did agree to a four-year, $50 million extension with forward TJ Warren. It’s “big” because it’s the first move they’ve made to retain a part of their young core, after Alex Len opted to just pick up his qualifying offer. It’s big because it’s a lot of money too, for a forward who doesn’t really have a very expansive game. And while it’s possible he could have fetched more if he reached the open market, the team is already shelling out a lot to veterans like Brandon Knight and Tyson Chandler…when the squad as a whole hasn’t been very good, and will likely be back in the lottery again.
Underrated move - trading for Troy Daniels
The Memphis Grizzlies needed some cap space, and so they traded away Troy Daniels to the Suns late in the offseason. He’s a career 40.6 percent shooter from deep, and he introduced himself to the Phoenix faithful with five triples in a preseason win over the Portland Trail Blazers. It’ll be fun watching him and Devin Booker play together, bombing away from deep. That should keep Suns fans interested, right?
Other additions: Anthony Bennett
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