Overcoming all of the odds, the Golden State Warriors swept the Cleveland Cavaliers last Friday and become the NBA Champions for the second year in a row. All it took for a preordained destiny to be fulfilled was the construction of a roster that included four All-Stars, two of which are recent MVPs, and amongst them are two the best three-point shooters in the history of the NBA. No big deal.
Cleveland now stands to lose LeBron James and that roster that was designed specifically to burn through future assets to create a team that LeBron could take to the NBA Finals will be left adrift, like a barren ship floating through the ocean waiting to sink below the waves. Or the Nets pick to save them.
Of course, this was the result everyone was expecting this year. A hilarious congratulations message from the Sacramento Kings was:
Sports are a funny thing. The season is over and we have crowned the best team and now it’s already time to move forward. The very next day we begin the next season anew. The 2018-2019 season is here and there is a new fight.
Thus begins the offseason, which has somehow become almost as exciting as the actual season of basketball itself. The NBA draft is in just 10 days, which is crazy. That is barely one week of time after the Finals for NBA fans to come to terms that the season is over and the new one is to begin.
Last year was an incredible offseason as multiple teams geared up to take on the Warriors. Paul George and Carmelo Anthony were traded to the Thunder, Jimmy Butler was traded to the Wolves, and Chris Paul was traded to the Rockets. Meanwhile, Kyrie Irving was shipped out to Boston.
This offseason promises to be just as intense, as while teams may be slightly more tentative about going all-in to defeat this dominant Warriors team, there are quite a few teams that likely feel like they need to create significant changes to their roster to move forward. This might be the time that the Wizards, Raptors, and Trailblazers all significantly retool. Kawhi Leonard might have fractured the relationship with San Antonio. The Wolves seem potentially on the cusp of making a major trade with Andrew Wiggins and the Rockets will likely do whatever they can to come into the season with even more firepower.
The offseason will open with only one question that will impact the landscape of the NBA like a nuclear bomb: Where does Nemanja Bjelica get an MLE offer from?
LeBron James will dictate how this offseason goes. His options seem limited and each has their own downside. The Rockets likely offer the highest end talent and familiarity, but they would have to sacrifice depth and LeBron would have to go play in the West. The 76ers are young and their stars do not fit well with LeBron. The Lakers are young and have an unclear roster.
I am personally hoping for the most comical option, which is a sign and trade to Boston that sends Kyrie Irving back to Cleveland. The vindictiveness of it is appealing for a league that becomes our soap opera during the offseason.
The only problem with the approaching offseason is the potential for Wolves sadness. It seems like no one knows anything about what they plan to do. They may package the #20 pick to get out of Gorgui Dieng’s contract, but they certainly need cost-controlled players for the long-haul. It seems like some 3-and-D(ish) wing will fall to them. There are too many projected in that range of the draft for one not to. But that just leaves the Wolves with a greater opportunity to do something unexpected to disappoint us all.
It is pretty obvious what the Wolves needs are this offseason, but it will be difficult for them to pursue solutions to them all. This becomes particularly difficult if the team uses up most of their MLE, which is basically their only form of available cash, to re-sign Derrick Rose.
Regardless, the fun begins as the excitement will build for the next season. The summer brings optimism to the NBA. We can begin to fall in love with whatever rookie the Wolves eventually bring in, as well as convince ourselves that the team can sign a much needed backup wing.
Bring on the 2018-2019 season.