They pulled it off ladies and gentlemen! If you've been focused on baseball, on vacation or another planet, here's what they pulled off:
Be the first of your friends to rock a @KDTrey5 Warriors jersey " https://t.co/SHaejfud9V pic.twitter.com/ji1zSem0VP— GoldenStateWarriors (@warriors) July 11, 2016
They were able to steal Kevin Durant away from OKC, which makes them the clear-cut winners of this year’s free agency. We all know the type of damage Steph Curry and company can do on the court, but adding Kevin Durant makes them an even better squad. (I didn't think there was much room for improvement, but signing Kevin Durant does just that). And as you can image, expectations are higher than ever and they are expected to break the record they set last season (73 wins in a single season), but what did you expect? The last two winners of the MVP award are joining forces to win a title, so its: Championship or [bust]. NBA fans will not take it easy on this Golden State squad, and frankly, I don’t blame them.
Kevin Durant was obviously an excellent pickup, but they also made minor moves to improve their bench. They signed David West, 35, to a one-year deal for the veteran’s minimum. Sure, David West isn’t the 21.0 points/ 8.9 rebounds per game type of guy he once was, but he still has a little something left in his tank and will fit-in nicely with this squad. They also signed Zaza Pachulia, 32, to a one-year deal for $2.6 million. He might not have the same passing skills as Andrew Bogut, but look for him to have a very similar role that Bogut had the past couple of seasons.
Sure, they lost some guys this offseason: Andrew Bogut (Mavericks), Harrison Barnes (Mavericks), Festus Elliot (Warriors) and Marreese Speights (Clippers), Brandon Rush (Timberwolves). But signing Durant as well as Pachulia and West, makes Golden State Finals contenders (yet again). Look for their "small ball" lineups to improve drastically and I wouldn't be surprised if Durant played the five at times. And like I said before, it’s "Championship or bust."
No the Celtics did not sign Kevin Durant, but they still came out as "winners" this offseason. They signed, Al Horford, 30, to a four-year $113 million deal.
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) July 11, 2016
Al Horford is a perfect fit for the Celtics. He can play the four or the five, which is perfect for when they decide to play "big" or "small." The other thing he brings to the table that Boston lacked last season is consistency. Jared Sullinger, Amir Johnson and Kelly Olynyk all struggled with consistency last season, so replacing Sullinger with Horford is a fantastic move. He is one of the most consistent, yet versatile bigs in the game, which is a perfect fit for Brad Stevns’ offense. And don’t be fooled by Horford’s size He has averaged 9.6 rebounds per game throughout his career. He can do it all and this move will also help attract future free agents.
Los Angeles Lakers
I'm going to start off by saying that the Timofey Mozgov signing was just awful. They signed him to a four-year deal worth $64 million. The Roy Hibbert project failed miserably a couple of years ago and I expect this one to be no different.
So why exactly do have them written down as winners you may ask yourself? And it’s because of this signing:
Lakers will feature two versatile, savvy, long, All- wings from Duke. @LuolDeng9 is headed to LA.#TheBrotherhood pic.twitter.com/IBmWwI35LI
— Duke Basketball (@dukeblueplanet) July 2, 2016
They signed the 13-year veteran to a four-year deal, worth $72 million. Luol Deng is an excellent addition for the Lakers. Not only is he great basketball player that can play the three or the four, but he is also a man who’s been in this league for quite a while. He is the perfect mentor for all of these young guys on this squad. These kids have talent and Luol Deng will help them improve physically but more importantly, mentally.
Another reason why I consider the Lakers "winners" is because Kobe Bryant has retired. Its tough to say 15-time All-Star, Kobe Bryant, was the reason for the Lakers terrible season, but he sure was part of the problem. He is one of the greatest players to ever play this game, but he was hurting the team. He was taking a bunch of shots and was not able to play defense. He was very inefficient on the court and with him out of the picture, they can focus on building around all of these young studs. The Lakers will be a team that teams around the league will need to watch out for in the near future.
.@RajonRondo makes it official! pic.twitter.com/OzddyTWG6y— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) July 7, 2016
If they were trying to sell tickets and jersey, they sure accomplished that. Signing 12-time NBA All-Star Dwayne Wade, 34, and three-time NBA All-Star Rajon Rondo, 30, will do just that. But is this a good basketball move? The answer is no.
Rajon Rondo, Dwayne Wade and Jimmy Butler sure sounds like a nice team, but they don’t compliment each other very well. They all play their best when they have the basketball in their hands. And the problem with that is that there is only one basketball on the court. They don’t play great off the ball (especially Rondo), so it will be interesting to see how this works out. Not only do they need the basketball, but they also struggle shooting. None of these guys are threats from the 3-point line, which means that it’s going to be tough to find space to work with. I see this being a disaster for Chicago.
I’m sure this isn’t coming as a surprise to you. Anytime you lose your star player to free agency, it’s going to be tough to compete the following year. The good news is that they have another star in Russell Westbrook. But the bad news is that it looks like he will be traded sooner rather than later. This team will not be the same without Durant as they lose one of the best pure shooters in the game and signs of Westbrook leaving very soon won’t help this team either. Expect it to be one long season for this squad. Yes they have a decent squad even without Durant, but all of these Westbrook rumors could be a huge distraction for this squad.