Power Shift: How The Offseason Is Changing The NBA As We Know It
If you claim to be a real NBA fan, then the offseason is the cereal to your milk and the peanut butter to your jelly.
Have you been keeping up with the offseason action? If so, you're probably just as surprised as the rest of us. If not, well, you've got a lot of catching up to do.
Hardly a week after Steph Curry and The Warriors bested LeBron James in the finals, the NBA draft came around, which had fans glued to their TVs and phones just as if the season never ended.
There didn't seem to be any real losers in this year's draft, especially among the lottery teams. Karl-Anthony Towns, the do-it-all big man out of Kentucky, graced the Minnesota Wolves lineup and was another number-one pick on their roster.
D'Angelo Russell, a crafty and explosive point guard, is joining the Los Angeles Lakers for Kobe Bryant's final season.
The New York Knicks selected 7'2" Latvian Kristaps Porzingis. Just from watching his highlights, this 19-year-old can score about as easily as Riley Curry can disrupt a press conference.
But, he's going to have to work hard to fit into Phil Jackson's triangle offense.
Among a flurry of Kentucky stars and other NCAA tournament standout prospects, the NBA draft was exciting. But, it's only the start of a hectic offseason because of two words: free agency.
Dwayne Wade is staying with the Miami Heat. Paul Millsap is staying with the Atlanta Hawks. Tim Duncan will return to the San Antonio Spurs. Draymond Green will stay with the defending champs, and Damian Lillard is staying in Portland with the Trail Blazers, too.
So, no huge moves really during this offseason, right?
While Lillard will be in Portland for another five years and $120 million, he is the only starter from last year who's returning.
Wesley Matthews is moving to Dallas for the Mavericks; Nic Batum is headed to Charlotte for the Hornets, and Robin Lopez signed a deal with the Knicks.
Most notably, Lamarcus Aldridge, a huge staple in Portland's offense, just committed to the San Antonio Spurs.
I'm happy to say I'm going home to Texas and will be a Spur!! I'm excited to join the team and be close to my family and friends. — Lamarcus Aldridge (@aldridge_12) July 4, 2015
But, Lopez and Aldridge aren't the only big men on the move, either.
Replacing Chandler in the middle for Dallas is Lob City star DeAndre Jordan, who certainly is just as defensive-minded as Tyson.
Greg Monroe is headed to Milwaukee to play for the Bucks, a team he believes has high playoff potential. You can't really disagree with him, and his signing only makes them better.
Bismack Biyombo has signed to Drake's Toronto Raptors to guard the paint, along with Atlanta's Demarre Carroll, giving the Raptors a bit of a new look as well.
Over/under of how many what the ... moments you had since free agency started! I say 10.... — Dirk Nowitzki (@swish41) July 2, 2015
Monta Ellis is joining Paul George and the Indiana Pacers next year, which is why Mark Cuban had to quickly pick Wes Matthews.
Also leaving the Mavericks — not to the distaste of anyone in that organization, really — is Rajon Rondo. Rondo is now teammates with Rudy Gay and Demarcus Cousins (should they decide to keep Cousins) in Sacramento for at least a year.
What the Los Angeles Clippers lost in Deandre Jordan they're hoping they can gain with Lance Stephenson and Paul Pierce. Pierce will also be reunited with his former Boston Celtics's coach, Doc Rivers.
Now, let's talk about who isn't having such a good summer in the free agency discussion.
The Sacramento Kings and the Lakers, despite the fact they're in beautiful California, haven't had much leverage in convincing free agents to come to their teams.
The Lakers had various failed attempts at securing big men in free agency, and they continued this year. They couldn't get Deandre Jordan, and even though execs met twice with Lamarcus Aldridge, neither meeting had LA sold on LA.
The Kings — although a starting five consisting of Rajon Rondo, Ben McLemore, Rudy Gay and Cousins sounds nice — are desperately recruiting free agents, and no one (aside from Rondo and Marco Bellinelli) has rewarded them with agreements.
Both Monta Ellis and Wesley Matthews turned down more money from Sacramento to play for less on other teams. Even with a coach like George Karl at their disposal, something about the organization of the Kings is just not appealing to players.
The Knicks are a team who, after their terrible season, needed a complete change of scenery.
They, too, are having trouble getting players to come to their high-profile city. Deandre said no, and Lamarcus canceled his meeting with the Knicks when they asked him to play center.
Luckily, Lopez and Derrick Williams secured spots on the Knicks, and although they're not the team's ideal choices, they are improvements from last year.
If you're up-to-date on all of this, then bravo to you, my friend. If not, it's okay, and I hope this article helped you get up to speed. Free agency is a lot to stay on top of, even for the GMs.
Adrian Wojnarowski is not one of those people.
"Woj," as his one million Twitter followers have dubbed him, is the plug for all things NBA.
If you're not following him on Twitter, now would be the best time to do so. In a recent sit-down interview with GQ, Woj talks about how important his phone is to him when it comes to breaking big news.
He takes pride in his job, and he's been known to tweet news about NBA players before the players themselves even tweet it.
By having Woj in your feed, you'll be up to date on just about everything that's going on in the NBA. (Oh, and be sure to "turn on notifications" when you follow him on Twitter. You're welcome.)
Talks of free agency will likely be all over your Sportscenter feed for another couple of days, especially with the free agents still available.
Switching gears, the NBA Summer League is starting up in Orlando and Las Vegas, giving us a chance to really look at 2015's draft picks in action.
This is also a great time for some D-league men and younger players to make a name for themselves on rosters.
In short, the NBA is going to look a lot different next year, and all this money being thrown around this summer is the reason why.
The NBA is also a business, and many people tend to forget that. Players will move and make decisions, and it won't always be in your best interest as a fan.
Either way, NBA fans, prepare for another great season in October.