BARRING anything catastrophic it seems like we are poised for a rematch of the Eastern and Western superpowers in next years Finals. Both the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors are likely to keep their core together and refuel for a fourth instalment in their already famous rivalry. There are plenty of big name players who, if they land in the right spot, can help shift the context of the NBA. All hope is not lost.
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EASILY the biggest player in the ‘Someone beat the Cavs or Dubs’ game, Boston is stacked with assets. They have been linked to big name players for the better part of a year now and own the #1 overall pick in next week’s NBA Draft. The addition of Paul George, Jimmy Butler, Gordon Hayward and/or Blake Griffin would seriously move the needle in their favour. They could convince the Bulls or Pacers to trade them George or Butler for 50 cents on the dollar with their plethora of future picks and role players and still manage to keep their 1st overall pick. Signing Gordon Hayward seems like the move that is most likely to go through, but don’t be surprised if they swing for the fences by adding two of these names. They could very easily swipe the Cavs Eastern crown with a big off-season.
Image from gordonhayward20.com
Los Angeles Clippers
IT’S clear that after the shortcomings from the last few seasons the Clippers are weighing up their options. The core of Paul, Griffin and Jordan has failed to deliver success, and I wouldn’t be surprised if one of them left for presumably greener pastures. They could goa similar route to the Warriors though and sacrifice some depth and go all in on bringing someone like Melo or Paul George on board. A ‘Big 4’ of Paul, Griffin, Jordan and George would turn some heads and perhaps the landscape of the West.
THERE isn’t much talk about Denver’s potential to make a move this off-season as of yet. Nikola Jokic is clearly the best player on the team and anyone else could very much be available. They are definitely a trade destination for George and could very well use their salary cap freedom to bring Paul Millsap or Kyle Lowry on board. Watch this space.
Image from fansided.com
San Antonio Spurs
CHRIS Paul signing in San Antonio has been the biggest and most talked about rumour of the brief off-season so far. They would likely deal one of Pau Gasol or LaMarcus Aldridge to allow Paul’s signature, but it’s not a move that is out of the question. The Spurs are arguably the Warriors best competition out West and the addition of Chris Paul would virtually guarantee a Spurs/Warriors West Finals next year. The question is do they have enough behind Kawhi Leonard and perhaps Chris Paul to stand a chance against the juggernaut Golden Statw outfit?
I was very surprised to see the fadeout that the Rockets experienced in the playoffs against the Spurs. I really though the Rockets would be the biggest challenge to the Warriors, but they instead settled a second round exit. MVP candidate James Harden will be out to restore his reputation next year after going missing in the crucial Game 5, but who will flank him on the court for help? There are small murmurs that acquiring CP3 is possible, but I call BS. A solid defensive role player like say P.J. Tucker could be added to help defend the shooters on the Warriors, otherwise I think Houston will enter 2017/18 with virtually the same list.
Image from basesandbaskets.com
LET’S be honest most teams in the East and West are just hoping that something goes wrong in Cleveland or Golden State to open the door for them. With the Cavaliers core contracted for the next few years they are unlikely to go anywhere and the Warriors will pay out this summer to keep their guys happy and their unit intact. No one hopes that another players suffers and injury or hurts themselves, but that may be the only way another team leapfrogs this year’s finalists.
Banner from pippenainteasy.com