The official tip-off of a new NBA season signals the end of another entertaining offseason. Over the last few months, we’ve seen some teams and players enhance their approval rating around the league while others are freefalling following their summer antics. Here are the teams, players and personnel who have seen their stock fluctuate the most during the 2022 NBA offseason.
If you like what you read be sure to check out more SportsbyFry articles by hitting this link. Make sure you keep up to date with the latest NBA articles and follow my fan pages on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to never miss a minute of the action!
No one was rushing to sign with Cleveland and their budding young core, so the Cavs had to take matters into their own hands. Parting with Lauri Markkanen, Ochai Agbaji, Collin Sexton, three unprotected first-round picks (2025, 2027 and 2029) and two pick swaps (2026 and 2028) saw them acquire Donovan Mitchell – a bucket-getting virtuoso who catapults Cleveland into a force out East with potential staying power. A run at the title would be asking too much this season, but the Cavaliers are set up now for success in the future.
Will this finally be the year of the Kings? After 16 consecutive years of missing the playoffs, there’s cautious optimism surrounding Sacramento entering the new season thanks to some savvy offseason additions. Kevin Huerter and Malik Monk give them important outside threats, while No. 4 overall pick Keegan Murray has been doing all the right things this preseason. With Mike Brown calling the shots as a head coach again, Sacto is well positioned to record their first winning season since 2005-06.
I know, I know. You’ve already been told about this lanky French teen 35 times by your friend who is calling him ‘the best prospect since LeBron’. But just in case you haven’t seen the highlights…
Affectionately now known as ‘Bo Cruz’, Juancho had a pretty good summer. Co-starring alongside Adam Sandler in the Netflix hit Hustle, winning EuroBasket with his brother and agreeing to a new contract with the Raptors meant that Hernangómez had his hands full this offseason. The deal with Toronto isn’t a king’s ransom but a strong showing for Spain in the championship game against France (27 points, 7 made 3’s) bodes well for his success with the Raps. After playing for three different teams last season, Hernangómez will be aiming to carve out a permanent home north of the border.
We’ve seen Philadelphia primed for a title run over the past few seasons only to watch them ultimately self-combust and fall short when the playoffs commence. This year could be different. James Harden resigned for less dough which allowed them to improve the roster by adding the likes of P.J. Tucker, De’Anthoyn Melton and Montrezl Harrell. Additionally, Tyrese Maxey looks ready to contribute more as a scorer, averaging over 20 PPG and playing 40+ minutes throughout 12 postseason games last year. Success for the Sixers won’t be defined until the playoffs and after this season, they might be out of excuses.
This one could be somewhat subjective, although Jordan Poole will be feeling good about himself after Golden State showed their faith in him. Extending his contract for 4-years to the tune of $140M means that Poole will be around to help bridge the gap between two chapters in Warriors history, softening the blow when Steph Curry and Klay Thompson eventually call it quits. The favourite to claim Sixth Man of the Year honours rolling into a new year, I’m excited to see just what Poole is capable of this year.
Der. Even before he went full WWE on Jordan Poole at practice, the murmurs around his uncertain future with Golden State were getting louder. Entering the 11th year of his pro career, it’s clear that Green is no longer at the peak of his powers, and there are no guarantees his game will age well in today’s NBA. Make no mistake, Dray deserves an immense amount of credit for the crucial role he played in bringing four titles to the Bay Area, but that doesn’t mean the Dubs should extend his deal to stay with the team.
Image from sfgate.com
Yikes. All the goodwill going Boston’s way after their exciting Finals run has quickly evaporated with a lot of fans now left to ponder how the ripple effects of Udoka’s suspension will affect the team. Set to miss the entire 2022-23 season, the Celtics will have to defend their East crown without their head coach on the sidelines, with Joe Mazzulla set to lead the squad in his absence. Their team is still impressive and geared up to make another run at a chip, but there’s no doubt Ime Udoka’s approval rating took a massive dive this offseason.
This will finally be the season that Russell Westbrook embraces his flaws and exceeds with the Lakers…is a sentence that has been way overused in the summer. Sometimes, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks and despite the hope that Westbrook will embrace a role with the second unit, I can’t see it happening. Russ still finds himself in L.A. to commence the year although I won’t be shocked when the headline “the Lakers are shopping Westbrook” appears on my timeline within a month.
I really dislike this Charlotte team. Outside of LaMelo Ball and a trigger-happy Terry Rozier, there aren’t many building blocks that the Hornets can lean on for success. Effectively losing Miles Bridges for nothing will be a massive blow to this team and their shining light in LaMelo is sidelined to commence the season with an ankle complaint. There’s a higher chance that the Hornets find themselves as one of the bottom five teams in the league, rather than competing for a play-in spot.
Image from atthehive.com
Sticking with the Ball Brothers, there’s no guarantee that the eldest of the bunch will step onto a court at all this season. Chicago’s lead playmaker still finds himself on crutches after opting for another bout of surgery to fix his troublesome knee. In 35 games last year, Lonzo averaged a healthy 13/5/5 for the Bulls and if he’s not on the court when the season gets to the business end, it’s hard to see Chicago making any serious noise.
BLOW IT UP!! Danny Ainge could receive some praise for how quickly he destroyed the construct of the Utah Jazz, sending away Donovan Mitchell, Bojan Bogdanović, Rudy Gobert and Patrick Beverly all within the space of a few months. In return, they netted some interesting pieces like Talen Horton-Tucker and Collin Sexton, with the potential for more trades up their sleeve involving Mike Conley and/or Jordan Clarkson. Ripping the bandaid off to fast-forward their spiral to the bottom of the standings makes sense, but it’s hard to picture a Utah fan who is looking forward to the upcoming 82-game slate.