The NBA season is right around the corner and wow is this off-season insane! In years past, there has always been one player who was the headline of the NBA off-season going to a different team, but the way that this off-season has turned out, it’s a lot more than one player making headlines. Carmelo Anthony’s recent move to the Oklahoma City Thunder is just one of the massive moves that has happened so far. Some of these moves may take a team from good to great, while others have changed the entire outlook of a conference.
Top 5 Moves In the NBA Off-Season
5. Chris Paul going to the Houston Rockets
This was one of the first major moves this NBA off-season, but this one has the most questions behind it. Who’s going to play point-guard between him and James Harden? How well will Harden and Paul play on the court at the same time? Will there be a fight for supremacy as play-maker? Don’t get me wrong, this was a fantastic move and made the Rockets great on paper, but this didn’t make them better than the Golden State Warriors.
The Rockets were already the second or third best team in the West and they will more than likely stay in those positions throughout the season after picking up Chris Paul. The move from the Los Angeles Clippers to the Rockets will have a negative impact on the Clippers. Without Chris Paul, the Clippers will have to rely highly on Blake Griffin, who has dealt with injuries throughout his career. The Clippers have made acquisitions in Danilo Gallinari and Montrezl Harrell, but they can’t, and won’t be able to replace Chris Paul.
4. Carmelo Anthony going to the Oklahoma City Thunder
As stated, this was the most recent and biggest move made this NBA off-season. Carmelo Anthony has finally left the New York Knicks and is headed to Oklahoma City. This was big for the Thunder as they have now added another big play-maker and shooter to a team that desperately needed it. This was a great deal for the Thunder as they only got rid of Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott and a 2nd-round pick, in which Enes Kanter was the only impact player that the Thunder had to give up for Anthony.
The big question for me in this trade is how does Russell Westbrook feel about the move? This is the second high-profile player who the Thunder have acquired this off-season, including Paul George, and now it’s going to be a battle for the ball between Westbrook, George, and Anthony. Westbrook was not a fan of sharing the team and the ball when Kevin Durant was there. Westbrook won MVP and had one of the most historical seasons a player will ever have by averaging a triple-double. If Westbrook is okay with all these moves, then this could mean that he is serious about winning it all this year. If he is willing to work with George and Anthony, the Thunder could get there.
3. Isaiah Thomas going to the Cleveland Cavaliers,
Isaiah Thomas going to the Cavaliers from the Boston Celtics was one part of the biggest move in the NBA. Thomas is accompanied by Jae Crowder and Ante Zizic in the trade for Kyrie Irving going to the Celtics. This is the perfect fit for Thomas and the Cavaliers. Thomas is a great up and coming superstar in this league, but he isn’t good enough to lead a team to the championship all on his own. The Cavaliers get a point guard that is on the rise in his career that won’t have the same issues that Irving had. Irving didn’t want to be in the shadow of Lebron James.
Kyrie Irving has come to a point in his career where he feels that he can lead a team on his own. Irving has always played second fiddle to James, even though there have been times where Irving has outperformed him. Thomas can be a point guard for the Cavaliers where he won’t be a distraction. Thomas isn’t a player who feels that he can lead a team to a championship, even though he was the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference last season. Isaiah Thomas will be a complimentary piece to Lebron James and will be just one step down from Irving, but not a big step.
2. Paul George going to the Oklahoma City Thunder
This was the first big move that Oklahoma City made this NBA off-season that I think is the better move for them than Anthony is. Paul George is a great scorer that the Thunder needed instead of relying solely on Russell Westbrook. When the trade first occurred, it came as a shock since Paul George seemed like a player that could lead a team in the Eastern Conference to the Finals. With George going over to the Western Conference, he becomes just another piece instead of a team leader in Oklahoma City. There is no doubt that Paul George will have a huge impact in the Western Conference with the Thunder. This move will more than likely make the Thunder one of the top five teams not only in the Western Conference, but in the NBA.
1. Kyrie Irving going to the Boston Celtics
This was the biggest move made all summer by far. The rest of the moves that were made this NBA off-season might be able to help their teams, but this move has changed the entire outlook of the conference. Is there a new top dog in the Eastern Conference? Yes there is. With this move, it solidifies the Celtics as the best team in the Eastern Conference. Irving has finally stepped out of the shadow of James and has a team that he can carry to a championship.
Kyrie Irving is a step up from Isaiah Thomas as an all-around point guart for the Celtics and the leadership that he can bring to this team will have an enormous impact on the Celtics. With the addition of Gordon Hayward, this is a team that can become a huge threat in the East. They could be the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference again. Kyrie Irving to the Celtics bring a dynamic shift in the Eastern Conference and possibly a Top five team in the NBA.
Main Photo: Kyrie Irving drives in Game 5 of the 2017 NBA Finals at ORACLE Arena on June 12, 2017 in Oakland, California. (Getty Images Sport)