Major League Baseball has been, for many years, the undisputed king of the summer sporting world. Recently however, the NBA offseason has stolen some of that spotlight. Blockbuster deals that sent superstar Lebron James to Miami, back home to Cleveland, and now most recently to LA flood the newspaper headlines, television broadcasts, and talk radio agendas for weeks, usually months. The last three summers in particular saw many All-Star caliber players, former MVPs, and potential future Hall of Famer’s change squads. They have been as action-packed and captivating as any fan could hope for. The summer of 2018 has not disappointed thus far, and with over 3 months until the opening tip-off, a lot can change.
Here of some of the best (and worst) deals of the summer:
- DeAndre Jordan
One would think that in today’s NBA, you would need a consistent mid-range or three ball to remain relevant, let alone elite. Yet Jordan has proven that he still is elite, and like an old school Center, has concentrated his game around post defense and rebounding. He signed with the Dallas Maverick for 1 year, $ 22.9 M.
Extra points for not trying to tank for multiple seasons for the Mavs. A starting lineup that will most likely consist of Dennis Smith Jr., Doncic, Barnes, Dirk, and Jordan are likely to make some noise amongst the mediocre/8th seed seeking Western Conference teams.
- Lebron James
The biggest story of the NBA season was by far where Lebron James would go in Free Agency. Would he return to hometown team the Cleveland Cavaliers? Would he shift conferences and play for Houston? The Lakers? Heck, the Clippers?
He answered our questions and Lakers’ fans prayers on July 1st by signing a 4 year /$153,328,212 with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Anytime you get the best player in the sport, it’s hard to argue with the signing and the Lakers have just won the Lebron sweepstakes. It’s up to Magic Johnson & crew to find other willing stars, because by signing the 33-year-old you automatically go into win now mode. Will they trade away their young pieces to attract established All-Stars? Will they rely upon their youth and upside to bring home a championship? We will see in the ensuing months.
- DeMarcus Cousins
Cousins shocked the NBA world by signing a 1 year, $5.3 M deal with the Golden State Warriors. Easily one of the best big men in the Association today, this signing is considered by many to have extended the Warrior’s Dynasty for another season.
The only real weak spot in this Warrior team has been their lack of a dominating big man presence. A team that has relied on finesse and three-point shooting has just gained a tough physical big man to round out their roster. Questions have been raised about Boogie’s ability to come back from that devastating ankle injury last year, but even so, for a relatively cheap $5.3 million you can roll the dice if you’re the Warriors.
- Paul George
Paul George put up yet another impressive season last year, but Oklahoma City’s season ended with yet another disappointing first-round exit. With George’s supposed departure after this season, I would have expected Oklahoma City to reboot and find new pieces to build for their future when perhaps the other Western powerhouses are showing a chink in the armor.
Verdict: Bad Deal
Paul George would have been a perfect fit in several other NBA systems with a legitimate shot at a ring, or at least a Conference Finals appearance. Why he chose to sign with the Thunder who have built around Westbrook (who is hard to play with) puzzles me. As for the Thunder, by signing George, they have now placed themselves in a situation where they need to find another star (not named Carmelo Anthony) if they want to stay relevant. That may be hard to do considering that they are well over the salary cap.
- Chris Paul
Chris Paul posted an impressive season with the Rockets, and if not for an injury in the Conference Finals, many believe, including myself that the Rockets would have defeated the Warriors in 7 games or less. So signing Paul to another 4 years at $160 million makes sense, right?
Verdict: Bad Deal
Wrong. Paul is entering his mid-thirties and has shown signs of slowing already. He is coming off yet another bad injury, and what’s to say that he won’t get hurt again? Not only that, by signing Paul to a max contract, the Rockets have lost out on Trevor Ariza and Mbah a Moute, two Forwards that were vital to the Rockets success last year. I doubt that the Rockets will be able to repeat the success of last year after this deal.
- Rajon Rondo
Like many players who have left Boston, Rondo has struggled to find real success elsewhere. He’s a ball-dominate, undersized and poor-shooting guard who is by all means “over the hill”. Tie this together with a myriad of on and off-the-court issues and it becomes clear to see why he’s on his sixth team in six years. This offseason, he signed with the LA Lakers, which raises several questions about how he and other Lakers’ point guard Lonzo Ball will mesh.
Verdict: Bad Deal
Rondo has been a locker room disturbance several teams at this point in his career. With a young team, throwing a wily vet into the lineup could cause some problems. Can Rondo prove doubters wrong, and perhaps motivate and mentor Ball? History says this is unlikely.
Danny Lovell – Basketball Contributor – WTF Sports
Edited by Scott Neville