2019 upcoming free agency overshadowing 2018 season
The 2018-2019 NBA soon starts and the world is anticipating the see some new faces on new teams and see how these scenarios will play out.
The two biggest stories during the off season were the Lakers pulling off a big move by getting LeBron. And the biggest off-season shocker; the blockbuster trade with the Spurs dealing their former cryptic superstar, Kawhi Leonard, to the Toronto Raptors, in turn, the San Antonio Spurs get DeMar DeRozan. DeMarcus Cousins signs with the Warriors, turning them from a super team to the league’s version of The Avengers.
The most intriguing story for the upcoming season will be the soap opera: Jimmy and the Wolves. Jimmy Butler and the Minnesota T-Wolves aren’t on the same page at the moment. The Wolves management gave KAT (Karl Anthony Towns) what Butler was seeking for himself; a super max deal (5 yr, $190 mil). Butler has vented his frustration with the team on several occasions, but the biggest venting happened during a practice session, when Butler basically called out EVERYONE in the organization, from the players to the owner. Check out the full interview. More than likely Butler will be traded but the question is, when? The Wolves owner, Glen Taylor, has held Butler hostage from the many teams who wants him, including the Miami Heat who is the leading candidate. Taylor has been asking for more than what Butler is worth, thus, scaring off other teams. So two things can happen here; Butler can pull a LeVeon Bell move and sit out a few games, get fined and rejoin the team when he wants, which in turn will fracture the team even more. Or, the Wolves can deal their disgruntled all-star in mid-season; Butler plays with vengeance and rejuvenation at the same time for another squad, hopefully not in the same conference.
The Boston Celtics are now going to be the beast of the East. With the squad at full strength, led by Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward; the Celts are ready to scare the East again. In last season’s playoffs, the Celts were so good that they pushed the Eastern conference finals series, against the Cavs, to a full series, without Irving and Haywood. With Haywood returning from that gruesome ankle fracture in the season opener last season and Kyrie missing the playoffs with another knee issue, the Celts are on the verge of showing the basketball world that the Warriors aren’t the only club on the map. With their young nucleus in tack of; Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Terry Rozier, and Marcus Smart, Boston will be capturing the Eastern Conference crown for a few years. The big question will be, if they’ll be able to raise a championship banner anytime soon.
Another intriguing story will be, the band of misfit called the Lakers. With the acquiring of JaVale McGee, Lance Stephenson and Rajon Rondo, the Lakers organization added some much needed veteran leadership. But I don’t think this is the leadership one would have in mind because it’s JaVale McGee, Lance Stephenson and Rajon Rondo. McGee has finally shown that he knows his and not his penchant of placing himself on every sports network’s blooper reel. Lance Stephenson is well, Lance Stephenson. And then there’s Rajon. Rondo is a very good player, but he can be too smart for his own good; which has been his double-edge sword. Oftentimes, he’ll think that he’s the coach and calls plays that can throw off the chemistry. But Rondo’s biggest flaw is that he’s a ticking time-bomb, one minute he’s cool and a few weeks (sometimes days) later, he’ll cause a big stir within the locker room and say that he did it to challenge the team…riiiggghhhtt Rajon. LeBron is at the point of his career where he’s padding up his legacy and guiding the young Lakers squad, the last thing he wants to do is govern a bunch of vets. But then again, this is L.A.
With the addition of Carmelo Anthony, the Houston Rockets have a super team of their own. But here lies a serious potential problem, long-term chemistry. Reigning MVP James Harden can possibly duplicate the season he had last season, but he has no problem launching plenty of shots, and Chris Paul has been giving the green-light by coach D’Antoni and his teammates to put up shots also. So now with Carmelo in the mix, he’s left one team to go to another team, trying to evade a role he doesn’t want: the third wheel. Anthony and Harden both share the black-hole philosophy, once the ball gets in their hands, it barely comes out. And in a best case scenario, Melo can still score in bunches once given the right situation; but what if he goes on his normal hot streak while Harden’s out and once Harden’s back in the game, Melo may not see the ball for awhile. How Melo takes to it will be the question.
2018 sleeper team: Denver Nuggets; Jokic has to step up and assume his role as face of the team.
Whew, the 2019 season is going to be crazy. Oh wait, the 2018 season hasn’t even started yet. Damn you, upcoming free agency.