26. The Rest Of The NBA
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Utah Jazz open their season on October 20, just 26 days from today. With the clock ticking, we look at 50 things for Jazz fans to be excited about leading up to the 2021-22 season. Today, we look at the rest of the NBA.
The Rest Of The NBA
Like all offseasons, the NBA saw its fair share of player relocation. However, unlike some summers, there were no new superteams built over the last three months that should be considered contenders heading into the 2021-22 season.
Instead, some of the previous contenders, including the two teams that met in the 2020 NBA Finals added significant firepower to their roster, hoping to extend their championship window.
Here’s a look at the biggest moves in free agency this summer by teams outside of the Jazz.
The Brooklyn Nets did the majority of their heavy lifting over the last two seasons adding Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in the summer of 2019, and trading for James Harden in the midst of last season.
With three superstars in place, it came time to retool the pieces around the Nets core to build a true contender.
In the offseason, the Nets signed long-time San Antonio Spurs guard Patty Mills, added former Jazzman Paul Millsap, and brought former Nets center LaMarcus Aldridge out of retirement.
The moves didn’t come without their cost however as Brooklyn also lost the services of Landry Shamet, DeAndre Jordan, Jeff Green, and Spencer Dinwiddie.
The Chicago Bulls aren’t contenders, but they had perhaps the busiest offseason of any team in the NBA and have placed themselves firmly back in the Eastern Conference playoff picture.
The Bulls made high-cost investments trading for both Lonzo Ball and DeMar DeRozan, paying a premium for both talented backcourt players. They also added Alize Johnson and former Lakers guard Alex Caruso who will bring championship experience.
In return, they lost Lauri Markkanen and star role player Thaddeus Young.
Like the Bulls, nobody will confuse the Cleveland Cavaliers with a title contender, but they were busy this summer nonetheless.
The Cavs traded for the aforementioned Markkanen, re-signed center Jarrett Allen to $100 million contract, and acquired former Jazzman Ricky Rubio from the Minnesota Timberwolves.
The biggest addition may have been drafting forward Evan Mobley with the third overall pick, though one has to wonder if Cleveland is attempting to skip steps in its rebuild with its veteran acquisitions.
Golden State Warriors
The Golden State Warriors most impactful move will be the return of Klay Thompson who has missed the last two seasons with knee and Achilles injuries. They also added Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody in the lottery.
Despite the young additions, they will be counting on veteran additions Otto Porter and Andre Igoudala to return them to the promised land.
In return, they lost wings Kelly Oubre, Kent Bazemore, and Eric Paschall.
Los Angeles Clippers
The Los Angeles Clippers offseason was defined by who they retained more so than by who they added.
The Clippers re-signed Kawhi Leonard, Reggie Jackson, and Nicolas Batum, all highly sought-after free agents after a Western Conference Finals run last season. The team also added Eric Bledsoe to help with their guard depth after trading both Patrick Beverley and Rajon Rondo.
Despite the moves, the healthy of Leonard, and whether he plays or not this year will determine the Clippers ceiling.
Los Angeles Lakers
The Los Angeles Lakers had the flashiest offseason adding future Hall of Fame point guard Russell Westbrook to the equation.
They also brought in veterans Kendrick Nunn, Malik Monk, Dwight Howard, DeAndre Jordan, Kent Bazemore, Rajon Rondo, Trevor Arizona, and Carmelo Anthony.
On the way out, the Lakers lost Kyle Kuzma, Markieff Morris, Dennis Schroder, Wesley Matthews, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Alex Caruso, Andre Drummond, and Marc Gasol in the process.
It’s a major overhaul, but with LeBron James entering his twilight years in the NBA, the Lakers needed to attempt something drastic to significantly prolong their championship hopes.
Like the Lakers, the Miami Heat are trying to rebuild their roster after a Finals run in 2020.
Miami made a significant move acquiring guard Kyle Lowry from the Toronto Raptors in exchange for second-year forward Precious Achiuwa and Goran Dragic. They also signed veteran Markieff Morris and PJ Tucker, each of who bring championship experience.
Meanwhile, the team lost Andre Igoudala, Nemanja Bjelica, Trevor Ariza, and Kendrick Nunn.
After winning their first title of the century, the Milwaukee Bucks lost a handful of key pieces from last year’s roster.
PJ Tucker now resides in Miami while Bryn Forbes relocated to San Antonio.
In return, the Bucks added former Jazzmen Rodney Hood, Grayson Allen, and George Hill, while re-signing key contributor Bobby Portis.
New York Knicks
After a strong regular season but disappointing first-round exit, the Knicks decided to add more offense to their roster with the signing of Kemba Walker.
They also acquired guard Evan Fournier from the Boston Celtics in a sign and trade and sent out little in return.
This was a good offseason for the Knicks who didn’t have to break the bank to improve, and brought back nearly all of the pieces that led them to the playoffs last season.
The Philadelphia 76ers have had perhaps the worst offseason of any NBA team so far, and it looks likely to stretch into the beginning of training camp.
After both Doc Rivers and Joel Embiid spoke poorly of guard Ben Simmons after their playoff loss to the Atlanta Hawks, Simmons decided his time in Philadelphia was over and demanded a trade.
Unfortunately for the 76ers, they’ve yet to find a team willing to sacrifice enough in a trade for them to feel like they’re getting fair value in return for the All-Star.
Until they find a solid return for Simmons, the 76ers’ miserable summer will haunt them into the regular season.
The biggest move of the Phoenix Suns offseason was re-signing guard Chris Paul to a three-year extension, though costly, he’ll keep their championship window open for the next few seasons.
Additionally, keeping Cam Payne in the fold at a discounted rate was a strong move.
Otherwise, the losses of Javon Carter, and Torrey Craig were probably balanced out by the additions of JaVale McGee and Landry Shamet keeping the Suns in contention again next season.
Like the Bulls and the Cavaliers, the Washington Wizards are anxious to return to the Eastern Conference Playoffs and made aggressive moves in the offseason in pursuit of that goal.
The Wizards sent Russell Westbrook to the Lakers in exchange for Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Kyle Kuzma, and Montrezl Harrell, while signing Spencer Dinwiddie as a free agent.
They aren’t contenders, but the Wizards should be more interesting than they were last year.
While the Jazz made small moves to improve their odds at a championship, fans can also look forward to these more significant moves made across the league, marking one of our top 50 storylines in our countdown to opening night.