NBA Summer Recap: A Crazy Offseason Filled With Exciting Moves

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The groundbreaking trade between the Cavaliers and Celtics will be put to the test as the teams face each other on opening day, October 17.

Matt Gentile, Assistant Sports Editor

When the final buzzer of Game Five of the NBA Finals sounded and the Golden State Warriors were crowned champions, many thought that basketball would be take a backseat in the news as the offseason began. However, the 2017 NBA offseason was one of the most dramatic and active ones in recent history. 

The 2017 draft class was touted as the best in over a decade by most experts. This year’s draft also epitomized the “one-and-done” nature of college basketball, as a record 16 college first-years were taken in the first round. While the consensus first overall pick was Markelle Fultz from the University of Washington, the Boston Celtics chose to trade the first overall pick to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for the third overall pick and the rights to a valuable first round pick. This move presented a way for the young 76ers to add a possible generational talent in Fultz to their core of Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid and Dario Saric. Despite the surprise nature of this trade, it was not the most drastic move of the draft. That came when the Chicago Bulls traded All-Star Jimmy Butler and their 16th pick to the Minnesota Timberwolves for the seventh pick and Zach LaVine and Kris Dunn. Another major headline from the draft was Lonzo Ball as he selected by his hometown Las Angeles Lakers with the second overall pick. 

An early July lull in activity was broken when a major trade was executed between the Las Angeles Clippers and Houston Rockets, which sent All-Star point guard Chris Paul to Houston. This move was considered a win-win as the Clippers got a group of quality rotation players in return for a player they likely would have lost for nothing in free agency; the Rockets received an all time great point guard without having to be locked into a five-year “supermax” contract Paul likely would have been offered. 

The next major move in free agency was Gordon Hayward of the Utah Jazz agreeing to a max contract with the Boston Celtics. Hayward could not turn down the opportunity to compete for a championship with the talented roster Boston already had. The vast history of the Celtics organization likely played a role as well. 

Paul George was the next All-Star to be moved when the Indiana Pacers dealt him to the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis. George was involved in many trade rumors for the past six months after he expressed interest in leaving Indiana after the 2017-2018 season. Indiana’s General Manager, Kevin Pritchard decided to deal him to the Western Conference in return for two young players under longer contracts. 

In any other year, these events would be sufficient to label it a very active offseason. This year, the biggest move happened last and will change the landscape of the 2017-18 NBA season. The Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers swapped their All-Star point guards in a historic trade; never had two players of their caliber been traded to different contenders. These two teams faced off in their Eastern Conference Finals last year and are the favorites to return there. In the trade, Boston gave up Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and rights to a  Brooklyn Nets first-round pick for Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving. Irving had recently asked to be traded as he was looking to escape the shadow of his teammate Lebron James. The Cavaliers had been to three straight finals, but, with an unhappy superstar in Irving, they were in a difficult position. They managed to get plenty in return for their young star, while Boston added a crunch-time scorer who has championship experience. 

Contact Matt Gentile at [email protected]