The NBA Finals ended this past weekend, and the offseason is in full swing. Things move fast in the NBA, and just a week after the Golden State Warriors became champions, the 2022 NBA Draft will be held at the Barclays Center in New York. After the draft, free agency will open with the start of the league’s new year in early July.
There will be no shortage of movement and intrigue this off-season as all 30 teams look to prepare for victory over the Larry O’Brien Trophy. Here are the biggest storylines everyone is looking forward to this summer.
Lavigne is one of the biggest stars to become free agents in a few days and has been linked to numerous teams. The Spurs, Lakers, Heat, and Trail Blazers were all considered potential destinations for LaVine, but most reports indicate that he will remain in Chicago. Good for the Bulls as he has been a huge part of their resurgence this season and is definitely worth the maximum contract he is willing to earn.
The Utah Jazz are one of those teams that are stuck at a crossroads this time of year. They have been a good playoff team for several years, but have consistently failed to make it past the second round. Another disappointing season, ending with a first-round playoff exit, has left fans wondering what the future of this team looks like.
Head Coach Quinn Snyder resigned a few weeks ago, leaving the team leaderless. Major changes are expected, but who will move?
Rudy Gobert this is the most frequently mentioned trade option this summer, and carrying over the former DPOY makes some sense. He owed a lot of money during the duration of his contract, and it became clear that he simply could not carry the defensive load alone. The Jazz need more perimeter defense and stamina to help Gobert, and if they can’t do that, it might be best to start over.
Donovan Mitchell should stay, but if he ever calls for an exchange, it’s a doomsday scenario for Utah. I expect him to stay with the team until that happens, but at this rate it could happen any day.
Apart from the two stars, the Jazz is sure to please the players. Mike Conley, Boyan Bogdanovich, Jordan Clarkson as well as Royce O’Neill available as they try to update their list. They are at a point where it is clear that this team is not working and some roster changes are likely, if not entirely necessary, for them to even get close to competing next year.
Brooklyn has been expected to be a consistent contender for the title ever since they signed. Kevin Duran as well as Kyrie Irving a few years ago, but in fact it is not. Their tenure with the Nets was marked by a two-year tenure. James Harden saga where he was traded for him and sold soon after, Irving’s refusal to get a vaccine for COVID-19, injuries, new injuries and Ben Simmons refusal to play or injury, or maybe both.
Whatever one may say, the Nets were a disappointment. This year they passed the first round and are now in the middle of the reporting period. contract drama with Irving, leaving his (and Durant’s) future with the team in question. Meanwhile, almost all of their role players are free agents, no one is getting any younger, and, oh yeah, they traded all their draft picks for a guy who is no longer on the team. Other than that, things are going great!
The Nets need a perfect offseason to keep things in check. They will need to improve their defenses, add more youthful legs and make sure everyone is happy. Not an easy task. All eyes on Brooklyn.
Max or not?
That Harden guy I was talking about earlier isn’t all that smooth and rosy either. His new team, the Philadelphia 76ers, has a big choice to make when it comes to his next contract. harden as well Bradley Beal from the Washington Wizards, has the opportunity to choose a player under his contract next year. Harden and Beal are both in similar situations with their teams: turn down and try to sign a long-term contract now, or turn down an offer by signing and finding out next summer.
You might argue that the Sixers and Wizards would have made a mistake by signing Harden or Beal for long-term money. Both players have dealt with injuries, inconstancy and are not getting any younger. Should any of these teams lock in $200 million or more in guaranteed money for an aging shooting guard with health issues?
If any player is denied their preferred contract, is there another team ready to give them what they want? Time will tell, but in July there will be a hell of a game of staring between the two sides.