Well, that was fun. This offseason was one of the most tumultuous and exciting in NBA history, with many stars switching teams through free agency or via trades, and whole teams getting re-made in the course of a week or two. The Western Conference looks more dangerous than ever, while the Eastern Conference, a couple teams aside, is more sniveling and mediocre than it has been for a couple years. Unfortunately, over the past few days, news has dried up — almost all the big name players have been signed, and most of the top trade candidates have been moved. What do we have to look forward to the rest of the summer?
Trades still to come
While many expected trades (Chris Paul, D’Angelo Russell) and unexpected trades (Paul George, Russell Westbrook) have taken place already, there are a handful more major deals that could still occur this summer.
Kevin Love - The Cavaliers will stink this year, and probably for a couple years to come, and an All-Star of Love’s talents wasting away at the end of his prime doesn’t seem like an ideal long-term outcome. The Cavs are in no hurry to move Love, so I expect a trade might happen before the 2020 deadline or next summer, not in the next couple months, but who knows?
Bradley Beal - Beal is in a similar situation to Love, except that he’s just entering his prime, and might be surrounded by even worse talent in Washington. The Wizards can offer him an extension on July 26, and if they can’t agree to one, he could well be on the move sooner than later. He’s far too good a player to be stuck in the Wizards’ quagmire, and the Wizards could desperately use an influx of assets to kickstart their rebuild. A Beal trade makes too much sense, but the Wizards have held off so far. Again, this might wait until later in the year.
Chris Paul part 2 - I don’t think Chris Paul wants to be on the rebuilding Thunder this year, and I don’t believe the Thunder particularly want him there either. The problem with trading Paul is that he’s entering his mid-30s, he’s become increasingly injury-prone, and he’s on a massive deal. There are a couple teams that make sense for Paul (Timberwolves, maybe Heat), but those teams are not in a hurry. This does seem like the most likely deal to get done the remainder of this summer, however, as both Paul and the Thunder have every reason to want a trade as soon as possible.
Andre Iguodala - Iggy is not a name on par with the rest of these players, not anymore, but he’s still a guy who could be a true piece to a championship team, and he’s eminently available. Unfortunately, the Clippers’ talks with the Grizzlies have hit a bit of a stalemate, as have those of their rival bidders. The Grizzlies have no reason to waive Iggy and give him up for nothing, but the longer this drags on, the lower the asking price should get. Hopefully we see some movement on this before the start of the season.
WNBA basketball is ongoing, but the next opportunity for NBA fans to catch a glimpse of some of their favorite players will take place in mid-August, when team USA begins their warmups for the FIBA World Cup, which runs from August 31 - September 15. Additionally, there are a couple Clippers who have a chance to make national teams who fans can keep their eyes on.
Mfiondu Kabengele (Canada) - Fi is on the 20 man training camp roster for Team Canada, and while he’s one of the younger members, the Canadian team skews guard-heavy, so there’s at least a chance he makes it. Fi will probably sit this one out, but his getting to participate in the training camp is still pretty cool.
Landry Shamet (USA Select Team) - Clippers guard Landry Shamet was named to the USA Select Team, which will participate in the National Men’s Team in the training camp in Las Vegas from August 5-9. The members of the Select Team (Shamet included) are highly unlikely to make the leap to the main roster, but they will work alongside the main team for a few days and pick up some tips from the coaching staff in the process. This is not just a good opportunity for Shamet to connect with some NBA stars, but also to show off for the Team USA brass in attendance, and maybe put himself in the running to make the team proper in future years.
In addition to the “bigger” news above, there will be some other nuggets sprinkled through the next couple months of the offseason.
NBA schedule release (sometime in August) - The NBA schedule release is always greedily seized upon by hungry NBA fans, desperate for some news regarding their favorite league. Clippers fans should be particularly excited this year, as the Clips are likely to have a ton of nationally televised games, including a presumed spot on the Christmas roster (probably against the Lakers). After a couple years out of the spotlight, the Clippers will be more prominent than they have been since they early Lob City days, and the schedule will surely demonstrate this newfound importance.
Clippers broadcast information (presumably fairly soon) - Just yesterday, we found out that Brian Sieman is close to finalizing a deal as the Clippers’ new play-by-play guy, while Noah Eagle will take over his radio spot. Sometime in the next month or so, we will find out what the rest of the broadcast will look like, including the analyst (s) who will operate opposite Sieman. I think the Clippers are looking to make a splash with their team, and hopefully they pull it off.
There will certainly be other news that breaks this summer (the Clippers still need to fill out the rest of their roster, for one), but these are the likely stories that will drive some attention in Clipperland and throughout the NBA. For those who can’t wait for the season to start... well, training camp doesn’t begin until late September, so we have a long ways to go. After that, things get rolling quickly, with preseason starting in early October, and the regular season getting underway on October 22. With any luck, we will have just enough NBA news to carry us to those fateful dates without too much NBA withdrawal. Stay tuned for coverage on all these events, and much more!