Updated on July 13, 2023
Many players have found new homes, as we saw the start of a new season in the NBA with the 2023 Draft and future stars being confirmed from there.
In this section – and similar sections every two weeks until the start of the 2023-24 NBA season – I will look at all the big stories of the 2023 offseason.
The Future Meets the Past
The Golden State Warriors
The Warrior is no stranger to making bold purchases in free time.
We all remember Kevin Durant, Andre Iguodala, and DeMarcus Cousins leaving their teams to come to the Bay, and now, a new name has joined the list: Chris Paul.
I predicted that CP3 would go to the Lakers if the Lakers couldn’t get Kyrie or Draymond Green.
In a major upset, CP3 was traded for Jordan Poole in a move that would send shockwaves through the league. 12 months ago, Poole was seen as one of the best players in the NBA, and the Dubs had a “double era” plan.
They wanted to continue fighting with Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins, and Draymond Green, while also building for the future with Poole, Jonathan Kuminga, and James Wiseman.
But we all know what happened next. Draymond “nailed” the idea that it didn’t exist a few weeks before the season started, and the “vibe” around the locker room was not the same.
Wiseman was traded at the deadline, and now, he is fully committed to winning another ring by finding “The Point God.”
I have my doubts, first of all, CP3 doesn’t seem like he wants to come off the bench, and his comments on the matter remind me of his friend Carmelo Anthony and his failed role in Oklahoma City.
Of course, if you look at simple advanced stats like PER, Win Shares at 48, and Net Plus/Minus per 100 Possessions, and even by eye test, it’s clear that Paul has always been a “high value” player. than Melo.
So I didn’t expect CP3 to crash and burn like it did.
But there are serious doubts about the start of the Five Warriors if Paul wants to start. It’s reminiscent of the 2020 Rockets, with Robert Covington under center, who quickly caught fire (17-17 overall record with that streak).
However, leaving Golden State was the best thing that could have happened to Jordan Poole.
A lot of people think that Poole’s decline was due to being overpaid and careless, but Gilbert Arenas has a better analogy:
“It has nothing to do with it [the money],” said Arenas. “Last year, no one knew him well and he came on the scene and was on fire. Now, people have a game plan for him. He has to change his game a little bit.”
The two have a lot in common, they are both 6-foot-4 and overlooked. Both were drafted by the Warriors and showed great flashes while there, and both left the Dubs to join the Wizards.
Arenas became a star in DC, so maybe he can mentor Poole and teach him how to improve his game.
San Antonio Spurs
SReaching the pinnacle of “two seasons,” here we have the San Antonio Spurs.
In my last session for 2022I called for Gregg Popovich to retire so his stats wouldn’t go down, unless the Spurs get Victor Wembanyama.
And what do you think? The Spurs somehow got the first pick and got Victor Wembanyama.
I said he was so good that he could turn the Spurs into a playoff team overnight, and Pop seems to agree, having signed a five-year, $80 million extension to stay with the Spurs until he’s 80.
Popovich, who will be inducted into the Hall of Fame next month, knows he has one last shot at the championship if Wemby wins.
He already has five rings on his fingers, and going number six will put him in top company. He would have been the Michael Jordan of NBA head coaches.
Now, let’s talk about Wembanyama. The tallest player in the league, the world will be watching him in his first year.
He is expected to follow in the footsteps of David Robinson and Tim Duncan, while also bringing new meaning to the word “unicorn.”
All these words started because of Kristaps Porzingis, but they quickly went away with messages calling guys like Myles Turner a “unicorn” because he was faster than other big guys and could knock down threes.
No offense to Turner, who is the NBA’s best player, but the term should be applied to stars, true needle drivers. If Wemby can put it all together, he will truly be one of a kind, which is what a true unicorn should be.
He gave us a bit of a scare after his worst finish in Summer League but managed to dominate his second game before being shut down, perhaps to avoid the same thing as Zion Williamson and his injuries in the 2019 preseason.
In short, it’s an exciting time to be a Spurs fan, and Captain Pop is still in charge.
Damian Lillard and James Harden
Tthe road to greatness is hard. Having good stats, carrying your franchise, scoring 60 and 70 points a game, and even winning the MVP is not enough.
You need a ring. And it’s all the media’s fault. The media said that he “wouldn’t approve” of Kevin Durant’s rings with Golden State, because he “took the easy way out,” but all of this was false.
Not only did he receive KD’s rings, but he also inspired others to do what KD did.
Now, many members of the media consider KD a top 10 player, which is ridiculous, since KD is 0-1 in the Finals in twelve seasons without a superteam for the Warriors, unlike other all-time greats who won without superteams.
The top ten list is a story for another day, but it clearly shows how the Durant concept has killed credibility in the NBA, from players and organizations.
James Harden and Damian Lillard want rings, and are eager to go to the LA Clippers and Miami Heat, respectively. However, they don’t have the power, as the Sixers and Blazers can send them wherever they want.
Bradley Beal, another star who forced his way out this season, had a no-trade clause, meaning he could choose where he would go.
This season is very rare, as only ten players have ever been in it, and before Beal, the last players in it were LeBron and Melo in 2017-18.
In the offseason of 2018, Kawhi Leonard wanted to go to the Lakers or Clippers, but the Spurs had all the power and sent Kawhi to Toronto.
While things turned out well for Kawhi, the same can’t be said for other players who needed a “moment to inspire the players.”
We all have to remember that the NBA is a cold business, and managers should want a good deal for themselves, not their players, and rightly so.
The two Adidas athletes must deal with the possibility of a very long season full of drama, or worse, failure in the 2023-24 season.
NBA Draft (Western Conference)
Draft night was great, we all enjoyed Gradey Dick’s costumes and his impersonation of Donald Duck, and we got some insight into the future of other franchises.
If the Blazers decide to move on from Dame this offseason, their franchise will be in safe hands with Scoot Henderson and Anfernee Simons.
Simons averaged 27.9 points in 11 games without Damian Lillard last season, and Scoot played well in Summer League before the injury, though he wasn’t declared eligible at the time of the draft.
Cam Whitmore skated hard.
He was a top 10 prospect, but concerns about his injury-riddled lone season at Villanova and a lackluster interview caused him to fall to the 20th pick, when he was taken by the Rockets.
I personally believe the Lakers will regret letting him go, even if Jalen Hood-Schifino is a solid player on his own.
Speaking of the Rockets, despite his weak shooting, Amen Thompson is a highlight reel and his athleticism will make him a star.
The Mavericks traded guard Cason Wallace to OKC for center Dereck Lively II, and honestly, I’m not over all of them.
And while Lively is better for the Mavs than Wallace is for the Thunder, Wallace could be a better player down the road.
2023 NCAA Champion Jordan Hawkins and former Santa Clara Bronco Brandin Podziemski are the best shooting guards in the draft and will be huge assets for the Pelicans and Warriors respectively.
Some Run West
The Western Conference free period began with Bradley Beal being traded for Chris Paul.
The Suns have built one of the richest teams of all time, and in my opinion, they are still not a serious title threat as long as they don’t have a good bench.
Draymond Green decided to end the game and retire from Golden State, while the Dubs sent Jordan Poole back in the aforementioned Chris Paul-Poole trade.
Surprisingly, Kyrie Irving didn’t go to the Lakers, instead he had another shot with Luke and the Mavs.
Fred VanVleet signed with the Rockets in a questionable move that was a huge return, while the Lakers had a successful, low-profile performance in the 2019-2020 offseason.
That floor move won the Lakers a ring that year, and the same could happen again this year. They kept Austin Reaves, which was important because he would be a star for years to come.
As for the downward movement, the Warriors acquired Dario Saric and Cory Joseph, very strong players who can bring back the “vibes” from 2022.
The Grizzlies filled in at guard due to Ja Morant’s suspension, signing Derrick Rose and trading Marcus Smart.
Rose will be a great mentor for Ja, as many call Ja the second coming of Derrick Rose, and I’ve always said the Grizzlies need more vets.
John Collins was eventually traded, joining Utah’s young core. Last but not least, Russell Westbrook took a huge pay cut to stay with the Clippers, and he will be a big threat this season.