It is very rare for me to get excited about the end of a sports season. You have to start mentally preparing for how you will survive the entire offseason, whether that’s three months or eight months, without one of your daily activities.
That feeling hit me once again when the NBA Finals finished up, knowing the most entertaining league in the world would not be playing a game until October. But as many basketball fans know, the NBA’s offseason is not the same.
You could make the argument the offseason is even more entertaining than the regular season and I would be OK with that. I might actually believe it myself.
It did not take long for the 2019 offseason to drop what may be the biggest deal of the year when the Los Angeles Lakers traded for Anthony Davis from New Orleans. Davis will join with LeBron James to give the Lakers two of the top ten players in the league arguably for the first time since the franchise had Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal.
The Pelicans did not get out of the trade too badly themselves, adding Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart and Brandon Ingram. All three were first-round draft picks and are still under the age of 25 plus the Pelicans got four additional first-round picks or pick swaps from the Lakers in the deal.
The excitement does not stop there as there will likely be plenty of other trades being made in the 48 hours after this column is released. The 2019 NBA Draft is being held in Brooklyn on Thursday night and while everyone knows who will be going to New Orleans with the first pick, the rest of the night will likely be more unpredictable.
After NBA commissioner Dave Silver calls Zion Williamson’s name, Ja Morant and R.J. Barrett are likely to follow in some order. The remaining top-10 picks have seemed to be a conversation piece for blockbuster deals across the NBA.
After the Pelicans made their big deal with Los Angeles, they added the No. 4 overall pick to their assets and it is still unclear whether they will use that pick for themselves or trade it for another established player. There are also rumors they will continue to deal some of their veteran players for more picks, including eyeing the No. 6 pick from the Phoenix Suns.
The Suns have tried their best to build their future with draft picks but outside of Devin Booker, none of them have particularly worked out very well. If they want to find other suitable players who can make them a contender for a playoff spot, the Suns could deal the No. 6 pick (plus more) to find an available player like Bradley Beal, Mike Conley or even Jrue Holiday from the Pelicans.
No matter what happens on draft night, each team’s offseason will be dictated by how its front office handles those possible trades and draft picks. Many of these players will go straight into the NBA Summer League to fight for a roster spot and that’s when you start to see which first-round picks could be busts and which second-round picks could become key role players.
While the draft is the most fun of any professional league, the thing that makes the NBA offseason stand out the most is the free agency period. From player’s tweets to creating super teams, this year’s summer will be crucial to the layout of the league over the next few years.
There are so many stars available in free agency this year and we may never see a class like this again. Even with injuries to free agents Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson, the class is loaded with top-tier players including Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving, Kemba Walker, Jimmy Butler, DeMarcus Cousins and many more.
Some of the excitement will certainly be taken away with the free agency period starting six hours sooner so we do not have to stay up until midnight for all of the action to begin. However, it will not take away from the offseason as a whole and I expect there to be plenty of storylines from now until the season begins in October.