A novice’s guide to the NBA off-season

James Harden (left) and Russell Westbrook (right) will join forces in Houston. (Photo by: Getty Images/Sports Illustrated)

Wow. That seems like the appropriate word to summarize what has been a whirlwind few months in the NBA.

The Toronto Raptors won their first NBA championship over the Golden State Warriors; but it has been what has followed that has been just as spectacular.

Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, Anthony Davis, Demarcus Cousins, Jimmy Butler, Chris Paul,  DiAngelo Russell, Kemba Walker, Russell Westbrook, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant have all changed allegiances ahead of the 2019-20 season, which will ensure we have one of the most open championship races we have had in some time.

The Lakers finally got their man in Anthony Davis (despite having to sell the whole farm for him), which makes ‘The Brow’ and LeBron James the NBA’s new power duo, a move that firmly puts King James back in championship contention.

Despite much speculation reigning Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard could also join the Lakers, he and Paul George teamed up to take on the king in his own building, joining the LA Clippers, meaning Staples Center will have the NBA spotlight on it even more so this season.

Kyrie Irving left Boston as expected, it was an unhealthy partnership that had been ill-fated for quite some time; the Celtics then signed Kemba Walker who is coming off of a career best season in Charlotte – it will be interesting to see how he and the young stars of the Celtics go.

Kyrie is now where he wants to be, and he’s bringing a friend along with him for the ride in Kevin Durant (sorry for the reminder Knicks fans).

Durant won’t be unveiled for quite some time as he recovers from that dreaded achilles injury, but he’ll suit up very, very nicely alongside Kyrie in that Nets jersey.

Following his breakout season, DiAngelo Russell heads from the Nets to the Warriors to partner Steph Curry and the injured Klay Thompson, and it will definitely be intriguing to see what that looks like.

Paul George’s trade request from Oklahoma City sent shockwaves through the NBA,  and this move allowed the Thunder to hit the rebuild button and receive countless future assets as a result, meaning they now had an eye on the future, which would also mean Russell Westbrook’s time in Oklahoma was up.

Instead, it was time for a reunion with James Harden in Houston, woah.

It saw the Rockets send Chris Paul to the Thunder, however we don’t expect him to stay there.

How Harden and Westbrook will fair alongside one another is sure to be exciting, will it work? Who knows. But seriously, how good and how interesting it will be.

The majority of the drama however throughout this tumultuous period of player exchange revolved around Kawhi and where he would go.

His current team the Raptors, Lakers and Clippers were the three teams amongst his decision making, and all three were taken for a spectacular ride, but the Clippers were the only team that new where it was going – and naturally hopped out smiling.

The Lakers recovered well enough though, signing Demarcus Cousins from the Warriors, who has a point to prove this season if he wants to show the NBA world he’s still worthy of max money, they also grabbed the signature of Danny Green, a defender and shooter who was crucial to the Raptors’ success in the NBA finals.

One team that shouldn’t be overlooked is the Utah Jazz, they’ve added underrated veteran point guard Mike Conley from Memphis to their mix, who will provide great leadership for Donovan Mitchell and some of the Jazz’s other younger players.

The Jazz starting five should feature Conley, Mitchell, Joe Ingles and Rudy Gobert and they’ve also added sharpshooter Bojan Bogdanovic to that line up, who’s coming off of a career-best season in Indiana. Keep an eye on the Jazz.

New Orleans were the big beneficiary of the Anthony Davis trade, landing Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Josh Hart from the Lakers, who will line up alongside number one draft pick Zion Williamson.

They’ve also added knockdown shooter JJ Reddick from Philadelphia and forward Derrick Favours from Utah. The Pelicans are a team with youth and depth who will definitely be exciting to watch next season.

Philadelphia were the other team that have strengthened their credentials as a contender, all-star Jimmy Butler departs to the Miami Heat but they added talented young wing defender Josh Richardson from the Heat and proven all-star big man Al Horford from the Celtics.

Horford is a huge addition, not only does he bring experience to the 76ers line up, but he’s also been the man that’s been able to quell the influence of superstar Joel Embiid in the past, whom he will now play alongside.

It’s certainly exciting times ahead if you’re an NBA fan.

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