This offseason has been very interesting with tons of stars being shipped away or joining new teams around the league. As we are slowly approaching the new season, I ranked the top 5 teams that had the best offseason.
Everything that happened since the end of last year’s season was included to help decide the top 5 teams, including the NBA Draft, and the trades prior that. Every trade, signings, keeping or losing current players, and front office problems are all included into the rankings based on my opinion.
5. Minnesota Timberwolves
After only winning 31 games last year, the Timberwolves found a way to turn things around in the offseason. During the NBA Draft, they traded Zach Lavine and Kris Dunn for one of the biggest two-way stars currently in the league, Jimmy Butler. Last season, Butler averaged career high stats, scoring 23.9 points per game, and lead the Bulls to the 8th seed in the playoffs. They gave up two very young players, but Dunn failed to please people’s expectations as a rookie, and Lavine is still in the process of healing from a torn ACL injury.
During free agency, they automatically signed Jeff Teague to a long-term 3 year deal after trading Ricky Rubio to the Utah Jazz. They also signed two veteran players, Jamal Crawford and Taj Gibson, that can serve as mentors for the young Wolves’ team. However, they failed to acquire a sharp-shooter after making a league-low 7.3 three-pointers per game last season, but they should increase their makes a bit with the additions of Butler and Teague. With all these additions, the Timberwolves might finally have a chance to break their 13 year playoff drought after building around the young duo of Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins.
4. Philadelphia 76ers
In the beginning of the offseason, the 76ers started off by trading their No. 3 pick in the draft for the first overall pick, taking Markelle Fultz. Even though they gave up a draft pick in the future to the Celtics, it will not affect that much with their young core of Joel Embiid, Dario Šarić, Ben Simmons, and now, Fultz. By selecting him, they filled their need of a point guard, and found a player that can fit well playing along Joel Embiid.
Also, during free agency, they signed J.J. Redick for $23 million, and Amir Johnson for $11 million. Giving up $34 million dollars to two veteran players that are over 30 years old can be questionable, but they are both one year deals, so the 76ers can free up that cap space for next year’s free agency. Adding players with experience definitely will benefit a team with one of the youngest rosters in the league, especially without committing to them long-term. Their success in this season will definitely be based on how healthy everyone remains, but even if Embiid is out, they should still be able to win games under Ben Simmons, and Markelle Fultz.
3. Houston Rockets
After reaching the semi-finals in a 55 win season least year, the Rockets significantly improved their roster from last year. They started off by trading for Chris Paul, building an offense ran around by 2 playmaking guards. Surprisingly, they only gave up Patrick Beverly, Lou Williams, Sam Dekker, and Montrezl Harrell for the 9 time All-Star, and seemed to already sign everyone’s replacements.
During free agency, they added versatile wings, Luc Mbah a Moute, and P.J. Tucker for very cheap deals. Playing alongside reigning sixth man of the year, Eric Gordon, Tucker might have to slide up to the 3, and Mbah a Moute will play as a stretch 4, but that should not stop them from providing off the bench. They also signed Tarik Black from the Lakers, averaging 5.7 points and 5.1 rebounds in the 16.3 minutes he played per game. However, he may not see the same amount of minutes in Houston playing behind Clint Capela, and Nenê for the center slot. There is no doubt the Rockets should improve this season after building an amazing roster around the MVP runner-up, James Harden.
2. Oklahoma City Thunder
From losing Kevin Durant to free agency last year, they definitely regrouped their team in this offseason. They started off by making the biggest move in this offseason, bringing Paul George to team up with the MVP, Russell Westbrook in a trade with the Pacers. Despite there being rumors of George leaving in 2018 for the Lakers, the Thunder did not give up that much in return, sending Domantas Sabonis, and Victor Oladipo (and his 4 yr/$84 million dollar contract) to Indiana. Even if they lose George next year, they will not have Oladipo’s enormous contract taking up cap space, allowing them to sign other free agency stars.
They were able to bring back André Roberson to a 3 yr/$30 million contract, who grown into a defensive threat in the league. They also signed a backup point guard to come off the bench, Raymond Felton, and pulled off landing Patrick Patterson to a 3 yr/18 million deal. Compared to what other big men are getting around the league, that is definitely a steal, and he will help fill the Thunder’s need of an actual power forward. After having a team carried by Russell Westbrook last season, the Thunder organized a team to corporate around him, and possibly win more games.
1. Golden State Warriors
As the defending champions, the Warriors could have not had a better offseason. With nearly half their team being free agents, they were able to resign everyone except for Ian Clark. They even brought back Kevin Durant for $10 million less than his max salary to help the Warriors give Stephen Curry a 5 yr/$201 million super-max deal. They also added more three-point shooters to the roster, Nick Young and Omri Casspi, making them more deadlier from beyond the arc than what they used to be before. Despite having to pay the luxury tax bills for the next few years, it will most likely be worth it if they win more championships, which they probably will. The Warriors did not bring back any new talent to Golden State, but the only goal of a championship team is to keep the team together, especially when half the team are free agents.