Top 5 basketball news stories of the NBA off-season
Like any NBA off-season, this summer has been filled with basketball news with regards to trades, the draft, summer league, etc. Even with the summer of 2014 shaping up to be the biggest since 2010 with regards to the free agent market, this summer has been filled with interesting headlines. Below are a list of the top 5 after a month and a half into the free agency period…
Dwight leaves LA
Despite a furious sales pitch from the Lakers that included former greats stating their claims on why he should stay and even billboards all over LA, Howard decided to book town and sign with the Houston Rockets. The center signed a 4 year $88 million dollar deal with the club.
Leaving LA caused a stir among many. Most notably Shaquille O’Neal, who one camera ripped Howard for ditching the Lakers saying “It was expected. We’ve all been in L.A., and not a whole lot of people can handle being under the bright lights. Everybody wants to do it, but when you get there, there are certain pressures. I think it was a safe move for him to go to a little town like Houston. That’s right, little town. I said it.” he said.
Howard will have to prove many people wrong on the court this season. His crybaby attitude over his time in Orlando and LA has taken away from the fact that he is still the most dominant big man in the NBA. Despite a bit of a setback in LA last season, he still finished with good numbers. His time in Houston will defiantly be the most pivotal time of his somewhat tarnished career. For his career, D12 has averaged 18.3 points per game and 12.4 rebounds.
The dissembled Celtics
After consistent talks over the past few off-seasons about how change is needed in Boston, it finally happened. After a series of events, perhaps the NBA’s most famous franchise is back at square one. First, they traded Doc Rivers, one of the best and most well respected coaches in the league, to the LA Clippers in exchange for a unprotected first round draft pick in 2015. A few days later their aging sent their aging star, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garentt, to Brooklyn in part of a blockbuster deal. On July 3rd, the club surprised many by hiring 36-year-old Brad Stevens as head coach. Stevens had a fantastic run as head coach of Butler University.
Cleary the C’s are starting over which is the right move. And with a bright head coach and star point guard Rajon Rondo, the Celtics will be elite in a few season. Just not this one.
Clippers come through
After a disappointing exit in the first round of the playoffs, the Clippers had a lot of question marks heading into the off-season. They quickly answered those questions. The first was getting rid of head coach Vinny Del Negro and replacing him with Doc Rivers. Then came the resigning of Chris Paul. CP3 clearly was unhappy with Del Nergo as a head coach. So as a way to show their commitment to Paul, they fired Del Negro. After bringing in Doc Rivers, Paul was sold on coming back to the Clippers. A team that in just two seasons has become the better team in Los Angeles, which still sounds crazy to say. Paul agreed to a five-year deal worth $107.3 million.
With a new coach, star coming back and a group of young talent, the Clippers figure to be a title contender for years to come.
Wait till next year
The 2013 Draft Class was probably the worst in years. Many people didn’t even know who Anthony Bennett is. If you still don’t, that was the first pick of the draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers. Not to worry though, next summer’s class is shaping up to the best since 2003. Where some guys named Lebron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh were all drafted in the top 5. All of who obviously play together in Miami now. Knicks star Carmelo Anthony was also drafted 3rd in that draft as well.
Cavaliers are on their way back
With Lebron James, the Cavs were at the top of the Eastern Conference nearly every year. But since he left Cleveland and took his talents to South Beach, the team has struggled mightily the past three seasons. But whenever you struggle, that leads to good draft picks and that is exactly what the Cavs have had the past few drafts. The Cavs have built their team back up starting in 2011 by drafting franchise point guard Kyrie Irving with the first pick. That draft they also drafted Texas star Tristan Thompson with the fourth pick. They followed that draft performance up by drafting highly touted prospects Dion Waiters in 2011 and just recently Anthony Bennett with the first pick in June’s draft. Tie those picks with the recent signings of veterans Andrew Bynum and Jarrett Jack and the Cavs figure to make a run at the playoffs in 2013-14.