Reviewing the NBA’s shortest offseason ever

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Photo courtesy of ESPN

The NBA season is starting next week and there are many intriguing stories after the abbreviated offseason.

Dominic Aguilar

Many businesses have been going through some rough times during this pandemic, and the NBA is no exception. With the season set to begin on Dec. 22,  just two months after the pandemic bubble season ended in Orlando with the Los Angeles Lakers being crowned champions, there are many genuine concerns about the decision to begin the 2020-21 season so soon.

Since teams are going back to traveling between cities and playing in front of reduced crowds in some cities, there will be issues with health and safety protocols. Though people will undoubtedly test positive, NBA games will likely continue to be played no matter what.

For the Lakers and Miami Heat, these two NBA Finals teams had the shortest offseason in league history. With only seven weeks after the 2019-20 season ended, they started training camps on Dec. 1 to prepare for opening games next week.

Here’s a quick overview of what’s happened during the brief offseason.

Western Conference

The Dallas Mavericks traded Seth Curry and Delon Wright, and acquired Josh Richardson and James Johnson.

Though the Denver Nuggets initially intended to keep both of  their key free agents, they were only able to keep Paul Millsap for one more year, letting Jerami Grant walk in free agency.

Coming off an injury ravaged season, made a big move, the Golden State Warriors drafting James Wiseman Jr. second overall. They also traded for rising star Kelly Oubre Jr. after Klay Thomspon went down for the season with a torn Achilles heel. 

On the other end of the trade, the Houston Rockets were able to sign center DeMarcus Cousins to a one-year minimum contract. As for James Harden, the Rockets don’t seem to be paying much attention to his request for trade, since technically they still have him under contract.

After the LA Clippers lost Sixth Man of the Year winner Montrezl Harrell, they made a comeback by signing Serge Ibaka for a two-year contract. They also switched out their former head coach Doc Rivers for Tyronn Lue.

The defending champion Los Angeles Lakers were able to sign two free-agent centers, Marc Gasol and Montrezl Harrell, who are an improvement from the ones they had last season. They also re-signed Anthony Davis for five years, while extending the contract of their other superstar, LeBron James, for another two years. 

The Memphis Grizzlies had a quiet offseason, though they re-signed elite defender De’Anthony Melton to a four-year contract

The Minnesota Timberwolves drafted prized shooting guard Anthony Edwards first overall in the draft, and brought back fan favorite Ricky Rubio. The Timberwolves are hoping that Edwards can instantly mesh with the D’Angelo Russell and Karl-Anthony Towns combo.

Though they traded away a franchise player in Anthony Davis last offseason, the New Orleans Pelicans were able to get a bunch of first round picks and pick swaps. On top of that, they signed a max deal with Brandon Ingram and picked up two veteran players, Eric Bledsoe and Steven Adams.

The Oklahoma City Thunder got rid of almost all their talent this offseason. But as a reward, they ended up with four first-round picks, which they can choose to use as leverage for any potential star player on the future trade market.

The Phoenix Suns signed Jae Crowder, then both E’Twaun Moore and Langston Galloway for minimum deals. But more notably, they were able to pick up one of the best point guards of this generation in Chris Paul.

The Portland Trail Blazers gave up a first round pick to acquire 3-and-D forward Robert Covington from the Houston Rockets. They also re-signed Carmelo Anthony for one year and Rodney Hood for two, both team-friendly deals that maintain their depth.

The Sacramento Kings had a very quiet offseason, with the biggest move resigning face of the franchise De’Aaron Fox to a five year, $165 million contract.

Other than resigning Jakob Poeltl and drafting Devin Vassel with the 11th overall pick, nothing that exciting has happened with the San Antonio Spurs. They’re keeping most of their players except for some notable losses, Bryan Forbes and Marco Belinelli.

The Utah Jazz signed Derrick Favors, a familiar face who played in Utah for many seasons prior to his signing with the Pelicans last year., and drafted seven-foot Udoka Azubuike with the No. 27 pick. They also extended their contract with Donovan Mitchell, and re-signed Jordan Clarkson for a questionably priced four-year extension

Eastern Conference

The Atlanta Hawks were one of the most active teams in the free agent market, landing deals with Bogdan Bogdanovic, Danillo Gallinari, Rajon Rondo, and Kris Dunn for a relatively low price. But they also lost Jeff Teague, De’Andre Bembry, Dewayne Dedmon, and Vince Carter, who retired.

The Boston Celtics extended All-Star forward Jayson Tatum to a five-year contract worth up to $195 million. They also signed Tristan Thompson and a dependable back-up point guard, Jeff Teague.

The Brooklyn Nets re-signed Joe Harris, and acquired young players Landry Shamet and Bruce Brown through trade.

The Charlotte Hornets signed Gordon Hayward to a hefty $120 million contract, giving up their 2022 second-round pick. They also made four picks in the draft, including No. 3 pick LaMelo Ball.

The Chicago Bulls used their fourth overall pick on 6-foot-8 forward Patrick Williams. They also hired Billy Donovan as their new head coach, hoping he can import the successes he had in Oklahoma City. 

The Cleveland Cavaliers drafted Isaac Okoro with the fifth overall pick. The small forward’s debut preseason game was quite impressive. They also traded Jordan Bell and Alfonso McKinnie to the Lakers in exchange for Javale McGee, a move to solidify their frontcourt rotation. 

The Detroit Pistons’ roster saw a lot of overhaul. They lost their three best young players, Christian Wood, Luke Kennard and Bruce Brown, and signed a number of short term contracts, as well as paying $80 million for Jerami Grant and Mason Plumlee.

Coming off a disappointing playoff exit in the first round, the Indiana Pacers mainly stood still, with their biggest addition being new head coach Nate Bjorkgren. The Pacers hope that the current team can break though under a new voice.

The Miami Heat signed Moe Harkless and Avery Bradley, two players that could greatly improve their defense. They also re-signed All-Star Bam Adebayo, keeping him and Jimmy Butler together for the foreseeable future.

The Milwaukee Bucks gave up three first-round picks to the New Orleans and a pricey contract in exchange for Jrue Holiday. Superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo also resigned on a five year, $228 million contract.

The New York Knicks had a relatively quiet and sane offseason for once. Their biggest addition was drafting Obi Toppin with the eighth overall pick in the draft. They also signed veterans Austin Rivers and Alec Burks, giving them some depth while the young players hopefully develop.

The Orlando Magic had a very quiet offseason. extended the contracts of Michael Carter Williams and Gary Clark for two more years, and James Ennis for one more year. Their newest addition, Dwayne Bacon, is coming back after missing last season due to a torn ACL. 

The Philadelphia 76ers made no mistake trading Al Horford and Josh Richardson for Danny Green and Seth Curry, signing Dwight Howard with a minimum deal, and replacing former head coach Brett Brown with Doc Rivers.

The Toronto Raptors were able to re-sign their best free agent, Fred VanFleet, who reportedly had a couple other teams looking to grab him. But they took a pretty big hit after losing both their veteran centers, Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka.

The Washington Wizards took probably the riskiest move by trading both their previous franchise player, John Wall, as well as their first round pick for Russell Westbrook.

With all the offseason changes and COVID, this season is shaping up to be one of the craziest seasons in recent memory.