Philadelphia, PA — The new NBA season is here, and after four years of repetitive match-ups in four consecutive NBA Finals, with LeBron departing this summer from Cleveland Ohio, and then taking his talents to sunny L.A, having a new match-up in this upcoming NBA season’s NBA finals, is as close to a guarantee that you can have.
Most would agree, and would also agree this change is great for the game. This wasn’t the only change that took place, the allotment of NBA stars willing to all go and play with each other in the same destination, rather than compete against one another, has also changed.
Based on years’ past, wherever LeBron chose to take his talents, there was then many stars who chose to jump ship and join LeBron James. This past summer that wasn’t the case. Paul George, one of the stars around the league that was rumored to be joining the Los Angeles Lakers when his contract was up, chose to resign in Oklahoma City and remain with the Thunder.
During the Kawhi Leonard-Spurs fallout, there was reports through Espn, Bleacher and many other sources reporting Kawhi changed his mind to join the Lakers once he found out LeBron signed with the Lakers. This past week reports broke out about Jimmy Butler wanting to leave Minnesota, and he chose to dodge joining the Lakers, after the Lakers was one of his original choices, before he found out LeBron joined the Lakers.
This is three stars who chose to go elsewhere, rather than to form a super team with the self-proclaimed “King” of the NBA. There could be many reasons to explain stars recent change of heart to join LeBron. These stars may have come to the reality that the Warriors now control the fate of the Larry O’Brian trophy in the National Basketball Association, or these stars just simply want to dodge the LeBron drama and go their own paths.
Whatever the reason, the NBA has become more interesting, and the number of teams that became better happened with just one move; the move of LeBron James signing with the Lakers. With LeBron leaving the Eastern Conference, which Skip Bayless has on occasion called the “Leastern Conference”, has become wide open.
The Toronto Raptors adding Kawhi Leonard, along with Serge Ibaka, and Kyle Lowry, combined with the experience Kawhi Leonard gained as a member of the San Antonio Spurs championship years, will help a Raptors team that couldn’t get by LeBron James, finally get over the hump, especially with LeBron James no longer present.
Last season, even with Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward sidelined with major injuries, the Celtics made it all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals, and no other team could find an answer for the Celtics, other than LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Adding Kyrie and Hayward to a team that gained playoff experience, will make the Celtics even more formidable.
The Chicago Bulls will have their own story, as they brought in Jabari Parker, in his return home campaign. The Bulls will also have the expectations there with their young star Lauri Markkanen, and Zach Lavine with his first full training camp and season since being set-back with an ACL injury. Will he prove he’s worth 78 million dollars?
The Golden State Warriors added 4-time NBA All-star Demarcus Cousins. As if the Warriors needed an addition, the team is already dangerous, won an NBA title without Cousins, who averaged 25 points, 12 rebounds, and 5 assist last season. The Houston Rockets lost Trevor Ariza, who signed a 15-million deal to join the young and up and coming Phoenix Suns, who have a few young gems in Josh Jackson, Devin Booker, and last summer’s number 1 draft selection, Deandre Ayton.
The Rockets then picked up 10-time NBA All-star Carmelo Anthony. This after the Rockets were two games away from defeating the Golden State Warriors, and the Rockets still have the services of Chris Paul, Eric Gordon, and James Harden on their team. The Rockets will be a threat, the Oklahoma City Thunder aren’t going anywhere, and the Lakers with the addition of LeBron James will be a factor, because any team LeBron joins is at least playoff bound.
All of these moves to all of these different playing destinations say’s one thing, the NBA is back to being a fair league, where almost half of the teams around the league have legitimate potential to at least be competitive in their respective conferences, and there’s no guarantee in either conference, or at least one of those conferences.