For us, NBA megafans now is the worst time of the year. There’s no basketball to watch! No 360 windmill dunks to make our jaws drop, no Shaqtin a Fool to make us laugh, no potential game-winning shots to hold us in suspense.
What are we to do? How will we survive?
Simple; talk about major player movement.
With their current lineup, the Warriors look set to dominate the NBA landscape at least for the next few seasons. They simply have too much firepower for anyone to keep up. Steph Curry and Kevin Durant were unstoppable by themselves, and together they nearly swept through the entire playoffs.
The Warriors have created an arms race. The only way people are going to beat them is to outmatch them. The stars have to align and join each other to form another superteam that can keep up with Golden State.
Here are my top five players that look set to be on the move this offseason.
5. Jordan Clarkson - LA Lakers
Unless you have no eyes and ears you will have heard of Lonzo and LaVar Ball. The highly anticipated prospect out of UCLA looks set to be Laker come this year’s NBA draft. Whether or not he lives up to the hype is yet to be seen.
Should the Lakers decide to go with Ball then that leaves a serious question about what to do with their current backcourt of D’Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson. Both are young talented guards with good playmaking ability. If the Lakers are to go all in on Lonzo Ball then either Russell or Clarkson has to go.
My money’s on Clarkson.
Russell can play either at the one or the two which means he could more easily fit alongside the pass-first Lonzo Ball. Clarkson is older than Russell, a worse shooter and has much lower potential.
4. Ricky Rubio - Minnesota Timberwolves
I love watching Ricky Rubio play. His vision and passing abilities are some of the best in the league and his up-tempo style makes him a very exciting player to watch. But the man can’t shoot into a swimming pool let alone a basketball net. Rubio’s career field goal percentage is 37.5%. He is no threat on offense to score and oppositions regularly just leave him open.
The Timberwolves have the best young core in the NBA. Towns is just a straight up beast, Wiggins is slowly but surely living up to his potential and assuming his injury doesn’t derail his career Zach LaVine looks like a stud as well.
If the Wolves are to finally make the playoffs then they have to ditch Rubio for a more potent scoring PG. Otherwise, they will be stuck in mediocrity like they have been for the last decade.
3. Kevin Love - Cleveland Cavaliers
LeBron James is going to be 33 next season, it is the beginning of the end for what has been one of the most entertaining and intriguing careers that sports has seen. The King will be in a mad rush to add as much to his resume as possible in the little time he has left.
As it stands, Cleveland is no match for Golden-State. They were just dominated 4-1 in this year’s Finals and the Warriors look set to improve next year with more team chemistry and less pressure on their shoulders.
If Cleveland wants to have any chance of beating the Warriors in a best of 7 series then they need to make some major moves, starting with Kevin Love.
I like Love a lot, he’s a great shooter, good rebounder and his outlet passes are something to behold, but he is not a big game player. In the Finals, he only shot 38.8% from the field. That simply isn’t going to cut it against KD, Steph and Co.
Love is still only 28 and has a lot of trade value. It’s time the Cavs realized that in order to get back on top they need a player who won’t shrink in the moment.
2. Jimmy Butler - Chicago Bulls
Injuries played a huge part in this year’s playoffs. The Spurs were 76-55 up on the Warriors in game 1 of the Western Conference Finals and it looked like the series was going to be very intense. Then Kawhi got Zazaed and the Warriors went on to sweep the Spurs.
Another series where an injury decided the series was the first round matchup between the Boston Celtics and the Chicago Bulls. The Celtics as the one seed were expected to have no trouble with the 8th seed Bulls, but to everyone’s astonishment, the Bulls won games 1 AND 2 in Boston.
The Celtics were being out hustled and overpowered by Jimmy Butler, Rajon Rondo and Dwayne Wade. Then Rondo went down with a thumb injury in game 2 and then the Celtics went on to win the next four games.
Although Rondo’s injury was the reason why the Bulls lost, Jimmy Butler was the best player in that series. He’s a terrific two-way player just entering his prime and looks set to be a multiple All-Star for the next 5-6 years.
But his time in Chicago is up.
The Bulls have already hit their ceiling with this team and can only get worse. This along with the tensions between Butler and the Bull’s front office make it ever more likely that we see him on the move this summer.
He’s an extremely attractive prospect who can push several teams into serious championship contention.
1. Carmelo Anthony - New York Knicks
Please, please, please can someone get Melo out of New York!? The Knicks are a walking disaster and are in serious contention for the worst run franchise in the league. Their team has been a joke since the 90s and is just an embarrassment.
Phil Jackson has repeatedly gone to the press to say negative things about Carmelo when Phil himself has done a disastrous job at making the Knicks competitive outside of drafting Porzingis.
Melo isn’t a good defender, and at times he can ruin the Knicks offense with his isolation play, but he played his heart out last year even when the spoilt Knicks fans booed at his face.
It just feels like destiny that Melo and LeBron, two stars of the 2003 NBA draft, should play together at the end of their careers. As mentioned above, Love looks set to be on the trading block this offseason. A straight trade of these two players makes a lot of sense and would bring fresh hope and vigor to the disheartened Anthony.