The NBA offseason has been bananas so far. Chris Paul has gone to Houston, Butler to Minnesota, Russell to Brooklyn, and now George to the Thunder. The NBA has become a circus focused on what move the Cavaliers will make to oust the Warriors. Now, the Cavaliers do not have to make a desperation move this offseason, only focus on Golden State.
The Celtics are clearly the only team that will “challenge” Cleveland in the east. Not even a month after that series ended, two top players the Celtics pursued end up going west. The Celtics have made it clear that they will keep their picks.
George and Butler going west only means the Cavaliers’ cake walk will be even smoother. The Cavs have the highest payroll in the league, making free agent signings difficult. Paul George going to Oklahoma City gives Cleveland an entire year to trade Kevin Love, JR Smith, or Iman Shumpert to clear cap space for a Paul George pursuit in 2018.
The NBA 2017-18 season is now over, nobody is touching the Warriors or Cavaliers. Last season, the Cavaliers spent their whole season focusing more on resting more than seeding. Now, the regular season has gotten easier for Cleveland, two of the top five players in the east have now gone west.
As far as the trades are concerned, it does not change the landscape in the Western Conference. The Warriors are still king by a mile, the Wolves & Thunder will not change that. However, now that the Wolves, Rockets, Spurs, and Thunder have good depth, they could push Golden State to 6/7 games. The Warriors will not be beat by the west, but these teams could wear them down.
This can bode well for LeBron’s future. If they traded for Paul George by dealing Love, and then lost George, that could have resulted in LeBron leaving. Cleveland’s core is still intact, giving them a year to re-tool. LeBron won’t have second thoughts now.