The Biggest Storylines of the 2022 NBA Offseason


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By Ethan Pearce, Sports Editor


With the NBA Finals wrapping up last weekend, the offseason is now in full swing. Things move fast in the NBA, and just a week after the Golden State Warriors were crowned champions, the 2022 NBA Draft will be taking place at the Barclays Center in New York. Following the draft, free agency will open with the start of the new league year at the beginning of July.

There will be no shortage of movement and intrigue this offseason as all 30 teams look to position themselves for a run at the Larry O’Brien trophy. Here are the biggest storylines everyone is looking forward to this summer.

Zach LaVine

LaVine is one of the biggest stars set to hit free agency in a few days, and he has been linked to numerous teams. The Spurs, Lakers, Heat and Trail Blazers have all been floated as potential destinations for LaVine, but the majority of reports indicate he will be staying in Chicago. Good for the Bulls, as he was a huge part of their resurgence this season and is certainly worth the max contract he’s primed to earn.

Utah Jazz

The Utah Jazz are one of those teams stuck at a crossroads around this time of year. They’ve been a good playoff team for a number of years now, but have consistently failed to get over the hump and make it past the second round. Another disappointing season capped off with a first round playoff exit has fans wondering what the future looks like for this team.

Head coach Quin Snyder stepped down a few weeks ago, leaving the team leaderless. Major change is expected, but who will be on the move?

Rudy Gobert is the most often cited option for a trade this summer, and moving the former DPOY makes some sense. He’s owed a lot of money over the life of his contract, and it’s become clear that he simply cannot carry the defensive load all by himself. The Jazz need more perimeter defense and toughness to help out Gobert, and if they can’t get that, it may just be best to start over.

Donovan Mitchell should stick around, but if he ever requests a trade, it’s a doomsday scenario for Utah. I’d expect him to remain with the team until that happens, but at this rate, it could be any day now.

Outside of the two stars, the Jazz will surely make players like Mike Conley, Bojan Bogdanovic, Jordan Clarkson and Royce O’Neale available as they try to revamp their roster. They’re at a point where it’s clear that this team is not working, and some form of roster change is likely, if not completely necessary for them to even come close to competing next year.

Brooklyn Nets

Brooklyn was largely expected to be a perennial title contender since they signed Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving a few years ago, but that has not really been the case. Their Nets tenure has been marked by a two-year James Harden saga where they traded for him and then traded him away shortly after, Irving’s refusal to get the COVID-19 vaccine, injuries, more injuries and Ben Simmons refusing to play or being injured or maybe a bit of both.

Any way you slice it, the Nets have been a disappointment. They got swept in the first round this year and are now in the middle of reported contract drama with Irving, leaving his (and Durant’s) future with the team in question. Meanwhile, nearly all of their role players are free agents, no one is getting younger, and, oh yeah, they traded all their draft picks for a guy who isn’t on the team anymore. Other than that, things are going great!

The Nets need to have a perfect offseason to keep things in line. They’ll have to get better defensively, add more youthful legs and keep everyone happy in the process. No easy task. All eyes on Brooklyn.

Max or Not?

Things aren’t all sunshine and roses for that Harden guy I spoke about earlier, either. His new team, the Philadelphia 76ers, has a big choice to make when it comes to his next contract. Harden, as well as Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards, has a choice to pick up a player option on his contract next year. Harden and Beal are both in similar situations with their respective teams: opt out and try to sign a long term deal now, or kick the can down the road by opting in and figuring it out next summer.

You can make an argument that the Sixers and Wizards would be making a mistake by signing Harden or Beal to long term money. Both players have dealt with injury, inconsistency and are not getting any younger. Should either of these teams lock themselves into $200 million or more in guaranteed money for an aging shooting guard with health concerns?

If either player gets his preferred contract turned down, is there another team out there willing to give them what they want? Time will tell, but it’ll be one hell of a staring contest between the two sides come July.


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