NBA Offseason Recap

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The draft board and stage pre draft. (Photo by Brent Soderberg | CC BY 2.0)

By Sean Overton, Sports Writer

 

Every year millions of fans tune in to watch the NBA, but many of them underestimate the power of free agency. Teams can acquire players in a few ways: drafting them, signing them or trading for them. All three of these methods are demonstrated in the NBA offseason, and they are all important for teams.

While NBA teams usually have their mind set on a player heading into the draft, trades and signings can vastly change the direction of the team. Salt Lake’s very own Utah Jazz have made big moves this offseason.

The Jazz traded three time Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert to the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for four first-round picks and one pick swap, as well as five solid rotation players. While the Jazz are giving up the centerpiece of their defense, additional picks will give their team a large advantage throughout the next couple years.

The Jazz gave up an immediate impact player for more potential in the future. Many teams will do the opposite of this, giving up developing players and picks for a “win-now” mentality. The Boston Celtics, who made it to the NBA Finals this previous season, are looking to raise their ceiling.

Celtics gave up five rotation players, including Daniel Theis, and a 2023 first-round pick for Malcom Brogdon. Brogdon recorded a 50/40/90% season on the Pacers, and will be a great addition to the Celtics.

The Jazz made another trade that flew under the radar, trading SF Royce O’Neale to the Nets for a 2023 first-round pick. Further evidence that the Jazz are focusing all of their attention on rebuilding the team.

Many trades are expected before the offseason, and many rumors come far before the trades are actually completed. Other trades are completely unexpected, shocking the NBA world.

One of these shocking trades was the Spurs giving the Hawks Dejounte Murray for three first-round picks and a first-round swap. The Spurs may be looking to join the draft lottery in hopes of drafting seven-foot-three Victor Wembanyama.

Along with the offseason comes the opportunity for players to sign new contracts. Only two players in NBA history have ever signed contracts worth $250 million, Nikola Jokić and Bradley Beal. Both of those contracts have come in this offseason, with Jokić having the largest contract ever in total value and average annual value.

Many developing players have also expanded their contracts. Ja Morant, Zion Williamson and Darius Garland have signed Designate Rookie Extensions worth $193 million. All of these contracts span over five years, and may potentially reach $231 million.

But these large contracts can also hurt an NBA franchise. Many teams find themselves crossing the luxury tax line in the offseason, forcing them to pay additional money.

Twelve teams this year have crossed the luxury tax line, and the money that they pay will be dispersed among the teams who stayed below the line. The Golden State Warriors currently have the largest luxury tax bill, sitting over $150 million.

Despite the Jazz trading Gobert, they have failed to bring on many free agents, signing just two this offseason. While they still sit below the luxury tax line, only time will tell how the Jazz plan to restructure this team.

 

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@SeanOverton3