For most people, the NBA Finals are the most exciting part of the NBA season. To no surprise, the 2017 NBA Finals was a rubber match between the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Warriors had a historic playoff run winning their first 15 playoff games and defeating the Cavaliers 4-1 in the series to bring home another Larry O’Brien trophy.
This leads into arguably the 2nd most exciting part of the NBA season, Free Agency. Last free agency period the Golden State Warriors added Kevin Durant, this year’s MVP in the finals, to their roster and shook up the NBA landscape. Free Agency begins July 1st at midnight and teams are desperate to acquire big name stars to put them in the top tier with the Cavaliers and Warriors.
This free agency period will be centered around Gordon Hayward and Blake Griffin. The Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, Miami Heat, Minnesota Timberwolves, Philadelphia 76ers, and Phoenix Suns are teams with a large amount of cap space this off-season which will allow them to chase after top talent. Names like Kyle Lowry and Paul Millsap will gain a lot of attention once Hayward and Griffin agree to deals or once teams realize they are no longer in the running to sign either of them.
This free agency period will be tough on teams looking to find a franchise player to build around but it’s a great year to find a #2 or #3 option. The NBA is turning more and more into a top heavy league that is dominated by teams with 3 or more top tier players. The most interesting moves will most likely be made by the Boston Celtics. The Celtics finished 1st in the East this past season and are hoping to reunite Gordon Hayward with his former coach Brad Stevens. If the Celtics can complete this transaction, look for them to become a lot more competitive and potentially stop LeBron James from reaching his 8th straight NBA Finals.
Overall only a few teams realistically can become a threat for the championship through free agency but look for a lot of names to move around. Even if teams cannot knock off the Warriors or Cavaliers, there is a lot to gain this offseason and the talent is deep enough to change a lot of franchises’ playoff chances.
Although it is viewed as the 2nd most exciting time off the year, last year’s ordeal showed that Free Agency plays a large role in creating the excitement around the NBA Finals. Each team’s quest for the Larry O’Brien trophy in 2018 begins July 1st, 2017 at midnight.