Basketball isn’t played on paper so it’s difficult to truly assess the big winners of this NBA offseason, but we’ll do it anyway.
There are several teams who have made smart acquisitions to improve for next season and can be happy with the decisions they’ve made.
With most rosters now taking shape for the 2018-19 campaign, here are the biggest winners so far:
Oklahoma City Thunder
General manager Sam Presti has worked his magic again. His huge gamble to trade for Paul George last summer paid off as they convinced him to re-sign with the franchise in free agency and change his mind about returning home to Los Angeles.
This was a major coup for OKC after the departure of Kevin Durant in 2016 and it shows that they are more than capable of attracting marquee free agents despite being in a small market.
As well as PG, the addition of athletic big man Nerlens Noel on a cheap contract could prove to be an important pick up if he can provide a spark off the bench.
But another major move by the Thunder saw them offload Carmelo Anthony’s $28.9 million contract without having to buy him out.
They secured a trade with the Atlanta Hawks to get him off the books and somehow managed to acquire a quality back up point guard in Dennis Schroder in the process.
Presti and the OKC front office can pat themselves on the back for a productive summer.
Two key offseason additions will see the Mavs become dark horses for a playoff spot next season.
The trade with the Hawks to acquire the draft rights to exciting young European prospect Luka Doncic could prove to be a stroke of genius in the long term.
The Slovenian enters the NBA after winning multiple MVP honours in the Euroleague last year and leading Real Madrid to the championship.
At just 19, he was dominating experienced pros in Europe and there is a real anticipation about what he can produce in the NBA.
Along with Doncic, the Mavericks landed All-Star center DeAndre Jordan three years after he reneged on a deal with them.
The veteran is still a double-double machine and one of the best bigs in the league. Dallas should show a marked improvement next season.
Los Angeles Lakers
If you manage to add the world’s best player to your team, it’s impossible to leave you off this list.
That’s exactly what the Lakers did as they pulled off the biggest free agent signing of the summer by landing LeBron James.
Convincing the King to bring his talents to California means the purple and gold are the biggest winners.
Not only did they bring James on board, they locked him up to a four-year deal.
This immediately elevates the Lakers from a young, up and coming team to playoff contenders.
Their moves after capturing LeBron – including Lance Stephenson, JaVale McGee and Michael Beasley – may be curious, to say the least, but the presence of LBJ still means it’s a great summer for L.A.
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