Last year’s NBA season has come to an end and it’s time to turn the page to a brand new season of basketball. The intense rivalry between the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers that started in the 2015 NBA Finals and has existed as a personal battle between Lebron James and what feels like every other star in the NBA — because you know they all play for the Warriors — is over, and there are no clear heir to the Cavs’ dynasty in the East. After a long offseason, preseason games have started and the regular season is right around the corner — the first games tip off on October 16.
The theme of this year’s offseason was simple: change. The biggest story was obviously Lebron’s move to the L.A. Lakers, but a slew of other big names will be donning unfamiliar jerseys once the season starts. DeMarcus Cousins has just signed with — guess who? — the Golden State Warriors. Steph Curry seemed elated to have yet another All-Star in Oakland when he welcomed Boogie via Twitter over the summer.
The Warriors are looking formidable, as usual, with the strongest starting five — Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and DeMarcus Cousin (when he returns to full health from an Achilles injury) — and beaucoups of talent available off the bench.
Now to Lebron. He and Lakers’ general manager/team legend Magic Johnson are intent on bringing back the “Lakeshow” to the NBA’s preeminent franchise. The additions of other players like Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson, JaVale McGee and Michael Beasley will surely make an impact as well, but nothing like what King James can bring. Kyle Kuzma looks to make a leap in his sophomore season after a strong performance last season as a rookie, and Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart are also young guns looking to make a jump. The good news for the Lakers is that they have 82 games to figure things out so long as they can squeak into the playoffs. Regular season performance is irrelevant in the NBA, and the real questions will only be answered once the Lakers and Warriors face off in the playoffs.
Elsewhere in the NBA
The Miami Heat roster stays the same with star players such as Hassan Whiteside and Goran Dragic returning in addition to the last hurrah for Dwayne Wade in South Beach.
The Phoenix Suns picked Arizona forward Deandre Ayton with the first overall pick in the draft and will look to team him up with the newly recruited Mikal Bridges and Trevor Ariza, as well as star guard Devin Booker, to try and turn around a struggling franchise.
The Dallas Maverick picked up Slovenien star Luka Doncic in the draft and signed DeAndre Jordan away from the L.A. Clippers in free agency.
The Memphis Grizzlies obtained Jaren Jackson Jr., Jevon Carter, and Kyle Anderson.
The Atlanta Hawks got Trae Young out of Oklahoma via a trade with the Mavs, and he’ll look to make an immediate impact in a wide open Eastern Conference.
The Orlando Magic got big man Mo Bamba in the draft, and they’ll look to build around the seven-foot behemoth.
The Charlotte Hornets picked up Tony Parker after a long stint with the Spurs, and he’ll look to combine with Kemba Walker to try and make Michael Jordan some more money.
The San Antonio Spurs made a blockbuster trade with the Toronto Raptors over the summer to get rid of an injury-plagued Kawhi Leonard — who refused to play for the Spurs in the latter half of last season — in exchange for DeMar DeRozan
The NBA regular season kicks off on Tuesday, October 16 with Philadelphia traveling to Boston for a matchup with Kyrie Irving and the Celtics before the defending champs host Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Bay Area. With a lot of changes to teams around the league, this season is shaping up to be an intriguing one — even if the Warriors are going to win again.