The 2018 NBA Free Agency started on July 1. NBA fans all over the country have been incessantly refreshing Adrien Wojnarowski’s and Shams Charania’s Twitter feed since then. Every fan wants to know how this NBA Free Agency will affect their favorite team’s chances next season and in those to come. FanWide will have you covered during the season with game watch parties once the season begins. Below you will find detailed explanations of some major offseason moves thus far so you can prepare yourself for the 2018-2019 NBA season.
LeBron Moves to LA…and Brings a Crew With Him.
The Los Angeles Lakers have made the most Free Agency signings of any team this summer. Most notably, LeBron James signed a 4-year $154 million contract with LA. Shortly after, Magic Johnson and the rest of the Laker front office brought in a supporting cast for James including veteran point guard Rajon Rondo, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, former nemesis Lance Stephenson, and JaVale McGee. Not to mention the Lakers already have talented young guys in LA already like Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, and Brandon Ingram who can learn a lot from the veteran players the Lakers brought in. Lebron will certainly have a better team than he did in Cleveland. But will he have a better chance at winning a ring? Probably not. The already talented Western Conference only shifted up a gear once LeBron arrived. LeBron’s Lakers will have to work extremely hard to oust strong teams like the Warriors and Rockets before playing in the NBA Finals. With LeBron the only current All-Star on the roster, on paper, the Lakers look no better than third best in the West. But who knows? We have all witnessed LeBron’s teams do miraculous things.
Paul George Pledges Allegiance to OKC
The first news of 2018 NBA Free Agency was Paul George choosing to stay with Oklahoma City Thunder. It was rumored that he’d link up with LeBron in George’s hometown of Los Angeles and push for a ring but he chose to stay loyal to Oklahoma City. When George re-signed with the Thunder, and the rumors about him joining LeBron were proven false, it was the first indication to the NBA world that this NBA offseason would bring on the unexpected. After the departure of two MVPs in James Harden and Kevin Durant in recent years, securing Paul George was something the city and Thunder fans needed. Also, it proves that small market NBA teams can still attract top free agents. Check out this previous FanWide blog post on how departing superstars effect team fan-bases. Fans will be hoping that Russell Westbrook and Paul George can create a dangerous one-two punch and bring something home for the city. With the departure of Carmelo Anthony looming, both George and Westbrook will have a lot more room and freedom to create a new chemistry on the court with each other this season.
DeMarcus Cousins Redefines “Super Team”
The Golden State Warriors caused the biggest and most widespread shock to NBA fans in 2018 NBA Free Agency. Going into July 1st, the Warriors were supposed to re-sign Kevin Durant and that would be about it. But, when the Lakers signed LeBron, the Warriors must have felt threatened for the top spot in the West. The next biggest Free Agent on the market was DeMarcus Cousins. Financials aside, it made sense for the Warriors. Their main center, JaVale McGee had just signed with the Lakers. They needed a replacement. The Warriors could entice Cousins with the possibility of winning a ring and majority minutes at the center position. However, could the Warriors really afford to pay five all-stars? In theory, no they could not. But, because Cousins agreed to a significant pay cut, the Warriors were able to make it work. DeMarcus Cousins signed a 1-year deal for just $5.3 million. Cousins reportedly turned down a 2-year $40 million contract to re-sign with the New Orleans Pelicans. Clearly, Cousins valued that elusive NBA Championship over the money. When news broke that Boogie was headed to the Bay Area, the NBA community reacted immediately, especially other NBA players. Many tweets by NBA players called for some intervention from the NBA front office. After all, that’s what happened when the Lakers tried to join Chris Paul with Kobe Bryant in 2011.
In all this community uproar, one key thing seems to be forgotten. This past February, DeMarcus Cousins tore his Achilles. Cousins is not expected to return to the court until February of 2019. So, the Warriors will play with a similar roster to the 2017-18 season for much of the 2018-19 season. Even though they still have a ridiculous amount of talent in Durant, Curry, Thompson, and Green, they’ve shown the league that they are not invincible after being pushed to seven games in the 2018 Western Conference Finals by the Rockets. Additionally, Cousins personality might not mesh with the current Warrior team. In Cousins’ career, we’ve seen him act out on the court. Perhaps adding a player like Cousins into a successful team, especially in the middle of the season, could prove to be the downfall of the Warriors. We’ve seen it in the past. Last season, Isaiah Thomas debuted with the Cavs returning from a hip injury midseason. He was shipped out to LA after just 15 games right before the 2018 trade deadline. For the 2012-13 season, the LA Lakers thought they had assembled a super team of their own by bringing in Steve Nash and Dwight Howard to play with Kobe Bryant. Their playing styles did not mesh and their championship hopes barely amounted to a playoff berth. Furthermore, maybe the outcome of the 2018-19 season is not as predetermined as fans are making it out to be. At the very least, no team is going to submit to the Warriors just because of their roster on paper. They will surely make Golden State earn their “threepeat.”
Elsewhere in the NBA
Other Free Agency and offseason storylines include budding star Devin Booker getting a 5-year $158 million contract extension, Carmelo Anthony opting to leave Oklahoma City, and Kawhi Leonard not being traded yet. With many talented Free Agents still on the market and Kahwi still on the Spurs, this NBA offseason is anything but over. After these blockbuster moves though, Las Vegas’ odds have certainly been shaken up. See table below for odds: (Click here to see the full table of all NBA teams’ odds)
|Odds to win 2018-19 NBA Title Before Free Agency|
|Golden State Warriors||5-to-4|
|San Antonio Spurs||25-to-1|
|Odds to win 2018-19 NBA Title As of July 6|
|Golden State Warriors||4-to-7|
|Los Angeles Lakers||5-to-1|
This NBA season, when you want to watch the new player your team signed this offseason, surrounded by fans at a local restaurant or bar. Checkout FanWide for where to enjoy the game this upcoming NBA season.