No other offseason forces you to constantly refresh Twitter like the NBA does. Between the eye emojis, the Woj-bombs and the pictures of Kawhi at the mall, there is always something to talk about even when no one is actually playing. To help make sense of what was one of the wilder offseasons in recent memory, I dove into some of the biggest moves that helped shake up the NBA landscape to truly decide which one was the craziest.
4. DAVID GRIFFIN AND CLEVELAND PART WAYS
Griffin was essential to crafting the team that ended Cleveland’s 52-year title drought. Since being promoted to General Manager in 2014, Griffin swung trades for Kevin Love and JR Smith and served as a mediator between Lebron James and the Cavalier’s owner, Dan Gilbert.
But maybe we shouldn’t have been as shocked as we initially were. Cleveland has never re-signed a GM under Gilbert’s ownership. Apparently winning doesn’t fix everything.
3. THE ISAIAH THOMAS-KYRIE IRVING SWAP
At first glance it seems crazy to have this deal so low. After all, there had never been a trade where two contending teams flipped two high profile players of this magnitude before. However, once Kyrie Irving made it publicly known that he wanted out of Cleveland, this trade made perfect sense for both franchises.
Cleveland is bringing back a superior roster to last year’s squad in what might be a final appeal for Lebron to retire as a Cavalier. Thomas is a minor downgrade as point guard, but adding Jae Crowder, a quality role player who can also defend Durant, and Ante Žižić, a big man who isn’t Larry Sanders, puts Cleveland in a better position to challenge the Golden State Warriors than they were in during June.
If Lebron does head for greener pastures out West, then the Cavaliers will be able to start their rebuild with what should be a great pick in this year’s draft, while also not having to give Thomas the max contract he is looking for.
Meanwhile, the Celtics stay competitive in the present while also preparing themselves better for the future. Irving is only 25 and is under contract for the next two years. Pairing Irving with Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown helps the Celtics prepare for the post-Lebron era better than “backing up the brinks truck” for Isaiah Thomas ever would.
2. THUNDER RECEIVE GEORGE FOR OLADIPO AND SABONIS
Even if they only got Victor Oladipo’s contract off the books, most people would have chalked up the Thunder’s offseason as a win. Not only did they do that, they received a four-time all-star for their trouble.
Indiana’s saving grace is that George might still be dead set on joining the Lakers next year; but even if he does, getting a year-long chance to change his mind is more than worth what the Thunder gave up.
Westbrook now has a new running mate to help fill the void Kevin Durant left behind. If he sticks around, Oklahoma City might be back to title contention sooner rather than later.
1. BULLS TRADE BUTLER TO MINNESOTA
Over two months later and this trade still doesn’t make a lick of sense. Butler is a three-time all-star under contract for the next two years on a very team-friendly deal. Unlike George, Butler isn’t likely to jump to Los Angeles at the closest opportunity. Butler is going to be reunited with head coach Tom Thibodeau, rekindling a love affair that goes all the way back to 2011. With Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins alongside him, Butler can help bring the Wolves back to the playoffs and keep them there.
What did the Bulls get in return for this potential franchise centerpiece? Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and Lauri Markkanen. LaVine is fresh off a torn ACL, Dunn already has the makings of a bust and while Markannen might turn in to something, this isn’t a haul you would expect for an All-NBA player.
And the Bulls also gave up a first round pick. It’s trades like these that make me believe I can still be a GM someday.
Bryan Lambert is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org He tweets @OfficialBrett.