Every year, between the NBA finals in June and the beginning of the preseason in October, basketball fans are forced to suffer.
SportsCenter essentially becomes an endless feed of Baseball Tonight episodes, and the daily top-10 plays almost seem like the same thing over and over.
However, it’s not all bad for these fans of the hard court, as there are a few high points to keep them sane and satiated throughout the summer.
There’s the ESPY awards every July (two hours of heaven for any true sports fan) and there’s the NBA draft and the Summer League, which provide some excitement showing off the league’s new young talent.
The absolute high point of the offseason for any NBA fan though are the first couple weeks of free agency, a small window of time that can make or break a team’s future. After years of preparation, teams get their chance to reshape their rosters and hopefully reel in some of the league’s top talent.
Recent off-seasons have not disappointed. In 2010, we were all witnesses to the infamous “Decision,” where after months of speculation, LeBron James told the world he would be taking his talents to the Miami Heat along with Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade.
2011 was hell on earth for NBA fans as a lockout extended the offseason an extra two months. Laker fans however will forever remember it as the year of the infamous David Stern veto, a decision that sent Chris Paul across the hall to the Clippers locker room instead of the Lakers.’
2012 was the year of the “Dwightmare,” when after months of flip-flopping, Dwight Howard miraculously ended up in a Laker uniform along with Steve Nash, beginning one of the most disappointing seasons in sports history.
The 2013 offseason has already seen multiple blockbuster deals reshape the entire NBA landscape.
The first blockbuster came from the Celtics, who shipped off Head Coach Doc Rivers to the Clippers to replace Vinny del Negro, while Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce were sent to the Brooklyn Nets to form one of the strongest starting lineups in basketball.
The most anticipated move of the off-season came soon after, and for the second straight offseason it involved Dwight Howard.
After a dreadful season with the Lakers, the one they call Superman chose to leave and join James Harden and the Houston Rockets. The move will surely add to the league’s newest rivalry between the Rockets and Harden’s old team, the Oklahoma City Thunder. The two young teams are set to dominate the western conference for years to come.
Golden State made moves to acquire Andre Iguodala from the Nuggets, adding a leadership presence to another young, rising western conference team.
The Clippers didn’t stop after acquiring their new head coach, sending away Caron Butler and glorified backup point guard Eric Bledsoe to Phoenix for Jared Dudley and JJ Redick.
Cleveland wasn’t able to fulfill Dan Gilbert’s promise of winning a championship before LeBron James did, but they might be headed in the right direction after signing former Laker center Andrew Bynum. Along with Kyrie Irving, Cleveland may have the best point guard-center combination in recent years.
There were a few surprising moves by some of this year’s high profile free agents, starting with Josh Smith, Brandon Jennings and Chauncey Billups joining the Detroit Pistons. Monta Ellis signed with the Dallas Mavericks, Al Jefferson left Utah to join the Charlotte Bobcats, and OJ Mayo joined the Milwaukee Bucks coming off his best year yet.
New Orleans, in their first year being known as the “Pelicans,” may also be a team on the rise after acquiring guards Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evans in separate deals.
Other than the Celtics, the NBA’s glory franchises have made only small adjustments to their teams.
The Heat have stayed basically the same, with their biggest move being the re-signing of “The Birdman” Chris Andersen.
New York moved some pieces around to acquire center Andrea Bargnani from the Raptors, while also re-signing J.R. Smith and guard Pablo Prigioni.
The Lakers have moved on from the Dwight Howard saga and have made small one-year signings, including guard Nick Young and center Chris Kaman. With Steve Nash being the only contract on the books for the 2014-15 season, the Lakers are positioning themselves to bring in a star like Carmelo Anthony next summer to take the torch from the great Kobe Bryant.
With that, nearly all of the offseason’s biggest moves are likely done. Fans will now go back to counting the days until they can see their team’s newly adjusted rosters in action.
Just two more months and normalcy shall return. Heat fans will continue to enjoy dominance, Thunder fans will be hungry to get back to the finals, Laker fans will be pretentious as always and Bulls fans… Well, Bulls fans will probably continue to wait for Derrick Rose to come back. Good old NBA.
This story is an online exclusive and did not appear in the print edition of The Daily Nexus.
Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia.org.