A couple of Sundays ago, I wrote about how the balance of the NBA was likely to shift according to all the rumors and reports that was surrounding free agency.
Indeed, the start of free agency gave a glimpse of how the NBA would shift.
It started with the Boston Celtics getting Kemba Walker, while the Brooklyn Nets would grab Kyrie Irving.
Soon Kevin Durant would announce his departure from Golden State to join Irving in Brooklyn, where he will rehab his Achillies for the upcoming season.
To respond, Golden State pulled off a sign-and-trade for the budding D’Angelo Russell and resigned Klay Thompson, who will be recovering from an ACL tear he suffered during the NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors.
Jimmy Butler signed with the Miami Heat, Al Horford left Boston to go to the Philadelphia 76ers, the Utah Jazz improved by getting Michael Conley in a trade from the Memphis Grizzlies and then grabbed wing Bojan Bogdanovic.
The Los Angeles Lakers traded for the best big man in the game in Anthony Davis, who will fit snuggly alongside LeBron James, they signed three-and-d wing Danny Green, who has won two championships — one with the San Antonio Spurs and one with the Raptors.
The Lakers also added a good big man when healthy in DeMarcus Cousins.
The New York Knicks made their fans quite upset by signing a bunch of guys that play the same position in former Razorback Bobby Portis, Taj Gibson, Julius Randle and Marcus Morris.
But, the balance really came when Kawhi Leonard went back home and signed not with the Lakers, but with the Los Angeles Clippers.
With him joined Paul George from the Oklahoma City Thunder for a bunch of draft picks.
Thus, left Russell Westbrook again as the seemingly lone Thunder player that could make a difference for the franchise.
But, as expected Westbrook was traded to Houston to join his former backcourt mate James Harden with the Rockets for a ton of draft picks and Chris Paul, who is likely not going to stay in OKC.
The Western Conference, which has seemed like the NBA’s powerhouse conference for years continued to get stronger with several teams that could vy for a championship out west.
The Clippers, Lakers, Warriors, Blazers, Jazz, Nuggets and Rockets all seem poised to make a run at the Larry O’Brien trophy from the West, while the Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers seem like the only strong candidates for the upcoming season until Durant returns from injury.
For now, the age of building superteams is over and instead it’s become forming strong duos and trying to win a title.
In Houston, you have Westbrook and Harden, with the Lakers it’s James-Davis, with the Clippers it’s Leonard-George, with the Nets it’s Durant-Irving, with the Blazers it’s Damien Lillard and CJ McCollum.
This is while teams like the Jazz, Nuggets, Bucks, 76ers and others are trying for more team oriented builds that feature one star or a solid lineup that could cause problems at all positions on the floor.
And, other teams could make runs toward the playoffs that may not look like they are capable now.
For the first time in quite a while, I’m excited about the NBA season even though my favorite team Chicago Bulls are taking steps forward in their rebuild to possibly push for the playoffs this year.
Andy Robertson is the sports editor of the Log Cabin Democrat.