As the years go by it becomes harder to predict the way a season goes. Prior to the season, a large group of NBA fans thought this past NBA Finals would feature the Los Angeles Lakers vs. the Brooklyn Nets. Fast forward to today, neither of the two franchises won a playoff game this season. Instead, we saw a Finals matchup between two teams who had all the talent in the world to get to the Finals, but that talent wasn't a big enough eye-opener to the world of the NBA, who didn’t really predict a Celtics vs. Warriors matchup.
And with the way this past season went, it’s only fitting that we get an even crazier offseason, right? Well, let’s take a look at the potential moves that could very well happen in this year’s NBA offseason.
Deandre Ayton on the move?
After the Phoenix Suns made it back to the NBA Finals in 2021 for the first time since 1993, it looked like this Suns’ team, with the trio of Chris Paul, Devin Booker, and Deandre Ayton was going to be good for years to come. That doesn’t seem as likely now due to talks buzzing around the league that the big man in Phoenix has played his last game with the Suns.
After Phoenix surprisingly didn’t extend Ayton’s contract last summer and don’t view him as a max-level player, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, it’s apparent that Ayton will move elsewhere.
Two teams that were linked to pursuing Ayton the heaviest were the Detroit Pistons and the Atlanta Hawks. It was reported by NBA Correspondent, Marc Stein, that Ayton would embrace playing for the Pistons and with Cade Cunningham, but after Detroit’s outstanding performance in the NBA Draft, it is less likely that the Pistons will still pursue Ayton, who was emerging as the frontrunner to land the big man.
I’m also hearing the San Antonio Spurs possibly making an attempt to go after Ayton, a team who needs a center to potentially pair up with all-star point guard Dejounte Murray.
Kyrie Irving - LeBron James reunion?
Kyrie Irving has been shaking up the league ever since he and Kevin Durant did it in 2020 by teaming up and joining the Brooklyn Nets. Once that happened, they immediately became NBA Champion favorites across the league. Now, after just two seasons of playing with each other, and zero championships, ‘scary hours’ in Brooklyn look like they’re coming to an end.
After Irving sat out half the year after his decision to not get the mandatory COVID-19 vaccination in the state of New York, the Nets and Irving haven’t been able to reach anything close to an agreement in contract talks, as Irving wants more money. It is expected that Irving will opt into the final year of his contract and find a new team via sign-and-trade, the Athletic’s Shams Charania reported.
ESPN’S Wojnarowski reported the team’s that are atop Irving’s wishlist in a sign-and-trade situation; The Lakers, the Clippers, the Mavericks, the Knicks, the Heat, and the 76ers. It was also reported that those teams are just a wishlist for Irving, and that the actual only team on that list who has serious mutual interest is the Lakers.
Now, I wasn’t going to include this situation in this article because it felt too good to be true, but now that talks between Irving and the Nets are going nowhere, it is very possible we could see Irving in a Lakers uniform back with his old Cavaliers teammate, LeBron James. I, on the other hand, expect Irving to be in a Brooklyn Nets uniform next season.
Jalen Brunson possibly linked to the New York Knicks
Jalen Brunson is coming off the best year of his NBA career. This past season Brunson averaged 21.6 PPG, 4,6 RPG, and 3.7 APG, and even led Dallas to a couple of playoff wins in Luka Doncic’s absence. With the way Brunson showcased his talents this past season, it alerted the league and the fans that maybe Brunson can lead his own team and become a star.
One team that is aggressively pursuing Brunson is the New York Knicks, according to Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer. In the NBA Draft, the Knicks traded away their #11 overall pick and also moved Kemba Walker and newly drafted Jalen Duren to the Detroit Pistons so that they can free up some cap space to be able to offer Brunson a huge deal, probably in the $100-million range. They also just hired his father and former NBA guard, Rick Brunson, to become an assistant coach with the organization.
If the Brunson to the Knicks thing never happens, I fully expect Brunson to re-sign with the Dallas Mavericks and help them make a run back to the Western Conference Finals, and hopefully seek out an NBA Championship.
Bradley Beal saying peace to D.C.?
Bradley Beal is one of the best players in the league. The three-time NBA all-star averages 22.1 PPG, 4.2 APG, and 4.1 RPG. This past season he averaged 23.2 PPG, 6.6 APG, and 4.7 RPG for the Washington Wizards. Beal can hoop, but the agenda he has is that he can’t win… in Washington. Since Beal’s arrival when he was drafted there in 2012, the Wizards have made the playoffs five times, all resulting in either a first-round or second-round exit. The last time the organization made it past the second round of the playoffs was in 1979.
So, they have a history of losing, and the question has been ‘When will Bradley Beal get tired of losing?’ Maybe he’s finally tired.
Beal just recently declined his $36 million dollar player option and will enter unrestricted free agency this summer. It is being reported by the Athletic’s Shams Charania, that the Boston Celtics are Beal’s top priority in free agency. It was also reported by Washington Wizards insider, Quinton Mayo, that Beal is ‘truly undecided’ about his future in DC.
Beal does have a history of doing this type of stuff and then ultimately returning to the Wizards, which I fully expect to happen here, but teams I wouldn’t rule out potentially stealing Beal are the Miami Heat, the Boston Celtics, or the Los Angeles Lakers.
Jordan Poole getting the big bucks
Jordan Poole is another player coming off the best season of his career, earning himself the title of “the third Splash Brother.” Poole absolutely balled out this year, especially while Klay Thompson was recovering. After spending two seasons in the G-League, Poole averaged 17.0 PPG, 3.8 APG, and 2.8 RPG.
Talks around the league expect Poole to be offered a lot of money this summer, my guess is in the $70-$100 million range.
Expectations are that Poole will 100% re-sign with the Golden State Warriors, especially after capturing the NBA Championship this past June, but if a team somehow offered more money with Golden State not matching the offer, we could see Poole in a new uniform next season. There hasn’t been a ton of steam about what teams are going after him, which is why I expect him to re-sign, but it would be pretty interesting to see him in either a Memphis Grizzlies jersey or a New York Knicks jersey.