After a summer off-season of the usual drama ranging from, trade requests, more trade requests, trade rumors, players calling their boss liars, blockbuster trades, the NBA season is officially underway and we can play some ball. This summer a couple of teams, three in particular made significant changes to up their shot at a championship.
While objectively getting better, these have no doubt started the clock on their championship windows. The Celtics, Bucks, and Suns made huge moves that could make or break them, in some instances break them literally because there is a lot of money being thrown around. So let's dive into all three of these squads who started the ticking clock and went championship or bust.
Man, the Celtics made some moves and completely revamped a team that was in the NBA Finals just two years ago. Brad Stevens looked at this roster and just knew something needed to change. Jaylen Brown got his huge contract which was something that kind of lingered longer than we thought it would, but after taking their time to get the contract situated he ended up with an insane five-year, $303.7 million supermax extension. Not saying he isn't worth it, but we are definitely going to find out very soon how worth it he is.
The biggest roster move they made was trading the heart and soul of the team, Marcus Smart for center Kristaps Porzingis in a three-team deal between the Celtics, Wizards, and Memphis. The addition of Kristaps gives them a rim protector for the athleticism they will have to deal with at that position in the playoffs. To me the biggest move is trading Brogdon for Jrue Holiday, one of the most elite point-of-attack defenders, who also has real big game playoff experience and can also get you a bucket every once in a while.
The thing about the Celtics is they probably have one of the bigger championship windows considering how young their superstars in Jayson Tatum and Jalen Brown are. At the same time, those two are going to have to start showing results and during the summer. Having vets like Holiday and Porzingis, who hasn't necessarily made a deep playoff push yet and his health is always a question, but if healthy, they both can be game changers.
Somebody was always eventually going win the Damien Lillard sweepstakes seeing as that relationship with Portland was all but cooked, it's just that the Bucks were not on anyone's list to do it. A blockbuster three-team deal got Dame out of the great northwest after a long, drawn out, fairly petty back and forth.
What the addition of Dame does is fix a very glaring issue the bucks had in the playoff series against the Miami Heat. As the No. 1 seed, they lost to the 8th-seeded Heat pretty handily. A couple of injuries, especially to Giannis, were also to blame, but they just couldn't get a bucket when they needed one and the offense got stagnant if Giannis wasn't getting calls. Dame has range, experience, and a green light, which is all going to make things easier for Giannis and give him space he's probably never had to work with before.
The biggest issue when it comes to their championship window is there is little to no depth after trading away Jrue Holiday to the Celtics and Grayson Allen to the Suns. The Bucks are going to be thin when it comes to body's they can throw on the floor. Once again, having your stars locked in will always give you a chance at a championship. That's why the extension of former MVP and Defensive Player of the Year Giannis was a no-brainer. Getting Dame on board with possibly the most team expectations he's ever had shouldn't be too difficult either.
Okay, so as a Suns fan I'm going to do my best at being objective right now, with that said, WE ARE WINNING THE ENTIRE THING.
The Suns and new owner Mat Ishbia were busy this summer. Firing Monty Williams was the start of a move-filled summer vacation. Ishbia might be trying to prove that if you throw enough money at a situation it will probably fix itself, and we are about to see if he's right. Amongst the many moves this off-season the most surprising one was trading Chris Paul and Landry Shamet (lol) for Bradley Beal.
Ending the CP3 saga might have been shocking for a lot of people, but the whole era when it came to him and Monty seemed like it had run its course ending in injuries and another playoff blowout in an elimination game by the eventual NBA champs.
On top of adding Beal, the Suns also finally decided to get the entire Deandre Ayton thing over with. It seemed like it was time for all parties involved to get out of that strained relationship by sending him to the Portland Trailblazers for a haul of Jusuf Nurkic, Grayson Allen and Nassir Little. Like really, where did all these random dudes come from? The Suns have completely revamped their roster only bringing back one player (Devin Booker) from the 2021 NBA finals team.
The championship window will be interesting seeing as it doesn't seem like they own a 1st round draft pick till an olympics on Mars but James Jones has never really cared about picks. They might be the team in the biggest win-now mode, their stars Kevin Durant and Beal are a bit more seasoned vets with injury concerns, while also making a ton of money, the contract and nerdy apron stuff will have them in a bind later which means just win a champion soon and then worry about the money monster waiting in the future later.
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