by Malec Fahmy
Last year, the landscape of the NBA changed when nine-time NBA Finalist LeBron James left the Cleveland Cavaliers and joined the Los Angeles Lakers. Former President of Basketball Operations and Lakers legend Magic Johnson vowed to bring another superstar to L.A to reignite a Lakers franchise that has missed the playoffs five years in a row. Johnson is gone, but the goal is still the same. In his first season, Lebron and the young Lakers core skyrocketed to the fourth seed in the Western Conference before LeBron got hurt, and rumors began to swirl about trading for Anthony Davis.
Then, later in the summer on 2018, Kawhi Leonard, who openly wanted to be in L.A. was traded to the Toronto Raptors. In his first season with the Raptors he has been the MVP of the playoffs and has put the back-to-back champion Golden State Warriors on the brink of elimination. If the Raptors win the championship, will that entice Leonard to stay in Toronto, or will he leave for his hometown of L.A?
Throughout the whole season rumors have been flying around about players like Kyrie Irving, Anthony Davis, Kevin Durant, Jimmy Butler, and others about wanting to leave their franchises. How the decisions of these teams and players end up will ultimately decide the fate of the NBA for the foreseeable future. New teams will rise to the top and dynasties such as the Warriors will cease to exist.
If fans learned anything this postseason, it’s that without Kevin Durant, the Warriors are very vulnerable. If Durant decides to leave for Golden State, it would most likely mark the end of the Warriors dynasty which saw five straight Finals appearances.
Along with Durant’s future, Anthony Davis will be a large part of free agency as well. While he is under contact, he has requested a trade from the Pelicans despite them getting the number one overall pick which will more than likely go to Duke’s superstar Zion Williamson. If he decides to stay, a team of Williamson and Davis would be one of the best one-two punches in the league, but if the Pelicans decide to trade him to a team like the Lakers, the Pelicans would boast one of the best young teams in the league, while the Lakers will try to build around their two superstars in Davis and James.
There are a number of situations that could take place this summer, which will make this one of the NBA’s most exciting summers since LeBron teamed up with Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade in Miami in 2010 . The off-season has the potential to change the landscape of the NBA for a generation.