Top 6 moves of the 2019 NBA Offseason

The NBA off-season or NBA Free Agency is blossoming into one of the most entertaining week or two in sports. The NBA has completely reshaped itself in the last two weeks, going from “Super-Teams” back to “Dynamic-Duos”. This upcoming 2019/20 NBA Season should be one of the most anticipated seasons in the last 10 years, mainly because we have no idea who could win the title. I have ranked the top six moves in NBA Free Agency 2019, including one honorable mention. I also predict the teams starting line-ups, and while they might not be accurate, it’s what I feel is best for the team. Hope you all enjoy!

Note: If the Thunder decide to trade Westbrook, we might have to make an edit. The NBA is crazy!


Honorable Mention

Zion Williamson, Pelicans

I know this technically isn’t a free agent addition, but he is a new addition to the league, so I’m counting it. Zion is already selling jerseys left-and-right, and despite him not playing in Summer League, the anticipation has not dwindled. Zion will join a Pelicans team fighting to make the playoffs, with some players looking to prove themselves. Zion seems like a great young man, with a good head on his shoulders, and if he can stay healthy, I expect a fun and challenging season from him and the Pelicans. I can already see Lonzo on the break dishing it off to Zion for a monster dunk. The real issue is I don’t know what the score will be. Regardless, Zion on the Pelicans will change the face of their franchise for the next few years. Hopefully they don’t dwindle it away.

Pelicans Projected Starters:

C – Derrick Favors
F – Zion Williamson
F – Brandon Ingram
G – Jrue Holliday
G – Lonzo Ball


THE TOP SIX

6

Klay Thompson, Warriors

Look, I know I am starting off with two technicalities, but hear me out. Despite being out for most of the year, Klay, 29, is a superstar and vital to the Warriors success without Durant. Klay is probably the most -liked player in the league, even though he’s on the Warriors. He is a knock-down three-point shooter, an All-NBA Defender, and a world-class teammate. Klay is exactly what you are looking for in a shooting guard, not to mention he fits perfectly with his hall-of-fame teammate, Steph Curry. Klay provides stability and with his size, he can play the small forward if needed, though the positions in basketball are becoming less relevant by the season.

To be honest, Klay is ultimately on this list because of what could have happened if he left, and what happens because he stayed. Keeping Klay in the bay area for five more years guarantees at least three more years of the “Splash Brothers”, as Curry’s contract expires in 2022 (and I don’t see him leaving either). Klay had multiple offers for a max deal elsewhere, but apparently the deal with GSW was done a long time ago. Imagine him on the Lakers with LeBron or AD, or on the Clippers instead of Paul George. Keeping Klay and Curry together, along with DLo (if he’s there) keep the Warriors in contention for the West title. It’s not a guarantee like it was the past with Durant, but if Klay and Curry are healthy … they have a shooters chance.

Warriors Projected Starters:

C – Kevin Looney
F – Draymond Green
G/F – Klay Thompson*
G – D’Angelo Russell
G – Steph Curry

*Thompson is OUT with a torn ACL until the 2020 All-Star break, at least.


5

Kemba Walker, Celtics

Courtesy: NBA.com

Kemba Walker will finally be on a team with a decent front office. Now that Kyrie Irving is out of town, Kemba can come in and be a seamless fit into Brad Stevens’ offense. As gifted as Kyrie is, he can be a handful, as he has recently shown all of us. Kemba is 29 years old and in the prime of his career, is more stable, and just about as talented. Kemba can shoot the three, drive to the hoop, and he’s a team guy, which Brad Stevens will love. Getting Kemba doesn’t throw Boston to the top of the conference immediately, but it doesn’t move them backwards, so I consider that a win. There are not many situations in the league where you can plug-and-play a PG, but Kemba seems to be the exception to the rule.

Kemba is best remembered for that amazing step-back in the Garden when he was at UConn, which earned the awesome nickname “Cardiac Kemba”, and now he has a chance to make some playoff memories for Boston faithful. Kemba is coming off a career year in Charlotte, playing in all 82 games and averaging a career-high 25.6 ppg. The Celtics should be in the postseason, and it Tatum can regain his 2018 Playoffs form, this team can go deep in the postseason. Kemba is a great fit for Stevens offense and has no problem taking, and making, clutch shots. I expect Boston to finish near the top of the East, probably higher than Philly.

’19/20 Celtics Projected Starters

C – Enes Kanter
F – Gordon Hayward
F – Jayson Tatum
G – Jaylen Brown
G – Kemba Walker


4

Mike Conley, Jazz

What? Mike Conley at number 4? Are you crazy? Yes, and probably. A lot of people might argue that Al Horford to Philly is important, or Jimmy Buckets to Miami, and that’s great. However, Mike Conley is one of the most stable point guards in the NBA. His improved shooting from three (37.5% career 3PT) and solid leadership makes him a valuable, albeit expensive, addition to any NBA roster. The Jazz won 50 games last season with Ricky Rubio as the starting PG for most of the year, and even though he was solid, Conley is a huge upgrade. I believe now that Conley is on the roster, the Jazz will compete for the West title for the next couple of seasons. Though Conley was injured in 2018, he regained his formed last year. Conley averaged over 20 ppg & 6 apg in ’16/17 & ’18/19, when he was fully healthy. While the scoring should dip, I expect the assists to rise.

Conley handling the PG responsibilities allows Donovan Mitchell to play more of the attacking-wing role, something he thrives at. The Jazz will have to pay Mitchell big money in 2021, when he comes a RFA, and Conley will come off the books in 2021, just in time. If this pairing works, which I believe it will, the Jazz have Conley’s bird rights and can keep him alongside Mitchell for as long as they like. As for next season, the Jazz have a very good chance to reach the West finals, as long as everyone stays healthy. The additions of Bogdanovic and Ed Davis bolster the roster, and this team is as deep as any roster in the league. They may lack the “jazz” other teams have, but don’t get it twisted, this Utah team is very good.

19/20 Jazz Projected Starters

C – Rudy Gobert
F – Joe Ingles
F – Bogdan Bogdanovic
G – Donovan Mitchell
G – Mike Conley


3

Kevin Durant, Nets

Courtesy: NBA.com

Kevin Durant, when healthy, is one of the best basketball players to ever play the game. He is so good, he can sign a 4-year max contract, when he can only actually play in three of those years. KD will miss most or the entirety of this upcoming season, so he lands at number 3. Despite the Achilles injury, Kevin Durant made the move to New York …. and joined the Brooklyn Nets. He was rumored to both teams in NY, but the Knicks fans were devastated when KD made his decision. Durant will now move to the Eastern conference for the next few years, where he will battle Giannis for the conference supremacy.

We know what Durant brings to the table, but we don’t know what he will look like post-injury. I assume he will be 90-95% of his former self, which is still amazing. If he is, the Nets will be a formidable opponent in the league for the next few years. Durant is still a All-NBA talent, and a top-tier perimeter shooter, so I am not worried about that. Kyrie, when motivated, is one of the best players in the league as well, and it seems they have wanted to play together for a while. The Nets aren’t automatically the best team in the East – that title still belongs to Milwaukee. However, Kyrie and KD makes them a contender in the East … starting in 2020/21. You might be wondering, “where is Kyrie”? Kyrie is not on the list because without KD, I don’t think the Nets will be better than last year with D’Angelo.

’19/20 Nets Potential Starters

C – DeAndre Jordan
F – Taurean Prince
F – Caris Lavert*
G – Spencer Dinwiddie
G – Kyrie Irving

*Kevin Durant is out for most, if not all of the 2019/20 season with an achilles injury.


2

Anthony Davis, Lakers

Courtesy: Lakers.com

Anthony Davis is very good at basketball and he’s only 26 years old! The Lakers have a very small window to win with Lebron, and the addition of Anthony Davis to play alongside the 3-time champ can only help. The Lakers gave up a lot to get AD on the roster for this upcoming season, and ideally AD will stick around and re-sign with the Lakers long-term. Davis brings an All-NBA resume to the Lakers, and he, like KD, are giants with guard abilities, which makes them incredibly rare finds. Pairing Davis and James gives the Lakers the chance to win a title now and Vegas agrees, giving them the 3rd best odds currently.

Anthony Davis is now out of New Orleans and in Los Angeles, one of the biggest markets and cities in the world. For the Lakers to win the title, he would need to become the MVP that we all know he can be. AD has all the talent in the world to be the best player in the league. It seems he is over past his injuries and has grown into the 7-foot, man-beast before us today. The Lakers are banking on Davis putting the team on his shoulders and carrying them to the NBA title. If LeBron can stay healthy, there is no better time than the present.

’19/20 Lakers Projected Starters:

C – Demarcus Cousins
F – Anthony Davis
F – Kyle Kuzma
G – Danny Green
G – LeBron James


1

Kawhi Leonard, Clippers*

*and Paul George
Courtesy: ESPN.com

Kawhi is our number 1 addition because he’s Kawhi. At 28 years only, the reigning Finals MVP took his talents to Los Angeles, to the other team, the Clippers … and brought his buddy Paul George (via trade). Kawhi would be number 1 regardless due to his credentials and talent, but this “Godfather 1 style takeover” of free agency was quite impressive and confirms his status as the number 1 free agent. Kawhi is truly a franchise-changing player, as he just proved by winning the title in Toronto. Sure, it helped that the Warriors were depleted and only had Curry, but the Raptors still needed to WIN those games and get out of the Eastern conference.

Kawhi joining the Clippers changes the face of the league, yet again. Sure, they gave up a shit-load of picks to get Paul George, but it was to get Kawhi. It changes the Raptors fortune, turning them from title-contenders to a team fighting for the bottom playoff spots, if they are lucky. The Lakers, who had dreams of a super team, missed out on Kawhi, and a lot of other free agents while they waited. Would they do it again? I don’t know, but I sure as hell would. Kawhi is THAT good. The additions of Kawhi and Paul George instantly made the Clippers 2020 title favorites in Vegas, and brings two superstars into the city of Los Angeles to compete against Anthony Davis and LeBron James. Kawhi brings stability and confidence to this Clippers team that already had plenty of both. The Clippers will be fantastic defensively, and with Kawhi & Lou Will to close games, PG is a very nice icing on the cake.

’19/20 Clippers Projected Starters:

C – Ivica Zubac
F – Mo Harkless
F – Kawhi Leonard
G – Paul George
G – Patrick Beverly


Well there it is. I hope you enjoyed the rankings! If you disagree, let me know! Tell me how wrong (or right) I am either in the comments or on Twitter @rosenthalsports! Thanks for reading! – BR

Author: Brandon Rosenthal

I’m a sports fanatic, podcaster, and sports blogger. Sports is a passion of mine and I enjoy connecting with other sports fans out there. You can follow me on twitter or here on Wordpress.