It was a wild week of free agency signings capped off by a league-shifting move of epic proportions. While Anthony Davis being traded to the L.A. Lakers was expected, the “Little Brothers” L.A. Clippers made a chess move to possibly become title favorites and the new Kings of L.A (sorry LeBron).
The NBA is wide open and the two, top contenders for next year’s title play in the same arena. This time last year, no one would’ve thought the words “Clippers” and “championship” would be mentioned in the same sentence. But, this free agency was unlike many others as nearly one-third of the league changed teams. Can the Clippers overtake the Lakers in Staples Center? Let’s see.
Los Angeles Clippers
The Kawhi Leonard sweepstakes had everyone waiting for his decision and what a decision it was! Somehow, literally in the dead of night, the Clippers made one of the most historic trades in league history. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Danilo Gallinari and five draft picks were traded for Paul George. With this star pairing of George and Leonard, the Clippers have the best two-way wing players in the NBA.
Moreover, the Clippers re-signed Patrick Beverley, arguably the best lock-down point guard defender. A sixth Man of the Year and monster comes off the bench with scorer Lou Williams and defensive powerhouse Montrezl Harrell.
This team should be among the top defenses in the league. They have the makings of one of the most feared defensive teams in recent NBA memory. Doc Rivers, a Hall of Fame coach, has the defensive pieces he had with the Boston Celtics. That combo resulted in two finals appearances and a title.
Los Angeles Lakers
While the Clippers dropped bombshells, The Lakers followed up by adding depth to their team. The pairing of Anthony Davis and LeBron James still gives the Lakers the better duo in the City of Angels. They also signed one of the best 3-and-D players left in free agency in Danny Green.
The most influential singing was DeMarcus Cousins to a minimum deal. If Cousins, (who’s currently training and not rehabbing this off-season) comes back close to his old self, the Lakers could have three All-Stars and a super-team on their hands.
The Lakers also re-signed solid Rajon Rondo, JaVale McGee, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who all played well in spurts last season. This year, the Lakers acquired shooters, unlike last season, which mostly drew rim-attackers Quinn Cook, Jared Dudley and Troy Daniels.
The development of Kyle Kuzma will also be huge as he can ease the workload of Anthony Davis and LeBron if he takes the next step. James may start at point guard as he’s one of the elite passers, averaging more than seven assists per game in his career. A late signing of Avery Bradley allows for defensive pressure on Bradley when James is out.