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Play-Off bracket1
Evaluating 2017's Off-season Trade Insanity - Sep 25, 2017

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The last few months have been one of the most chaotic and entertaining off-seasons in memory. With the inarguable dominance of the Golden State Warriors, every NBA General Manager not named Bob Riley has had to decide whether to build their teams slowly and hope the Warriors taper off in the next few years or to push their chips in and make a run for the current champs. Well, we now have our answers and it seems the gaps between the haves and have-nots have grown. Let's take a look at the big trades that created would-be contenders for next season's championship.

Minnesota Timberwolves

The first splash made was on June 21, as the Chicago Bulls traded away 2016-17 All NBA 3rd Team member Jimmy Butler to Minnesota. After picking up hometowner Dwayne Wade last year, expectations grew that the Bulls could make some noise in the East. The result was a 41-41 group and a less-than-happy locker room. Butler is thrilled to be reunited with head coach Tom Thibodeau and the T-Wolves expect the three-time All-Star to bring the same offense of departing Zach Levine plus lockdown defense and leadership to great young talents Andrew Wiggins and Karl Anthony-Towns. Throw in the free-agent acquisition of point guard Jeff Teague and you have a legitimate contender in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.
Trade Grade: B

Houston Rockets

Next up was the Rockets. They managed to grab elite point guard Chris Paul from the Los Angeles Clippers. CP3 had one foot out the door with a deteriorating relationship with head coach Doc Rivers. Paul is one of the best distributors in the game (career 9.9apg) and even at 32 years old, is a top defender, with seven All-Defensive First Team awards). He joins a team that is building itself in the image of the Warriors with a premium placed on an up-tempo offensive pace with a lot of three-point shooting. Houston finished last year with the third-best record in the league and, on paper, are now stronger. The question everyone is asking revolves around Paul and Harden's ability to share the ball; if they can, the Rockets might have punched a ticket to the Western Conference finals.
Trade Grade: A

Oklahoma City Thunder

Not to be left out of the Western Conference arms race, the Thunder swooped in and traded for the highly prized Indiana Pacer, Paul George. OKC didn't give up much given the expectation that George will head elsewhere when his contract expires, with the Lakers being his top choice. With George, OKC now has one of the toughest defenses on paper and although getting through the Warriors, Rockets, Wolves and Spurs will be tough, the Thunder, as of August 13, provide great value to win the West at +1700. If George and and reigning MVP Russell Westbrook play well together, Thunder GM Sam Presti believes he can convince both to stay rather than have George - and possibly Westbrook - walk at the end of the season.
Trade Grade: B

Cleveland Cavaliers & Boston Celtics

In a summer of big-name moves, the true blockbuster came on August 21 and surprisingly was between the two prohibitive favorites in the East. The Cavs sent the disgruntled Kyrie Irving to Boston for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and a 2018 first-round pick. Celtics GM Danny Ainge was expected to keep methodically building his team for contendership in the near future but with the signing of Gordon Hayward he apparently thinks Irving puts Boston over the top. Thomas has a hip injury with no fixed date of return so his absence hurts the Cavs now and increases their interest in acquiring Dwayne Wade although there's no guarantee there. The addition of Crowder and a likely early first-round pick next year helps them in the future.
Trade Grade: Cavs B / Celtics A-

As with most trades, it takes time to get a true evaluation and when draft picks are included a bad trade can become good, or vice versa. It seems all of these trades were made with an attempt to win in the short-term. Many of these big names have only one year left on their current contract and are UFAs at the end of this season (Paul, Thomas, George) so their departure would be a bitter pill for the teams they currently play for.
While these teams seem to represent the short list of teams to occupy the four conference finals spots, let's not forget that sometimes the best trade you make is the one you don't. The San Antonio Spurs still have kept their roster largely intact with FA signings and still have arguably the best head coach in NBA history. In the East, Toronto, Washington and Milwaukee will look to improve on last year's performances. The rest of the league, however, seems to be content to take the slow lane to rebuild for the long-term and wait for these current Warriors to go away.


Dallas Mavericks sign Brunson just out of college - 6 hours ago
JALEN BRUNSON Dallas Mavericks (NBA) signed 21-year old guard Jalen Brunson (190-96). He just graduated from Villanova (NCAA). Brunson has played there for the last three years. He helped them to win the league title despite they ended the regular season at the second place. A very impressive season as he was voted USBWA All-District II Player of the Year, All-Big East Player of the Year and All-NCAA D1 Naismith Award Player of the Year. This summer Brunson was drafted by the Mavericks i...   [read more]

Stewart starts his pro career at Indiana Pacers - 6 hours ago
ELIJAH STEWART Indiana Pacers agreed on terms of a training camp deal with 22-year old guard Elijah Stewart (196-82kg-95). Stewart just graduated from University of Southern California (NCAA). He has played there for the last four years. Stewart has never been drafted by the NBA. As mentioned above he is just out of the college and it will be his first season as a pro. Stewart played in the final of Pac-12 Tournament. Indiana Pacers roster for 2018-2019: Guards: Tyreke Evans Elijah Ste...   [read more]

Amir Johnson
Phi.76ers keep Johnson for another season - 6 hours ago
AMIR JOHNSON Philadelphia 76ers re-signed 31-year old power forward Amir Johnson (206-95kg-87). He played there last season. In 82 NBA games he recorded 4.5ppg, 4.3rpg and 1.5apg. Johnson helped them to make it to the conference semifinals. The previous (16-17) season he played at the Celtics where in 94 NBA games he averaged 5.9ppg, 4.2rpg and 1.5apg. Johnson contributed to his team winning the Atlantic Division title. In 2005 he was drafted by Detroit Pistons in second round (56th over...   [read more]

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