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2018 NBA Free Agency

Justin Rombough

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In a history class the teacher asked his students, “What things define America?” One student replied, “Sports”. The teacher agreed. People of America know that sports are a big part of this country. With football interest declining (Sunday Night Football is down 2 million for avg. views, according to Sports Illustrated) due to factors including concussions etc. Basketball is on the way up (8% increase from the 2016-17 season in national telecast views , according to variety.com). The 2018-19 NBA season is starting up in October and Free Agency just wrapped up. For people who don’t know what “Free Agency” is, it is basically when a players’ contract is up (expired) and they are either an unrestricted free agent (they can go to whatever team they want) or a restricted free agent (their previous team, say they sign somewhere else, can match that offer).

Free Agency started July 1st and went through July 6th. There were a ton of huge moves that took place. The biggest one, by a wide margin, was LeBron James signing a 4-year $153.3 million contract with the Los Angeles Lakers. This was huge because LeBron James, reportedly the best player in basketball, switches from the Eastern to the Western Conference, the lifestyle of Cleveland to the bright lights of Hollywood. A student at Hamilton even agrees that LeBron’s signing was huge because, “He gets to mesh with a young core and see if it affects his legacy” (Nate Pollard 11).  The huge market, history, and tradition of the Lakers just added, possibly the G.O.A.T (Greatest Of All Time) when he retires, to their long list of super-stars. This is big news people. This next year will be very interesting to see how LeBron meshes with this Lakers squad. The next big move was Paul George re-signing with the Oklahoma City Thunder in a 4-year $137 million contract. This is big because of, not necessarily him re-signing with OKC, but what didn’t occur. This is referring to Paul George not signing with the Lakers to team up with LeBron James. Them together could have built a super team. But, you have to respect Paul George not hopping on the super team bandwagon that’s rumbling through the NBA at the moment. Tyler Curvey (12) enjoyed the Paul George signing stating, when asked his opinion on him picking OKC over L.A, “I liked it. He wants to compete and not just join up with LeBron to make a superteam”. Other league-altering moves were DeMarcus Cousins signing with the back-to-back, reigning champs, Golden State Warriors for a massive pay cut (1-year 5.3 million deal, when he could’ve gotten at least $10+ million a year), and a top three player in the NBA, Kawhi Leonard, getting traded to the Toronto Raptors. The Cousins deal is big because the Warriors add another weapon to their arsenal, but the deal could hurt their chemistry in the long run and possibly break them up. The Kawhi Leonard deal is big because he is a top three player in the world and this opens up a chance for him to take a solid Raptors team deep into the playoffs. Other than these signings there were of course signings and trades, but not any as massive as these.

The NBA now has 15 of the 20 best players in the league in the Western Conference. Not to mention that the  Denver Nuggets (winning 46 games last year) didn’t make the playoffs, but would’ve been a 6 seed in the Eastern Conference. There were some winners and losers of Free Agency. Tevon Tan (11) was asked about who the winner was and he responded, “LeBron because he gets to be in Hollywood and work on his career off the court”.

The overall goal of Free Agency is for teams to get their roster better suited to win a title. This year’s’ Free Agency definitely moves some pawns on the chess board of the NBA landscape. It was highly anticipated and it lived up to the hype.

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2018 NBA Free Agency