From free agency and the draft to negotiating deals privately, the magic of the NBA doesn’t stop even after the court action halts for the season.
Ahead of the new campaign, which is scheduled to kick off on October 19, each NBA franchise has been a blur of activity as they look to cling on to their best players, add fresh blood, and get their roster in place ahead of the new term.
Of course, some franchises have a better time of the offseason than others, so to mark your card ahead of the 2021/22 season, here’s a look at who has performed the best – and worst – in their off-court negotiations.
The Big Winner – Brooklyn Nets
Not content with a run to the Eastern Conference semi-finals last season, the Brooklyn Nets have gone all-out to improve on that effort in 2022.
James Johnson, Patty Mills and Blake Griffin have all been recruited, and that trio will add depth and reliability to Brooklyn’s star-studded roster.
Keeping Bruce Brown could also prove to be a masterstroke but, above all else for the Nets, ensuring that Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant are still around to add their undoubted class in James Harden’s first full season in New York is the biggest piece of offseason work of all.
The loss of Jeff Green will hurt to some extent, but there’s no doubt that the Nets will head into the new campaign stronger than they exited the last. It’s little wonder that they are favorites in the NBA betting on bet365 Championship odds.
Making Moves – Phoenix Suns
Beaten NBA Championship finalists last term, the Phoenix Suns also recorded a .0708 regular season ratio – that was in a division that included the Lakers, Clippers and the Warriors, which was an extraordinary achievement.
In that sense, they didn’t need to do too much tinkering with their roster, Chris Paul, who once again showed his unbelievable talent in the postseason games, has been retained despite the vultures circling – that is essential to the Suns’ hopes of going one better in 2021/22.
Other key youngsters, plus Cameron Payne, were retained, and questions over roster depth were answered with the signings of JaVale McGee and Landry Shamet.
With no major losses to speak of, an already-excellent Suns franchise has been bolstered in the offseason period – could they kick on this season?
It’s Now or Never – La Lakers
Given that they were the pre-season favorites with the sportsbooks ahead of the 2020/21 season, the Lakers’ whimpering exit from the play-offs at the first hurdle would have hurt their pride immensely.
Their reaction has been to assemble one of the oldest rosters in the NBA, and while that brings experience to the court, it also means creaking bones in what is a long old campaign.
LeBron James and Marc Gasol are both 36, and they will be complemented this term by new signings Russell Westbrook (32), Kent Bazemore (32), Wayne Ellington (33), Dwight Howard (35), Trevor Azira (36) and Carmelo Anthony (37).
The older you get, the more susceptible you are to injuries and fatigue, and while there’s no doubting the class of this Lakers roster, its longevity has to be called into question. Within a couple of seasons, a complete rebuild will be necessary – it’s now or never for Frank Vogel’s men, and that brings pressure in itself.
With all things considered, will the Nets be getting their hands on the NBA Championship trophy for the first time?