During the NBA offseason, we get to see which teams will tend to take a leap, or what teams will do to regress for the upcoming season. This offseason we have seen teams like Boston, who obtained Gordon Hayward, as well as the 3rd overall pick in Jayson Tatum, improve their team to make a run at the NBA Finals. On the other end of the spectrum, we have seen teams like the Orlando Magic not make any major offseason moves, and ultimately take a step back in the direction for their future.
Let’s take a look at some teams who seem to not have any sort of concrete direction heading into their future as NBA franchises.
When it comes to Orlando, they have had people around the league scratching their heads when it comes to the direction they are heading in. Many people were in favor of their draft pick, Johnathan Isaac, but when they already have Aaron Gordon, Bismack Biyombo, and Nikola Vucevic able to play the same position that Isaac can play, then how are they going to be able to spread around all of those minutes fairly? Vucevic has been a solid star for them as of late so they really can’t reduce his minutes, and they gave Bismack Biyombo a big contract. Aaron Gordon is looking to take the next step of his career, and Isaac is looking to get his feet wet. The only way I can see this working out is if they try to transition Gordon to the small forward position and they look to play big. In a league that is favoring guard play, it would be tough to play that big consistently.
Speaking of guard play, what about lottery pick Mario Hezojna? For a number five overall pick, you would think he would be able to average more than 16 minutes per contest. They have not been able to get him in a groove or find where he fits. It seems that they have had trouble drafting over the past few years besides solid picks in Elfrid Payton and maybe Aaron Gordon. Orlando’s direction seems to be stagnant at staying in that mid-level non-playoff type team.
The Detroit Pistons are another team that seems to have very little direction. A team that missed the playoffs last season after losing to the Cavaliers in four games the previous year. They are stuck trying to find who they want to build their team around. When it comes to Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson, they’re consistently appearing in trade rumors left and right. Head coach Stan Van Gundy has always seemed to have problems with Drummond and his aloofness, yet he seems to still be part of their long term plans.
They made a pretty solid trade for Avery Bradley, but is he going to be part of their long-term plans or just a player used for a trade down the road? It seems like they need to find a way to have an elite guard to take over as the star in Detroit over Drummond. Will Bradley be that guy? It is a wait and see, but Avery Bradley was never able to show that elite status in Boston as he was arguably the third best player on that roster with Isaiah Thomas and Al Horford in the forefront.
New York Knicks
Ahh, the New York Knicks. A team that seems to be the talk of the league, even though they have not had much success in a very long time. They have a lot of things going on when it comes to their direction. To start, they are in deep trade talks with many teams around the league for dealing Carmelo Anthony, looking to get the best they can in return. They gave possibly one of the worst contracts last offseason with Joakim Noah, as he seemed like he was never able to find his groove because of injuries. They traded for Derrick Rose, an injury prone player, who could already be on his way out with rumors saying he could be on the move.
They completely alienated Kristaps Porzingis, the one bright spot they have for their future currently as he did not even want to meet with the front office for the end of season exit meetings. Speaking of their front office, that is a complete other mess they have had to deal with. With owner James Dolan having problems with Charles Oakley being in the building, to eventually letting go of Phil Jackson after a debacle of a stint as a GM, their direction seems to be a mess.
No matter what happens, the Knicks will be a team that is always in the headlines, whether that is good or bad, but recently, mostly bad.
In the Danger Zone
Things for the Cleveland Cavaliers took a turn for the worst very quickly. Having gone to three straight NBA Finals, it seemed like everything was still going well for them. Then, the story came out that Kyrie reportedly does not want to play with LeBron James anymore. We never thought we would see the day where a player was tired of playing with the best player in the game, a player that makes everyone better on the floor. But with this story now coming out, what will happen with Cleveland for their future?
If Kyrie leaves, they are in very serious danger of losing LeBron to free agency next summer. If that were to happen, all hell could break loose for Cleveland because they could be stuck where they were when LeBron left them the first time around, which is bottom feeders of the league. Ultimately, being bottom feeders got them to obtain Kyrie Irving. But when Kyrie already had to clean up the mess that LeBron made after he left the first time around, you can’t blame him for wanting to start his career elsewhere. He is only 25 years old and still has a lot of great prime years left in the tank. If those years ultimately are not with Cleveland it could scream trouble for the 2016 NBA Champions.
Oklahoma City Thunder
Now I am sure you’re wondering, the OKC Thunder? They just signed Paul George and have a player coming off arguably the best statistical season in NBA history in Russell Westbrook. The thing with the Thunder is, they are banking on both of those players returning after this upcoming season. That can cause for a lot of red flags. They gave up some pretty solid players in the trade for Paul George and they most likely will not be able to get past the Warriors this season. With Russell Westbrook, they will have to offer him the super-max type of contract he will deserve, and even if they do, other teams will be able to offer him a contract in 2019 as he becomes an unrestricted free agent.
For right now, the Thunder seem to be alright, but if Paul George is looking at the Thunder as a bridge between his next destination, then the trade could end up being a complete failure.