The Five Most Important NBA Offseason Acquisitions

NBA training camps wrap up this week and preseason games begin this weekend. We’ll get to see some familiar faces in new places. That got us here at The Shadow League thinking: What were the most important offseason moves?

There were so many, and it was hard to limit them to five. Also, the new NBA season started July 1, so technically these are “in-season” moves. But that’s all boring technicalities. Let’s get down to it.

Damian Lillard to the Milwaukee Bucks

The seven-time All-NBA and seven-time All-Star played his entire 11-year career with the Portland Trail Blazers. For the first time, he will be on a team with legitimate championship expectations and he won’t be the best player, as he’s playing alongside two-time MVP, Finals MVP, and DPOY Giannis Antetokounmpo.

This trade has shifted the betting markets as the Bucks are now the favorites to win the title at +400, ahead of the Boston Celtics, defending champion Denver Nuggets, and the Phoenix Suns.

The Lillard trade also sent Jrue Holiday to the Celtics, by way of Portland, and Deandre Ayton from the Suns to the Blazers.

Bradley Beal To The Phoenix Suns

Like Lillard, Bradley Beal has played his entire 11-year career for one franchise, the Washington Wizards. The three-time All-Star joins Devin Booker and Kevin Durant to form a big three with serious title or bust energy.

The Suns were the only team to take the eventual champion Nuggets to six games in the playoffs, and that was due to the individual brilliance of Booker and Durant. They knew they needed more if they were going to compete with the Nuggets.

Beal adds a third elite offensive player and another ball handler. How these three mesh, develop chemistry and avoid injury will determine if they are hoisting the Larry O’Brien trophy in June.

Kristaps Porzingis to the Boston Celtics

This happened in June and was seemingly lost in the recent Jrue Holiday acquisition. But acquiring Porzingis signaled a change was coming to the Celtics’ front court.

The Latvian big man has been much maligned since his days with the New York Knicks. But he was excellent for the Wizards last season. He’s only 28, and if he can stay healthy he adds tremendous offensive and defensive versatility.

A lineup of Holiday, Derrick White, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum and Porzingis is a true five out lineup with incredible spacing. Porzingis gives you rim protection, and the defense is smothering.

Chris Paul to the Golden State Warriors

The “Point God” is past his prime, but still ranks in the 91st percentile in EPM, is a master in the pick and roll, can still defend, and can get any team into good offense.

He will play with Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins and Draymond Green, when the latter returns from injury. But he’ll also help the second unit and young players Moses Moody and Jonathan Kuminga understand the intricacies of the pick and roll, where to be on the floor and how to get into sets quickly and efficiently.

The Warriors job is just making sure they get Paul to the postseason healthy. This team has a chance to help him earn that elusive championship.

Victor Wembanyama to the San Antonio Spurs

This wasn’t a trade. The Spurs won the draft lottery in May, and selected Wemby with the no. 1 overall pick in June. He’s a generational talent who looks to be someone the Spurs can build around for the next decade plus.

They’ve had two players like that in their history: Hall of Famers Tim Duncan and David Robinson. They also drafted and developed Kawhi Leonard, who won a title for them in 2014.

All the reports coming out of San Antonio suggest that Wemby looks good and will make a positive impact on the team. The West is too tough, and they aren’t ready to compete for even a play-in. But that likely won’t be the case in year two, where they will be ready to compete for the playoffs.

Back to top