This past week has altered the landscape of the league before we even get to start free agency (less than 24 hrs away). Front offices have been working the phones tirelessly trying to improve each respective roster just before the wooing & recruiting process commences to start the free agency period. It’s like high school recruiting, only on a bigger stage as teams bring in players who could possibly will make a major difference on their franchise.
The offseason is the time for organizations to improve their rosters through the draft and/or free agency. Some teams look to swing for the fences to land the big time players in free agency, while other franchises are just trying to clear cap or pick up some more cash for the summer, maybe even free up some roster spots as most of their core is accounted for. This becomes even more important for teams that don’t have draft picks, when Free Agency starts tomorrow, their 2016-2017 season may depend on who they sign or fail to.
Here are the most potentially impactful trades that have gone down so far.
Orland Magic trade Victor Oladipo and Ersan Ilyasova to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Serge Ibaka
-Oladipo brings OKC another scoring guard who can handle the ball and attack the basket. Feeding off of Westbrook’s style which will lead for more open shots for Oladipo and company. The Thunder needed that third legitimate option on offense when Westbrook and Durrant are not hitting. It’s fair to think that they may have found that guy in Victor. He’s averaging 16.0 points per game in only his fourth year in the league and his numbers might even increase on a contending team not having to be the primary playmaker.
A three-team trade sends Jeff Teague to the Indiana Pacers, Atlanta Hawks receive Utah Jazz 1st round pick 12th overall ( drafted Taurean Prince from Baylor), the Jazz get George Hill
This Jeff Teague deal has some interest because of what the Pacers already have. Paul George is hitting his stride right now as an all around star player, rebounding to form after his gruesome injury two summers ago. In addition Monta Ellis was added last offseason. With Teague in the mix, the Pacers now have Teague, Ellis, and George starting on the perimeter (1-3).
That’s not bad at all for a team wishing to contend in the Eastern conference. Teague gives them a solid option at point guard and potentially an upgrade over the departed Hill. Jeff’s not going to make a ton of mistakes, he’s not an elite scorer, but is more than capable of putting up numbers when needed. The added bonus for him is that he won’t be asked to be the primary scorer, with George on the court he’ll have less defenses focusing on him.
Trades that really shake up the NBA’s core rarely happen, but these minor trades could pay off for a few of the teams mentioned above. It could be the difference between playoffs and actually contending. Prepare for even more of the wild and unexpected as Free Agency is on the horizon!