In what has been undoubtedly the craziest offseason in the history of the league, there were teams that certainly improved their title chances for the upcoming season, and with that said, teams that severely dented theirs.
We take a look at the winners and losers from the 2016 NBA offseason:
Winner: Golden State Warriors
The obvious first choice.
Already boasting the NBA’s deepest and (arguably) most talented roster, the acquisition of 2014 MVP Kevin Durant adds a new element to their already lethal offense.
Steve Kerr’s system, which puts an emphasis on quick ball and man-movement fits what Durant is looking for, after he reportedly grew frustrated with the hero-ball that was being played in Oklahoma City.
Even at the start of the season, when the chemistry is still lacking, they’ll still be able to blow most teams out of the building on talent alone. And once they start figuring each other out, it’s good night for the rest of the league.
Loser: Oklahoma City Thunder
Whoever lost out on the KD sweepstakes was always going to find themselves in the loser column.
A mere two weeks ago, the Thunder possessed two top-five players in the association, and after a trade for rising star Victor Oladipo, it seemed that this year would finally be their year.
But a shock decision for the best player in franchise history left them in a real mess.
The team was built by GM Sam Presti to strive playing alongside Durant, but fall flat on its face without him, so the decision may cause even further roster shakeups.
Winner: San Antonio Spurs
The acquisition of a player seemingly built for the Spurs’ system in Pau Gasol makes them the only team out West that can even challenge Golden State.
Not normally known for signing big-time free agents, San Antonio has made a splash in each of the past two offseasons, signing All-Star big men to replace Tim Duncan as he becomes less and less effective.
With proper coaching, this team has the talent to give Golden State a run for its money. And that’s not something you can about 27 other teams (Cavaliers are the exception).
Loser: Chicago Bulls
Though they did pick up two big names in Rajon Rondo and Dwyane Wade, this was not a successful offseason by any means.
When a rebuild seemed like the only option, they went out and got two aging players who fit together couldn’t be any worse.
And the predictable clash of the egos, paired with the fact that coach Fred Hoiberg is notorious for not being able to control the locker room means that the lone bright spot from last season, Jimmy Butler, will have his development slowed or even stopped completely.
Winner: Boston Celtics
After a puzzling draft day, and a history of not being able to attract top free agents, it looked as though the C’s would find themselves on the other side of this list.
But the signing of Al Horford, and the instant offense that he brings with him, automatically make them contenders to land a top 3 seed in the East.
And if the “assets” that Danny Ainge has hoarded continue to develop, Boston can find themselves in the midst of a deep playoff run.
Loser: New York Knicks
The acquisitions of Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah paired with Carmelo Anthony would’ve made the Knicks a force to be reckoned with. In 2010
But in 2016-17′, they’re a first round exit at best.
Sure, these moves will likely earn the Knicks a mid to low seed in the playoffs, but nothing more. It just seems that Phil is striving for mediocracy at this point.