Winners and Losers of the 2017 NBA Offseason

By Alec Iannetta

Forwards Paul George (left) and Carmelo Anthony (middle) joined Russell Westbrook in Oklahoma City to form the NBA’s latest super team. Photo from Bleacher Report.

Forwards Paul George (left) and Carmelo Anthony (middle) joined Russell Westbrook in Oklahoma City to form the NBA’s latest super team. Photo from Bleacher Report.

This offseason has been a crazy one, with many trades and big free agency signings. This will change the NBA for years to come and seems to have made it even more competitive than it already was. Some teams made some great moves to benefit themselves, while others experienced major setbacks.


Houston Rockets: Last season, the Houston Rockets finished with the third seed in the Western Conference. They beat the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round, but lost to the San Antonio Spurs in the next round. In the offseason, the Rockets made a few minor transactions to build up assets for a huge trade that shocked everyone who follows the sport. They traded Patrick Beverley, Lou Williams, Montrezl Harrell and their first-round pick for nine time all-star Chris Paul, who is one of the NBA’s best. Paul is now paired with runner-up MVP James Harden to create what many believe to be the best backcourt in the league. Houston still has a solid bench with last year’s Sixth-Man of the Year, Eric Gordon, P.J. Tucker and Nenê. The Rockets will definitely make the playoffs and might even move up to the second seed this year with this dynamic duo and their superb supporting cast.

Minnesota Timberwolves: Prior to the 2016-2017 season, there were high hopes for Minnesota. They were led by Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins, who both have the potential to become the star players in the league. Many projected the Timberwolves to be in the playoffs, but they finished with a disappointing record of 31-51. This offseason, though, the Timberwolves made some big moves, trading for star player Jimmy Butler of the Chicago Bulls. Minnesota also swapped picks with Chicago, selecting center Justin Patton in the process; they were forced to give up last year’s first round pick, Kris Dunn, and Zach Lavine, who tore his ACL last season. The team also signed Jeff Teague, who can be a solid point guard for a winning team, and Taj Gibson, a power forward who can add some depth on the bench. Sophomore Max Fihma said, “I think the Timberwolves are the big winners because they paired their two young stars with an All-Star and I think they’re really gonna break out in a big way this year.” Minnesota has a great chance of making the playoffs, but with the Western Conference overflowing in talent, it won’t be easy.

Oklahoma City Thunder:

The Oklahoma City Thunder were widely considered the biggest winners of this offseason, and general manager Sam Presti is the man to applaud. Last year, a Russell Westbrook-led team carried the Thunder to the sixth seed in the Western Conference after losing superstar and former MVP, Kevin Durant, to the Golden State Warriors. Westbrook won MVP, but lost in the first round to James Harden and the Houston Rockets. Presti and Westbrook are seeking vengeance and trying to win a title so they sought out star players to support Westbrook this year. They acquired star Paul George from the Indiana Pacers for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis in what was considered to be a great move for the club. Last month, Oklahoma City traded away Enes Kanter and Doug McDermott for Carmelo Anthony. Days later, they signed Russell Westbrook to the richest contract ever in the NBA ($205 million over five years). They are lacking a bench, but can their stars outduel the likes of Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, and Klay Thompson?


Atlanta Hawks:

To end the 2016-2017 season, the Hawks got the fifth seed with a 43-39 record. They lost in the first round to the Washington Wizards. At season’s end, head coach Mike Budenholzer stepped down from player personnel decisions, and Atlanta signed Travis Schlenk to replace him. The Hawks traded away Dwight Howard to the Charlotte Hornets for Miles Plumlee and Marco Belinelli. They drafted John Collins from Wake Forest with their only first round pick in the draft, a high risk, high reward prospect. The biggest blow for the Hawks was losing veteran Paul Millsap, who signed with the Denver Nuggets. This team has few players remaining from the team that challenged for the top seed in the East from a few years ago.

Chicago Bulls:

Last year, the Bulls were carried by Jimmy Butler and ended with a 41-41 record, obtaining the eighth seed. The Boston Celtics beat them 4-2 in their lone playoff series. On draft night, the front office swung a deal with Minnesota to give away Butler in a questionable move. To make matters worse, the Bulls didn’t resign Rajon Rondo and bought out an aging Dwyane Wade, wasting almost $16 million. It will be a rough year for Bulls fans.

Indiana Pacers:

Indiana has had a similar offseason to the Bulls. They finished off the year with a 42-40 record and were quickly swept by the Cleveland Cavaliers. President Larry Bird stepped down, and General Manager Kevin Pritchard stepped up to take his duties; Pritchard quickly hired Chad Buchanan to become the new general manager. The Pacers traded away star player Paul George in a deal that didn’t benefit them much. Soon after, point guard Jeff Teague signed with the Timberwolves; on a positive note, the Pacers did sign Darren Collison and Bojan Bogdanovic. It looks like young center Myles Turner has to carry the team, a challenging task for the future star; the Pacers will most likely be at the bottom of the standings this year.