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Freeman Cebu Sports

Off-season winners

NBA BUZZ - Bobby Motus - The Freeman

There was a rush of player transfers when the NBA free agency began then, boom! Kevin Durant requested a trade. The Kyrie-to-LA drama is still up with the Lakers reportedly determined to ship Russell Westbrook, and as per Adrian Wojnarowski, "I think the Lakers will make a deal, maybe more than one deal.  It may not be for Kyrie Irving, it may not be for an All-NBA player, an All-Star.  It's not completely dead." 

Houston (Eric Gordon), Indiana (Buddy Hield) and Utah (Patrick Beverly) could be involved in these deals, with Talen Horton-Tucker, Kendrick Nunn and Austin Reaves likely to be dealt, if rumors are to be believed.

It was reported that New York and Utah are discussing terms on the possible transfer of Donovan Mitchell to the Knicks, but the Jazz wanted six future first-round picks plus Obi Toppin, Immanuel Quickley and two other players exchange for Mitchell. 

It would be reckless for NYK if they bite but they had been known to burn money on non-franchise type players.  Yes, Mitchell’s overall playmaking greatly improves the Knicks’ backcourt, but they’ll lose important rotation pieces in Toppin and Quickley.  The Knicks reportedly disengaged from further trade discussions.  Good for them.

* * *

A few teams from both conferences did well in reconstructing their roster.  Boston, Philadelphia, New Orleans and OKC in the EC improved but only the Celtics and the Sixers have clearer paths to the post season.  Likewise, Denver and the LA Clippers could go all the way to the WC Finals but let us not discount Golden State.

The Celtics added depth which they sorely lacked in the Finals.  They got assets without sacrificing much of their rotation pieces.  In Malcolm Brogdon who runs the point and can shoot, they fixed their backcourt problem.  Danilo Gallinari can score and although iffy defensively, he can space the floor and would give Al Horford and Robert Williams III some quality down time.

Reports say that James Harden opted to receive a lower salary and it greatly favors the Sixers.  They lost Danny Green to Memphis but in return, they got proven playoff toughie PJ Tucker, defense and shooting from De’Anthony Melton and likewise from Danual House, who is familiar with both Harden and Tucker during their days in Houston. 

Locking Nikola Jokic with the league’s biggest contract to date was of paramount importance for Denver and together with Jamal Murray and Michael Porter, Jr. make the Nuggets’ version of the big 3.  Getting Kentavious Caldwell-Pope not only gives them another scoring option but also a strong defensive presence.

The Clippers should be healthy when the new season opens and with the addition of John Wall for playmaking duties, Paul George and Kawhi Leonard can permanently be on their natural positions.   They still have Ivica Zubac but will be going small in the middle with Robert Covington and Marcus Morris after they dealt 7-footer Isaiah Hartenstein to the Knicks.

Houston and San Antonio most probably will be out of playoff contention, but they had acquired several young talents that will be beneficial for them eventually.

The Celtics, Sixers, Nuggets and Clippers should make a deep playoff run.   New Orleans, OKC, Houston and San Antonio won’t be going anywhere but they had stocked up on assets that would take them to the postseason in a few years.

Yes, free agency is a win for Boston, Phidelphia, OKC, New Orleans, Denver, LAC, Houston and San Antonio.

NBA

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