Greater than three months have handed since Nikola Jokic and the Nuggets loved their long-awaited coronation as first-time NBA champions.
One other summer time that had the potential for main trades involving huge names didn’t materialize for the Knicks, or maybe extra considerably, for the Warmth staff that ousted them from the playoffs.
Damian Lillard landed final week in Milwaukee, not Miami, simply in time for the beginning of coaching camp within the coming days.
Right here’s a take a look at 10 intriguing storylines to look at throughout the league as groups reconvene this week:
1. Milwaukee’s finest
The blockbuster deal to pair Lillard with two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo despatched shock waves via the Japanese Convention, making the Bucks the favorites to get again to the NBA Finals following final yr’s first-round exit as the highest seed to Jimmy Butler and the No. 8 Warmth. The Greek Freak for the primary time this summer time confirmed cracks in his dedication to the Bucks. However including Dame — a seven-time All-Star coming off the highest-scoring season of his profession — ought to hold Antetokounmpo comfortable within the quick time period.
2. Hardening his stance
One other future Corridor of Famer who requested a commerce — the newest of his profession, that’s — was James Harden, however The Beard stays caught in Philadelphia after the 76ers couldn’t work out a deal to accommodate the disgruntled 10-time All-Star. Harden, who opted in to the ultimate yr of his contract at $35.6 million earlier than requesting a commerce, known as staff president Daryl Morey “a liar” and has vowed to not play once more for him. Count on extra chaos surrounding Harden whether or not or not the previous Internet exhibits up for coaching camp in Colorado, whereas ready to see the way it impacts reigning MVP Joel Embiid’s future with the group.
3. Feeling the Warmth
Lillard’s most well-liked vacation spot was South Seashore following the Warmth’s shock run to the NBA Finals, however Miami couldn’t fulfill the Blazers’ commerce calls for. Barring one other huge transfer, the Warmth will run it again with Butler, Bam Adebayo and not-traded Tyler Herro, though they let key complementary gamers Gabe Vincent (Lakers) and Max Strus (Cavaliers) depart through free company.
4. Vacation in, Vacation out
Jrue Vacation didn’t match the Blazers’ present profile in constructing round younger gamers akin to Anfernee Simons, newly acquired Deandre Ayton and No. 3 total draft choose Scoot Henderson. So the two-time All-Star and five-time All-Defensive staff choice was flipped Sunday to the Celtics for Robert Williams, Malcolm Brogdon and picks, establishing an attractive Lillard-Vacation playoff matchup atop the East.
5. Sir, it is a Wemby’s
The Spurs had been lucky sufficient to win the lottery for Corridor of Fame huge males David Robinson and Tim Duncan, and five-time champion coach Gregg Popovich now will get rewarded for final yr’s 22-60 bottoming out with 7-foot-4 wunderkind Victor Wembanyama. The 19-year-old French middle is essentially the most hyped NBA prospect since LeBron James 20 years in the past, and everybody might be anticipating Wemby to make a serious influence immediately in San Antonio.
6. Ja’s suspension
The NBA took a tough line with Grizzlies celebrity Ja Morant, suspending him for 25 video games to start out the season for being proven brandishing a firearm a number of instances on social media. However the league introduced Monday that the All-Star guard might be allowed to observe on the staff facility and journey to highway video games throughout his ban.
7. The last word Warrior
Chris Paul’s profession ring chase landed him alongside Steph Curry with Steve Kerr’s four-time champion Warriors following an preliminary commerce from the Suns to the Wizards within the Bradley Beal blockbuster. Jordan Poole was despatched to Washington for the 38-year-old Paul, a 12-time All-Star who’s 590 assists behind Jason Kidd for the No. 2 spot on the all-time checklist.
8. New bench bosses
There are some attention-grabbing previous faces in new locations on the teaching sidelines, most notably Ime Udoka’s return to the bench with the Rockets following a season out of the sport after his dismissal in Boston for an improper office relationship. Former NBA Coach of the Yr winners Monty Williams (Pistons) and Nick Nurse (76ers) additionally landed new gigs, as did Frank Vogel (Suns), who fronted the Lakers to a championship in 2020.
9. Porter’s issues
Udoka’s new staff additionally should cope with the disturbing state of affairs surrounding guard Kevin Porter Jr., who’s going through felony fees in New York for the alleged assault and strangulation of his girlfriend, former WNBA participant Kysre Gondrezick. The Rockets reportedly have tried to commerce Porter, however he seemingly is also going through league suspension in violation of the league’s home violence coverage. Charlotte’s Miles Bridges formally obtained a 30-game suspension and didn’t play in any respect final season for a DV violation.
10. Don’t overlook KD and Kyrie
Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving will start their first coaching camps with the groups they had been traded to by the Nets in February, the Suns and the Mavericks, respectively. Durant is a part of a brand new Large 3 within the desert alongside Beal and Devin Booker, whereas Irving stays paired with Luka Doncic in Dallas after final spring’s collapse and eventual tank job following his arrival from Brooklyn.
- James Harden, Bucks enchancment, Victor Wembanyama
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