The summer of 2019 could go down as the riskiest offseason in NBA history.
A unique set of circumstances, including a loaded free-agent class, a surplus of cap space across the league, and a suddenly evolving hierarchy set the stage for a busy summer. What unfolded next was a hectic scramble that saw many teams go all-in to acquire star players.
Unlike some blockbuster moves in previous years, several teams put a lot on the line to add stars to their team. The results of some of these deals could have ramifications down the line.
The race began before the draft even took place as the Los Angeles Lakers gave up a historic haul to land Anthony Davis. They traded three young players in Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, and Josh Hart, plus three first-round picks and a pick swap with the New Orleans Pelicans.
The Los Angeles Clippers topped that price in a trade for Paul George, sending Shai Gilgeous Alexander, Danilo Gallinari, and seven first-round picks — including two pick swaps — to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Landing George allowed them to sign Kawhi Leonard in free agency.
Both teams essentially mortgaged their futures for the present.
Other teams didn’t wager so much, but still gave up assets to land stars.
The Houston Rockets traded Chris Paul, two first-round picks, and two pick swaps to land Russell Westbrook. Westbrook’s fit with James Harden is questionable, but he essentially represents a talent upgrade over Paul.
The Miami Heat traded a first-round pick, Josh Richardson, and Hassan Whiteside in a four-team deal to land Jimmy Butler. They are now reportedly weighing a trade for Chris Paul.
The Golden State Warriors managed to complete a sign-and-trade with the Brooklyn Nets for Kevin Durant, acquiring D’Angelo Russell in return. Doing so cost them respected veteran forward Andre Iguodala and two first-round picks. There is speculation that Russell will eventually be used in a trade to acquire more pieces. In the meantime, he is an All-Star guard to pair with Stephen Curry.
Even the Nets paid a price to acquire Durant and Kyrie Irving. They had to trade a first-round pick to dump Allen Crabbe to open up the necessary cap space to sign two stars this summer.
That move won’t cost them future assets, but adding Irving and Durant represents a risk. The former left two team