Sports

NBA teams go all-in, and that’s what’s needed

There are more than nine months left for the 2023 NBA playoffs, and one thing is already clear.

There will be chaos.

The Minnesota Timberwolves grabbed a megaphone and announced to the world when they swapped several players and several first-round picks – one of them in 2029, meaning the youngster is currently 12 and probably still can’t dive – to the Utah Jazz by Rudy Gobert .

And with that, Minnesota is officially added to a list of legitimate Western Conference title contenders. There are solid arguments that can be made for no less than seven teams right now when debating who will represent the West in next season’s NBA Finals: defending champion Golden State, along with Phoenix, Dallas, Los Angeles Clippers, Memphis, Denver. and Minnesota are all on that list.

Remember that at least three of those teams will not make it past the first round next spring. At least three.

Announcement

But give credit to the Timberwolves for what they did, because this is the way the NBA world is now. Organizations are all inside or all outside.

Some teams are about to send another massive pack of players and selections to Brooklyn for Kevin Durant, unless the Nets change their minds about wanting to be changed elsewhere. And that team, no matter what, will instantly see their title hopes increase even further by adding perhaps the most unprotected player in the game today. Durant owes nearly $ 200 million over the next four years, is about to enter his 15th season (not including a loss due to injury), will turn 34 this fall, and teams are still queuing up to bet everything to take the his uniform.

“Those who have been locked up with me in that gym know what it is, they know what I am.” Durant tweeted on Saturday: his first public comment since requesting an exchange from the Nets. “If you haven’t been there with me, ask around.”

Announcement

Cryptic in some respects, clear in others. Durant wants more rings. In other words, it’s better for someone to go all out inside.

That is what is needed.

Golden State spent about $ 340 million last season on a championship-winning list, about half in wages and the other half in luxury taxes. Of course, the Warriors are tucked in their pockets. But that’s the price of doing business right now, especially in an NBA that comes from a year where a $ 8.9 billion basketball-related revenue record was generated.

And the Timberwolves are the last team to accept that reality.

Gobert owes $ 170 million over the next four seasons. Karl-Anthony Towns are owed $ 295 million over the next six seasons, after securing most of it in an overtime that took place a few hours before Gobert’s exchange took place. Anthony Edwards, a rising star, is poised for a massive rookie extension next summer. Minnesota, a team that hasn’t won a playoff series since 2004, is switching to the fences. New owner Alex Rodriguez, he of the 696 home runs, should be proud.

Announcement

Someone is going to get Durant. It’s not reckless to think that Kyrie Irving might also want a change now, and if the Nets move Durant, they may also move Irving instead of losing him for nothing next summer. Imagine Irving reuniting with LeBron James, this time with the Los Angeles Lakers, trying to recreate what they did in 2016 when Cleveland came to hold a title. If Irving goes there, he also adds the Lakers to that list of legitimate Western contenders.

New Orleans will have things to say about the pursuit of the playoffs. It should also Portland, assuming Damian Lillard is Damian Lillard again, and there’s no reason to think that won’t be the case. And who knows what Utah will be without Gobert, especially with speculation about whether the Jazz will choose to turn the remodeling of their roster into a complete dismantling and change Donovan Mitchell as well.

Announcement

Note that movements are also taking place in the East.

The Eastern Conference champion, Boston, significantly increased his depth by getting Malcolm Brogdon, another example of big spending, with $ 67.5 million and three years for his deal, and Danilo Gallinari.

It is known that Miami, the No. 1 in the Eastern playoffs last season, is in the draw for Durant and Pat Riley always, always, always looking for more stars. It wasn’t a free agent move, but Atlanta believes it has improved by switching to Dejounte Murray to play alongside Trae Young. James Harden gave his most significant assistance as a 76er by choosing to go out and give Philadelphia the freedom to go get PJ Tucker; Harden is now expected to sign a new deal in Philadelphia, and that consolidates them as another candidate. Milwaukee has spent to keep Bobby Portis, which means most of the title-winning core around Giannis Antetokounmpo remains intact.

Announcement

Transfers can’t even last a few more days. Training camps will not begin until late September. The season doesn’t start until mid-October. And then six months to the playoffs.

That’s when the big, bold and best moves of this summer could bear fruit.

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Tim Reynolds is a national basketball writer for The Associated Press. Write to him at treynolds (at) ap.org

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NBA teams go all-in, and that’s what’s needed

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