NBA Offseason Moves: 6 Riskiest and Most Rewarding Trades

Every game is a gamble. So they say.

Now that news of Dwight Howard signing with the Los Angeles Lakers (albeit the non-guaranteed contract) dawned on us. The next important question is: how will this change the 2019-20 NBA season? Howard was with the Lakers in 2012-13. Hopes and expectations were high then but left abruptly after the team’s first-round loss. 

This can be one of the most surprising returns throughout NBA history, especially after Howard telling the fans that he already put the Lakers behind him.

Sports analysts are also quick to note that the Howard re-sign is nothing compared with the Anthony Davis trade. The latter potentially changed the 2019-20 season by making Lakers a playoff contender now. Will Howard be an integral part of the strategic roster of LeBron James-Davis tandem? 

That’s one question we have yet to answer. The same applies to how the trades, signings, re-signs, draft picks would change the coming season.

In the meantime, here are some of the most intriguing NBA offseason moves.

Riskiest: Kemba Walker leaving Charlotte Hornets

Walker left the Hornets after low-balling him for Boston Celtics, who also lost Kyrie Irving. Walker was the only franchise player and losing him would mean the next season’s chaos of a team. 

Most Rewarding: Kawhi Leonard signing up with Los Angeles Clippers

Even long before the finals win for Toronto Raptors, Leonard has already eyed the Clippers. The addition of Leonard, who signed a four-year maximum deal with the players, and Paul George, among others, made the Clippers as an early favourite to win the title.

Riskiest: Hoping for Isaiah Thomas’s comeback season

The future of the Washington Wizards is bleak, with a roster of players that can be easily mistaken as a G League frontrunner. The only extenuating feature of the Wizards is Bradley Beal, its #9 first-round draft, Rui Hachimura, and the recently-signed Thomas.

Most Rewarding: Brooklyn Nets signing Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant

Irving and Durant are the duo to watch out for—a tandem that was not expected until it happened with the Nets. These two alone makes the team one of the NBA elite. DeAndre Jordan, Garrett Temple, and Wilson Chandler make the defence all the more exciting.

Riskiest: Cleveland Cavaliers losing three players but did not sign new members

Kevin Love has a disappointing performance in the 2018-19 season, and the Cavaliers is ready to give him up. This makes sense as the team is trying to shift its focus on developing the young rosters of players. It drafted three new names such as Darius Garland, Dylan Windler, and Kevin Porter Jr. And unless these players perform, the Cavs will be one of the terrible NBA teams this upcoming season.

Most Rewarding: New Orleans Pelicans signing Zion Williamson

Williamson was this season’s first pick overall. A lot is expected from him, having shown his speed and leaping ability comparable to that of Charles Barkley. Playing together with seasoned players such as JJ Redick and Derrick Favors, this can be the Pelicans success formula for this season despite losing Davis to the Lakers.

 

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5 Highest-Paid Basketball Players of All-Time

Jay-Z famously said, “I’m not a businessman—I’m a business, man!”

And these NBA stars truly embody playing basketball as an infinite income source.

You won’t find any LeBron James or Stephen Curry in the list (both are working their way up to appearing in the future list, though). But these names are some of the wealthiest NBA players to date.

#5 Tim Duncan

Total earnings: $240.1 million

Highest single-season pay: $22.2 million

Seasons: 19

Duncan was given the name The Fundamental by none other than O’Neal. For O’Neal, he was one of the most fundamentally sound players in the NBA then and now. 

O’Neal knew because the Duncan-led San Antonio Spurs snatched the 2002-03 championship from the Lakers. Speaking of which, Duncan has earned sizable amount from his stint with the Spurs. 

However, he was not all for earning millions of dollars. He sacrificed bigger paychecks twice in his career: one with a salary cut in 2012 to keep the Spurs intact and two with a massive discount for a $10.4 million contract, again with Spurs.

#4 Dirk Nowitzki

Total earnings: $246.6 million

Highest single-season pay: $25 million

Seasons: 20

Among the NBA players in this list, Nowitzki is the only who still plays. He plays for the Dallas Mavericks where he was reportedly earning $5 million for his one-season contract. 

In 2017, he received his biggest pay of $25 million. 

The Hall of Famer is one of the all-time leading scorers in the league. He was one of the seven players who scored more than 30,000 points throughout their career.

#3 Shaquille O’Neal

Total earnings: $286.3 million

Highest single-season pay: $27.7 million

Seasons: 19

O’Neal was known for his strength, agility, and speed—the reasons why 1) he was unstoppable during one-on-ones and 2) he broke two backboards during his rookie year. No pun intended there as it only knows how forceful O’Neal can become.

O’Neal led the Lakers championships for three consecutive years from 2000 to 2002. His biggest paycheck came in 2004-05 NBA season when he led the team to the Finals once more.

#2 Kobe Bryant

Total earnings: $323.3 million

Highest single-season pay: $30.5 million

Seasons: 20

Despite a season-ending knee injury that he sustained in the 2013-14 season, this was Bryant’s highest-paying season still.

Bryant was an MVP, a four-time Finals MVP, and a five-time NBA champion. Such accomplishments were rewarded handsomely by the Los Angeles Lakers management.

The Black Mamba overtook O’Neal’s supposed second stop if he didn’t retire one season behind Bryant. Bryant was also one season short of Garnett’s.

#1 Kevin Garnett

Total earnings: $334.3 million

Highest single-season pay: $28 million

Seasons: 21

His overall revenues are not the main reason why Garnett earned the moniker The Big Ticket. But contract-wise, the retired player earns the honour of being the richest man in the NBA. 

In fact, he was the primary reason the league introduced a cap on contracts after signing a $126 million deal for six years.

The only player who was about to surpass his earnings is LeBron James.

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NBA 2019-2020 Season: New Mental Health Guidelines and Requirements

What do Stephon Marbury, Delonte West, Eddie Griffin, and Larry Sanders have in common? They all had a mental disorder. 

On the other hand, what do Kevin Love and DeMar DeRozan’s aim for? An improved mental health program for the NBA players–a platform that recognizes their mental health needs.

So, for the upcoming season 2019-20, expect a lot of changes on this front, a league memo issued to the 30 teams has noted.

NBA’s expanded mental health program

Announced on August 7, 2019, the health initiative requires that each team must have a mental health professional or two (on retainer basis). He or she must have extensive experience in the assessment and treatment of clinical mental health conditions. A licensed psychiatrist shall also aid the organization in managing any mental health concerns.

In line with this, all teams are expected to draft their respective action plan as protocols during a mental health emergency. A set of confidentiality policies regarding the matter is an additional requirement.

Likewise, the 30 NBA teams must attend the health and wellness meeting to be conducted in Chicago on September 12. Guidelines will be discussed during the meeting.

The changes sprung from the slate of NBA players’ revelation about their bouts against various mental health issues. They suffered from such before and while playing in the league. 

Addressing the players’ mental health needs

Love and Keyon Dooling wrote personal essays about this issue and their advocacy and published in The Player’s Tribune. DeRozan, on the other hand, discussed his mental health challenge–depression, as he spoke with Doug Smith of the Toronto Star.

In Love’s influential essay, Everyone is Going Through Something, he said,

“So for 29 years, I thought about mental health as someone else’s problem. Sure, I knew on some level that some people benefited from asking for help or opening up. I just never thought it was for me. To me, it was a form of weakness that could derail my success in sports or make me seem weird or different.”

For Love, who had a panic attack in the middle of the game, and other NBA players who are struggling with depression, they were trapped in a playbook. Such playbook requires every man to: Be strong. Don’t talk about your feelings. Get through it on your own.

Commission Adam Silver acknowledged the mental health needs of the players, among others, who face gruelling tasks game after game. He talked openly about the issue in February. 

At the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in Boston held in the first quarter of 2019, Silver said, “A lot of these young men are generally unhappy.” 

True to Sliver’s words, “We are living in a time of anxiety.” And the NBA needs to step up its game if it really wants to help the players who are also struggling with accepting their conditions and talking about it.

A lot of things must be done, but the memorandum is the Association’s next stage since the creation of the mental health and wellness program in 2018. Dooling currently heads the program.

 

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