Why does the NBA win the offseason every summer?
Because star players switch teams. A lot.
The combination of shorter contracts (something owners pushed for in recent CBAs
to save themselves from themselves because they didn’t want to get locked into six-year deals they regretted) and elite players taking more control of their own destiny has led to a boom of player movement. That’s something fans find more interesting than the games themselves (just check any web site’s traffic numbers, and not just for basketball). In the end, the NBA wins.
In the 18 months since the 2017 All-Star Game in New Orleans, 12 of the 24 players who participated in that game have switched teams.
He’s the full list:
• DeMarcus Cousins. He was traded pretty much during that 2017 All-Star game from Sacramento to New Orleans. He signed this summer with Golden State.
• LeBron James. He left Cleveland this summer as a free agent to join the Los Angeles Lakers.
• Paul George. Traded from Indiana to Oklahoma City, where this summer he re-signed.
• Kawhi Leonard. He forced a trade from San Antonio and ended up in Toronto.
• DeMar DeRozan. Traded from Toronto to San Antonio as part of the Leonard deal.
• Carmelo Anthony. He was a Knick at the 2017 All-Star Game, was traded to Oklahoma City before last season. This season he was traded to Atlanta, which bought him out, and within hours of this story going up he will sign with the Houston Rockets.
• Jimmy Butler. Traded from Chicago to Minnesota (and former coach Tom Thibodeau).
• Gordon Hayward. Left Utah as a free agent and signed with Boston (and his college coach Brad Stevens).
• Kyrie Irving. Forced a trade out of Cleveland, was sent to the Boston Celtics.
• Isaiah Thomas. Traded from Boston to Cleveland in the Irving deal, then traded again at the deadline from Cleveland to the Los Angeles Lakers. This summer he signed with Denver as a free agent.
• DeAndre Jordan. Left the Los Angeles Clippers as a free agent, signing with Dallas.
• Paul Millsap. Left Atlanta as a free agent, signed with Denver.
If you thought this summer was wild, wait until next summer when two-thirds of the league’s teams will have more than $20 million in cap space and nearly half the players in the league will be free agents.