NBA: From LeBron James joining LA Lakers to Kawhi Leonard moving to the Toronto Raptors, the biggest off-season moves
Several of NBA’s biggest names changed teams in the offseason – including some who were longtime franchise cornerstones with their previous teams. Here's a look at the switches that made the biggest splashes:
When the NBA season begins on 17 October, it will take some getting used to, particularly for the most ardent fans. Imagine watching a Cleveland Cavaliers game, and LeBron James, the man who played in all 82 of the Cavs regular season matches, not being there. Imagine watching the Spurs, and not seeing Tony Parker, the man who had embodied the franchise for 17 long seasons.
But such are the ways of the NBA.
Several of the league's biggest names changed teams in the off-season – including some who were longtime franchise cornerstones with their previous teams.
Here we bring to you the biggest off-season moves:
LeBron James (From Cleveland Cavaliers to LA Lakers):
This will be the first time that LeBron, who has tasted defeat thrice in the NBA Finals in the past four years against the Golden State Warriors, will be trying his luck with a new franchise. This will also be the first time he will be representing a franchise in the West. The Lakers, along with the Boston Celtics, are the most storied franchises. LeBron, a four-time NBA MVP, is arguably the biggest name in the basketball scene at the moment. But will they be a perfect fit? The preseason signs says yes!
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) October 11, 2018
Kawhi Leonard (From San Antonio Spurs to Toronto Raptors):
After a fractured relationship with the Spurs due to a mismanaged injury, it had become certain that two-time Defensive Player of the Year Leonard, who was third in the 2016-17 MVP voting, would start this season in the colours of a new franchise. But while his desired move to the Lakers never materialised, he finds himself in Toronto, hoping to spark the Raptors.
— NBA (@NBA) September 29, 2018
DeMar DeRozan (From Toronto Raptors to San Antonio Spurs):
Basketball stars get a lot of flak for switching franchises. But one only has to take a look at DeRozan’s case to know why franchise loyalty is virtually non-existent in the sport. The 29-year-old, who is Toronto’s career scoring leader, had spent nine seasons with Raptors, but was blindsided when he was traded to Spurs in a deal which saw Leonard head to the Canadian franchise. He reacted by posting this story on Instagram:
He later posted this ambiguous tweet:
Revenge is a dish best served cold...
— DeMar DeRozan (@DeMar_DeRozan) September 20, 2018
DeMarcus Cousins (From New Orleans Pelicans to Golden State Warriors):
If you thought the Golden State Warriors was loaded with superstars before, wait till the next season tips-off. They added DeMarcus Cousins, an All-Star selection in each of the last four seasons, to a three-time NBA Championship-winning side and the overwhelming sentiment in the league right now is that the Warriors will win their third title in a row next year.
Carmelo Anthony (From Oklahoma City Thunder to Houston Rockets via Atalanta Hawks):
Carmelo Anthony, who is currently ranked 19th on NBA’s all-time scoring list, will join a franchise which has heavy-hitters like James Harden and Chris Paul and was ousted by the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals. The move also ended Melo’s misery at Thunder which lasted for a season. Playing alongside Russell Westbrook and Paul George, he averaged 16.2 points in a season where he posted career lows in scoring average and field goal percentage.
Dwight Howard (From Charlotte Hornets to Washington Wizards via Brooklyn Nets):
Dwight Howard, who ranks in NBA’s career top 20 in rebounds and blocked shots, will ply his trade for the Wizards in the upcoming season. However, his stint has already gotten off on the wrong foot with him missing a few pre-season matches due to a butt injury. While doubts remain on when he can come back on the court, Howard could add some much-needed steel to a talented bunch of players which includes John Wall and Bradley Beal.
DeAndre Jordan (From LA Clippers to Dallas Mavericks):
DeAndre Jordan, the career NBA leader in field goal percentage in regular season and postseason, swapped his Clippers jersey for that of the Mavs in the off season. In what will be a more competitive Western Conference than ever before, Jordan will bring his rebounding and shot-blocking abilities to the Dallas franchise, which won its only title in 2011. Jordan had been with the LA franchise for 10 seasons.
Isaiah Thomas (From LA Lakers to Denver Nuggets):
Still not fully fit after having had arthroscopic hip surgery back in March, Isaiah Thomas is currently working his way back. The man who finished fifth in MVP voting in the 2016-17 season saw his last season blighted by injury too, playing just 32 games for the Cleveland Cavaliers and Los Angeles Lakers. The two-time All-Star will hope that his stint at the Nuggets will be more rewarding than his stays with the Lakers and the Cavs.
Tony Parker (From San Antonio Spurs to Charlotte Hornets):
It will be bizarre to see the Spurs team lining up on the court this season without the ubiquitous presence of Tony Parker, who played at the Western Conference franchise for 17 seasons — and inspired them to make the Playoffs in all of them. At Charlotte, Parker will team up with Kemba Walker as the franchise tries to make it to the Playoffs for the first time in three seasons.
Jabari Parker (From Milwaukee Bucks to Chicago Bulls):
The Chicago native and ex-No 2 overall pick averaged 20.1 points in 2016-17, but it seems that he could be relegated to a bench role this season. He has suffered two major ACL injuries recently, with the second one consigning him to the bench for a significant time — 28 of his 31 appearances with the Bucks last season came off the bench.
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