This year the NBA off-season has been filled with a lot of trades and free agents going to different teams. For example, LeBron James to the Lakers, Demarcus Cousins to the Warriors, Kawhi Leonard being traded to the Raptors for DeMar DeRozan. With all of these moves, every teams odds of winning the championship has changed.
TITLE CONTENDING TEAMS
When you thought the Golden State Warriors couldn’t get any better, they got better. This off-season the Warriors managed to get a four-time NBA All-Star Demarcus Cousins. With this addition the Warriors have five All-Stars on their roster, assuming Cousins is the same player that he was before his injury. Even though the Warriors have an All-Star out, they are the still the clear favorites to win it all.
The Houston Rockets have lost a couple of pieces from last year that played a major role on defense. The Rockets lost Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute, two players the Rockets could rely on defense. This off-season they re-signed Chris Paul and Clint Capela, and they also managed to get free agent Carmelo Anthony. Even though the Rockets lost their best wing defender (Ariza), they are still the favorites to meet Golden State in the Western Conference Finals and potentially beat them.
This NBA off-season the Los Angeles Lakers managed to land the biggest free agent in free agency, LeBron James. A lot of people are questioning how James will succeed in the West. Wherever James goes, the team is an automatic playoff contender. The Lakers have a solid young core in Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, and Josh Hart. The Lakers have also acquired veteran players such as Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson, and JaVale McGee. With these assets and decent bench players the Lakers should go deep in the playoffs, and potentially in the Western Conference Finals.
The Boston Celtics are coming into this season to redeem themselves from a disappointing season last year. Last season, the Celtics came into the season as the favorites to beat LeBron and the Cavaliers. Unfortunately, injuries held back the Celtics from reaching their full potential. They lost Gordon Hayward to a gruesome leg injury and Kyrie Irving to a knee injury. As a result, the Celtics went into the postseason with rookie Jayson Tatum leading them. In the post season the Celtics proved they are a title contending team without their two best players by taking LeBron and the Cavs to a seven-game series. This year, assuming everyone is healthy, they are definitely a title contender.
The Philadelphia 76ers are coming into the 2018-2019 season with a full healthy roster. Every year the Sixers are missing a key player due to injury. For example, Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and Markelle Fultz have all missed their first year in the NBA due to injury. This year they have all of their key players and most of them have playoff experience. With Ben Simmons running the offense and Joel Embiid leading them on defense, they should make it deep in the playoff. Now that LeBron is out of the East, the Sixers are a serious contender to get out of the East.
This off-season the Toronto Raptors traded their franchise player DeMar DeRozan for Kawhi Leonard. Kawhi has been rumored to be wanting to join LeBron and the Lakers but instead got traded to the Raptors. If the Raptors want to convince Kawhi to stay in Toronto, they will need to make it deep in the playoffs. The Raptors now have a more elite backcourt in Kyle Lowry and Kawhi Leonard. If the Raptors are able to play well together they will be a scary team to watch in the East.