It’s hard to believe the NBA Finals will commence in six days. With that said, I think it is a good time to examine each team’s biggest priority heading into the offseason. These priorities range from addressing a specific positional need to acquiring a specific player.
Boston Celtics: Add another max player.
Whether it’s through free agency or via a trade of the number one pick, the Celtics must add another superstar to the mix. As well as the Celtics played this season, the playoffs have reinforced this notion that a team can only make it so far when your best player is 5’9 Isaiah Thomas. The targets are obvious for the Celtics: Jimmy Butler, Paul George, Gordon Hayward, Paul Millsap, Carmelo Anthony, Blake Griffin, ETC.
It’s hard to believe that a few years ago the Raptors were one of the bottom dwelling NBA franchises. But after the acquisition of Kyle Lowry and the emergence of DeMar DeRozan, that has changed, so much so that the Raptors are now considered one of the premiere teams in the Eastern Conference. With Kyle Lowry set to hit the free agent market, the Raptors must make it a priority to re-sign him. You cannot afford to waste the prime of DeMar Derozan’s career.
New York Knicks: Trade Carmelo Anthony
This is a difficult one, given the fact that Carmelo has a no trade clause in his contract, but Phil Jackson must figure out a way to get rid of him. Not only are the Knicks in basketball no-man’s land, but with Carmelo on the roster, the team is too talented to completely tank, but not talented enough to fully contend in the playoffs. Jackson is going to have to somehow 1. Convince Carmelo to waive his no-trade clause and 2. Find a suitable trade partner where the Knicks don’t get totally screwed.
Philadelphia 76ers: Find a suitable starting point guard
TRUST THE PROCESS. It’s taken for what seems like forever, but the 76ers’ tankapalooza seems to have finally paid off. Joel Embiid, although in a limited sample size of 31 games, played like one of the best centers in the NBA. The Sixers are young, athletic, and full of depth. For the Sixers to take the next step, they need to find a point guard, whether that is with the number three overall pick or in free agency. If they opt for the draft, they should target De’Aaron Fox out of Kentucky. If they opt for free agency, they should throw a full max deal at Kyle Lowry, who grew up in the Philadelphia area.
The Nets’ abysmal 2013 trade, one in which they essentially gave up their future, has left them with few draft picks, and as one of the worst teams in the league. They need to rebuild and trading their best player, Brook Lopez, is logical given the lack of talent and draft picks that they have. They are one of the worst teams in the league, but despite this fact, they will likely not improve for a few more years unless they can acquire a few draft picks.