5. Chicago Bulls
The Chicago Bulls haven’t done much in the past years and this year was no different. They only signed two players (Garrett Temple and Noah Vonleh), which are both good role-players, but the Bulls’ roster is not good enough to add those role-players, since they were not even the best ones available. With the 4th pick in the draft, they landed Patrick Williams, which is surprising because he wasn’t a starter at college and didn’t come on until late in his freshman year, but Chicago felt his upside as a multi-positional defender who can shoot and create for others offensively was too much to pass up. Their biggest screw up of the offseason was losing Kris Dunn, who is not one of the best but is still an elite defender who averaged 2 steals per game (Second in the league), especially considering that they are better than the team who signed him and actually had the money to re-sign him.
4. San Antonio Spurs
For the first time in over 20 years, the Spurs missed the playoffs, but the most surprising thing is that during the offseason they did literally nothing to get better this year. In my opinion, they should have traded their best players (LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan) to another team and go into rebuild mode. There is not much to say about them right now since their rookies haven’t played much yet and they didn’t sign anyone, all of their new players were drafted, apart from that, they just let their best shooter (Bryn Forbes) go to another team without even trying to get him back, and the surprise is that he wasn’t even asking for a lot of money (He is currently getting $2.3 million from the Bucks).
3. Orlando Magic
Last year, the Magic were able to get into the playoffs but ended up facing the MVP in the first round and couldn’t do much. Because they got to the playoffs, they ended up not having a high pick in the draft but were able to get Cole Anthony, who has shown to be a solid player and will probably grow into a good player. Apart from that, the Magic were not aggressive at all during the offseason and did not sign any significant players, the only signing was Dwayne Bacon, who has shown to be a solid role-player and the Magic did manage to sign him in a good deal for them.
2. New York Knicks
Just like every year for a time now, the Knicks have been irrelevant in the offseason and in the NBA. Last season they won only 21 games and this year I predict that they will be doing about the same. They were able to draft Obi Toppin in the 8th position and most fans were not happy about it; he might be a good player but he is already 22 years old and probably won’t develop as much as other players, since there are several players younger than him in the NBA right now that are a lot better than him. I might be wrong about him but even though he does not seem very promising, he was still the best thing that the Knicks did this offseason. They had over $36 million to spend this year and the best player they could get was Austin Rivers, who is at most an average player, apart from him they were able to sign some solid role-players that would fit perfectly in the bench of teams with a good starting lineup and a good coach, but the Knicks lack both of these things. Those players were Alec Burks, Nerlens Noel, Austin Rivers, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, and the Knicks might be saving some money to sign a big free agent in 2021 (since a lot of good players will be available) but knowing the team and its history, they probably won’t end up getting him and will overpay an average player.
1. Charlotte Hornets
Even though the Charlotte Hornets were able to draft a promising LaMelo Ball with the third pick, he is still too young to make any significant contributions to the team. Since they were already one of the worst teams last year winning only 23 games (which got them the 10th position in the Eastern Conference, the weaker one). The team’s biggest addition to the roster was signing Gordon Hayward, who even though broke his leg in 2017 and hasn’t been the same player ever since. He is still a solid player who can help the team in the starting lineup but is far from being an All-Star, and on top of that, the Hornets are overpaying him in ridiculous amounts, as they signed him to a 4-year $120 million deal, which is $30 million per year for 4 years, and this amount clearly does not reflect his current value in any team. In general, drafting LaMelo was their best decision as he will be the team’s cornerstone when the time comes as he develops himself into the player he is predicted to be, as a 6 ft 8" point guard who has great vision and crazy passing skills.
5. Phoenix Suns
The Phoenix Suns have been irrelevant for a while even though they have one of the best scorers in the league (Devin Booker). They did very well in the offseason as they managed to acquire Chris Paul, an all-time great point guard who has an insane vision and top-tier playmaking skills, as well as being a good shooter and defender. They also got Jae Crowder, one of the best 3-and-D (players who shoot well and defend well) players in the league. By combining Booker’s skillset with a solid team (something that the Suns don’t have since 2008), they will likely make the playoffs this year and can be a threat depending on who they match up against.
4. Oklahoma City Thunder
OKC surprised everyone last year after they were given a 0.2% chance of getting into the playoffs but still managed to be the fifth-best team in the western conference. Since they don’t have a stacked roster like most of the top teams in the west, they decided to go into complete rebuild mode and their GM Sam Presti traded 4 players from their starting lineup (Chris Paul, Danillo Gallinari, Steven Adams and Terrance Ferguson) alongside their sixth man (Dennis Schröder) and now the Thunder owns 18 first-round picks through 2027. Overall, they are going to be terrible this year because they traded everyone away, but that was the objective, a long term investment to develop and acquire young talent.
3. New Orleans Pelicans
The Pelicans traded away an important player for the franchise, but it was the right decision to make because they were able to get a good deal out of it. With Eric Bledsoe and two first-round picks, they also acquired Steven Adams from OKC in another deal, both of those players are starter level. Apart from those huge trades, the Pelicans re-signed Brandon Ingram with a max deal ($158 million), and even though it might seem like a lot, it was the right decision considering that he was an All-Star last year and would probably leave the team next year if someone offered him more money, since he is in fact a top-tier player.
2. Philadelphia 76ers
The Sixers did amazing in the offseason. hey were able to get rid of Al Horford and his insane contract, and flipped it into Danny Green (an experienced 3-and-D player with championship experience), Dwight Howard (a defensive monster who will work perfectly as Embiid’s backup), Seth Curry (Amazing three-point shooter) and other role-players who fit good in their system. With Al Horford being gone, the new coach- Doc Rivers (Hall-of-Famer)- will be able to play Tobias Harris in the position that he is supposed to play, Power Forward.
1.Los Angeles Lakers
The defending NBA champions might have lost a lot of important players in Rajon Rondo, Danny Green, Dwight Howard, Avery Bradley and Javale Mcgee, but they were also able to re-sign key players for the championship like Anthony Davis, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Markieff Morris, alongside extending LeBron James until 2023. and Even though LeBron is almost 36 years old, he does not show any signs of getting worse, in fact some might say that he is better now than he was when younger. Apart from the re-signings, the Lakers did an amazing job in signing Montrezl Harrell (won the Sixth-Man of the year award), Dennis Schröder (second in the votings for the Sixth-Man of the year award), Wesley Mathews (a veteran 3-and-D player) and Marc Gasol (a veteran with championship experience). All of those signings are perfect because they fit in with the Lakers playstyle, as they have strong defensive-oriented players to stop the other team, and can also space out the floor in offense, which is perfect in a team with LeBron James who has an insane ability to penetrate the defense and an even crazier vision combined with his ability to pass the ball to the open guy when the other teams’ players have to double him. With all those additions, the Lakers are the favorites to win the championship this season.