Then we have the Cleveland Cavaliers who spared no expense in order to keep their core intact. The 2015 Eastern Conference Champions dished out in excess of $200 million in order to keep LeBron James, bring back Kevin Love, and to reward Timofey Mozgov and Iman Shumpert for their contributions last season. And they may not be done as they’re hoping to bring back Tristan Thompson. If not for last season’s injuries to Love, Anderson Varejao, and Kyrie Irving, the Cavs could have been the ones holding up the Larry O’Brien trophy last month.
Then There Are Those Who Lost
Even though the Portland Trailblazers re-signed their top guard Damien Lillard (five years, $120 million); losing LaMarcus Aldridge, Aaron Affalo, Robin Lopez and Nicolas Batum will most certainly come back to haunt them next season. Letting DeAndre Jordan slip from their grasp is going to haunt the Dallas Mavericks for quite some time. It’s not every day that you can land a solid interior guy with his caliber.
The Sleeper Hit
We love this category because its the team that didn’t make a splashy move, crept under the radar and still has the makings of a winning off-season. This year, it goes to the Miami Heat. Goran Dragic will anchor the offense with his long-term deal, getting Luol Deng and Dwayne Wade back proves that Pat Riley believes that they can contribute when healthy, and Amar’e Stoudemire could be a solid mentor for Hassan Whiteside. With the rest of the group still on board (Chris Bosh, Chris Andersen etc.), the Heat could surpass expectations and return to the postseason next year.
Could this mean yet another Spurs-Heat match up in the 2016 Finals. Crazier things have happened.