It seems that the three favorites to win the NBA title next season; The Cleveland Cavaliers, Golden State Warriors (defending champions) and the San Antonio Spurs are doing it by adding players, but mostly through keeping all of their key players in place.
The Cavaliers have re-signed Kevin Love and Iman Shumpert, but they’re not done. Tristan Thompson, at some point, is going to re-sign, and so will LeBron James, although right now he’s more busy playing agent than player. Matthew Dellavedova and J.R. Smith are also going to come back, although it seems the Cavaliers are trying to put pressure on Smith to re-sign by floating out rumors about Joe Johnson and Jamal Crawford possibly coming through trades, both very complicated deals to complete. They’ve also added Mo Williams through free agency, a former Cavaliers player.
The Warriors didn’t have too much to do. Draymond Green was the big issue for them any they re-signed him. Other players? They used their team option on Marreese Speights and have re-signed Leandro Barbosa. The only meaningful player they might be losing out on is David Lee, but Steve Kerr hardly had use for him last season, so trading him won’t be too much of a loss, and might actually make this team better.
The San Antonio Spurs kept their key players in place as well. Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili come back from the option of retirement, Danny Green remains on the team although he probably could have taken more money somewhere else. Kawhi Leonard signed a max contract and never really gave restricted free agency a chance. The two players that “got away”; Marco Belinelli, Cory Joseph and Aron Baynes, weren’t as meaningful to the big picture as those that the Spurs managed to keep. Tiago Splitter? With the haul the Spurs had in free agency, losing him via trade, right now, doesn’t seem like too much of a loss.
There’s also the players the Spurs added. LaMarcus Aldridge, David West, and we’re going to see more signings considering they have plenty of roster spots to fill with minimum deals. One on hand, the Spurs don’t usually go for anyone, even if it’s a very good veteran who wants to play on a favorite and win a championship. On the other hand, the Spurs are acting a little bit “strange” this summer.