NBA Offseason 2022 Recap

The offseason has proven turbulent for the NBA, as blockbuster trades and eye-watering contracts reshape the landscape of the league. The Los Angeles Lakers, once titans of the trade deadline, have found themselves striking out on nearly all their key summer targets, spotlighting the complexities of modern roster construction.

LeBron James’ Lakers are now past the second apron, a payroll limitation set at $188.9 million, further tightening their ability to maneuver under the salary cap. The allure of potentially adding DeMar DeRozan in a sign-and-trade has been tantalizing for Lakers fans. However, for this to become a reality, the team would need to scrape below the first apron of $178.1 million—a formidable task. Adding to the speculative fervor, LeBron reportedly stated he would consider a significant pay cut of around $20 million if it meant securing that elusive third star.

Meanwhile, Paul George’s move to the Philadelphia 76ers and Klay Thompson’s journey to the Dallas Mavericks mark two of the more seismic shifts in the offseason. George appears to be an impeccable fit in Philadelphia, sliding neatly into a lineup already bolstered by Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey, who himself has secured a $204 million extension. The 76ers haven’t stopped there; the additions of Eric Gordon and Andre Drummond, coupled with re-signing Kelly Oubre, position the team as a formidable opponent in the East.

The departed George leaves a noticeable gap in the Clippers lineup, which they’ve tried to fill with Derrick Jones Jr., Nic Batum, Kevin Porter, Kris Dunn, and Mo Bamba. Meanwhile, the Mavericks also reshuffled, sending veteran shooter Tim Hardaway Jr. and rising star Josh Green to Golden State in exchange for Klay Thompson, who agreed to a three-year, $50 million contract with Dallas.

The reshaping of rosters didn’t stop there. The Knicks engineered a standout trade to bring Mikal Bridges aboard, surrendering five first-round picks and a swap in the process. They further added to their haul by trading for Tyler Kolek in the second round. Conversely, Isaiah Hartenstein’s switch to Oklahoma City for a hefty $87 million over three years signals a significant move for the Thunder, who also swapped Josh Giddey for Alex Caruso from the Bulls.

The Golden State Warriors remain active, securing the talents of De'Anthony Melton and Kyle Anderson, with potential murmurs of Buddy Hield joining their ranks still circulating. On the other side of the spectrum, Cleveland Cavaliers fortified their future by extending Donovan Mitchell’s contract with a three-year, $150.3 million agreement.

The New Orleans Pelicans made headlines as well, acquiring Dejounte Murray from Atlanta. Sending Larry Nance Jr., Dyson Daniels, and two future first-round picks through 2025 and 2027 to the Hawks, the Pelicans clearly signal their intention to compete at a higher level immediately.

The Brooklyn Nets, in a rebuilding phase, made waves by turning Kevin Durant into an astonishing nine first-round picks, regaining control of their own 2025 and 2026 picks in the process. This strategic acquisition lays down a significant foundation for their future.

The Denver Nuggets faced their loss as Kentavious Caldwell-Pope departed for a three-year, $66 million deal with Orlando, while the San Antonio Spurs signed veteran Chris Paul for a one-year tenure worth $11 million and drafted Stephon Castle with the No. 4 pick. Their move to trade Rob Dillingham to Minnesota for long-term draft assets clearly indicates a future-focused strategy.

Big contracts were a theme across the league, with rookies Cade Cunningham and Scottie Barnes locking in max extensions. Cunningham inked a deal worth $226 million over five years with Detroit, and Barnes’ potentially massive $270 million extension with the Raptors hinges on his upcoming performance metrics. Within those ranks, Immanuel Quickley also secured a lucrative $175 million, five-year contract with Toronto, further demonstrating the organization’s confidence in its young talent.

Not to be overlooked, the Orlando Magic extended Jonathan Isaac in a $84 million renegotiation and extension over five years, showing their commitment to building a stable core around their dynamic younger players. The Magic similarly solidified their roster by signing Caldwell-Pope.

The magnitude of these moves, replete with staggering financial figures and ambitious trades, speaks to a league in constant evolution, driven by both immediate competitive needs and long-term strategic plays. As the dust settles, each franchise will soon see if their daring moves translate to on-court success.