When the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors met for the third time in as many years to crown the champion of the NBA, there was much anticipation. The rubber match did not live up to the billing, however, as the Warriors went on to win the series 4–1.
As it became more obvious that the Warriors outmatched the Cavaliers in terms of offensive production, a question arose: what’s LeBron going to do to counter Golden State in the offseason? You could broaden the query to ask what the NBA as a whole is going to do to prevent fatigue and accusations about superteams undermining league parity. Would a fourth-straight meeting in the playoffs compel fans to flock to their seats to see if the Cavaliers can avenge this year’s defeat, or are we witnessing a Warriors dynasty that cannot be slowed down?
Back to the question about LeBron. The answer is likely that he will continue to recruit. It seems implausible that former Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul will join LeBron to become the third option in the offense behind him and Kyrie Irving. There is much talk about Kevin Love being the best trade asset the Cavaliers have this season, although power forward Tristan Thompson would have been mentioned in more trade discussions as well if not for the contract he’d signed just a season ago.
Each season NBA fans have witnessed a LeBron-led team make moves to improve the roster around the once-in-a-generation star. Based on the unprecedented power and influence LeBron has as he’s the most important factor. There is no doubt that moves will be made. It all comes down to a matter of who will be coming and going in the coming months.
The Warriors are looking at the rest of the NBA from atop the mountain. Every other team is left to to find a solution to a problem that seems to have no answer. The scariest part is not what the Warriors did to the Cavaliers—it’s that they could continue to do the same thing to any team for the next four to five years if they wanted. There are still dotted lines that need to be signed, but from what has been circulating, most of the pieces from the current roster will return, with some players taking a discount to keep the band together.
Each of the superstars on the team, be it Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, or Draymond Green, are either signed or will be back with a deal that makes sense for the individual. The oldest members of the team are Matt Barnes and David West, good role players who will both be 37 in 2017.
The Warriors don’t seem to be any ego problems that other superteams have had in recent memory, which means we NBA fans should be seeing the Warriors contend for titles for seasons to come. This can be both interesting and boring. Are fans putting too much stock in the belief that other teams will be unable to prevent Golden State’s potential dynasty? The Warriors did appear to be on the ropes when Kawhi Leonard was healthy for the Spurs in the first half of the Western Conference championship. If Leonard had stayed healthy, who knows what would have happened, but we can only imagine.
It will be interesting to see what the other NBA teams will do this off-season to combat the Warriors and Cavaliers. We have seen the Lakers begin to clear cap space for Paul George and perhaps Lebron James in 2018. The Atlanta Hawks cut their loses with Dwight Howard, and the 76ers made moves to acquire the first overall selection in the 2017 NBA Draft. Could this be the season where all the pieces come together to create the reality that former Sixers GM Sam Hinkie envisioned years ago?
With the league preparing to negotiate their next media deal in the near future, the intrigue over what teams will do to combat superteams should surely help.