The Journal Gazette
 
 
Thursday, July 22, 2021 1:00 am

NBA

Gears quickly shift to offseason

Associated Press

Detroit, you are on the clock.

The NBA offseason – if you can call it that – is here. The Milwaukee Bucks officially flipped the league calendar to summer on Tuesday night, capturing their first title in 50 years and turning out the lights on a season that navigated its way through a pandemic to crown a new champion.

There isn't much of a break, of course.

The NBA draft, with the Pistons holding the No. 1 pick and presumably the chance to choose Oklahoma State's Cade Cunningham, is fast-approaching on July 29. Free agency starts in less than two weeks, on Aug. 2. Most new contracts can be signed starting Aug. 6, and summer league opens two days after that.

“We made it. We crowned a champion,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said during the trophy ceremony in Milwaukee on Tuesday night. “I have to say playing through a pandemic required enormous resilience from all 30 teams. Thank you to every team and every player in the league for a tremendous season.”

And now, it's already next season.

The good news is there's a sense of normalcy, even amid a pandemic, and the NBA plans to continue along that path. Training camps will begin in late September, as is the new normal. Preseason games are back in early October, and the league's 76th season – even though it'll be celebrating its 75th anniversary all year long – starts Oct. 19.

That's not even three months away.

 Some issues to watch over the coming days and weeks:

Free agency

Chris Paul helped Phoenix get to the NBA Finals and now has a decision to make about his $44 million option for next season. He could opt-in and stay, or opt-out – and quite possibly still stay, if he and the Suns are able to work out a new deal.

There will be plenty of seasoned veterans on the market, including Kyle Lowry and Mike Conley. Leonard could be a free agent as well, if so inclined.

An interesting situation to watch will be Victor Oladipo, most recently of Miami and someone who would like to remain with the Heat. He's coming off another leg surgery and may not be ready to start next season, which could certainly affect his number of suitors – and how much they will be willing to offer him.

Draft

Detroit picks first, followed by Houston, Cleveland and Toronto. Orlando has two picks in the top eight and Oklahoma City has three picks in the first 18 – the start of the massive haul of draft capital that the Thunder have acquired in recent years.


Subscribe to our newsletters

* indicates required