2021’s NBA free-agency definitely didn’t disappoint, as the offseason has proven to be a summer of seismic shifts. Though several teams appeared to lack significant cap space to acquire major players, there have been a few stand-outs that have seen a significant shift in fortunes.
The basketball community was hit with a series of major moves including seeing players like Russell Westbrook, Jonas Valanciunas, Kyle Kuzma and Steve Adams amongst those who were traded and shaking up the power rankings in the league. While some deals made were not a surprise, including Kawhi Leonard‘s decision to re-sign with the Los Angeles Clippers for a four-year $176.3 million USD contract and Luka Doncic agreeing to a five-year, $207 million USD extension with the Dallas Mavericks, some moves have proved to cause quite a stir amongst fans.
In light of the recent free agency moves, HYPEBEAST has rounded up the top five NBA teams to watch out for in the upcoming 2021-22 season.
Los Angeles Lakers
The Los Angeles Lakers have garnered a lot of attention in the past few weeks as the team has assembled a superstar roster for the road to the 2022 NBA Championships. Free agency saw the resigning of Dwight Howard and Trevor Ariza, as well as the additions of Carmelo Anthony, Russell Westbrook to the already strong-man-focused team. The team is expected to have great chemistry and further depth with LeBron James as Westbrook and Anthony have both been known to been long-time friends with the veteran. With Anthony Davis and Marc Gasol also returning next season, the Lakers are expected to come back with a vengeance, most definitely gunning for another championship win.
In a perhaps not so surprising move, DeMar DeRozan has been acquired by the Chicago Bulls. For the past couple of seasons, DeRozan was often frustrated at the lack of progress the San Antonio Spurs have had en route to championships. As a dynamic and veteran playmaker and scorer in the league, DeRozan is expected to be a useful assist to Zach LaVine. The Bulls have also added superstars Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso to offset DeRozan’s lack of reliable three-point shots. The team is looking to restore its glory back to its championship days with Michael Jordan with this eclectic mix of young and seasoned players.
The Miami Heat have also picked up a seasoned vet of the league this free agency. The trade deals see long-time Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry make his way south of the border to the Heats. Many are aware that Jimmy Butler and Lowry have great chemistry, having previously played together in All-Star games. The addition of a seasoned playmaker for the Heat gives the team a greater chance at making more aggressive plays, especially with new acquisitions like PJ Tucker, known to be a dog on the court. The Heat have also resigned Duncan Robinson, evidently banking on the young player’s growing potential.
Golden State Warriors
Steph Curry has recently signed a massive four-year extension with the Golden State Warriors. Curry, a seasoned champion, has guided the Warriors to three championships over the past seven years. With the return of Klay Thompson this season, The Splash Brothers are slated to make a comeback and are hungrier than ever to return to their dynastic heights. If the chemistry is still there, the Warriors are bound to be ones to watch in the upcoming season.
This year, the Phoenix Suns were defeated by the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 6 of the NBA finals. With Chris Paul signing a four-year extension, the NBA veteran seems to be adamant on another chance at the trophy with the Suns. With much to prove after this previous season, fans will be excited to see the pair, CP3 and Devin Booker, return to the court to fight towards the championships.