It is a busy week for basketball fans, as LeBron James just became the all-time scoring leader of the NBA, surpassing Kareem Abdul Jabbar with his 38-point performance against Oklahoma City Thunder at Crypto.com arena yesterday. This unmatched achievement made many to think that the GOAT (Greatest-of-All-Time) debate had been settled as James had already broken many scoring and all-around records previously, coupled with his four NBA titles, NBA MVP and NBA Finals MVP awards. Nonetheless, LeBron’s achievement was not the only most-talked about thing happened in the NBA this week. As teams are preparing for the second half of the season, we had just welcomed several shocking trade deals in the past few days. Let us take a look at some of the major moves that could possibly alter the course of the eventual winner of this season’s NBA Championship.
Kevin Durant to Phoenix Suns
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The Big Three in Brooklyn Nets were never going to work in any ways from the beginning, and their downfall had been on the cards. Just days after Kyrie Irving was traded to the Dallas Mavericks, his All-Star buddy in Nets Kevin Durant had also decided to move onto the next stage of his career: The two-time NBA champion and Finals MVP will relocate to the Western Conference once again and sign with the Phoenix Suns. What is more about the deal is that Suns did not lose anyone from its original Big Three of Chris Paul, Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton. This intriguing trade is about to set the division on fire and propel Suns to one of the best contenders for this year’s championship. The Suns are currently in the fifth place of the Western Conference and Kevin Durant’s arrival will definitely elevate the team’s performance in all categories.
Kyrie Irving to Dallas Mavericks
KD’s move back to the Western Conference was largely due to the fallout between Nets and Kyrie Irving. Earlier in the week, the megastar point guard was traded to the Dallas Mavericks to join Luka Dončić and co. in the Southwest Division. The Mavs had been known to overdependent on the Slovenian guard in recent seasons, hence Irving’s addition to the team is certainly a plus for Mavs to hunt for the second title of their franchise. The 30-year-old former Duke player had already debuted for his new team, scoring 24 points and grabbing four rebounds and five assists for the Dončić-less Mavs in a 110-104 win over Kawhi Leonard’s Los Angeles Clippers.
Russell Westbrook to Utah Jazz
Should Russell Westbrook secure a buyout from the Utah Jazz after the three-team trade is complete, the Los Angeles Clippers are said to have interest, per @ChrisBHaynes pic.twitter.com/WQDm9IZPMf
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) February 9, 2023
Westbrook’s departure had been the writing on the wall, especially after the failed Lakers move to land Irving. Westbrook was involved in a three-team trade that will see him in Utah Jazz’s jersey soon, with another Russell, 26-year-old guard D’Angelo returning to the Purple and Gold after almost six years. On the other hand, the former UCLA star Westbrook might not play a game for Utah as the team is likely to buy out his contract. Should the Jazz do so, teams such as Los Angeles Clippers, Chicago Bulls and Miami Heart are racing against time to sign the veteran point guard. His leadership and abilities on and off the court will certainly boost the performance of any of these three teams.
D’Angelo Russell to Los Angeles Lakers
D’Angelo was part of the Lakers’ young core that was tipped to be successful one day, but the arrival of LeBron James soon changed things and the volatile group of players are now shinning in another team’s jersey. Russell, who was the 2nd overall pick by the Purple and Gold back in 2015, averaged 13.2 and 15.6 points per game across two seasons and played 143 games for the 17-time world champion. His return will be celebrated and the guard would look forward to redeem himself in the famous jersey of Lakers’.
Now that trades had happened, which team do you think has the highest chance of winning the NBA championship at the end of this season? Let us know in the comment section.