In a league where superstars reign supreme, the NBA is often an arms race in compiling the greatest assortment of talent possible. The Golden State Warriors, underpinned by the savvy drafting of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, have regularly won the battle over the past decade, particularly during their three-year span with Kevin Durant.
On the brink of training camp and a new NBA season, teams aren’t content with what they did earlier in the offseason during free agency. With the Denver Nuggets holding possession of the Larry O’Brien Trophy, teams are quickly lining up to stake their claim in toppling the NBA champions.
Should the Golden State Warriors feel pressured into another move after two championship rivals made blockbuster trades in recent days?
The Milwaukee Bucks shocked the NBA world on Wednesday when, motivated by the pressure stemming from superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo, they traded for eight-time All-Star Damian Lillard.
Only days later the Boston Celtics took advantage of the initial move, trading for two-time All-Star Jrue Holiday who was initially sent to the Portland Trail Blazers in the Lillard deal. It was a ruthless but calculated decision from GM Brad Stevens who rightfully cared little for Malcolm Brogdon’s Sixth Man of the Year campaign last season, and so too the upside of the talented but injury-prone Robert Williams III.
It was a prompt response from Boston to that of their Eastern Conference rival. It now leaves the question of who will be next to pull the trigger on a big trade, and should the Warriors be swayed by the recent activity?
Golden State’s next move is to preach patience — they already made their huge move by acquiring 12-time All-Star Chris Paul in June. Although the 38-year-old may not have the same impact that Lillard and Holiday will on their respective new teams, it’s a different look that at least needs to be tested.
There’s little doubt the Warriors considered that through any potential conversations regarding moving Paul, and further assets, for Holiday once he became available. All offseason they’ve preached their excitement at having Paul part of the fold, and moving him without playing a game would have placed doubt on their trust among players and fans.
Milwaukee and Boston may have crunched in the championship market, but the reality is that Golden State won’t face either of those teams until the NBA Finals were they to make it. They’ll also only see those teams on a combined four occasions during the regular season, the first of which won’t come until December 20.
Teams in the East, particularly the Philadelphia 76ers and Miami Heat, should be incredibly concerned with the chasm Milwaukee and Boston have placed between themselves and the remainder of the conference. Yet for teams like the Warriors in the West, there’s still plenty of opportunity to wait and see how the season starts before feeling the need to make a big move themselves.