This has arguably been the craziest offseason in NBA history with so many stars changing places and shifting the balance of power.
Just when you thought it couldn’t get any more nuts, Kawhi Leonard and the Los Angeles Clippers said hold our beers.
In the wee hours Saturday, it was reported that the Finals MVP Leonard will sign a four-year max deal with the Clippers.
But wait, that’s not all …
L.A. also swung a deal for MVP finalist Paul George from the Oklahoma City Thunder “for a record-setting collection of draft choices,” per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. This comes just a year after George signed a max deal with the Thunder.
So how does all this affect the Sixers? Well, good news, bad news.
The good news is that with Leonard out West and Kevin Durant likely not playing for the Nets this season, the Sixers have as good a chance as anyone to come out of the East. The bad news … well …
There are two legitimate juggernauts in the Western Conference with the pairings of Leonard and George and LeBron James and Anthony Davis with the Lakers (see story). And let’s not forget about the Warriors or the Rockets, who’ve run things in the conference the last couple years.
There is a path for the Sixers to become the best team in the East, though.
The Bucks will still be tough with the league’s MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo. Despite losing Malcolm Brogdon, Milwaukee did well to bring back Brook Lopez and George Hill and sign guys like Wesley Matthews and Robin Lopez. While it lacks the star power of others, it looks to be the deepest team in the league.
Brooklyn, though much more formidable than it was a year ago now with Kyrie Irving, will not quite be at the upper echelon of the conference with Durant’s Achilles injury and uncertain timetable. The Celtics are a bit of wild card. They signed Kemba Walker, who should flourish in Boston, but lost Irving, and more importantly Al Horford. The Raptors went on a historic run last season, but without Leonard, it’s difficult to see them repeating that journey. They’re still dangerous, but not quite like they were.
The Sixers still have plenty to sort out. Will the starting five feature enough shooting and scoring? Will Tobias Harris continue to improve and look more like the Clippers version? Will Horford and Joel Embiid be a good fit? And the most important question of all: Will Embiid and Ben Simmons be motivated by last year’s playoff defeat and make the necessary improvements to join the NBA’s elite?
With Leonard heading out to Hollywood, the East is truly up for grabs. The Sixers should have as good, if not better, chance than anyone to take it.
But beating one of the West teams in the Finals? That would be a tall order.
Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.