Toronto earned its NBA championship and wild Canada-wide celebration. Kawhi Leonard deserves an elevated platform and for more of us to wonder if he is actually the best player in the NBA right now.
In the aftermath of all of it, though, we are left to digest what Golden State’s injuries — in combination with news that the Lakers are trading for Anthony Davis — mean in the big picture of the NBA.
Kevin Durant’s torn Achilles and Klay Thompson’s torn ACL — both occurring, by the way, on the same legs that kept both players out of action in the early part of the series — are not short-term injuries. An already uncertain offseason for the Warriors became truly chaotic.
Durant might sign elsewhere … or he could opt in for one more year with Golden State that would be used almost exclusively (or completely) for rehabbing his injury. Thompson, also a free agent, could return to the Warriors. But he, too, will spend most or all of next season trying to return to health.
That leaves the NBA’s Western Conference, Golden State’s domain for the past five seasons, very much up for grabs — at least in 2019-20.
For teams that feel they are on the cusp of contention, that has to have an impact on roster-building strategies — and perhaps it’s no coincidence that the Davis-to-the-Lakers news broke before the etchings on the Larry O’Brien Trophy even had a chance to cool down.
Some oddsmakers already have installed the Lakers as the championship favorites next season, when LeBron James and Davis could give Los Angeles a lethal combination. They vaulted past the Bucks, who were the pre-trade odds-on favorites. Golden State sits at 10-to-1 odds, which is fourth in the pecking order.
Regardless, next season feels wide open. The year after next and beyond? They feel VERY wide open. If the James-Davis pairing fails to take root, the haul Los Angeles gave up — including three players, three first-round picks and the right for New Orleans to swap picks in the 2023 draft — could make it hard on the Lakers to restock on years to come.
Golden State could be dangerous in a year, but free agency looms over the Warriors. The era of Golden State being the defined, prohibitive favorite is over.
What does that mean for the Wolves? Good question. In the short term, probably not much. They sit at 100-to-1 odds to win next year’s title in two different online books, tied for the longest odds with a handful of other teams.
But things can change quickly. Even changing slowly would be meaningful.
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As if you needed a reminder of how fast things can change in sports, the Twins won just 78 games last season. Even after Sunday’s loss, Minnesota at 47-23 is on pace for 109 victories.
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And as if you needed a reminder that baseball has no clock: Friday’s Twins victory took just 2 hours, 21 minutes — their second-fastest game of the season. Sunday’s Twins loss took 4 hours — their second-slowest game of the season.
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I don’t think I was adequately excited for the Women’s World Cup. But after watching three matches over the weekend, including Team USA’s 3-0 victory over Chile on Sunday to advance to the knockout round, I’m hooked.