The Toronto Raptors just won the 2019 NBA Finals. Kevin Durant snapped his achilles. Oh, and the Los Angeles Lakers just traded for Anthony Davis. The NBA is the best league in the world.
In one week, the entire landscape of the league has shifted. And with that shift comes an almost immediate end to some teams’ hopes of winning the chip next season.
Here are 7 NBA teams whose championship windows slammed shut after the 2018-19 season:
1. Houston Rockets
As I’m writing this, James Harden and Chris Paul are slapboxing in the locker room. Somehow putting together a backcourt of the two most ball dominant players in the NBA would get angry at each other for not sharing the ball. Strange. Who saw this coming?
Chris Paul is about to make $40 a year from Houston until the end of time which strip the Rockets of any roster flexibility. This team is dead. James Harden is going back to being the strip club god. He’s earned it.
2. San Antonio Spurs
The Spurs are in this no-man’s land where they aren’t young enough to expect any real growth over the summer and they don’t really have any assets to get better. No one wants Jakob Poetl, believe it or not.
Tony Parker retiring in a Hornets jersey and Kawhi Leonard hoisting the Finals MVP trophy over his head is the nail in the Popovich coffin. The Spurs are OUT of here.
3. New Orleans Pelicans
The Pelicans lost a Top 5 superstar. Their championship window is closed. The second Rich Paul put a gun in the mouth of former GM, Dell Demps, and demanded his client get traded, it was a wrap for the city of New Orleans.
Now, Zion Williamson could walk in and single-handedly win 82 straight games on his own. That probably won’t happen but honestly, it’s a coin flip at this point.
4. Oklahoma City Thunder
Paul George coming back to the Thunder for ‘unfinished business’ will go down as one of the most hilarious moments in NBA history. Yo, there was a documentary following Paul George around. Nas had a concert for him.
Anddddd then they got their asses waved off the court by Damian Lillard. This team is already over the luxury tax. How do they get better? Their only way to go is down. Westbrook is probably getting a knee surgery right this second.
5. Toronto Raptors
Obviously this depends on where Kawhi Leonard chooses to sign but I’m fairly confident that Kawhi won the Finals MVP and was immediately picked up from Oracle Arena by Jerry West with Doc Rivers sitting shotgun and a New Balance executive in the backseat with a burlap sack full of cash.
I don’t want to disrespect Fred VanVleet or anything but with Kawhi leaving, what is this team? Is it Kyle Lowry time? Because that is the worst time of the year.
6. Golden State Warriors
Klay Thompson’s ACL exploded. The medical staff ran Kevin Durant’s achilles into dust like he was an NFL running back on an expiring contract. Steph Curry proved that he isn’t good enough to carry a team solo.
Would it shock you if the Sacramento Kings had a better record than the Warriors next season? Every player on the Mavericks Starting 5 is better than Draymond Green.
7. Boston Celtics
After years of collecting assets, all the Celtics have to show for it are Jayson Tatum who plays like late-LATE-era Kobe, Jaylen Brown who is a career 65% free throw shooter and is one missed dunk away from being Andrew Wiggins and Gordon Hayward is bad.
Kyrie Irving is gone and why would Terry Rozier stick around? The team that almost beat the Cavs in the Eastern Conference two years ago is long gone. There is a 0% chance Boston wins the title this season. Somehow they have to rebuild in the middle of a rebuild. It’s an evil world we live in.