After a phenomenal Olympic year with Team USA Basketball going undefeated, fans are wondering, what is next for the next Olympics in 2020, and what is next for the upcoming NBA season.
It was not long ago that Cleveland won the NBA Finals after a 52-year drought. LeBron James and Kyrie Irving led the team to victory against the more favored Warriors. Although the Warriors came back from being down 3-1 against the Thunder, they could not muster up power to beat the Cavs. LeBron ended up, scoring 29.7 PPG, 11.3 RPG, 8.9 APG, 2.6 SPG, and 2.3 BPG in the finals, proving to be the best player in basketball and signing a three year, $100 million extension with the Cavs.
In between the Olympics and the Finals, many large yet questionable contracts were signed. Kevin Durant, whose team was defeated by the Warriors, signed with them. Durant signed a two year, $54.5 million deal with the Dubs. Another surprise, Dwayne Wade left the Miami Heat, and signed a two year, $47.5 million deal with the Bulls. Mike Conley of the Grizzlies signed a max contract extension with the Grizzlies making history.
There were many players who deserved the generous contracts, but there were a few who definitely didn’t deserve all the money they received. For example, Timofey Mozgov signed a four year, $64 million deal with the Lakers. Mozgov pretty much rode the bench this year, and when he tests free agency, he makes a lot of money? Another head-scratcher was C.J. McCollum re-signing with the Blazers for a four year, $106 million deal. He will almost be making as much money as Russell Westbrook, who also signed an extension with the Thunder, to stay and hopefully win a championship. When fans think of Westbrook, they think of a lot of money, when McCollum comes to mind, probably a $6-7 million a year.
Players who deserved their contracts were DeMar DeRozan who signed a five year, $145 million deal to stay in Toronto, and Andre Drummond, who signed a five year, $130 million deal to stay in Detroit. Both are great franchise players who want to stay home and bring a championship to their cities.
Fast forward to the Olympics, where there were a lot of exciting story-lines building up. Many people questioned Carmelo Anthony, because he had stated that winning gold in the Olympics would be better than a championship. Carmelo has already won two gold medals heading into these Olympics and USA went in, obviously favored to win. Team USA went 5-0 in the Group A, beating China, Venezuela, Australia, Serbia, and France. The team called it very close in some of the games, where three out of the five wins were within ten points.
The US then advanced to the Quarterfinals, where they faced Argentina, and crushed them by a score of 105-78. 54 of the team’s points were off the bench. Overall, it was a great performance for the team. The next day, they were on to face Spain in the semi-finals. DeAndre Jordan broke a USA Men’s Olympic team record, by recording 16 rebounds. The US powered through to win 82-76, advancing them to the Gold Medal Game. Team USA crushed Serbia by a score of 96-66. At the end of the game, Carmelo Anthony stated that he is retiring from the Olympics and International play. Anthony is USA Basketball’s first men’s four-time Olympian, the first four-time medalist, and the first men’s player to win three gold medals.
What to look forward to: The very new and improved Warriors, with a starting five of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green, and potentially Anderson Varejao. LeBron and the Cavaliers hoping to bring more championships to Ohio. Finally, the new and improved Knicks. After signing Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah to contracts this off-season, the Knicks are hopefully looking to be one of the better teams in the Eastern Conference.