The 2018-19 NBA season has just started but most people already have an idea who will take home the Larry O’Brien Trophy. Despite the improvements by other NBA teams, the Golden State Warriors still emerge as the heavy favorite to win the 2019 NBA championship title. It’s definitely not a surprise at all.
In the recent offseason, the Warriors didn’t only succeed to retain their core of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, and Draymond Green, but they also upgraded their roster with the acquisition of All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins in free agency. Though Cousins is set to spend most of the regular season recovering from injury, the Warriors could have him back when the real battle begins in the Western Conference Playoffs.
The 2019 NBA championship title may already have the Warriors’ name on it, but according to Brian Windhorst of ESPN, many league executives believe that the 2020 NBA championship title will be up for grabs. When the 2018-19 NBA season is over, several NBA superstars could leave their current teams as free agents while some could demand a trade.
As Windhorst noted, league executives already have names in their mind of NBA superstars who will “relocate” next summer. These include Kevin Durant and DeMarcus Cousins of the Warriors, Jimmy Butler of the Minnesota Timberwolves, Kawhi Leonard of the Toronto Raptors, Kyrie Irving of the Boston Celtics, and Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Pelicans.
“Many believe multiple top free agents will relocate next summer. This would include Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler (for now) and DeMarcus Cousins. But there are two more names on executives’ lips: Anthony Davis and Kyrie Irving.”
Takeaways from Warriors' morning shootaround
-DeMarcus Cousins shows his outside shooting
-Klay Thompson downplaying his slump
-Kevin Durant on his mid-range game, the Lakers-Rockets scuffle & his recent court dedication
-Shaun Livingston injury update https://t.co/6wsgF9N5HR pic.twitter.com/SuEJWtkZSn
— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) October 24, 2018
Of all the superstars mentioned, DeMarcus Cousins is the most likely to leave his current team next summer. Cousins signed a cheap deal with the Warriors, not just to win his first championship ring but to help him increase his value in the 2019 NBA free agency. Once he regains his All-Star form, Cousins is expected to demand a max contract when he hits the market in July 2019.
Meanwhile, Jimmy Butler’s departure from the Timberwolves could no longer wait until the 2019 NBA offseason. Though Butler is currently playing for the Timberwolves in the regular season, team owner Glen Taylor promised to find him a new home as soon as possible.
NBA fans will surely question why Kyrie Irving is included on the league executives’ list of superstars who will “relocate” next summer. Despite committing to re-sign with the Celtics, Windhorst said that rumors will still continue to swirl around Irving until he officially inks a new deal. Lots of things can happen between now and the next offseason that could affect the decision of Irving or the Celtics.