The NBA offseason rarely disappoints regarding storylines and rumors, and this summer was no exception. There were a ton of moves by teams looking to make that next jump, particularly in the Western Conference. These three biggest offseason moves all come from teams in the West, which seems to be as deep as ever.
Ranking the NBA’s 3 Best Offseason Moves
NBA Offseason Move No. 3: Lakers Bring Back Austin Reaves
The Lakers retained Austin Reaves on a four-year, $56 million deal. As a restricted free agent, this deal easily could have been north of $20 million annually if the Lakers had to match it. Luckily, they could get a team-friendly deal done, which gave them the financial flexibility to retain their other players and bring in multiple depth pieces.
At just 25 years old, Reaves has made a considerable leap in the NBA since being an undrafted free agent. He took an even more significant jump after the Lakers’ trade deadline moves, which included the departure of Russell Westbrook; this allowed Reaves to take on more of a playmaking role with the ball in his hands as opposed to a floor spacer.
Playing with Team USA this offseason, Reaves could make another leap and become that solidified third star next to LeBron James and Anthony Davis. In fact, Lakers head coach Darvin Ham thinks he can become an All-Star level player.
Move No. 2: Suns Trade for Bradley Beal
The Suns trade for Bradley Beal isn’t getting the attention it deserves this NBA offseason as a blockbuster move. Phoenix traded for Beal in exchange for Chris Paul, Landry Shamet, six second-round picks, and multiple pick swaps.
Paul is 38 years old and is still on the books for two more years for a $30 million annual salary. He’s still talented but has unfortunately become a liability to stay healthy, mainly come playoff time.
Meanwhile, Beal is still in his prime at 30 years old. A career 37 percent three-point shooter, Beal should space the floor better than Paul, allowing for more room for Kevin Durant and Devin Booker to operate in isolation situations.
The Suns’ concern for having players with overlapping skill sets is overblown. Booker and Beal are highly talented players who will figure out how to complement each other throughout the season. The Suns trade is a high-risk, high-reward move but a necessary one.
They already decided to go all-in following the Durant trade. Getting Beal was a luxury that they got lucky was on the table, given their limited trade assets.
Move No. 1: Spurs Draft Victor Wembanyama
The San Antonio Spurs won the Victor Wembanyama “sweepstakes” in the NBA Draft Lottery. The decision to select Wembanyama was a no-brainer, as he is considered by many to be the best NBA prospect to come into the league since LeBron James in 2003.
Wembanyama played only a total of two games in the Summer League. In the first game, he struggled a bit (by his standards). However, he bounced back as expected in the second game, recording 27 points, 12 rebounds, and three blocks.
At 7-foot-5, the Spurs finally have their next generational big man, following the footsteps of legends David Robinson and Tim Duncan. Typically, a No. 1 overall selection wouldn’t be enough to be considered the best move of the offseason. However, Wembanyama differs from your typical No. 1 selection; this pick catalyzed San Antonio’s rebuild. They instantly went from a team in no-man’s land to a team that has one of the league’s best up-and-coming cores, all because of one pick.
With Wembanyama, the biggest question will be his health. However, there likely isn’t a better franchise to ensure that Wembanyama preserves his long-term health than San Antonio.