2022 NBA offseason wrap-up: Kevin Durant changes tune; Russell Westbrook still a Laker; Cavs swoop Knicks

The NBA offseason moves fast. Sometimes too fast. It also happens to coincide with the summer months, when many families make use of some well-earned vacation time and head off to exotic places like Tuscany, Bali or Branson, Missouri. Spending all those hours in transit without access to proper WiFi or 5G could lead to a deficiency in NBA gossip (which, as science has proven, can make you an absolute nightmare to deal with).

Fortunately, we here at CBS Sports have the remedy. Here’s the ICYMI version of all the significant happenings of the NBA offseason, assuming that *crosses fingers* the bulk of the major movement has finally concluded.

With just a couple of weeks left until the start of 2022-23 training camps, take a scroll through all of the trades, signings, trash talk and Instagram thirst traps from an always-eventful NBA offseason. At least now you can waste time at work instead of spending your entire vacation refreshing your Twitter feed …

KD’s best pump-fake yet

The biggest news of the summer was that Brooklyn Nets superstar and prolific Twitter conversationalist Kevin Durant issued a trade demand, and the arms race was on to see which team could pony up the best offer. Turns out franchises weren’t exactly willing to meet the Nets’ outlandish demand of 10 All-Stars, 43 unprotected first-round picks, 22 pick swaps and a lifetime supply of Buffalo Wild Wings.

Unable to find a deal that pleased them, the Nets once again met with KD and both parties decided that all this trade nonsense was nothing more than an impetuous whim — BOOM, trade demand rescinded.

Just another example of how, as one brilliant middle-aged young mind hypothesized: The anticipation is sometimes more exciting than the reality in the NBA.

Of course, this meant that all the Kyrie Irving trade talk also died down and, for now, it appears everything is hunky-dory in Brooklyn. We still don’t know if Ben Simmons is ever going to play basketball again, but hey, one hurdle at a time.

Cavs swoop Mitchell from Knicks

In a summer full of speculation and moving parts, there was one virtual certainty: The New York Knicks were going to end up with Donovan Mitchell. After trading Rudy Gobert, the secret was out that the Utah Jazz were primed for a rebuild, and the Knicks had all the requisite assets (young players and oodles of fun draft picks) to acquire the three-time All-Star guard — not to mention Mitchell’s ties to the tri-state area and his link to CAA, the agency where Knicks president Leon Rose worked for many years.

After months of negotiations, Utah and New York finally hit a stalemate (possibly about the Knicks including *cough* Quentin Grimes *cough*) which resulted in the Knicks signing RJ Barrett to an extension, which complicated any potential deal.

Enter the Cleveland Cavaliers, who were like, “yo Jazz, u up?”

In a couple days, Mitchell was on his way to Cleveland in exchange for Collin Sexton, Lauri Markkanen, rookie Ochai Agbaji, three unprotected first-round picks and two pick swaps. The Knicks reportedly weren’t even given an opportunity to match the deal, which must have been quite a shock after they were considered leaders in the clubhouse for the entire offseason.

With a young core of Mitchell, Darius Garland, Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley, the Cavs look like a team to be reckoned with in the Eastern Conference for the next decade. Meanwhile, the Knicks have a pretty good consolation prize in Jalen Brunson, who signed early in the offseason and will help bridge the gap until the next disgruntled superstar becomes available — who the Knicks probably won’t end up getting either.

Gobert or go home

Speaking of shockers, the Minnesota Timberwolves (who already have an All-NBA center in Karl-Anthony Towns) gave up a plethora of players and a whopping four future first-round picks to acquire three-time Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert in the first big move of the “Everything Must Go!” Jazz fire sale. Having two seven-footers on the court seems odd in an NBA landscape where 6-foot-6 guys are playing center, but Gobert’s defense combined with KAT’s offense should yield some positive results for a team that burst onto the postseason scene this past spring.

For Minnesota, apparently, big is the new small.


Getty Images

Is the 30-year-old Gobert going to ultimately be worth the massive haul the Wolves had to surrender? Maybe. But the addition certainly makes Minnesota better in the short-term, and they’ll be an intriguing science experiment to watch this season.

LeBron wants his family to rule the NBA

Everyone knows LeBron James wants to play with his son, Bronny, at some point (he’s said it about a billion times), but the James clan doesn’t stop with the eldest son. LeBron also hinted at an interest in playing in the NBA with his younger son, Bryce, who’s just a sophomore in high school.

Yep, it’s official. LeBron wants the NBA to be comprised entirely of Jameses.

Barring a change to the “one-and-done” rule, Bryce will be eligible for the NBA draft in 2026, which means that LeBron would turn 43 during his rookie season. Who’s ready to see old-man LeBron in short shorts and goggles facilitating from the post while his sons spot up and cut to the basket? Yes, please.

The crazy thing is, that wouldn’t even make LeBron the oldest player in NBA history. Want to know who that is? The answer is in the story (and you thought clickbait was a thing of the past …)

Yes, Russ is still a Laker

In the hearts and minds of Laker fans across the globe, Russell Westbrook has been traded to every single team in the NBA. In reality, he’s still in Los Angeles, and it’s seeming more and more likely that he’ll remain there for the start of the season. Westbrook endured a horrific first campaign with LeBron James and the Lakers, and the writing appeared to be on the wall when Los Angeles traded for Patrick Beverley — who has been Westbrook’s sworn enemy for years (not really, but … kind of).

Not exactly something you do to a star player if you plan on keeping them around.

There are a couple fake trade packages out there that make some sense (Indiana Pacers for Myles Turner and Buddy Hield or Utah for some combination of Mike Conley, Bojan Bogdanovic and Jordan Clarkson), but they would almost certainly require the Lakers to surrender at least one of their coveted future draft picks.

So far the Lakers and new head coach Darvin Ham seem content holding onto their assets and trying to make it work with Russ, but it’s hard to imagine Westbrook feels wanted in his hometown of L.A. right now.

Hawks flying under the radar?

Is it just me or is nobody talking about the Hawks picking up Dejounte Murray? It happened early in the offseason, I know, but this move could have MAJOR ripple effects across the NBA. On paper, Murray is exactly what Atlanta needed: An elite perimeter defender who can also facilitate offense during the historically arid intervals with Trae Young on the bench.

2021-22

117.2

107.2

10.0

2020-21

118.2

104.4

13.8

2019-20

111.2

95.7

15.5

Let us not forget, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, that the Hawks are just a little over a year removed from making an unexpected run to the Eastern Conference finals. Sure, the conference is stout at the top with the likes of the Celtics, Bucks, Heat, 76ers and (maybe?) Nets, but it would be a mistake to count out the Hawks, who seemingly plugged two of their biggest holes with an All-Star talent this summer.

Pro-Am drama

The summer is the Drew League’s time to shine, but they’re not the only Pro-Am game in town. NBA players show up all across the country for semi-competitive action that allows them to showcase their skills and have a little fun in the process. But things seemed to get a little more serious when the aforementioned Dejounte Murray went at No. 1 overall pick and fellow Seattle native Paolo Banchero for reasons that remain unclear.

Murray made an And-1 mixtape-style move on Banchero, faking him out then throwing it off the glass to himself for a dunk. Applause, oohs and aahs, etc. But then Murray went unexpectedly aggro by staring Banchero down, giving him the “too small” taunt, then firing the ball at his shins.

It was all super weird and of course, like every true feud, the banter quickly moved to Twitter — at which time, I, like most, completely lost interest.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t all fun and games and performative beef on the Pro-Am circuit. After showing a tantalizing skill set during Summer League, the Oklahoma City Thunder’s No. 2 overall pick Chet Holmgren suffered a season-ending foot injury while guarding LeBron James at Jamal Crawford’s “The Crawsover” in Seattle (what is it about Seattle this summer?).

Adding to the drama is the fact that the game was called off due to unsafe condensation on the court shortly after the injury. It doesn’t look like Holmgren’s injury was a result of the conditions, but it’s still not a great look.

Pro-Ams are part of every NBA offseason and the stars aren’t going to stop participating, but it’s a real bummer when a prospect’s career is delayed due to something that happened in an exhibition game.

Superstars have super-sized bank accounts

More than any other sport, it pays to be a superstar in the NBA. Within hours of the official start of 2022 free agency, NBA teams had already committed a total of over $1 billion to five players. Yup, five players:

Shortly afterward, New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson agreed to a five-year extension that could reach $231 million with incentives. Reminder: He’s played 85 games (including no playoff appearances) in three seasons. All-Star guard Darius Garland, who has yet to hit the 70-game plateau in a single season, agreed to an almost identical deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

And to think, in just a couple years when the NBA negotiates a new deal for TV and streaming rights, those salaries could be even higher.

Summer workout fashion show!

Any wrap-up of NBA summer activities wouldn’t be complete without a roll call of Instagram and Twitter workout heroes. We’re nearing the start of training camps, when teams and “anonymous sources” will talk about how so-and-so put on 15 pounds of lean muscle or how what’s-his-face is in the best shape of his life. Here’s a quick sampling of some players not afraid to show off their major gains, but it doesn’t take much research to find even more exposed pecs and bulging biceps on the Gram.

Meanwhile, here’s how the two-time reigning MVP spent his offseason …

The regular season truly can’t start soon enough.

Related articles

Comments

Share article

Latest articles

Newsletter

[tdn_block_newsletter_subscribe description="U3Vic2NyaWJlJTIwdG8lMjBzdGF5JTIwdXBkYXRlZC4=" input_placeholder="Your email address" btn_text="Subscribe" tds_newsletter2-image="753" tds_newsletter2-image_bg_color="#c3ecff" tds_newsletter3-input_bar_display="row" tds_newsletter4-image="754" tds_newsletter4-image_bg_color="#fffbcf" tds_newsletter4-btn_bg_color="#f3b700" tds_newsletter4-check_accent="#f3b700" tds_newsletter5-tdicon="tdc-font-fa tdc-font-fa-envelope-o" tds_newsletter5-btn_bg_color="#000000" tds_newsletter5-btn_bg_color_hover="#4db2ec" tds_newsletter5-check_accent="#000000" tds_newsletter6-input_bar_display="row" tds_newsletter6-btn_bg_color="#da1414" tds_newsletter6-check_accent="#da1414" tds_newsletter7-image="755" tds_newsletter7-btn_bg_color="#1c69ad" tds_newsletter7-check_accent="#1c69ad" tds_newsletter7-f_title_font_size="20" tds_newsletter7-f_title_font_line_height="28px" tds_newsletter8-input_bar_display="row" tds_newsletter8-btn_bg_color="#00649e" tds_newsletter8-btn_bg_color_hover="#21709e" tds_newsletter8-check_accent="#00649e" tdc_css="eyJhbGwiOnsibWFyZ2luLWJvdHRvbSI6IjAiLCJkaXNwbGF5IjoiIn19" embedded_form_code="YWN0aW9uJTNEJTIybGlzdC1tYW5hZ2UuY29tJTJGc3Vic2NyaWJlJTIy" tds_newsletter1-f_descr_font_family="521" tds_newsletter1-f_input_font_family="521" tds_newsletter1-f_btn_font_family="521" tds_newsletter1-f_btn_font_transform="uppercase" tds_newsletter1-f_btn_font_weight="600" tds_newsletter1-btn_bg_color="#dd3333" descr_space="eyJhbGwiOiIxNSIsImxhbmRzY2FwZSI6IjExIn0=" tds_newsletter1-input_border_color="rgba(0,0,0,0.3)" tds_newsletter1-input_border_color_active="#727277" tds_newsletter1-f_descr_font_size="eyJsYW5kc2NhcGUiOiIxMiIsInBvcnRyYWl0IjoiMTIifQ==" tds_newsletter1-f_descr_font_line_height="1.3" tds_newsletter1-input_bar_display="eyJwb3J0cmFpdCI6InJvdyJ9" tds_newsletter1-input_text_color="#000000" tds_newsletter1-input_border_size="eyJwb3J0cmFpdCI6IjEifQ=="]