Aidin Ebrahimi’s NBA West Offseason Update for July 1-14

Several players found new homes while some future stars arrived through the 2023 NBA Draft

Posted on July 13, 2023

  By Aidin Ebrahimi, SuperWest Sports

After an incredible 2022-23 season, we have reached the offseason and thus far it has not disappointed.

Many players have found new homes, while we saw the beginning of a new era in the NBA with the 2023 Draft and the future stars that are sure to come from it.

In this column—and similar columns every two weeks until the start of the 2023-24 NBA season—I’ll take a look at all the biggest stories of the 2023 offseason.

The Future Meets the Past

The Golden State Warriors

The Warriors are no stranger to making bold acquisitions in the free agency period.

We all remember Kevin Durant, Andre Iguodala, and DeMarcus Cousins leaving their squads to come to the Bay, and now, a new name has joined this list: Chris Paul.

I predicted that CP3 would go to the Lakers if the Lakers couldn’t get Kyrie or Draymond Green.

In a big swerve, CP3 was traded for Jordan Poole in a move that will send shockwaves across the league. 12 months ago, Poole looked to be one of the fastest-rising stars in the NBA, and the Dubs had a “double era” plan.

They wanted to keep contending with Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins, and Draymond Green, while also building for the future with Poole, Jonathan Kuminga, and James Wiseman.

But we all know what happened next. Draymond “punched” that idea out of existence weeks before the season started, and the “vibe” around the locker room was no longer the same.

Wiseman was traded at the deadline, and now, they have fully committed to winning one more ring by getting “The Point God.”

I have some doubts, first off, CP3 doesn’t look like he wants to come off the bench, and his comments about the matter remind me of his friend Carmelo Anthony and his failed tenure in Oklahoma City.

Chris Paul with his new Warriors jersey | Madeline Kenney/Bay Area News Group

Of course, if you look at some of the simpler advanced stats like PER, Win Shares per 48, and Net Plus/Minus per 100 Possessions, and even by the eye test, it’s clear that Paul has always been a more “valuable” player than Melo.

So I don’t expect CP3 to crash and burn like he did.

But there are serious doubts about the Warriors’ starting five if Paul wants to start. It is reminiscent of the 2020 Rockets, with Robert Covington at center, which flamed out quickly (17-17 record overall with that lineup).


Nonetheless, leaving Golden State is the best thing that could have happened to Jordan Poole.

Most people think that Poole’s decline was due to him getting paid and no longer caring, but Gilbert Arenas has a way better analogy:

“It has nothing to do with [the money],” said Arenas. “Last year, no one really knew much about him and he came on to the scene and he was on fire. Now, people got a game plan for him. He has to change his game a little bit.”

These two actually have a lot in common, both are 6-foot-4 and were overlooked. Both were picked by the Warriors and showed flashes of greatness while there, and both left the Dubs to join the Wizards.

Arenas became a star in D.C., so maybe he can mentor Poole and teach him how to switch up his game.

The San Antonio Spurs

Speaking of “double eras,” here we have the San Antonio Spurs.

In my final column of 2022, I practically begged Gregg Popovich to retire so that his stats don’t get ruined, unless the Spurs could get Victor Wembanyama.

And guess what? The Spurs somehow got the first overall pick and got Victor Wembanyama.

I said that he was so good that he could turn the Spurs into a playoff team overnight, and Pop seems to agree, as he signed a massive five-year, $80 million extension to remain with the Spurs until his 80s.

Popovich, who will be inducted into the Hall of Fame next month, knows he has one last realistic shot at a championship if Wemby pans out.

He already has five rings on his fingers, and going for number six will put him in elite company. He would essentially be the Michael Jordan of NBA head coaches.

Victor Wembanyama impressed in his short Summer League stint | Getty Images

Now, let’s talk about Wembanyama. This kid, who is already the tallest player in the entire league, will have the entire world watching him in year one.

He is expected to follow in the footsteps of David Robinson and Tim Duncan, while also bringing a whole new meaning to the word “unicorn.”

This whole phrase started because of Kristaps Porzingis, but it got out of hand quickly with the media calling guys like Myles Turner a “unicorn” because he was faster than other bigs and could knock down threes.

No offense to Turner, who is a very good NBA player, but this term should be used for the stars, the true needle movers. If Wemby can put it all together, he will be truly one of a kind, which is what a true unicorn should be.

He did scare us a bit after a terrible Summer League debut but managed to dominate in his second game before being shut down, perhaps to avoid a situation similar to Zion Williamson and his injury in the 2019 preseason.

Simply put, it’s an exciting time to be a Spurs fan, and Captain Pop is still around to oversee it all.

The Difficult Departures

Damian Lillard and James Harden

The road to greatness is a difficult one. Having great stats, carrying your franchise, dropping 60 and 70 points in a game, and even winning an MVP isn’t enough anymore.

You need rings. And it’s all the media’s fault. The media claimed that they wouldn’t “accept” Kevin Durant’s rings with Golden State, because he “took the easy way out,” but it was all lies.

Not only did they accept KD’s rings, but they also encouraged others to do what KD did.

Now, many media members consider KD as a top-10 player ever, which is ridiculous, since KD is 0-1 in the Finals in twelve seasons without the Warriors’ superteam, unlike the other all-time greats who won without superteams.

A top ten list is a story for another day, but it clearly shows how Durant’s decision has essentially killed loyalty in the NBA, both from the players and the organizations.

Harden | SI
Lillard | Getty

James Harden and Damian Lillard want rings, and they are desperate to go to the LA Clippers and Miami Heat, respectively. However, they have no leverage, as the Sixers and the Blazers can send them wherever they please.

Bradley Beal, another star who forced his way out this offseason, had a no-trade clause, meaning that he could choose his trade destination.

This clause is very rare, as only ten players have ever had it, and before Beal, the last players with it were LeBron and Melo in 2017-18.

In that 2018 offseason, Kawhi Leonard wanted to go to the Lakers or Clippers, but the Spurs had all the leverage and sent Kawhi to Toronto.

While things eventually ended pretty well for Kawhi, the same can’t be said for the other players who wanted out in the “player empowerment era.”

We all have to remember the NBA is a cold business, and the execs will always seek the best trade for themselves, not for their players, and rightfully so.

These two Adidas athletes have to deal with the possibility of a very long offseason full of drama, or even worse, a holdout in the 2023-24 season.

The NBA Draft (Western Conference)
Draft night was pretty good, we all enjoyed Gradey Dick’s outfit and his Donald Duck impersonation, and we got a hint about the future of other franchises.

If the Blazers do decide to move on from Dame this offseason, their franchise will be in safe hands with Scoot Henderson and Anfernee Simons.

Simons averaged 27.9 points in 11 games without Damian Lillard last season, and Scoot played great in the Summer League before an injury, though he hasn’t been ruled out as of the time of writing.

Cam Whitmore slid hard.

He was a consensus top-10 prospect, but concerns about his lone injury-riddled season at Villanova and poor pre-draft interviews led to him falling to the 20th pick, where he was picked up by the Rockets.

Lakers’ Jalen Hood-Schifino in Summer League play | John Locher/Associated Press

I personally believe that the Lakers will regret passing up on him, despite Jalen Hood-Schifino being a solid player in his own right.

Speaking of the Rockets, despite his weak shooting, Amen Thompson is a human highlight reel and his raw athleticism will make him a star.

The Mavericks traded guard Cason Wallace to OKC for center Dereck Lively II, and honestly, I’m not high on either of them.

And although Lively is a better fit for the Mavs than Wallace is for the Thunder, Wallace might become the better player down the road.

The 2023 NCAA champion Jordan Hawkins and former Santa Clara Bronco Brandin Podziemski are the best shooters in the draft and will be huge assets for the Pelicans and Warriors respectively.

The Other Moves in the West

The Western Conference’s free agency period kicked off with a bang with Bradley Beal being traded for Chris Paul.

The Suns have created one of the most top-heavy teams ever, and in my opinion, they’re still not reliable title threats as long as they don’t have a good bench.

Draymond Green decided to end all the drama and resigned with Golden State, while the Dubs also sent Jordan Poole away in the aforementioned Chris Paul-Poole trade.

Shockingly, Kyrie Irving didn’t go to the Lakers, instead giving it another shot with Luka and the Mavs.

Fred VanVleet signed with the Rockets in a very questionable move that was a massive overpay, while the Lakers made some good, low-key moves similar to what they did in the 2019-20 offseason.

The Rockets acquired Fred VanVleet from the Raptors| NBA Analysis Network

Those lowkey moves won the Lakers a ring that year, and the same thing might happen again this year. They kept Austin Reaves, which was super important as he will be a star for many years to come.

Speaking of low-key moves, the Warriors got Dario Saric and Cory Joseph, two very solid players who can bring back the “vibes” from 2022.

The Grizzlies overstocked on guards due to Ja Morant’s suspension, by signing Derrick Rose and trading for Marcus Smart.

Rose will be a nice mentor for Ja, as many call Ja the second coming of Derrick Rose, and I always said that the Grizzlies needed more vets.

John Collins was finally traded, joining Utah’s young core. Last, but definitely not least, Russell Westbrook took a massive pay cut to stay with the Clippers, and they’ll be a big threat this season.

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