Media Day Shows Variety of NBA Off-Season Shakeups

This past week, all 30 NBA teams hosted their own media day, showcasing both their new talents and reliable veterans. The photos from the event  reminded fans of just how much the league changed during this past off-season. With big names like LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard changing teams, the league will have a new dynamic this year. With the Boston Celtics recovering injured players like Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward, they rise as a force to be reckoned with in the East. With the arrival of LeBron James in Los Angeles, the Lakers look to shake things up in the West. Here are the highlights of NBA media day 2018.


At the end of the 2017-2018 season, it was unclear whether or not Dwyane Wade would play another year in the league. In February of last year, he was traded back to the Miami Heat, where he had previously been a franchise player and won titles with LeBron and Chris Bosh. When the season ended, Wade’s status for 2018-2019 was rendered questionable. He considered playing internationally in China, but ultimately decided to re-sign with the Heat, where he intends to play until the end of his career in the NBA.  


At their media day, the Oklahoma City Thunder showcased their three big talents—Paul George, Russell Westbrook and Steven Adams (left to right). With these names, the Thunder will look to make it out of the increasingly competitive Western conference alive— and having these guys won’t hurt their chances.


In one of the most shocking moves of the off-season, the San Antonio Spurs traded franchise player Kawhi Leonard to the Toronto Raptors for DeMar DeRozan. Allegedly, the trade caught Kawhi off guard, as he was hoping to continue to contribute in San Antonio. Reminding the press on media day that he is “a funny guy,” Kawhi’s sense of humor will certainly not hold once he returns to the court. Out for pride, Kawhi’s performance this season will certainly be something to watch for.


Another notable move came with eight-time all-star Dwight Howard’s signing with the Washington Wizards. Although Howard isn’t as young as he once was, he certainly still has viable talent to contribute on the court and a complex level of knowledge that will help any locker room environment. As the Eastern Conference champion Cleveland Cavaliers lost LeBron this past year, the Wizards will seek a bid for the now within-reach Eastern Conference title.


Speaking of forces to be reckoned with in the Eastern Conference, the Boston Celtics showed off their full-strength roster, with Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward and Al Horford (left to right) as a potential starting five. The Celtics have been biding their time in the East behind the dominant Cavaliers, but will look to slip to the front as Cleveland seems to be on the downtick.


Despite the crushing departure of the best player in the league, LeBron James, the Cleveland Cavaliers were all smiles on their media day. JR Smith (who, after his lack of clock awareness in game one, was perhaps one of the reasons for LeBron’s departure) is a constant presence for the Cavs, and he will look to find help this season from rookie Collin Sexton and veteran Kevin Love. The Cavaliers certainly have their work cut out for them, but perhaps the four-time consecutive Eastern Conference champs will prove that they can win without LeBron.


And, of course, there’s LeBron James. With the signing of his contract with the Los Angeles Lakers, the superstar moved from coast-to-coast, giving the otherwise no-name Lakers a real shot at the NBA finals. Who knows how things will turn out. One thing’s for sure: the NBA will have a whole new look this year. And nothing is guaranteed.

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All images courtesy of ESPN