On Thursday night, the NBA Draft was all about Ben Simmons. The LSU Tigers freshman star was drafted No. 1 overall by the Philadelphia 76ers.
The Los Angeles Lakers followed with the No. 2 overall pick and chose Brandon Ingram a freshman from Duke. The two picks were predicted and went as planned.
However, the big part of the NBA summer or offseason is in the name of – Kevin Durant. A week from today on July 1, the free agency season starts in the NBA but that has not stopped some teams from making deals already leading up to free agency.
On Thursday, the New York Knicks finalized a deal for Derrick Rose a former MVP in the league who will now play alongside Carmelo Anthony.
Oklahoma City sent power forward Serge Ibaka to the Orlando Magic during draft night on Thursday.
Both the Rose and Ibaka moves surely got the attention of Durant, since the Knicks had wanted him and Oklahoma City wants to keep him.
Talk entering the draft was all about who would be the No. 3 pick after Simmons and Ingram, what Boston Celtics would do with their eight picks and if the Bulls would move budding superstar Jimmy Butler.
Butler ended the night still a Bull, Boston’s drafts were solid but lacked the great choice, though their pick at No. 3 of California standout Jaylen Brown was booed by team fans.
International players were selected more often than in any draft prior to Thursday. However, a number of those international stars will likely not see a floor in the NBA anytime soon.
The Thunder made a very bold move in trading Ibaka and were able to land the rights of Domantas Sabonis a No. 11 pick, Victor Oladipo and Ersan Ilyasova.
The likely thought process is if Durant stays, he has strong talent around him. If he decides to leave, the Thunder will have key players that will help Russell Westbrook.
Everyone starting July 1 will be wanting to talk to Durant. He will not be the only player commanding fans’ attention. Hassan Whiteside the starting center for Miami will hold free agent meetings in New York sometime next week with Dallas being one of the best suitors.
LeBron James is able to opt out of his contract if he wants to. Dwayne Wade, DeMar DeRozan, Nic Batum, Dwight Howard and Al Horford will also attract multiple teams starting next Monday.
However, this summer’s show belongs to Durant.