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How two events made the NBA a nuclear arms race

The Finals loss of the record breaking Warriors, and the signing of superstar Kevin Durant to that same team has led to an arms race.


What any NBA enthusiast, that was not a Bulls fan, had been waiting for since 1996: a team to beat the record-breaking 72 win Chicago Bulls. With the 2015-16 Golden State Warriors this was deemed achievable, and once they earned their 73rd win they looked invincible, and it began to appear as if a dynasty was beginning to form, just as it had been with the 90’s Chicago Bulls.

Then the playoffs came. All the teams being blown off in the dust of the Warriors’ success finally woke up behind the wheel and realized that they all had a chance to beat this record-breaking juggernaut of a team. LeBron James – despite Steph Curry’s back-to-back league MVP awards – still did not believe the torch had been passed on to Curry, even if the rest of the world was writing him, and his lost shot, off to the three-point monster that the Warriors were.

LeBron and his Cavs came steamrolling in to destroy every team in their sights, losing merely two games in the entire Eastern Conference playoffs. On the West, the Warriors were fighting what surprisingly looked like an uphill battle. After an easy five game win over the Houston Rockets, Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum of the Portland Trailblazers gave the Warriors the toughest five game series I have ever seen, with every game coming down to the wire. The conference finals weren’t any easier, the Warriors had to overcome a two game deficit to beat the Thunder. 

After a crazy playoffs, we were back to what everyone expected: Warriors versus Cavaliers for a finals rematch. Yet the circumstances were quite different, Curry had been shaken up throughout the playoffs by an MCL sprain, and LeBron was coming off a romp of the entire Eastern Conference. The results led to a Game 7 Cavs win, the first unexpected event that shook the NBA.

It did not take long for this unbelievable loss to be forgotten, due the signing of Kevin Durant. This is the second event that turned the NBA into a full blown arms race. Now, free agent players already at playoff teams – Al Horford, Chandler Parsons, Dwayne Wade, David West, Al Jefferson, Pau Gasol, Evan Turner – have switched from one team to another in an attempt to form their own super-team to compete with the Warriors and the reigning champions that managed to beat the 73 win Warriors.

Let’s not forget about the front office moves being made to expedite for the title of being considered for ‘super-team’ contention. Last year’s fifth seeded Boston Celtics have added All-Star center Al Horford and third overall pick Jaylen Brown to compliment an already great roster and coach, and are still in the hunt to trade their future picks for another star piece. The Pacers have upgraded at point guard and power forward, while also adding former All Star Al Jefferson to pair up his offense with Myles Turner’s defense and athleticism.

The NBA is at a point where one more trade can now create another super-team. With rumors going around of trade talks of Demarcus Cousins, Russell Westbrook, and Blake Griffin, a new super-team could be on its way.

How two events made the NBA a nuclear arms race

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