In the non-Warriors category, it’s hard to argue that very many teams had better offseasons than the Jazz when it comes to filling holes on their roster without giving up any core pieces. Utah’s weakest position last season was point guard — with Dante Exum out for the year rehabbing a torn ACL, things got so bad that a midseason trade for career backup Shelvin Mack was considered a major upgrade. This summer, they flipped a lottery pick they didn’t really want to Atlanta in a three-team deal that got them George Hill, as solid a starting-caliber point guard as would realistically be available for them. Hill’s playmaking and outside shooting immediately improve Utah’s offense and gives Snyder a rock-solid veteran to take pressure off Exum coming back from missing a full year of action.
After a few frustrating free agent chase-downs with Kobe Bryant around, and a 2016 offseason without Bryant on board, the Los Angeles Lakers have mostly committed to the idea of a full-on rebuilding project. New, “rookie” head coach Luke Walton is the team’s biggest free agent signing, there won’t be any agent-favoring vet acquisitions like Carlos Boozer and Roy Hibbert to help fill out the roster, and the team seems fully bent on working with the young prospects it has alongside the 2017 NBA draft pick it will hopefully get to keep next spring. Stuck somewhere in the middle of the favors for representatives, the raw prospects to suss out, and the vets to fill out the roster is the curious case of Yi Jianlian.
Michael Jordan helped propel Jamal Crawford‘s NBA career – one that has already lasted 16 seasons and resulted in more than $120 million in earnings and three Sixth Man of the Year awards. Jordan also fostered an environment where Crawford could’ve derailed it. Crawford was drafted for the Bulls in 2000, when Jordan was contemplating a comeback he’d eventually make with the Wizards. In preparation, Jordan frequently invited Crawford to play pickup basketball with him. Mike Wise of The Undefeated: In between Crawford’s first and second year in the league, after the pickup games at Hoops the Gym, many of Jordan’s friends and associates would go next door to his contemporary American restaurant,