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NBA offseason beginning with frantic pace

The NBA season ended just a week ago, and already there is full-scale chaos breaking out across the landscape.

While the draft isn’t until Thursday and free agency does not start until July 1, there has already been plenty of action. On Monday, the deal was finalized between the Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics, with Boston sending the first-overall selection in this year’s draft to Philadelphia for the third-overall choice and a first round pick either next year or in 2019.

The 76ers are expected to land Markelle Fultz to go with Ben Simmons, Jahlil Okafor and Joel Embiid, while the Celtics can add to their contender with either Josh Jackson or another top prospect. Meanwhile, Boston might be loading up on draft picks to acquire another star already established in the league, including Jimmy Butler and Paul George.

George reportedly has informed the Indiana Pacers that he plans to move on following the 2018 season, putting the pressure on the franchise to move him before next year’s trade deadline. Additionally, there is incentive to trade George before the draft, netting Indiana an immediate return that can jumpstart the rebuild.

Meanwhile, Butler has been the source of ample trade rumors for the better part of a year with the Chicago Bulls. Despite being under control for another year and never having said he wants out, Chicago seems hellbent on trading its 27-year-old superstar, also in a rebuilding effort.

The Cleveland Cavaliers are reportedly trying to get a deal done for one of the two stars within their division, but then a bombshell happened. Cleveland owner Dan Gilbert decided to fire general manager David Griffin on Monday, shocking the NBA world while putting the Cavaliers at a severe disadvantage in the Butler/George sweepstakes. While other teams such as the Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers continue to pursue them, Cleveland is stuck in limbo, looking to replace Griffin.

Once Thursday rolls around, there is going to be all kinds of action. While the NFL Draft always gives us some moves involving picks, the NBA is all about sending both picks and players, reshaping the league with every passing minute. While it isn’t necessarily likely, it is entirely possible that George or Butler could be moved that evening.

In the meantime, we wait, seeing if the Lakers can heist George or if Butler ends up wearing green in Beantown. Perhaps the Cavaliers make a move without a general manager in the house, dealing Kevin Love for one of the aforementioned stars to compete with the Golden State Warriors.

It’s the NBA. The only sport where the offseason is more interesting than the regular season.

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