Each week, we ask our scribes to weigh in on the most important NBA topics of the day. This week's question: What has been the biggest surprise so far in free agency?
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Steve Aschburner: Paul George reaching a deal with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
It wasn't just the fact that George chose to re-up with the Thunder, it's that he did so with minimal muss or fuss, not even - gasp! - "taking a meeting" with the Los Angeles Lakers. I was surprised because George had put in the time for what seemed a heartfelt decision to go home to southern California. He logged an emotional year in OKC while the team he left, the Indiana Pacers, reveled in the return it got for him in trade (Victor Oladipo, Domantas Sabonis). Then the Thunder got bounced in the first round, dragging Carmelo Anthony as near-dead weight.
George's dynamic and friendship with Russell Westbrook apparently trumped any dissatisfaction, though. With the subsequent hysteria over DeMarcus Cousins climbing aboard the Golden State juggernaut, it was a welcome counterbalance that the small-market Thunder hung onto their All-Star sidekick.
Shaun Powell: With all due respect to Boogie Cousins, it's Trevor Ariza's reported one-year deal with the Phoenix Suns.
Not sure I understand this one from either side. The Suns surrendered a future No. 1 pick belonging to the Miami Heat to get Mikal Bridges and also have Josh Jackson and TJ Warren at small forward. The idea for Phoenix is to develop young players, right? Why, then, do they need a veteran - and for only one season? Also, doesn't Ariza want to win at this stage of his career? Yes, he does have one championship ring, but he's not getting another in Phoenix (which will be lucky just to make the playoffs).
John Schuhmann: I don't get the Trevor Ariza deal from Ariza's perspective, from the Suns' perspective or from the Houston Rockets' perspective. I don't know why he would want to play with the Suns, why the Suns would want him in the way of Josh Jackson and Mikal Bridges on a team that has absolutely no shot of making the playoffs or why the Rockets would let him get away on a one-year deal. Obviously, their first priorities were/are bringing back Chris Paul and Clint Capela, but Ariza was a vital piece for that team on both ends of the floor. In regard to the two best teams in the league, the Rockets losing Ariza is more significant than the Warriors adding DeMarcus Cousins.
Sekou Smith: DeMarcus Cousins to the Warriors for $5.3 million has to qualify as the biggest shocker, so far.
We all had a feeling LeBron James would be on the move to Los Angeles as we talked about it all season. And Paul George's decision was pretty well defined in terms of the options he had between Los Angeles and Oklahoma City. But no one saw Boogie to the Bay coming. The Warriors didn't even see it coming until Cousins reached out to GM Bob Myers and proposed coming to the two-time defending champions on a one-year deal that gives both sides the ultimate curveball for this wild free agent summer. Biggest surprise? How about biggest shocker!