The top five ‘win-now’ signings of the 2010s
With weekend one of NBA free agency in the books, and Kevin Durant finally deciding where to take his talents next, we take a look at the top five “win-now” free agency signings of the 2010s.
5. Ray Allen to the Miami Heat
In 2012, Ray Allen decided to opt out of his contract with the Boston Celtics to explore different teams that gave him a better chance to win more titles. The Celtics were on their way downhill already, and Allen saw it just in time. So, he left for the biggest powerhouse in the league at that time, the Miami Heat.
Since they were the defending champions already, having defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2012, they were an easy bid to be the top of the Eastern Conference once again. They lived up to their expectations, moving through the Eastern half of the playoffs to face Tim Duncan and his Spurs in the Finals.
By Game 6, the series was in the Spurs’ hands, and no one saw that changing, until this happened:
That shot led to a huge swing in momentum, and Heat would go on to win the 2013 NBA Championship, making Allen’s trip there a success.
4. LaMarcus Aldridge to the San Antonio Spurs
The biggest free agent in the summer of 2015 was without question LaMarcus Aldridge. After several unsuccessful playoff runs with the Portland Trail Blazers, Aldridge decided it was time to pack up and move to a team with more potential to win a Championship sooner rather than later. After meeting with a few Western Conference teams, he chose the Spurs.
After one year in his new home, Aldridge hasn’t gone any further than he did in Portland, as the Spurs suffered a second-round defeat at the hands of the Thunder. He will look to capitalize on the success of his first year as he moves on with the addition of Pau Gasol, who the Spurs signed this weekend to a 2-year deal worth upwards of $30 million.
3. Chris Bosh to the Miami Heat
Chris Bosh left the Toronto Raptors during the summer of 2010 so that he could unite with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade on the Miami Heat. Bosh was a perennial All-Star already, but was stuck on a team that only made the playoffs in two seasons while he was there.
Bosh took over as the Raptors’ team leader after Vince Carter’s departure early in Bosh’s career. Unfortunately, the Raptors were unable to put together any playoff runs, so Bosh left to be the third man in the Big Three that was formed in Miami. Once there, Bosh would play in four consecutive NBA Finals from 2011-2014, winning in 2012 and 2013.
2. Kevin Durant to the Golden State Warriors
Just this past weekend, Kevin Durant set the Internet into a spin of love and hate based on his decision to sign with the Golden State Warriors. Durant was the most sought-after free agent in this year’s class, and after meeting with half-a-dozen teams, he decided on the reigning runner-up Warriors.
After a nine-year run with the Seattle SuperSonics/Oklahoma City Thunder franchise, Durant decided that it was time to find a place where he could win an NBA Championship, and perhaps many. The closest Durant came with the Thunder was in 2012 when they lost to the Miami Heat in the Finals. This year, he’ll look to make what many already consider to be the best team in the league even better as they try to win their second championship in three years.
1. LeBron James to the Miami Heat
When LeBron took his talents to South Beach in the summer of 2010, the NBA went wild. The Heat were immediately favorites to win the title, as LeBron was teamed up with Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade, two very talented and well-respected players.
LeBron leaving Cleveland was deemed by many as an act of betrayal to his hometown, as he had promised them a championship early in his career. However, after losing badly in their only trip to the Finals, Lebron decided to part ways with his Cleveland Cavaliers and join a team with which he could hoist the trophy.
He was successful in doing this, as he won back-to-back NBA titles with the Heat in 2012 and 2013.
While many free agents leave their teams for more money, these five guys left their teams looking for greater success both for themselves and for their new teams. Of these five, the three who played on the same team are the only ones who have actually claimed a trophy, while the other two have yet to reach that feat (obviously, Durant hasn’t even started his first campaign with the Dubs yet). However, it is likely that they both will, as teamwork and the will to win often triumph over greed and poor sportsmanship.
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