Entering the 2016-17 NBA season, it seemed predestined that the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors would meet in the NBA Finals for the third consecutive season. Sure the Boston Celtics finished ahead of the Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference and Stephen Curry was nothing more than ordinary until the second half of the season but we all still knew the Finals trilogy was not in any jeopardy.

The question is, with all the movement in NBA Free Agency can we assume we are NOT getting GSW vs Cleveland part IV?

Purposing this question to the staff here at WinColumn, Liam Horrobin immediately responded with the following:

Our resident NBA guru Kail Schofield had the following response:

Injuries can derail a run so easily; it is amazing that 1 team has made the finals 3 years in a row, let alone 2 teams.  The Cavaliers still have a much easier path to the playoffs and ultimately the Finals. The Warriors are now in a that much more loaded West. I am leaning towards a NO. Even the great Lakers and Celtic teams of the 80s couldn’t get that type of consistency. The Lakers went 3 times in a row (x2) and the Celtics did it one time.
Joshua Berube sounds like he wants to say no the the four-peat but cannot quite convince himself to take the plunge. Really, how many folks are confident enough to say that the trilogy was just that, a trilogy.
The East is a 3 team race… Cle/Bos/Tor and everyone falls in line behind. The West, another story. While I think a healthy Warriors team can still take it, there are a lot of teams OKC/MIN/NOP that could beat any team on any night because of the talent but over a series, GSW still has the most complete team…

Quick East Breakdown

The Boston Celtics have added Gordon Hayward but lost Avery Bradley and Kelly Olynyk. Olynyk then became the big free agent signing with the Miami Heat which, while a nice piece to the puzzle, is the not the splash required for LeBron and company to take notice.
The Indiana Pacers gave away Paul George and were nice enough to ship him to the Western Conference after not being able to work out a deal with the Cavaliers.
Raptors GM Masai Ujiri insinuated big changes were coming after an embarrassing playoff series against the Cavs which prompted DeMar DeRozan to say, “If we had LeBron on our team too, we would have won“. The potential for change was there with Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka being free agents but the biggest news to report aside from keeping the band together was a swap of Cory Joseph for CJ Miles.

The Hawks lost Tim Hardaway Jr. and Paul Millsap to free agency and will be trying Miles Plumlee at the 5 this year after the failed homecoming with Dwight Howard. Meanwhile, Chicago is going back to the drawing board entirely after dealing Jimmy Butler and waiving Rajon Rondo. Seems there’s only one team in the Eastern Conference that, if healthy, truly moved the needle forward this summer:

Quick West Breakdown

The Warriors (who managed to keep their core group together while adding viable parts in Omri Casspi and Nick Young) saw the Houston Rockets add Chris Paul. Paul and James Harden, if they can co-exist, will make the Rockets a definite contender for regular season champion but ask the Celtics how much that’s worth!

The Clippers had to re-arrange their entire team after the departure of Paul, JJ Redick and Jamal Crawford and did so nicely with acquiring Patrick Beverley , Danilo Gallinari and Lou Williams.

By now we have all learned to never doubt the San Antonio Spurs and always doubt the Sacramento Kings. If there is a season that the previous logic is defied we are entering it commencing October 17th. The health of Kawhi Leonard and Tony Parker, the retirement of Manu Ginobili and the free agent loss of Jonathon Simmons are legitimate concerns in San Antonio. Meanwhile the Kings have added  Vince Carter, George Hill and Zach Randolph in an attempt to legitimize themselves.

Speaking of legitimizing themselves, the Minnesota Timberwolves are the non-playoff team that won the off-season, acquiring Butler, Jeff Teague and Taj Gibson. The one trick pony Oklahoma City Thunder now have a dynamic duo in Russell Westbrook and PG-13 while the New Orleans duo of Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins will have their first training camp together. The Denver Nuggets finally landed a big fish in free agent Millsap, while Utah lost their big fish in Hayward but will try to stay in the playoff hunt with new point guard Ricky Rubio.

What Do You Think?

With everything that has happened in the first few weeks of free agency (most major moves are done already) do you believe the NBA Finals for the upcoming season are as predetermined as they were last season with mostly everyone expecting the GSW/Cleveland trilogy? I sure hope so.

Did Enough Happen In NBA Free Agency To End NBA Finals Trilogy?

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