In a three-part series for The Athletic, David Aldridge ranks the teams that he believes improved the most and least this offseason. Aldridge’s most improved team is unsurprisingly the Spurs, who won the draft lottery and selected French phenom Victor Wembanyama. The Cavaliers and Suns rank Nos. 2 and 3, respectively.
In the middle section, Aldridge has the Jazz at No. 11, the Pistons at No. 15, and the Warriors at No. 20. He gives the Trail Blazers an incomplete, since there’s no way to fairly evaluate their offseason until the Damian Lillard situation is resolved.
At the bottom end, the defending-champion Nuggets are No. 29 on Aldridge’s list after losing Bruce Brown and Jeff Green in free agency; the No. 28 team is the Raptors, who lost Fred VanVleet to Houston.
Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:
- The contracts signed by Monty Williams and Gregg Popovich will be used as benchmarks by top NBA coaches going forward. As Brian Windhorst of ESPN writes, a trio of accomplished head coaches — Steve Kerr (Warriors), Erik Spoelstra (Heat) and Tyronn Lue (Clippers), all of whom are members of Team USA — could be the primary beneficiaries of those deals. Kerr and Spoelstra are entering the final year of their respective contracts, while Lue has two years left on his deal, Windhorst notes.
- Kerr has purchased a minority stake in European football (soccer) club Real Mallorca, according to Alex Kirkland and Rodrigo Faez of ESPN. Kerr said he was offered the opportunity by longtime friend Andy Kohlberg, who is the team’s president and recently became majority owner, per ESPN. “Andy Kohlberg and I have been friends for many years,” Kerr said. “We were together this summer. He told me there was a shift in the ownership group and he offered me the chance to be part of the new investment group. I was so excited, having been in Mallorca last summer watching a game, following the team and becoming a fan. It was a really exciting opportunity and I jumped at it.” Mallorca competes in La Liga, Spain’s top league.
- The Jazz and Clippers will be playing their first preseason game in Hawaii on October 8, with all proceeds going to the wildfire relief effort, Ryan Kostecka writes for Utah’s team website.