A lot happened this NBA off-season. From superstars teaming up to others demanding to be traded, there’s now a storyline for everyone to follow this year. With under a week left until the 2017-2018 season starts it’s time to reflect on the summer that was and pick out the moments that caused the biggest stir. But if you were to ask 10 NBA fans what the biggest moments of off-season were you could get 10 different answers. Which is why to accurately answer this question we are going to use a higher power than the average fan… Google. Google trends is public tool provided by Google that allows anyone to see the popularity of search terms on Google anywhere in the world over any span of time since 2004. The tool measures popularity by ranking terms on a scale of 0-100 with 100 being when the search was most popular and 0 when the search was least popular. Using this empirical data we can break through the opinions and the hot takes to definitively say which NBA off-season moves were the caused the most online buzz:
Just missed the cut:
The day after Isaiah was traded from the Boston Celtics to the Cleveland Cavaliers (August 23rd) he made the Google Trends radar.
On September 27th D-Wade signed with the Cavaliers after reaching a buyout with Chicago a few days earlier. It’s the second time in his career he’ll be paired up with LeBron James, this time in LeBron’s hometown.
Paul was traded to the Houston Rockets on June 28th to be paired with other NBA All-Star James Harden. Two ball dominant stars learning to share the rock? Not the plot of a Disney movie but what Rockets fans will be watching this year.
5. Jimmy Butler
Butler was traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves in a package deal during the NBA draft but really lit up the internet the following day as everyone got a chance to let the news sink in that the young All-Star would be paired with the talents of Karl Anthony-Towns and Andrew Wiggins. Now reunited with his former coach Tom Thibodeau Jimmy and the Wolves have lofty goals but will have to gel together as team first and get lucky in an incredibly competitive Western Conference.
4. Gordon Hayward
One of the least surprising moves coming into the off-season actually created quite a commotion online. Gordon announced via an article on the Players Tribune published July 4th that he was reuniting with his college coach to play for the Celtics. The first of two large profile moves the Celtics made this summer.
3. Carmelo Anthony
After an entire off-season of wanting, wishing and nearly begging to be traded Carmelo Anthony was finally dealt but to a surprise suitor. On September 23rd Melo tipped the internet scales when he was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Melo started the summer not willing to waive his trade clause save for a few destinations but apparently opened that list up when the Knicks couldn’t get any of his initially requested deals done. Melo will be paired with the reigning MVP and the next guy on our list as a new big 3 trying to make a move in the top of the Western Conference.
2. Paul George
On July 1st the first major move following the draft occurred when the Pacers traded their star to the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Pacers were likely going to move Paul after hearing rumblings that he was going to leave in free agency next year but Oklahoma is certainly taking a risk as they only get the established All-Star for one year.
1. Kyrie Irving
Kyrie dominated the NBA off-season news cycle from the second news leaked that he wanted out of Cleveland. This built to a crescendo on August 23rd when it was announced that he was being traded to the Boston Celtics. No surprise that the biggest summer move lands the top spot in the Google rankings. People were however surprised to learn that Kyrie wanted to leave the side of LeBron James and a team that had been to three straight NBA Finals. Now the young star has his own team and no big brother to worry about this upcoming season.