The conclusion of the NBA Finals resulted not only in the first-ever championship for the Cleveland Cavaliers, but the first-ever comeback by a team from a 3-1 deficit in the final round. The Cavaliers’ opponent, the Golden State Warriors, had also been their foe in 2015, continued success that offers visions of the two teams meeting up again in June 2017.
The problem with that scenario is it would again be a first in NBA annals. In the 13 previous instances where two teams met in a rematch of the preceding year’s finals, there would be no rematch of the rematch the following year.
Simply getting to the final round is often a challenge, though the Cavaliers would seemingly have the upper hand in returning next season. That’s because the Eastern Conference where they’re situated is considered the weaker of the two conferences. Also, LeBron James has made it the NBA Finals for six consecutive seasons, the first four with Miami.
The Cavaliers’ line-up will stay primarily the same, while the Warriors’ makeup could be decidedly different. The most prominent change could be the addition of free agent Kevin Durant, who could end up signing with Golden State.
However, accommodate Durant under the league’s salary cap means that the Warriors would have to get rid of key personnel along the way. Whether or not that affects the depth the team has enjoyed remains to be seen, though there are no guarantees that Durant will sign.
Golden State co-owner Joe Lacob has boasted that his team was “light years ahead” of other teams, which came back to haunt him. To make his remark a reality in 2017, the Warriors obviously need to return to the finals, with James needing to extend his streak to do the same.