This changes everything
Well, that happened fast; no long, drawn-out "decision" this time around!
I had long expected that he'd go to the Lakers, even when the popular predictions had shifted to Philadelphia or Houston. But I thought he'd wait to see first if L.A. could nab PG (nope) or Kawhi. Does this perhaps mean that the Spurs will soon be dealing Kawhi to the Lakers, but the exact terms of the deal just haven't been worked out yet...?
The East is now finally, genuinely up for grabs: Boston (will Kyrie and Hayward be 100% of their pre-injury selves? how well will the two of them together gel with the young core that overperformed in the playoffs?), Philadelphia (if they manage to work a trade for Kawhi without sacrificing Simmons or Embiid, they'll be the obvious conference frontrunner), and Toronto (will they make major moves this offseason as has been widely predicted/anticipated? Or will they give it one more go with DeRozan, Lowry & Co. now that LbJ has taken his talents West?) all have legitimate shots at it. To a lesser extent, maybe Indiana (if Oladipo is as good as, or better than, he was last season) and Washington (if they can add a strong no. 3) too. Who knows, at this point, what a post-LeBron Eastern Conference will actually look and feel like?!
The West, meanwhile, will be arguably the most stacked, hyper-competitive conference in modern NBA history, especially if Kawhi stays in San Antonio or is dealt to one of the L.A. teams. WOW...I can't wait for next season to start!