Shortly before the NBA Finals kicked off, I did a post that dealt specifically with what Kupchak and company should do to get Dwight Howard to LA. After what’s been dubbed the “Dwightmare”, the Lakers managed to keep Pau Gasol (he shouldn’t have been on the trading block to begin with) and get Dwight Howard on a 1 year lease.
While both of those troubled centers needed a fresh start, I’m not a fan of what the other 2 teams involved in this trade conceded on. For Bynum to be sent to Philly, the 6ers had to send Iggy to Denver. Denver then had to send Arron Afflalo (who’s a grossly underrated perimeter defender) and Al Harrington to Orlando. Orlando in turn basically got a bunch of guys nobody cares much about including Christian Eyenga, Josh McRoberts, rookie Moe Harkless, sent Chris Duhon
(how is this guy still in the league?) to LA and Jason Richardson to Philly.
Whew that was a mouthful! So to recap, this is how the rosters could likely look this fall.
Philly: Bynum, Hawes, Jason Richardson, Evan Turner, Jrue Holiday
LA: Howard, Gasol, Artest, Bryant, Nash
Orlando: Does it really matter?
Denver: McGee (?), Faried, Chandler, Iggy, Lawson
Looking at the top 2 Western Conference teams, I’m wondering how the rankings will shape up. Howard isn’t going to be the dominant threat that he was in the East, simply because he has to share the paint with Gasol. He’s no longer the go-to scoring option that he’s been for his entire career. For a guy who wanted so badly out of Orlando, you have to wonder “once in the 2nd fiddle situation, will he really be okay with it?”
The second team I’m interested in is the 6ers. Bare in mind, they play in the same division as the Knicks. And without Bynum, they went deeper than we did in the postseason. Are they looking any better with an aggressive center in the middle? The 6ers are also 1 of the few teams in the league that doesn’t have a definitive starting 5. It’s still crazy to me that a bench player was the team’s highest scorer last season. With Lou Williams gone, Jrue Holiday will no longer have to share minutes. But at the SG and SF, they’ve made lateral moves adding Jason Richardson and Dorell Wright. I suspect it’s going to take some time to figure out what guys fit in best around Holiday and Bynum.
Overall, I feel like Denver will be the sleeper in this whole trade fiasco. I can see Andre Iguodala have a near-career year and if JaVale McGee stops doing dumb shit, the Nuggets can easily find themselves at 5 seed.
Now to address the article’s title – look, I’m all for players for going to bigger media markets. I think Orlando did a great disservice to D12 by never giving him a solid supporting cast. Bynum had success handed to him from the very beginning. But the reason why I think the NBA wind up in lockouts every 10 years is very simple; most of the smaller markets choose to be cheap! For example, San Antonio are paying their core 3 players (Duncan/Parker/Ginobili) roughly $36 million for the 2012-2013 season, with another $27 million spread out across some pretty good role players. They’ve always been an organization who were fiscally smart but kept their stars happy. And it’s paid off in big ways.
Let’s look at another small market team like Minnesota. First of all, nobody wants to play where it’s cold 7 months out of the long 9 month season. They threw a ton of money into the Kevin Love extension. They did bring in the formerly retired Brandon Roy and Nicolas Batum. But who really knows what they’ll bring to the table in terms of W/L? My point in that comparison is the Timberwolves were willing to pay out the ass to keep that 1 player, yet they’ve historically been frugal on paying role players. I mean they had 1 of the top young PF at the time for 8 years and they only made the WCF once!
Aside from David Stern being the devil incarnate, the time comes where those small market owners hem and haw about how other cities get all the attention and generating revenue. When the fundamental fix would be for smaller teams to stop being cheap and spend for the now. Or the league can just get rid of the teams that are barely breaking even year after year.