Sports has always been the #1 source for men to bond together. We’ve grown from coliseums to sports bars to Twitter and mobile apps; watching in anticipation for what’ll happen on game day. If you think about it, professional sports has evolved into a real life episodic adventure. Through every era since the 20th century, one can seamlessly use sports as a reflection of what was going on culturally. Summers are annually relegated to NBA shenanigans; professionally knows as Free Agency.
It’s only been a week into the Free Agency period but we’ve already seen some major plots develop. The lead character for this season is Dwight Howard. LA pined for him like a delusional ex-girlfriend.We’ve had to endure an unofficial extension of the “decision” talk since the Lakers were ousted in the 1st round of playoffs. Realistically, we should have seen this coming the way the Rockets had been clearing space. Lakers fans, in true Lakers fan fashion, invaded Howard’s Twitter @s and his Instagram with the vitriol they’re known to spew. Although Dwight Howard is a clown personally, professionally, I can’t knock his choice. The Lakers can’t afford to upgrade with younger, healthier talent. Plus, it’s been unanimous fact that no young star wants to play 2nd fiddle to Kobe. Can you blame them?
The Lakers’ lifetime rival, Boston Celtics, are also stuck in purgatory for the next 2-3 years. I will always say F*ck everything the state of Massachusetts stands for; from their accents to that nasty clam chowder.
The Kennedys get a pass though! But for the sake of sports, it’s a tad tough to see the team be completely dismantled. The only thing I do like for Boston is their hiring of former Butler coach, Brad Stevens. With an inexperienced team, Stevens is exactly the type of coach that franchise needs to change its identity. Meanwhile, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett will now be coached by Jason Kidd. Only Christopher Nolan could write a more complicated twist than that.
Let’s take a look at some of the other story lines going on in the NBA, as of now.
* Knicks pick Prigioni over Copeland: If you’ve been following my site, you know big of a Chris Copeland fan I am. He has an awesome narrative regarding his journey to playing alongside a few future HoFers. He was quoted today that he wanted to stay in New York all along, but the Knicks spent what little money they had left on pure point guard Pablo Prigioni. Copeland is now locked in to a 2 year deal with the Indiana Pacers and I couldn’t be happier for him. What’ll be interesting is if he improves his defense and footwork over the summer, I believe he’ll be very useful off the bench; especially if the Pacers wind up trading Danny Granger.
* Andrea Bargnani? Really, James and Glen?: As if losing Cope and KG and Paul Pierce shopping for real estate in the New York area wasn’t enough, the Knicks front office made a trade with the Raptors that makes little sense to me. The Knicks sent Steve Novak, Quentin Richardson
(which was as pointless an acquistion as T-Mac was for San Antonio), Marcus Camby, and a bunch of picks to the Raptors for a 7 footer who can’t guard the paint worth a damn. Cap wise, this gives the Knicks flexibility for the future. But in-game, I don’t see how the lineup of Felton/Shump/Melo/Bargnani/Chandler will be any different than Stoudemire at the 4.
* Could the Cavs be making a run for LeBron’s return?: Jarrett Jack will sign a 4 year deal with the Cavs, in which he’ll play back up for Kyrie Irving and/or Dion Waiters. The Cavs also just added a solid wing player in Omri Casspi. We were all completely blown away when Anthony Bennett became the #1 overall pick. Though he’s sizeable at the 3/4 spot, there’s legitimate reasons why no mock drafts had Bennett going as a lottery pick. Although with the leadership and defensive tenacity of Jarrett Jack and Irving staying healthy, the Cavs could be a sneaky 7 seed in the playoffs next year. 2014 is when LBJ will be available as a RFA. The Cavs will have team options on their current starting 5. Assuming Irving accepts a max deal, the Cavs will be able to pair LBJ with better talent because of a more cap-friendly situation. For now, the Cavs are a young core of guys figuring out their identity.
* Remember when the Nuggets were the blueprint of doing a lot with not much?: By putting all their eggs in 1 basket on Andre Iguodala (who signed with the Warriors, after they opted out of Jack’s contract), the Nuggets aren’t looking very sound as they have in previous seasons. Danilo Gallinari will be returning after an ACL injury. We may not see him in action until January. Corey Brewer will be starting and the Nuggets don’t have as deep of a bench as before. Reportedly, they’re making a last resort move to grab Monta Ellis. Without George Karl, I’m scratching my head trying to predict how far this knocks the Nuggets down in the Western Conference.
* Are the Clippers the 3rd best team in the league?: We just watched the 2 best teams battle it out in the Finals. Neither of those rosters have changed, but the Clippers have stepped it up in a huge way. With a 3 team trade, the Clippers were able to keep Chris Paul and add sharp-shooter JJ Redick and Jared Dudley. At the time of this post, they also will be signing point guard Darren Collison. They lost Eric Bledsoe and Caron Butler. Some pundits have this being a lateral move. But I think these moves bolster the Clippers 2nd unit by a huge leap. The 2nd unit could look like Collison/Crawford or Redick/Barnes/Griffin/Jordan. That’s decent enough to be able to handle the Lakers, Spurs, and Thunder 2nd units.
There’s not many major stars left in this free agency class. So the rest of free agency will likely consist of trades. For what it’s worth, thanks to Howard’s exit, the Western Conference has been shaken up to have that grit it once had.