By Will Stevenson
I thought the NBA season was over with once the Golden State Warriors finally defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 4-1: Little did we know the NBA Offseason had just begun. With the formation of the Warriors through last offseason’s free agency, they blitzed through the regular season and through the playoffs only losing 1 game to the Cavaliers in the Finals. The talk of the sports world was evident, although the we hate the reality of Superteams in theory, we could not hate enough to not tune in to what they were accomplishing. We were all a witness to the dismantling of the Cavaliers in Game 1 and 2, and even when they seems to “struggle” in Games 3 and 4, they still were able to keep the pressure on in route to another championship. So what do we want as fans? Do we hate the Warriors enough to just give up and let them have their way the next few years, or do we clamor for our perspective teams to ante up to take them down? We as fans and they as athletes aren’t hypocrites are we?
Yes. Yes we are. Yes they are. Funny how things seem to work themselves out once you seem what happens when a team dominates a season in which they acquire a top-5 player through free agency. The same fanbases that ridiculed the Warriors last offseason have now set their eyes on Paul George, Jimmy Butler, Chris Paul and others. I thought we were against “made up” teams? I thought these players didn’t have balls or whatever fortitude we’ve come up with the describe their lack of masculinity. It is wonderful to watch as fans, players, and organizations realize what is on the horizon: They can either wait and build, or go for it all and hope for some things to break their way. With the space and pace offense hitting its stride in the new NBA, teams are focusing on acquiring as much talent as possible with the salary cap inflation over the past two years. With a looming lockout on the horizon, teams want to get the players they want under the current salary cap model, as new extensions and the super-max approach.
We should be happy the Warriors won this year, and not last year. If the Warriors win last year, then maybe Durant doesn’t sign, even though signing Harrison Barnes to the max and making him the highest paid player on the Warriors wasn’t in the plans. If the Warriors win, then maybe Lebron doesn’t sign a 2 year contract and goes back to his 1 year with an opt out clause. If the Warriors win, then Lebron doesn’t have his championship while JR Smith, Iman Shumpert, Delly-Meat, and Mozgov are all on contracts that don’t put them in the 10-17 million a year range. If the Warriors win last year, then maybe this offseason teams are still going around added minor pieces, still think they can get away with an average roster.
What needed to happen happened, and the NBA will be better for it. Teams that we think to have a chance don’t have a chance the way they are constructed, so now they must push the envelope to acquire talent via trade. With offenses being more explosive, having three to four all-stars on one team won’t inhibit ball movement, especially if enough shots are being taken. For middle of the road and bottom feeder teams, now is the opportunity to fleece a contender into taking a potential 26-27 year old star off your hands. Teams like Philly (Noel to the Mavericks), Indiana (Paul George), Chicago (Butler), Brooklyn (Lopez), Suns (Bledsoe), Magic (Maybe Aaron Gordon), Knicks (Nevermind, I doesn’t matter), Lakers (Everybody), Clippers (Jordan), Thunder (Kanter) and the Pistons (Drummond) are all in to take future draft picks for guys who could make a difference on a contending team.
Hypocrites we were and hypocrites we are. We all scoffed at the notion of Superteams, but who’s trying to get a Superteam now? Enjoy.