The NBA Is Amazing for Player Mobility

Here we are after awaiting the biggest free agent left on the NBA market in Kawhi Leonard who made his decision to suit up for the Los Angeles Clippers. Let’s all take a minute to let it sink in that a free agent went to the Clippers. Good lawd, what just happened in the wee hours of Saturday morning? Jerry West once again proved once again why he’s the logo for the NBA. He is, thus far, the league’s best player to also be a successful executive. Sorry Michael Jordan, you didn’t want to pay Kemba Walker and you replaced him with Terry Rozier III. Just to reflect to my original point,when the “Kawhi to the Lakers” headline started, I heard so many criticisms, “oh my gosh another super team” or, “Kawhi, that’s a weak move. Go back to Toronto! You already won a ring with them so go get another.” Yes, he did win a ring with the Raptors, but let’s not forget a couple of things that happened. This Warriors team that arrived to the NBA Finals took 6 games to get rid of the 8 seed Clippers, 6 games to get rid of the Houston Rockets, and swept the Portland Trail Blazers to advance to the championship round. However, this Warriors team wasn’t without its share of dirty laundry hanging in the room. You had Draymond Green call KD the “B” word after an opening round playoff game. KD would rupture his Achilles against the Rockets and would not return. Klay would also injure his calf during this series. Had Chris Paul and James Harden not started bickering with each other and made the best of circumstances, this team had the Warriors on the ropes once again. However, due to this, the Rockets collapsed. The Blazers, despite the greatness at point guard that is Damian Lillard, it simply wasn’t enough to even steal 1 game from the defending champs. The Raptors had their own challenges getting out of the Eastern Conference. Thanks to a last second 3 pointer from the corner by Kawhi Leonard in game 7 of the Semifinals, Raptors would advance past the Sixers and move on to the Bucks who looked like deer when they see headlights despite having 6’10 Giannis Antetokounmpo on their roster. As the Raptors arrived to the NBA Finals for the first time in history, they faced a Warriors team who had 5 straight NBA Finals appearances and the wear and tear mentally and physically caught up. As both KD and Klay would go down with injury, the Raptors took full advantage.season ending injuries in Game 5 and the Raptors would go on to win the series in Game 6, it was clear a dominating team’s Goliath-like grip over the rest of the NBA had come to an end. We’ve seen this time and time again. Dynasties are short-lived. Look no further than the 1980’s Lakers. The wear and tear of all those NBA Finals trips caught up to both Magic and the aging Kareem in 1989 and the Detroit Pistons took full advantage and would sweep the series. The Bulls’ 1990’s dynasty ended both times when Michael Jordan retired. The Lakers 2nd dynasty with Kobe and Shaq ended in 2003 when Robert Horry’s 3 went in and out of the rim against the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference Semifinals. Here’s a little stat for you. We’ve had since 2010, there have been 7 different NBA champs: Lakers, Mavericks, Heat, Spurs, Golden State, Cleveland Cavs, and Raptors. For every critic out there who says, “Oh my gosh 3 of the top 5 players in the league could team up together and dominate everyone.” Stop for just a minute and look around the league. How long did Golden State’s big crew go? 4 years basically. With KD, it only went 3. KD had enough and wanted to go to Brooklyn. Kyrie got itchy and wanted out of Boston for multiple reasons. Now, they’ve teamed up with the Nets. Oh and let it sink in that the Nets are the 7th most popular team in the Tri-State area with the Yankees, Mets, Giants, Jets, Knicks, and NY Rangers above them in the popularity contest ratings. KD and Kyrie just made the Nets relevant. People outside of Brooklyn are talking about and will probably tune into some Nets games this year. Players have the freedom to move about to different franchises. No one is holding them to stay with one franchise their entire career. That’s the effect of Adam Stern as commissioner of the league enabling freedoms among players to be… mobile. Early this morning, we saw the iconic Jerry West pull a huge move in 1 big swoop: acquire Kawhi Leonard via free agency and trade Danillo Galinari and Shae Gorgeous-Alexander for Paul George. This is what it’s all about in the NBA: mobility.

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