LeBron in Miami. Carmelo to New York. Deron Williams is headed to New Jersey.
The big names are on the move, forming new alliances in new cities to create the next formidable duo or trio on the basketball court.
The trade deadline ended at 3 p.m. Thursday, after this story already was sent to press and probably after another big trade was made final.
It happens every year, the big-trade frenzy as the deadline nears. Every team wants to land that blockbuster trade to improve its game attendance, jersey sales and team record.
Last year, the Cleveland Cavaliers were the big-trade winners, snagging Antawn Jamison as LeBron James’ sidekick in what was their best shot at the championship. We all know how that turned out.
Last offseason was anticipated several years in advance. It was the offseason LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Amare Stoudemire, Chris Bosh, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, among others, could or would be free of their contracts. Some huge names moved to different teams, and some huge names moved to the same teams. We all know where LeBron took his talents, along with Bosh and Wade.
This seems to be a new trend in basketball. Chris Paul declared he wants to play in New York with Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony last July. Speculators create hundreds of possible combinations of talent, creating the next conspiracy or the next Big Three.
Is this a bad thing for the sport? It is changing the game somewhat, making front office decisions more important than ever before. But it’s hard to say that it’s actually bad for basketball.
The Miami Heat have the third-best record in the league, second in the conference and lead the Southeastern Division. Miami gained millions of haters this season; LeBron and Wade gained millions of critics, including basketball legends like Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson. But do they deserve the heat they’re taking for putting together a super-team?
The Celtics received little criticism in 2007, when Kevin Garnett and Allen joined Pierce in Boston. And the only notable difference seems to be the front office pulling off the trades instead of the players planning their futures together. The decision clearly paid off, considering that the Celtics won the 2008 championship, reached the 2010 Finals and now lead the Eastern Conference.
No one complains they have too much star power. No one says they aren’t playing the game like it was meant to be played. The Heat and its players value a championship over individual glory, can we blame them for taking this golden opportunity?