How do I know it’s the end of the second week of NBA free agency? I heard, the names Jaymychal Green and Jonathan Simmons used in real, non-sarcastic, basketball conversations.
It’s that time of year again. Time for teams, media, and fans alike to pay way too much attention to players who, at best, will give your favorite team a forgettable four years.
It’s also the time of year you’ll find countless articles entitled, “Free Agency Winners and Losers,” “Best and Worst Moves so far,” or “Biggest Takeaways from Free Agency.”
These articles all have one thing in common: EVERYTHING.
Why? Because the good and bad moves appear painfully obvious, since no one can foresee how the real nuances within each team will play out. So, the articles all reiterate the same obvious points, with different gimmicks.
However, I’ve found that there are some actual takeaways from the goings on in the NBA over the past few weeks. Kinda.
At least ones that are more entertaining than the typical, “Breaking News, Signing All-Stars is good!”
They’re definitely more interesting than following where Tony Allen is going to be missing free throws next year.
The stories are not in how moves will turn out, that’s a crapshoot, but they’re in how the NBA continues to change, rules and salaries change, and unforeseen storylines emerge.
The stuff I can say I’ve definitively learned from NBA free agency has been gathered right here.
Takeaways from NBA Free Agency 2017:
Carmelo Anthony Secretly Doesn’t Want to Play at All.
Carmelo doesn’t want to play for the Knicks, but the Knicks want him. Or at least they do on Tuesdays and Thursdays. On Mondays and Wednesdays they want to trade him, and on Friday’s they’ll cut him, but on Saturdays they wouldn’t dream of letting him go.
They take Sundays to decide how they’re going to continue to make things difficult on everyone involved next week.
My theory: Carmelo is orchestrating it all because he doesn’t feel like playing.
The proof: Carmelo said he wanted to play for a contender. One problem, the Warriors aren’t hiring.
Now, let’s pretend for one second that a team not named the Warriors that could fathomably win the NBA championship next year.
If Carmelo went to a “contender,” his presence, by default, makes them not a contender anymore. Therefore, he has nowhere to go, per his own request.
So, the only thing for him to do is stay in New York. Which is why he told the Knicks to create a fuss so it seems like he’s actually motivated.
Then, after they bring him back, he can fake an injury, Knicks fans won’t be mad anymore because they get to develop their young stars while he’s out, and Carmelo gets to sit and chill for an entire year.
I dare you to find one flaw in that logic.
The NBA forgot how good teams are constructed
Yes, the Warriors, Cavs, Lebron Heat, and even late 2000’s Celtics, put together “Super teams,” in various ways. But always with a bit of purpose. Players who complimented each other, some bigs, some smalls, some defenders.
Watching the signings and trades this offseason, it’s apparent the rest of the NBA looked at these teams and came away thinking, “oooooh I get it, you close your eyes, point to three random all-stars, mash ‘em together, and count the championships.”
For example, the Thunder complimented their athletic, ball dominant superstar, who excels within 18 feet, by bringing in an athletic ball dominant all-star who excels within 18 feet.
Meanwhile, Tom Thibodeau is now approaching basketball like he approaches the soda fountain at subway. Mixing all eight sodas together, because if they’re all good separate, they must be better together.
The Timberwolves added another scorer to compliment Wiggins and Towns, in Jimmy Butler. Then they added Crawford, also a scorer. But it’s all good because they have a pass first point guard.
Although, Jeff Teague was an all-star once, so on second thought, maybe they need a score first point guard, better grab Teague. They’ll get their ball movement from long rebounds.
Also, I have to imagine the Rockets’ plan to bring three balls to games. One for CP3, one for Harden, and one for the rest of the guys to share, UNLESS, Chris Paul or James Harden want to play with that one as well.
The Spurs are Getting Cocky…Or Desperate
For a long time, the Spurs only took guys who had the true Spur character. When they signed Lamarcus Aldridge, they bent that tradition.
This year they broke it.
They went out and grabbed Rudy Gay, whose greatest value is being a sneaky good player to use in NBA 2k.
Gay’s career has been highlighted by lack of discipline, risk taking, and losing, and he’s the exact opposite of the guy you would expect Popovich to shell out money for.
It seems the Spurs now think they can take anyone and transform them into the Tim Duncan prototype, who plays fundamental basketball by day, and reads the dictionary by fireside at night.
All the rules will never become less confusing
I only recently came to understand the difference, and significance, between a restricted and un-restricted free agent, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
It’s around this time of year that we all start hearing these vaguely official sounding phrases.
Like how teams have to worry about salary cap, until they don’t, if they want to employ the Bird Rule for veterans, or early Bird rule for slightly less veterans, or trade for less money, or sign below a certain amount.
But then they have to consider luxury tax, which affects max contracts, which vary by player anyway, and can’t forget about mid-level exceptions, or bi-annual exceptions, amnesty, designating, the Rose rule, sign and trade, options, or stretch provisions.
Yes, those words mean as little to me as it does to you.
But we’re hearing them non-stop right now.
My takeaway here, is that no one understands how these absurd rules all fit together, and nobody ever will. But after thorough research, I think I’ve figured them out.
Here’s the gist of all that nonsense (as I understand it):
You can sign whoever you want. If you go over the Salary cap you have to take Adam Silver out for a nice steak dinner. If you take him out for ice cream after, you get to make up your own rule that helps your team in free agency.
Hopefully that clears things up.
Most Importantly… We’ll always be gullible
The good moves and bad moves are all painfully obvious to everyone, for now. A year from now there will be a hundred reporters who claim they predicted a failed Chris Paul experiment, or who knew overpaying for Tim Hardaway would be worth it.
The bottom line is year in and year out, teams, media, me, you, and everyone think we know what we’re talking about, it’s obvious to us who made mistakes, and who made out like bandits.
But year in and year out, none of us have any clue.
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