Not even a month since the NBA season has come to a close and the Association is still making daily headlines throughout the sports world.
Dwight Howard is leaving Lakerland for Rocket Town? Brad Stevens is leaving the grassroots of Butler for Beantown? CP3 buying in to the Clippers title plans?
The first week of NBA free agency has been eventful and impactful to several championship contenders and pretenders trying to take the next step towards NBA stardom.
Here are my initial thoughts of what has been a Twitter crazy first week of NBA Free Agency.
Legacy has become a Hard Science:
If you ask me what comes to my mind when I hear the word “legacy,” I think of kids being rejected from Harvard even though they have “legacy” because both of their parents went to school there. Yikes.
It seems like now-a-days, the term “legacy” has spun out of control and has been turned into something that equates to perfection, glamor, and Academy Award winning drama with Michael Jordan type aspirations.
Since my perception of legacy has been spiced and altered by America’s ever more endearing opinion, I decided to look up the definition of the word legacy to see what it actually means.
According to Merriam-Webster, legacy is defined as, “something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the past” (If you don’t believe me, see for yourself here).
Well, that was a shot to the jejunum. Our perception of legacy has been altered so drastically that we don’t even know what it really means anymore.
I won’t lie when I say I was shocked to learn that Brad Stevens was hired to replace Doc Rivers as coach of the Boston Celtics, but I applaud the move by GM Danny Ainge. Brad Stevens seemed like an old-school coach in a new-school age, so I was sad to see him leave the place where he helped change the landscape of college basketball.
But what saddened me most about Stevens’ departure was that it all but seemed that he was one of the few guys left who still cared about creating a “legacy” in the college game. Sadly, I was too young to see Jim Boeheim and Mike Krzyewski build Syracuse and Duke into the powerhouse programs they are today, but there was hope inside me that Brad Stevens could create the same power in Butler that his predecessors had done before him. Stevens seemed like a last hope to create a special bond between coach and school that all but now seems lost and never to return.
I wish Stevens the best of luck in Boston. He has full permission to come chill in the Chipps Penthouse (my place of residence) whenever he feels he needs to getaway or wants to play some NBA 2K.
Here’s one last look at the Butler days before Stevens leaves for the big boys.
Dwight Howard Leaves Hollywood:
LIKE IT. LOVE IT. GOTTA HAVE IT.
There seems to be never-ending criticism of Dwight Howard. I get it, I really do. He made a mess of a situation in Orlando and it really hurt his perception and popularity around the league.
Everyone thought a change of scenery and a fresh start in Lakerland would be exactly what Dwight needed. Well…that didn’t exactly pan out. The Lakers season was more like a daytime soap opera than a competitive basketball team. Frankly, I enjoyed the show: “As the Lakers Turn.”
Regardless of your opinion on Howard and his tenure as a Laker, he owes Kobe, Jim Buss, and the rest of Hollywood absolutely nothing. In my opinion, Howard made the smart decision by leaving LA and teaming up with young and exciting James Harden (who is 11 years younger than Kobe I might add).
The Rockets now become legitimate contenders in the west. While it will be no easy challenge getting passed the teams at the top, Howard, Harden, and the strong supporting cast Houston has built through the draft, have all the tools in place to create a title contending team.
It became quite evident early on that Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard either didn’t play well together or didn’t get along; most likely it was a mixture of both. I have my personal views towards Kobe (which I won’t express in this forum), but for Howard’s career, the move to Houston makes perfect sense.
The Lakers have the tradition, the Ora, and the money to lure any top free agent to sign with them, but clearly Howard didn’t fit in with the mold. Dwight has every right to do what is best for him, and if playing alongside Kobe (aka playing Robin to Kobe’s Batman) isn’t in the cards for Dwight, than Superman’s going to set up shop in another city. Which is exactly what he did.
Expectations will be higher than ever for Dwight, but I have faith he can change his perception and maintain his level play in Houston.
My advice Dwight: keep doing you and you’ll do just fine in the Texas heat.
Show Me the Money:
Money still talks.
The Detroit Pistons signed Josh Smith to a 4-year $56 million deal. Andre Iguodala signed a 4-year $48 million deal with the Golden State Warriors. And Chris Paul decided to stay with the Clippers and sign the gold mined 5-year $107 million extension.
Believe it or not, by adding Smith to their solid front-court, the Pistons may actually be the surprise team of the league this year. Hard to believe, but it wasn’t too long ago the Pistons were the team to beat in the Eastern Conference (Oh how I miss Rasheed “Sheed” Wallace). Smith is one of the more underrated players in the league and doesn’t get nearly the credit he’s due. He was one of only two players this year to average 17 ppg, 8 rebounds, and four assists. The other guy? LeBron James. How you like them apples?
Iguodala is a dynamic scorer and a great defender. He will mesh well with Stephen Curry and company. This team could be scary good come this fall, and adding Iguodala to their lineup makes them an all around better team. That’s certainly a lot of money to throw at someone who’s not considered a superstar, but in this day and age, it’s as close to a sure thing as there is.
CP3 is the best point guard in basketball. He changes the game in so many ways. He makes the other guys on the floor better, and no amount of money can define his leadership skills and will to win. He deserves a ring as much as anyone else in the game right now, but are the Clippers the team that gives him the best chance to do so? Assuming the Clippers don’t act in their foolish ways like they so normally do, the extra year and $30 million Paul keeps for staying in LA could be worth the investment. The Clippers needed this to solidify themselves as a franchise committed to winning, and no amount of money should stop them from doing what it takes bring a title to LA.