By: Joe Cardoso
Are we having fun yet folks? It’s the beginning of July, and the NBA still has us living and dying with every rumor, trade, and signing. Most fans cried bloody murder when Kevin Durant went to the Golden State Warriors and “ruined” the NBA. Those same fans screamed to the heavens when the Warriors lost in the NBA Finals to a Kawhi Leonard lead Toronto Raptors team. The league knows a good thing when they see it moved up the start of free agency to June 30th and the family-friendly time of 6 pm eastern. Hoop junkies such as myself had all their devices charged, and all our favorite insider’s social media accounts notifications ON ready for this event. And what an event it has been. Billions of dollars being thrown around and the balance of power in the NBA seems to have flipped twice, or maybe it’s been four times? Either way, this league is what the people want and love. The chess game being played by organizations league-wide is fascinating and annoying at the same time.
For the first time, we will see an NBA champion and finals MVP leave his team and start over somewhere else. The Clippers have been a punchline and afterthought in not just the league, but L.A. for too long this squad is all in. Adding two homegrown studs in their primes is a once in a lifetime move. Hoping both of them can put shaky health behind and play ball. Defense wins championships and with Leonard, George and the pit bull Patrick Beverly the Clippers should be able to choke the life out of teams. The firepower off the bench in terms of Lou Williams and a still improving Montrezl Harrell don’t forget this team won 48 games last year. Other organizations across the league will take notes on how this slow build came about for the Clippers who started with the Blake Griffin trade and they saw the future free agents and played the long game. In a society and sports climate where we want things now and quick this was old school wisdom lead by the logo Jerry West. Makes for what should be a perfect match with a superstar in Leonard who lives for the long game and privacy. Kawhi watch was great because we saw a guy do things at his speed and in his way.
The balance of power is back in the national basketball association, no one team can claim dominance, but the western conference sure can with teams like the Nuggets, Jazz, Rockets and Warriors all in the hunt. And don’t sleep on Portland or the Kings who are knocking on the door of the playoffs. We are seeing sold out summer league games, and the thirst for basketball among the fans is at an all-time high. Questions remain moving forward, such as:
Who will the Lakers add to the roster?
How much improvement will we see from Ben Simmons?
What’s next for OKC and megastar Russell Westbrook is this the end?
It hasn’t been a real rivalry, but NOW the battle of L.A. is real and must-see TV. These are just a few of the things NBA fans will be waiting for. Sorry NFL and college football but today the best league is the NBA. Thanos would be proud how, in one summer everything changed with a snap of a finger. Balance restored………