There is a saying that "no matter how much things change, the more things stay the same." It seems to be true in every facet of our society, even in sports. During the four-month-long NBA lockout, we learned a valuable lesson, and that is the side with the deepest pockets always wins. It has been reported that the players conceded too much, and while that may be disputed, what we as fans do know from listening to abbreviated off-season trade rumors is that nothing has changed at all.
Remember last off-season when the basketball world was captivated by “the decision” that Lebron James made to team with Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami? Most of us initially thought that the NBA was somehow fixed until we began to see Miami’s vulnerabilities during the season last year and its eventual meltdown in the Finals against Dallas in June.
Well, five months later, Lebron James isn’t the key free agent that everyone is talking about; Dwight Howard and Chris Paul are. Miami isn’t the team that everyone fears will add two potential Hall-of-Fame players to the one it already had; it’s the Los Angeles Lakers.
What!!! With the off-season barely a week old, and the regular season scheduled to start on Christmas Day, the Lakers, of all teams, are the talk of the league because of their pursuit of two players that will change the landscape of the NBA, again. Despite having a new coach in Mike Brown and having to adjust to playing in a new system for a while, if the Lakers should make the move, they will be instant threats to the Mavericks.
And to be fair to the pre-Lebron James Miami Heat fans, I can see why they were excited to get both James and Bosh. Something about blockbuster trades make the average fan either extremely giddy or extremely angry, depending on whether one’s team is the benefactor or the one to get its heart broken. Although the owners tried to prevent such trades from taking place, claiming that the smaller market teams would be at a disadvantage talent and money-wise, a smaller market team beat a larger market team in the Finals last year in a highly entertaining series.
As a biased Lakers fan, I would love to see Dwight Howard and Chris Paul team up with Kobe Bryant. It would definitely make for an interesting season, and it will bring fans back to the game quicker to see a team dominate the league or become a train wreck. As for the smaller market teams such as the Mavericks, the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Chicago Bulls!! One team is the reigning NBA champion, one team has the reigning regular-season MVP, and one team has the potential to be a champion.