Thursday, January 28, 2010

With the NBA Trade Deadline Looming it’s a Buyer’s Market

For what seems like at least 20 years, every basketball analyst has pointed to the 2010 NBA offseason as the pinnacle of free-agent market history with the likes of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, and a slew of “second tier” marquee players all being available for acquisition. This, of course, has meant that every mildly struggling team (that means EVERY team in NBA lingo) has strongly considered, and taken multiple steps towards, clearing out any “dead weight” on their roster in order to make room for the eventual franchise savior that will surely fall their way.

Now I understand the desire of well meaning owners, GMs, and coaches who believe that obtaining one of these coveted stars will surely lead to droves of fans returning to the stadium and multiple championship rings being worn; but I have to wonder if it is really worth scrapping an entire roster in order to follow a perceived path to success that rarely pans out. Though it seems like accepted logic to chase after superstars without regard for any other considerations, I would simply point to the Raptors and Heat as examples of why that strategy could be flawed. Both of these teams have a sought after player (Bosh with Toronto and Wade with Miami), and neither is in serious contention for a championship or drawing tons of fans each night. The superstar strategy becomes even shakier when you realize that Miami and Toronto don’t necessarily have a bad supporting cast of players to surround their superstar.

So I guess the overall message that I would like to send to some of the middle of the road teams across the league is this: pick up some of the perceived dead weight that is being offered at reduced price and try to build a team following the model of Portland, Charlotte (I can’t believe I said that), and Memphis who are all currently playoff teams and getting better each year -- due to the strong foundation they slowly built. The other option would mean chasing after a player that you’ll most likely never get and then end up having to start from scratch all over again with Calvin Booth as your franchise Center.

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