Carmelo Anthony now becomes the latest disgruntled NBA star to be rumoured to want his way out from his current franchise. The thought is that the Nuggets will not go the route of Cleveland and Toronto and watch it's franchise player walk for nothing. When we look back on this summer it may well be looked at as the summer the NBA changed. Easy to say in retrospect that Cleveland and the Raptors should have traded their star players. But how realistic is that? The Raptors at the time of the deadline were firmly in a playoff position. How do you sell that to your fan base? The Cavs were a favourite to make the NBA Finals. The other argument would have been you make a trade last summer as it is being rumoured the Nuggets are considering now.
In reality, there is no good way for this situation to work for a team losing a franchise player. It is just different levels of pain. If the Nuggets do decide to trade Carmelo does anyone think they can be better for it? Taking players back in a trade is not always the answer. Every team in the NBA is well aware that you are in a desperate situation. Has there every really been a good trade in which a superstar wanted out? I can't think of one of the top of my head.
The larger issue in all of this is that players are starting to control the game at levels we have never seen before. In the end players are individual contractors that happen to play a team game. They have only their interests at heart not the interests of franchises or the league as a whole. The whole concept of loyalty on all sides of sports is getting to the point or being rare to nonexistent.
I love the CFL and my hometown Ti-Cats. When I was a kid, it was easy for me to tell you almost every starter on the Ti-Cats Roster. Now more and more that becomes a difficult task in all sports leagues. The Raptors are a great example over the last few years with a constant turnover of the roster. It makes you go back to the whole Jerry Seinfeld comedy bit of people are actually cheering laundry. It becomes all about the logo on the jerseys and not the name on the back.
It is kind of like, the whole college sports fan experience being brought to pro sports. In the NCAA, you go into with the expectation that players will come and go. Which has only increased over the years with players leaving for the draft after even just one year in basketball. College Football is the same type of assembly line make-up. You cheer for the school be it Michigan, Florida, Texas or any other school you care to name. Sure great players roll through the program but they are only there for a short time. The pressure to win now is great in college sports in the U.S. Every season is do or die and recruiting each off-season is about getting guys to win now for that next season.
We live in a world, that is total based on instant results and instant gratification. It is said, that sports often acts as a reflection of society as a whole. Well maybe that is what is happening. No longer to many players want to stick it out and win with a team. No longer do franchises have patience with coaches if they don't win. It is always about winning now. The process of team building has been lost in terms of this instant win now mentality. The days of watching a team grow and build seem almost gone. I always use to hate people that said things were better when they were younger, but maybe it was. I remember watching the Pistons build and the Bad Boys eventually topped the Lakers. The Bulls having to get through the Knicks and Pistons, prior to their 6 championships. There was a natural progression. The Miami Heat, if they in did are successful it will not have been done that way. I don't want the NBA to have a lockout next season, that being said I don't want to watch this league be run by players, that only care about their own interests. That is only good for the them and, not necessarily for the league and definitely not for the majority of NBA fans. Will it pull in a ton of fringe fans? Yes it will, but for the hardcore fans of many franchises this has been a dark summer.