That glass-shattering, earth-moving sound being heard in every corner of the country isn’t the end of the world–it’s the robust sound of NBA free agency. No sport offers the type of offseason drama and excitement the NBA does. Not baseball, not the NFL and not the NHL.
Massive player movement in the NBA has become the norm these days, but the player movement we’re talking about is in part driven by the players. Dwight Howard has made it clear he wants to play in Brooklyn and won’t sign an extension with any other team. At press time, the Nets were reportedly working on a four-team trade that would land them Howard and Jason Richardson. A move of that magnitude could instantly put the Nets among the conference’s top four.
The Nets didn’t put everything into getting Howard, though. GM Billy King made the first major splash, trading for Joe Johnson and re-signing Deron Williams. Even without Howard, the Nets have put themselves into playoff contention.
The big moves didn’t stop in Brooklyn. The Knicks acquired Marcus Camby from the Rockets in a sign-and-trade and re-signed Mike Novak. Meanwhile, the Lakers came out of nowhere and acquired Steve Nash in a move that could put them back in the NBA Final. Nash is sure to add a spark to their stagnant offense.
What may end up being the most underrated move this offseason was the Celtics getting Jason Terry from the Dallas Mavericks. With Ray Allen taking his talents to South Beach to join the Heat, the Celtics were in the market for a shooter. They got a good one in Terry.
Roy Hibbert nearly changed addresses, but the Pacers are expected to match a four-year, $58 million offer sheet from the Portland Trailblazers. Orlando isn’t likely to get equal value for Howard, but you can’t let a dominant force like that leave for nothing.
The flurry of moves has drawn criticism from those who believe players have too much control. From LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh going to Miami, to Carmelo Anthony engineering a trade from Denver to the Knicks, this is a new day in the NBA. Owners and general managers who are afraid to be left with nothing have been forced to make trades they don’t want to make.
Welcome to the 21st century, sports fans.