This, hands down, has been one of the most exciting off-season’s the NBA has seen in a very long time.
Big names are on the move, bad teams are getting good, long time players are betraying old teams, and young stars are simply waiting to be born. There is so much hype being thrown about, big moves and deal are slowly becoming very commonplace. Whenever a move is made, we assume it is a good thing. When a player leaves his team, he is applauded for taking basketball as a business and doing what he has to do. When a GM lands a big name player we applaud him for being so shrewd and clever. Just the same, not all moves made in the offseason are necessarily helpful. Big does not always mean good. The way I see it, there were three major moves that were highly praised but may not be such a good thing once all is said and done.
Jason Terry to the Boston Celtics
Don’t get me wrong here. As a Celtics fan, nothing excited me more than hearing the Jet would soon be landing in Boston. I love Terry’s work ethic, how he embraces of any role given to him, and his all-around love of the game. That makes him, on the surface, a great fit for the Boston Celtics. He will work hard, endear the city to him, and hopefully take away the sting of the painful loss of Ray Allen.
However, upon closer examination, Terry may not be such a great fit. His job is to essentially replace Ray Allen. Terry is an older 3-point shooting vet guard who was coming off the bench last season. Coincidently, Ray Allen is an older 3-point shooting vet guard who was coming off the bench. From a common sense standpoint though, signing Terry doesn’t make much of any. If Celtics GM was looking to replace Ray Allen, why not upgrade a little in the process? Obviously the Celtics aren’t looking for a clone of Ray Allen.
Every player is different and all have their strengths and weaknesses. But Jason Terry is pretty much as close to Ray Allen as you can get. Allen is the best 3-point shooter in NBA history. As it turns out, Jason Terry is the fourth. While Jason Terry is enormously talented, he cannot contribute to the one thing the aging Celtics roster needs most: youth. He is 34 years old and not getting any younger. With Avery Bradley down with a shoulder injury, what would happen if the elderly Terry was injured too? Some bench-warming scrub would have to come in and try to fill the massive shoes of either of them. Barring some Jeremy Lin experience, that would be disastrous. While Terry with the Celtics will more than likely turn out ok, there is a slight chance things may take a turn for the worst.
Steve Nash to the Los Angeles Lakers
I don’t know what it is with the Lakers and point guards. They have one, but he’s too old, they get another, but trade him away. They get another, but he doesn’t work out. Apparently the legacy of Magic Johnson is too intimidating to play under. For whatever reason, the Lakers franchise has not had great success at the 1 in recent years. If there ever was a great point guard, it was Steve Nash. In fact, adding Nash to a team with a PG problem almost feels a little overkill. Nash is arguably the best in the league, and he and Kobe will make for a legendary backcourt. Right? Maybe not. While Steve Nash has seemingly discovered the fountain of youth, no one stays 28 forever. Eventually players slip out of their prime and enter into a slow devolution that often begins with a decrease in contribution, then in minutes, then a bench role, then retirement. (Usually followed by a stint on NBA on TNT)
While Nash was with the Suns, he produced steadily and seemed to remain frozen in his prime. While his game dropped off slightly, he was basically the same player he was when he began his career with Phoenix as he defied the naysayers that thought he was too old to compete on such a high level. When the 8 time NBA All-Star and 2 time League MVP officially signed with the Lakers, the basketball community rejoiced. Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash playing for the same squad (that wasn’t an All-Star team) is an incredible concept. Kobe is a scoring machine and Nash is known to be one of the best passers in the game. Despite all that, I see a few fatal errors that could prove the “Nash-Kobe” experiment to be a failure. Despite his incredible performance, Steve Nash has to slow down sometime. And when he does, the entire Lakers team will suffer for it.
When your offense flows though Nash (Which it will) and he slows down, your game does too. Also Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant have been rivals for years. The Suns and Lakers played one another a lot. I understand that they are grown men capable of looking past petty little gimmicks like rivalries, but just the same, all that ego has to go somewhere, and that place will most likely be the Lakers locker room. From a financial standpoint, keeping Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol all under one roof isn’t going to be an easy business either. LA simply won’t have enough money to get any deeper, a problem that seemed to be their Achilles heel as time went on through the last few postseasons. True to the nature of the city, the Lakers went for the glitziest move possible. And while it paired two of the greatest guards to ever play the game, the Lakers may still come up short.
Jeremy Lin to the Houston Rockets
Jeremy Lin proved to be one of the most electrifying and exciting players in the league this year. He emerged from seemingly nowhere, becoming an excellent player and role-model over night, which made his sudden career all the more fun and incredible. Despite what many naysayers had to say, Lin has proved himself (to an extent) to be a very good player. Is he a top ten in the league? No, but he is certainly worthy of recognition.
Lin made a large impact with the Knicks in his short time there, and would prove to be just as effective if not more in any other scenario. The Lakers could use his passing ability and speed. The Heat could use his deep shooting and agility. He could blossom under Gregg Popovich and Tony Parker in San Antonio. But Houston? Lin’s move from New York to Houston marks a great player going from a mediocre team, to a more mediocre team. I just don’t see him making any difference. And I don’t just mean in his career. Think of this from a league wide standpoint. Lin could be that one piece that a team needs to make themselves into contenders, or at least offseason participants. He is going to do neither for Houston. They really don’t have much of a superstar in any one player, and do not strike me as a team that is one good point guard away from being an elite, or even decent ballclub. Essentially, Lin going to Houston rather than staying in New York, or anywhere else for that matter, is a waste of potential. The saddest part is, Lin is locked in for 3 years. Chances are he is going to be irrelevant to the league for the next 3 out of those 3 years. This makes the Rockets simply a southern version of the Nets: A lousy team with a great point guard, who had sure as heck hope he has a good GM to bring some help. I’m sorry to say this, NBA community. Welcome to Houston Jeremy, the Linsanity stops here.
Free Agency is a big deal. Players can go wherever they want, often baffling, endearing, exciting, enraging, uplifting, or saddening the public. This year’s fee agency pool was filled with quite a few big names. They made big moves and want to help their new teams in big ways. However, on that 82nd game at the end of the season, we may look back and realize that all the additions and subtractions made to teams weren’t really what they were cracked up to be.