Now that the NBA off season officially began after the Miami Heat won their back-to-back titles, there are a ton of things going to happen (and already happened). For starters, David Stern is no longer the Commissioner for the NBA. Well, maybe not officially yet. but Adam Silver will be take his place officially on February 1st of next year. So I suppose the NBA is in the midst of the changing of the guard. Before we look ahead, let us look back on what David Stern has done for the NBA during his tenure.
Since he became commissioner of the NBA back in 1984, he has over seen two shortened seasons due to a lockout by the owners and the players association, an increase in popularity and the dynasty of two teams in the Chicago Bulls and the Los Angeles Lakers (some can argue three or four teams when you add the San Antonio Spurs and the Miami Heat). Has it been a successful tenure for Stern? With all things considered, yes. Looking ahead to Adam Silver’s tenure, the owners, players and fans should feel optimistic about the future for the NBA. I think the one big thing that needs to be addressed is how the league (specifically the referees) will handle flopping. It’s a problem that is growing throughout the league and I think when some of the best players in the world tell the media when asked about flopping that they’re ok with it when it can give them an edge to win the game. http://breslanta.com/2013/05/29/nba-flopping-players/ The following link is a fellow blogger from this respected site that is turned off by the flopping. When players, who get paid millions of dollars to play get fined for flopping, it’s a small fine that could be well worth it when they get a higher playoff spot or even get farther in the playoffs and their quest for the Larry O’Brien Trophy. But if players get suspended or tossed from a game or two for their acting skills, it may make them think twice about flopping.
With the draft being this Thursday, all eyes are on the Cleveland Cavaliers and who they should draft with their number 1 pick in the draft. While experts say that Kentucky Center Nerlens Noel will be selected, I don’t think he should be selected that high up in the first round. The Cavaliers may need a big man to play defense and do all the dirty work to get Cleveland back to the top of the division and the conference, but Noel is a major risk with his repaired knee which was injured back in January of this year. If the Cavaliers select Noel and he ends up not being the long term solution for the franchise, they may be back in the lottery next year or in the near future.
In the free agency market, the three big pieces that are in play are Chris Paul, Dwight Howard, and Josh Smith. I haven’t heard much of Josh Smith, who was quoted several times throughout the season that he wouldn’t resign with the Atlanta Hawks. He wants a long term, big money deal, but I just don’t know who will take a chance on him and pay him a lot of money (that or he will have to take a small pay cut to play for a contender). Dwight Howard is an up in the air situation. It wouldn’t surprise me if he leaves the Lakers, which puts that franchise with no long term super star whenever Kobe retires and they gave up a good amount of draft picks due to the Steve Nash trade last Summer. The Lakers need to get him to do a sign and trade in order for the franchise to get something in return for them; the question is who wants to make a deal with the Lakers for Howard. And finally Chris Paul, who should stay in Los Angeles playing for the Clippers now that it looks like they’re about to get Doc Rivers as their new head coach. For the Clippers, who won their first division title in franchise history, respond from getting bounced from the first round of the playoffs by letting their head coach Vinny Del Negro go and looked to fill that position by talking to the Boston Celtics in releasing their coach Doc Rivers. After a week of the deal being on again and off again, it looks like the deal is official assuming the league approves it. I really hope Chris Paul re-signs with the Clippers. All of the pieces are there roster wise (maybe need to add one or two more), and now that they have their head coach, the Clippers are one of the favorites in the West. Why would Chris Paul leave?
This off season has just begun, only time will tell on some of the uncertainties as well as who’s going where. By the amount of stuff that has gone down in the last week, it will be an interesting 3-4 months in the NBA.