Jake Old: Getting excited about the NBA’s silly season

Jake Old • Updated Jun 22, 2017 at 1:00 PM

NBA basketball is my favorite sport for a number of reasons, including the personalities of the stars, the incredible skill and athleticism of the players and the way the best offenses (cough, Golden State) look beautiful in motion. 

In recent years, however, I’ve enjoyed the offseason just as much as when the actual games are played, and this year is no exception. 

We’re just more than a week removed from the finals, when the Golden State Warriors make quick work of the Cleveland Cavaliers, while still not atoning for having the best ever regular season record in 2016 with 73 wins and the only unanimous league MVP in Stephen Curry, yet still blowing a 3-1 finals lead to the Cavaliers in the 2016 finals. Nothing will ever atone for that. 

The NBA draft is Thursday night, and free agency begins on July 1. Conventional wisdom may lead one to believe the period between the finals and the draft would be a dead period. Conventional wisdom would be wrong. 

Immediately after the finals ended, trade rumors surfaced. Ultimately, the first domino that fell was the Boston Celtics, who owned the No. 1 pick in the draft thanks to a trade with the hapless Brooklyn Nets, trading down from the first slot with Philadelphia down to No. 3. Boston went to the Eastern Conference Finals and had an opportunity to add a No. 1 prospect to their squad, but instead elected to trade down and add more assets to their war chest. 

As a Lakers fan, I’m suddenly rooting hard for Markelle Fultz, the presumptive top pick in this year’s draft, to become a generational superstar. 

Earlier this week, the offseason jumped the shark. Seemingly every single player in the league was either an impending free agent with rumors swirling about their destination or someone with a set contract wrapped up in trade rumors. 

Kristaps Porzingis, the only player of any value on the New York Knicks, was rumored to be available, reaching peak “why is Phil Jackson the general manager of a basketball team?” territory. 

D’Angelo Russell, once believed to be the point guard of the future for my Lakers, was traded to the Nets in a salary dump of the albatross that is known as Timofey Mozgov’s contract in return for Brook Lopez and the No. 27 pick in this year’s draft. Russell was the No. 2 pick in 2015. I’m not feeling good about that trade. 

The salary dump, however, was apparently a move to make was for Paul George, a star shooting guard for the Indiana Pacers, who is rumored to want to return to his native city of Los Angeles next summer, when he will be a free agent. 

On that front, several teams were linked to trades involving George. The Cavaliers were trying to swing a trade for him when they announced they were not bringing back their general manager, and if that sounds like it doesn’t make any sense, it’s because it doesn’t make any sense. 

The insanity reached it’s peak Tuesday evening when Dwight Howard was traded as he was taking part in a Twitter question-and-answer session about the trades and rumored moves that were taking place. 

Also, Howard, a former All-NBA selection and Defensive Player of the Year, was traded for a Diet Coke and half of a chicken salad sandwich in a move in which the Atlanta Hawks simply wanted to get his salary off their books. Oh how the mighty have fallen. 

We still have to get to the actual draft, where teams will presumably continue to make unpredictable moves. 

One thing is certain: The entire process is incredibly entertaining.  

Jake Old is a staff writer for The Democrat. Email him at jold@lebanondemocrat.com and follow him on Twitter @wilsonnewsroom.

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