As I look across the NBA landscape, post lockout, I see a league that is, competitively, still on a similar road as it was in the spring.
The movement of the two biggest free agents seems to be toward NY and LA, to create mini all-star teams like the one in Miami. Whether or not this is a recipe for sucess remains to be seen, as we saw with Dallas beating Miami with a more balanced game plan and roster, but I believe in the long run, we may be seeing the same two or three teams at the end, year in and year out, but I guess it's been that way for a while.
I know that we have to kind of wait and see with the new CBA, but I think that it's fair to assume that the league is trending toward players calling their own shots a little more, in terms of where they play - opting in many cases for large and/or warm weather cities. Bad news for P-Town which has benefited from a couple of pretty sweet drafts, but now looks to be mired in being one or two free agents away from contending, due to the poor health of Roy and Oden. I guess there is still hope for those two, but I don't see much to make me optimistic that Brandon will return to form, or that Greg will ever "form" at all.
Short of the amazing fan base (which might overrate itself from time-to-time) and some kitschy cuteness that Channing Frye seemed to love, it's hard for me to imagine Portland being able to lure the key free agents, ever. You might have a guy or two who likes one of our players and wants to join up with them from time to time, but we don't have South Beach, Hollywood, or Manhattan to sell itself to young men that, frankly, dig those places.
I became a basketball fan in the early 80s, and I don't really remember players positioning like this back then. You had Magic in LA, Larry in Boston, Mike in Chicago, Clyde in Portland, Dominique in Atlanta, etc., and didn't see them trying to bolt and get with each other. In fact, you saw them going to battle year in and year out and it made watching all the more fun, as that history developed. To watch the NBA become a high paying version of all the best jocks on the playground running the table, while dudes sit and wait 10 games to take the court and get killed again... Ugh!!
With this in mind, I gotta say I love Durant for re-upping with OKC, as much as I do not like that team.
So I wonder... Do we just have to know our role and accept that we are fortunate to have a team here to entertain us, but short of lightning striking twice, we ain't winning the title. Are you still a fan, if all we are is a B-league team for player to try and work their way to the big time? I think I am, but it bums me out.