How social media and superteams made NBA free agency poppin’
‘Tis the season of side-eyed emojis, social media campaigns and banana boat field trips. Some NBA fans are convinced the drama that occurs in the summer is more exciting than the season itself.
And they might be right: NBA free agency has peaked over the last few years.
In 2014, sports media erupted when Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert used his private jet to meet with then free agent LeBron James in Miami.
In 2015, then Dallas Mavericks Forward Chandler Parsons and Los Angeles Clippers players sparred on Twitter over the recruitment of DeAndre Jordan, who agreed in principal to a deal with the Mavs, only to stab owner Mark Cuban in the back with a piece of fried chicken and re-up with his own personal Don King, Doc Rivers.
It all culminated in 2016, when teams flocked to The Hamptons to meet with Thunder forward Kevin Durant in an attempt to woo the 7-footer to sign with their team.
The Clippers leaned on his Olympic teammate Jordan. The Boston Celtics called on their city’s star power and brought New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz.
But in the end, the wisdom of Steve Kerr and the ability to play alongside not only great young players, but also a generational superstar in point guard Stephen Curry proved to be too much for KD to turn down. So, what will this year bring?
Not only are there a number of great players set to enter free agency on July 1, but there are several swingmen that appear to be on the trading block, including Jimmy Butler, Paul George, and banana boat member Carmelo Anthony.
Will Chris Paul take his talents to the Alamo to team with Gregg Popovich and Kawhi Leonard? Will Brad Stevens reunite with Gordon Hayward, a player he forged a deep relationship with at Butler University and came within inches of winning a National Championship?
Isaiah Thomas and Al Horford recently followed Gordon Hayward on Instagram, sending NBA Twitter into a frenzy. Not to mention Hayward’s wife posting a picture of their daughter wearing a “Go Green” shirt.
Forgive them for they know not what they do to the internet pic.twitter.com/PhPgOrFTfk
— Angie Treasure (@snark_tank) June 12, 2017
But the NBA revolves around one man from Northeast Ohio. The Cavs loss in five games to the Warriors must have stung LeBron.
He knows his team needs to retool but LeBron the GM goaded the Cavs into signing Tristan Thompson, J.R. Smith, and Iman Shumpert into above market deals, effectively locking his team into this roster and leaving them without many tradable assets that would allow them to compete with that team out in The Bay.
This NBA free agency period could reshape the NBA for the next decade and all the theatre that comes with it will be amazing for fans everywhere. There will surely be plenty of drama in the NBA, even without any games.