If there’s anything the current offseason in the National Basketball Association has shown, it’s that players want to control their destiny. They’re making plans based on developing realities and seeing how they can conceivably come closer to meeting their ultimate objective. Given the surfeit of talent, they understand that getting ahead means getting support. Which is why marquee names are constantly engaging with each other and cooking up scenarios where individual goals dovetail with collective pursuits.
No doubt, the speed with which information flows and is imparted in this day and age of social media makes appreciating the big picture more difficult. In the face of constantly moving targets, those from the outside looking in are compelled to engage in no small measure of speculation. There is, to be sure, the option of simply waiting for things to happen with finality and then assess the 2019-20 campaign from there, but half the fun is in going along for the thrills the free agency ride provides. What is true — or passes off for truth — constantly evolves in the face of the sheer number of options available to protagonists.
It isn’t just increased mobility that makes proceedings hazy and outcomes difficult to predict. It’s also the volume of warm bodies looking for the best possible landing spots. All eyes may be on the likes of Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Jimmy Butler, and Kemba Walker, but there can be no glossing over the fact that a full four-tenths of the league can be changing addresses of their own volition. The nomadic situation amps up volatility and provides cause for percolating her possibilities. Will Leonard and Durant team up as Knicks or Clippers? Will this force Irving to abandon plans to ink with the Nets and instead join the Lakers? And so on and so forth.
Under the circumstances, the difficulty of parsing truth from modicums of truth becomes more pronounced, but likewise engenders further discussion. It’s all well and good for the commissioner’s office, which most decidedly welcomes the headlines scenario-building makes. The constant jockeying for position all but creates another season — and certainly another source of entertainment — in and of itself. And the fun doesn’t end there. When the dust settles, up next is walking the talk; all the moves off the court will have to be validated (or not) on it.
Indeed, chemistry and a host of other factors remain up in the air. Still, players will have followed their heart and put themselves in prime position to succeed. And that, in the final analysis, is what matters. Until the next round of movements, of course.
Anthony L. Cuaycong has been writing the Courtside since BusinessWorld introduced a Sports section in 1994. He is a consultant on strategic planning, operations and Human Resources management, corporate communications, and business development.