Monday, July 8, 2019
NBA Free Agency: Coasts With the Most
Well, that didn't take long. There's some years when NBA free agency drags out for a little bit. 2019 hasn't been that type of year. Sure, there were deals being hashed out before the new NBA calendar year began. However, once those deals could be made official on June 30th, a true frenzy began.
In the last piece I wrote for this site, there was an emphasis on a trend that went through the NBA's historical coaching ranks. That can also be said, in many ways, for the free agency season that the league's currently in.
Over the holiday weekend, I brought up the free agency period to one of my co-workers. He mentioned that a certain part of the U.S. was being overlooked when it came to selection destinations. And, you know, he's basically right. If you look at where most of these NBA situations end up, turn your head to the coasts.
Over the last 30-plus years that unrestricted free agency has been an option, there are hoopsters that have ended up in the midwest, or the southland, or the Great Lakes states. But for the majority of superstar players, most of them appear to end up on the Atlantic or Pacific Coast. This really seems to be true since 2008, when the famed first "Big Three" got together in Boston.
In this new era of the Association, it really begs to wonder if the philosophy gap to win a title has widened between teams that live on the coast and those that reside in the middle of the country. In the 73 seasons of the NBA (and the preceding BAA), 28 champions have come from cities that were, at least, slightly Inland from the Atlantic and Pacific coastlines. Except for the Cavaliers of a few years ago, the main thread between all of non-Coastal teams is that they largely built their success outside of the free agent market.
Yes, trades will be made to improve rosters that are in the hunt. But when you look at the Pistons of the late-'80s, the Bulls of the '90s, the Rockets of the mid-'90s, and the Spurs of the 2000s, you can't really think or a star player that willingly joined those teams during an offseason. For champions from this part of the country, drafting and developing homegrown talent is the best way to get ahead.
According to this year's market, any thoughts of contention away from the beach we'll probably have to come midseason through the kind of trades that Toronto and Milwaukee produced. But if you're appealing to Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, or Klay Thompson as your models for title contention, there's some oceanfront properly I'd like to sell you.