You guys know I'm a big fan, but I found the tenor of the conversation about teams trading picks for superstars to be a bit...myopic?

Yes, every one of those teams that you mentioned (Lakers/Bucks/Clippers/Nets) is presumably well-aware of the fact that their trades will almost certainly make the latter portion of the 2020s somewhat painful...but two of them HAVE ALREADY WON TITLES!!!!!! In the case of the Bucks, not only did they win a title but they got Giannis to sign a full five-year extension! No chance they'd rather have those draft picks back, 0%. The Lakers don't get AD, and don't win a title (and probably don't keep LeBron) if they don't make that trade. They might have a small amount of regret, but again, 50% of the teams that you named have won titles doing this, and the team that won it before the Lakers made a smaller-scale version of the same decision when they traded some stuff (including All-Star starter and beloved fan fav DeMar DeRozan) for one season of Kawhi.

I think Coach Thorpe's dichotomy of "have one good year and then stink" or "be good for a long time" isn't really fair. The Lakers are having a brutal season in part because of injuries and in part because of a terrible (separate) transaction, the Nets have had...well, basically everything bad happen, oh and the Clippers have had their two best players out basically all year. That said, would you want to bet against any of them being at least pretty good next year? Yes, there will undeniably be pain for all of these franchises (maybe even the Bucks, though I think Giannis ensures they'll be at least pretty good for the entirety of the time they owe picks to New Orleans), but that will come after a number of years of being competitive and good, not just one.

Lastly, you do note (fairly) that the different people/parties involved here have different priorities and timetables: players, coaches, and GMs all basically want to win right now, and many ownership groups do too. The thing I think you miss on is that the majority of fans ALSO want to win now with relatively little consideration to how it might hurt down the road, in part because if it ever gets really bad fans can always just disengage, and most will. That might be rough for the team/ownership during the lean years, but I can't imagine the league ever making it harder for teams to trade picks/acquire stars, because this shit is what has made the NBA so popular!

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I have been saying to my friend (and fellow reader!) to “break up the Wolves!” for months now. After the Cavs and Raps they are my #3 fun team to watch this year. Griz are fun af too but somehow less so and out of my top three (:

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