Former Cavaliers owner Ted Stepien traded away so many future draft picks, the NBA had to award Cleveland compensatory picks just to facilitate a sale of the team in 1983. In order to prevent that crisis from repeating, the league implemented what has been dubbed the Stepien Rule: Teams are prohibited from trades that could leave them without first-round picks in consecutive future drafts.
But teams – most notably the Nets – found a way around that restriction with pick swaps.
Teams must have the guarantee of a first-round pick in at least every other future draft. But the first-rounder needn’t be the team’s own.
So, in trading for Joe Johnson, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, Brooklyn dealt its 2014, 2016 and 2018 first-round picks – clearly allowed by the Stepien Rule. The Nets also granted the Hawks the right to swap picks in 2015 and the Celtics the right to swap picks in 2017, resulting in Brooklyn dropping from No. 15 to No. 29 in 2015 and from No. 1 to No. 27 this year.
Zach Lowe of ESPN:
The league has since discussed banning pick swaps between drafts in which a team already owes its pick to other teams; the tweak has been on the competition committee agenda, but has not been debated yet at length, sources say.
As long as the NBA deems it appropriate to protect teams from themselves with the Stepien Rule – wise considering revenue sharing – pick swaps should also be restricted. The current setup allows the Stepien Rule to be effectively circumvented.
The Nets are in shambles and probably will be for years to come. That’s a disaster for the league, especially in a large market.
For a while, Brooklyn will serve as a cautionary tale. Teams rarely offer unprotected first-round picks and swaps anymore.
But the Cavs once scared teams off that strategy, and people forgot. It’s only a matter of time until another team gets stuck in the same predicament – unless the NBA preemptively prevents it.
I’m not sure it’s possible to argue that LeBron James is not the most important player in the NBA, even in 2016-17.
Yes, others have won the MVP award in years past, but each and every postseason you understand just how important LeBron is to every roster he is on. NBA players even voted him as the player they would most secretly want on their team.
That’s why it’s pretty easy to galvanize that opinion when you watch a 20-minute highlight video of LeBron’s best plays from each game of the past season.
Summer is upon us and even preseason seems like a long way off. Thankfully, we will be able to get to see plays like this here in what feels like the near future.
I think we’ve all been in the situation that C.J. McCollum found himself in recently.
Whether you are a hardcore NBA fan, a blogger, a professional writer, or a basketball player, when folks interested in the league find out about your passion, they often try to connect with you about it. Which is great! Especially as sometimes you get cats like the one who was driving the Portland Trail Blazers star guard in the video below.
Now, I have to warn you about some NSFW language, but what the guy had to say was pretty great. Hilarious, even.
The topics ranged from superstars being on the same team, to hating the Golden State Warriors, to the future success of the Blazers themselves.
Again, some extremely NSFW language ahead but also some serious laughs to be had.
I’m dying. This guy is the best.
It was probably damn near impossible to put together at this video.
Stephen Curry, the Golden State Warriors star point guard/human highlight machine, produces enough good content on a given night for multiple highlight videos. Going through and selecting just the best play from each game must have been a difficult challenge.
But here we are.
The NBA published a video to their YouTube channel this week of the single best play from each game of Curry’s 2016-17 season. The result is a 20-minute video that is well worth the watch.
Summer can seem to drag on, but seeing back-to-back plays like this just makes you thirsty for the winter.
One of the most interesting storylines of the first month of this upcoming NBA season will be the Houston Rockets.
The team has paired MVP candidate James Harden with one of the greatest point guards of all time in Chris Paul, but it remains to be seen whether the two will be able to work together with the kind of efficiency that Mike D’Antoni’s team had in 2016-17.
Harden has been the subject of some chatter already this offseason after a photo of him surfaced on Instagram. In it, Harden looked to have added a significant portion of muscle this summer, which may help him as he moves back to a more off-ball style of play with Paul in the fold.
Harden was also the subject of significant scrutiny at the end of last season, where he failed in the playoffs in spectacular fashion against the San Antonio Spurs.
In a recent interview with Sam Amick of USA Today, Harden said his newfound weight gain has been part of his plan to combat late-season fatigue. Harden has also introduced yoga and pilates into his workout routine.
Perhaps more interesting information from Harden’s interview with Amick revealed just how much impact he had recruiting Chris Paul in the trade from Los Angeles Clippers, and Paul’s attitude at the end of the season toward his former team.
Via USA Today:
Harden, who signed a four-year extension this summer and will earn a combined $228 million by the end of the 2022-23 season, had everything to do with the move.
“I just knew that in the summertime obviously (Paul) was a free agent, and I wanted to see where his head was,” Harden said of Paul, who will now be a free agent next summer. “He didn’t seem happy, so after that we just took it from there.
“Obviously Golden State has been in the Finals and won two out of three, so that’s what everybody is trying to build up against. But we’re right there. We’re right there. Obviously, we have a lot of work to do, but it definitely puts us in a better chance.”
It certainly makes sense that after years of perpetual playoff failure by the Clippers that Paul would want to move on. Harden and CP3 seem to enjoy each other at the moment, and a pairing does seem to make sense on paper. We will see how that plays out over the course of next season.