Kevin Durant and the Question of If Small Market Teams Can Survive.

Updated: Feb 9, 2020

There have been many "superteams". The Dynasty Celtics of the 50s and 60s. The Lakers of the 80s. The Bulls of the 90s. Usually, these were built via draft and development; as years went by, free agency played more of a factor. The entire franchise was involved, GM to players. When the Lakers assembled a superteam in 2003, it failed, losing a Finals series to a scrappy Pistons team. The Pistons were a throwback to the Bad Boys, playing against aging veterans looking for one last ring. Five years later, the Celtics went to trades to build their superteam. Still keeping the same formula of the GM building the team, everyone meshed in 2008. 2012's Miami squad was different. The power belonged to the players. Years of AAU and Olympic basketball created friendly rivalries, a far cry from the dog-eat-dog NBA of the decades past. Players recruited one another, boats in Miami, parties in Vegas, clubs in LA. We saw two things take charge: destination and recruiting. The NBA plays mostly in the winter. Many of the storied franchises play in bitter cold: November in Boston, December in New York, January in Philadelphia, February in Chicago. Why live there when you can live in Miami or Los Angeles? Is it a coincidence that Ohio native Lebron James and long-time Toronto player Chris Bosh joined a friend in Miami? This was before the days of brand ambassadors. Now the latest superteam looks near unbeatable. A hybrid of drafting and free agency, the Warriors are the team to beat until the end of the decade. The Thunder were similar. But there's one major difference between the Thunder and the Warriors. Oklahoma City vs. San Francisco. I used to live in OKC. Their fans are passionate, but it's football country. OU, OSU, the Cowboys. Basketball is an afterthought. Unless KD and Russ are playing. Then it was an event. That's why it crushed OKC when Durant left. Another in the long line of pioneers leaving dusty Oklahoma for the gold in California, he finally found the fruits of his labor-not grapes of wrath, but a championship. Which begs the question-now what? What happens to the Milwaukees and OKCs and Utahs and Sacramentos of the NBA? New Jersey went to Brooklyn. What's stopping the Kings from going to Seattle? The Jazz going to Vegas. Players don't want to jus play for cities. They want to live in them. What does that mean for small markets? Only money and time will tell.  

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