Possibly Kevin Durant as a Raptor isn’t such a swell concept in spite of everything.
Nice participant, after all. He might presumably, below the fitting circumstances, do for Toronto’s NBA franchise the identical that Kawhi Leonard did. So when it turned public information that Durant, one of many best to ever play the game, needed a commerce out of Brooklyn, the notion of the Raps dealing for him gained some native momentum.
Weeks after the preliminary Durant commerce request, nevertheless, evidently his total calls for are somewhat extra sophisticated. In line with information experiences, he both desires a commerce or he desires proprietor Joe Tsai to fireside head coach Steve Nash and basic supervisor Sean Marks.
Whoa now. That is one other degree of participant energy fully.
It’s the coach or me? Certain. We’ve seen that one earlier than. However the coach and the GM, or me? That’s a brand new one. The subsequent logical step on this development in fashionable sports activities could be for Durant to demand both a commerce, or that Tsai promote the staff to him and his group of buyers. Why not? When gamers like Durant are making upwards of $50 million (US) a season and beginning to eye skilled sports activities franchises nearly as good investments, the idea of a participant demanding that an proprietor ought to be the one to depart city doesn’t appear so far-fetched.
That’s not the place we’re with Durant, after all. As an alternative, after signing a four-year, $198 million contract extension final August, after which seeing the Nets swept by Boston within the first spherical of the NBA playoffs this spring, Durant has determined he’s sad with all of it and desires both an exit or massive adjustments within the group. Presumably, if Tsai accedes to his star participant’s calls for and does fireplace his coach and GM, Durant would then demand a say within the identities of the brand new individuals to tackle these jobs.
On one hand, this appears completely towards the normal ideas of staff sports activities. Basketball, nevertheless, appears in some ways midway between sports activities like hockey and soccer, and particular person sports activities. One NBA celebrity can fully change a staff’s possibilities of profitable. Nonetheless, when Brooklyn tried to gerrymander a winner by bringing in Durant, Kyrie Irving and others, they had been simply crushed by a cohesive Boston staff. So the concept of staff triumphed ultimately.
Alternatively, the previous half-century has seen a gradual progress in participant energy, from the expansion of participant unions to the astronomical riches out there to fashionable athletes that interprets into huge authority over the situations below which they may compete. Who’s extra essential to the potential success of the Nets? Durant, or Nash, or Marks? Or Tsai, for that matter?
It’s taken a half-century, however in some methods, it seems like we’ve gone from Curt Flood to Kawhi and some-nights-I-just-don’t-play load administration at hyper-speed. Followers can barely catch their breath. Are they cheering for gamers, or administration or homeowners? People have gone by means of that in Calgary of late as they attempt to determine whether or not to be loyal to Johnny Gaudreau, or Matthew Tkachuk, or Brad Treliving. Or not one of the above.
For the Nets, the mixture of Durant and Irving hardly ever performed collectively this season, however when every participant was out there, the offence was run by means of them. So precisely what does Durant need? The Nets traded for James Harden, who Durant needed, and that didn’t work out. So Harden was dealt to Philly. Now Durant thinks administration isn’t doing a great job and believes a brand new course is required?
Buying and selling him, in the meantime, is clearly not that simple. Toronto, Miami and Boston nonetheless seem like the likeliest suitors, however none have but stepped up with an applicable bundle. These groups additionally now know that in the event that they had been to amass Durant, he would demand a really massive say in every part. Any individual like Bobby Webster would possibly do a deal for Durant, then discover that Durant desires him changed within the very close to future.
In any sport, the gamers are the sport. However in a staff sport, can one participant be the sport? Possibly, if that participant is as gifted as Durant, he could be. LeBron James has definitely demonstrated a brand new degree of affect for a person athlete in a staff sport. Tom Brady appears to have extra energy in Tampa Bay than he did in New England. Aaron Choose could also be on the verge of taking baseball salaries to yet one more new stratosphere, and with that will come immense energy.
There will likely be traditionalists, after all, who’re offended by all this. They may counsel Tsai to commerce Durant, or simply inform him to play and shut up. Theoretically, homeowners nonetheless maintain many of the playing cards. NFL homeowners did collectively blackball Colin Kaepernick, in spite of everything. Then once more, Kaepernick wasn’t Durant, was he?
There’s clearly a realignment of the normal owner-management-coach-player hierarchy happening in staff sports activities that’s is creating uncertainty and confusion when it comes to the place true energy and authority lies, and requiring new theories of staff constructing and collective effort. By the tip of the Kawhi period in Toronto, it was fairly clear that the MLSE and Masai Ujiri had been now not dictating the narrative, and possibly by no means had been.
There’s that unforgettable scene from “Apocalypse Now” when Martin Sheen’s character says to a soldier firing a machine gun aimlessly into the Vietnam evening, “Who’s your commanding officer?” The wild-eyed soldier responds, “Ain’t you?”
The strains of authority had been as soon as crystal clear in North American staff sports activities, and infrequently led to gamers being exploited and abused. Now, we’re in a fully totally different world that appears to have been turned the other way up in lots of respects.
Who’s the “commanding officer” in command of the Brooklyn Nets proper now? Nice query.
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