Two days ago, fellow TrueHoop scribe Sean Highkin wrote a thought provoking piece on Hardwood Paroxysm about the rookie extension, and why small market organizations ducking for cover in the Super Team age can no longer take comfort in re-signing their homegrown prospects. The NBA is busy shifting to a place where teams like the Magic, Trail Blazers, Jazz, Pacers, and Timberwolves are forced to re-adjust their expectations in regards to how long they can realistically milk franchise players, resulting in a league where the rich get even richer, and the poor are continuously searching for a way to compete.
Had the Jazz waited until last offseason to trade [Deron] Williams, they would have likely run into many of the same complications the Hornets and Magic did when attempting to move Paul and Howard. A star’s openness to staying with his new team long term affects the offers his old team will receive. The longer a team with a star soon to hit the open market and no chance at a title waits to act, the smaller their leverage is. By trading Williams earlier than they had to, the Jazz were able to maximize their return. This is something the Portland Trail Blazers should take to heart before LaMarcus Aldridge’s contract is up in 2015.
With Houston currently deploying a “youth movement” that my gut tells me is only a facade to appease a fan base once promised a nightly Herculean effort from Dwight Howard, the last sentence in Highkin’s paragraph got me thinking. The Rockets are still in the hunt for a superstar, and will be until they get one. Please don’t let anything else fool you. Aldridge is about to enter the third year of a five-year extension with the Trail Blazers; while he isn’t Dwight Howard, there’s no denying his rightful placement under the shrinking “superstar” umbrella that hangs over the heads of a select few. [read more…]