NBA’s genius “plan” is summer’s richest accident

Zimran Jacob

This summer has been hot. Especially for the NBA. In one of the most frenzied off-seasons, trade rumors swirled, monster deals were signed, and big trades changed the landscape of the NBA.

Paul George was the first order of business. He wanted to go to the Cavs, but the deal wasn’t made. His interest in the Lakers was supposedly overblown. The world was shocked when he ended up with Russell Westbrook in OKC. Again, Russell has a partner in crime who he can play off of to achieve the team’s full potential.

Jimmy Butler was next. The Cavs, as they have with every big player this summer, entered the discussion, but again could not put together a package for Butler. Butler was the center of attention for weeks in the NBA discussion, and when he signed with Minnesota, everything became clear. Butler would lead the young T-Wolves with his old coach Tom Thibodeau.

There were other gigantic deals that shook up the playing field. Gordon Hayward left Utah to go to Boston. Derrick Rose signed with the Cavaliers. Chris Paul was traded to the Rockets. It is yet to be seen how these new teams will compete against the rest of the league.

The draft class of 2017 yielded Lonzo Ball, Markelle Fultz, and many other top-level prospects. This was one of the most hyped classes ever and the NBA community took notice. As the season approaches, the media coverage surrounding these draft picks will be greatly present.

Then there were the deals that changed the history of the league. Steph Curry locked down the most lucrative deal in NBA history worth $201 million. A few days later, James Harden topped that worth $228 million. Money was flying in the NBA and the players were on the receiving end.

This was all before the craziness surrounding Kyrie Irving, LeBron and the Cavs unfolded. It seems Kyrie wants to step out of the shadow of LeBron James, but that can only be for one reason. It’s not because he wants to win. He knows that the best chance he has is with LeBron (or perhaps the Spurs). Kyrie wants more attention which equates to more money.

He wants to play in a big market where he can be the man. He doesn’t want to be second fiddle anymore. This simple fact erupted into one of the most high-profile NBA teammate beefs since Shaq and Kobe. LeBron said he was blindsided and Kyrie unfollowed his teammate on Instagram. Thank goodness they kept it civil.

The result is something amazing for the NBA. There are certain fans that only follow during the season. Then there are those who only watch the playoffs. In the current day and age, there is an NBA fan that has something to follow whether or not games are being played. This fan is extremely engaged in the NBA brand. The more fans like this the league can muster up, the more attention they will receive.

Brand engagement is the lifeblood of any organization and the NBA has stumbled upon a 12-month news cycle comparable to the NFL. Player empowerment and mobility has changed the league for the best, and this summer proves it.

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