The NBA world flipped upside down over the weekend with the news that former All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge would sign with the Brooklyn Nets.
Aldridge agreed to a buyout with the San Antonio Spurs, where he played three seasons, last Thursday and he quickly signed with the Nets soon after.
Basketball fans all over the country were surprised when the news broke, not because Aldridge did what was probably best for his career, but because now the Nets seem to be a team with so much firepower their only comparison is Thanos.
Earlier this season the Nets added former MVP James Harden to create arguably the most talented starting five when teamed up with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant.
Only a few weeks ago they added Blake Griffin, another former All-Star.
With the rim protection of Deandre Jordan and the outside shooting of Joe Harris and a solid bench, it feels the NBA title is already heading to Brooklyn.
Then, a few days later, star center Andre Drummond joined the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers.
The NBA has a potentially great storyline on its hands, which could be good and bad.
Right now, the hot topic in basketball is the possibility of a Nets-Lakers matchup in the championship. This would be an exhilarating series, and perhaps one of the best matchups of all time.
At the same time, the new storylines draw a reminder to a few years back when Kevin Durant went to the Warriors, cementing Golden State as the champion before the playoffs even began
The summer of 2019 brought a change of scenery and a newfound excitement to the league when Anthony Davis joined the Lakers, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George went to the Clippers, Jimmy Butler to the Heat, Russell Westbrook to the Rockets while Kyrie Irving joined forces with Kevin Durant in Brooklyn.
It was a breath of fresh air and resurfaced a word that hadn’t been in the NBA dictionary for years: parity.
The most exciting thing about all these moves was no one knew who would win the title because, well, anyone could win it.
What followed? The NBA was forced to play in a bubble while two teams many chose to face each other in the Finals, the Bucks and Clippers, both lost in the second round of the playoffs.
Though the Lakers’ championship victory was far from a surprise, they faced the Nuggets and the Heat in the final two rounds of the playoffs, a different and fresh set of competition compared to years prior.
With the latest trade moves, it feels like somewhat of a digression from the novelty of last season.
Having a two-team race for the title has been successful throughout the history of the NBA.
The Lakers and Celtics, Bulls and Pistons, Warriors and Cavaliers prior to 2017 defined the greatest eras in the history of the league, but they did it without compromising the regular season and the playoffs.
The Cavs and the Warriors faced each other four consecutive times in the Finals, but the reason the first two times were so fascinating was that the audience saw an equal opportunity for both teams.
Each had different strengths, but you knew it was a fair matchup and it resulted in arguably the greatest Finals series ever in 2016.
Once Durant joined Golden State the following summer, the power shifted completely and fans were left wondering if it was even worth watching.
It’s very possible the Nets don’t win it all this year and it’s also very possible they don’t face the Lakers in the playoffs. But, with the recent trade moves, it almost feels like the season has already been decided.