The recent player movement in the NBA has been a little more than mind blowing, to say the least.
With Russell Westbrook getting traded to the Houston Rockets, and Kahwi Leonard and Paul George moving to the L.A. Clippers, superstar players are able to form their own super-teams.
Teams are doing whatever is necessary to compete, and in the case of the L.A. Lakers, it was trading away three young players and three first-round draft picks for a proven star—Anthony Davis.
A trade like that makes sense. Pairing a young star with a guy like LeBron James is a no-doubter.
Back in 1996, then Lakers General Manager Jerry West made a leap of faith, trading Vlade Divac to Charlotte for a Pennysylvania high schooler. That player turned out to be one of the greatest all time—Kobe Bryant.
Leonard and George wanted to carve their own path, out of the Laker limelight. Both are local products. Leonard is from Riverside and George from Palmdale.
Westbrook, who went to Leuzinger before playing a year at UCLA, is back with former Rocket teammate James Harden in Houston.
In seems as if teams these days are trying to recreate their own version of the Dream Team, the 1992 USA Olympic Gold Medal team that featured all-time greats such as Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Patrick Ewing, Karl Malone, Charles Barkley, Scottie Pippen and David Robinson.
Even Brooklyn got in on the action. Now considered New York's better team, the Nets feature Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and DeAndre Jordan.
But basketball has been like this for years.
Back in 2004, Karl Malone and Gary Payton signed with the Lakers to form a super team alongside Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal.
The memory goes back to Malone being on the tail-end of a Hall of Fame career, Bryant being in and out of legal trouble and the team never truly finding itself before losing to Detroit, four games to one, in the NBA Finals.
The next year, O'Neal was shipped to Miami, Payton signed with Boston and Malone called it a career.
One of the latest super teams, the Miami Heat, talked of winning title after title before playing a single game.
With James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh as its superstars, Miami won titles in 2012 and 2013 before James returned to Cleveland.
Golden State has had its share of reference to the super teams built around the NBA, but to its credit, the Warriors drafted their superstars. Stephen Curry (2009), Draymond Green (2011) and Klay Thompson (2011) were drafted by the Warriors.
The Warriors have made five consecutive NBA Finals appearances, winning three.
Make no mistake about it: the NBA is a cash cow. Teams were given salary caps of $109 million to work with for the 2019-20 season after the NBA earned $7.4 billion for the 2018-19 season.
The NFL, in comparison, has a $188 million salary cap for its 2019-20 campaign while earning $15 billion the prior year.
It's not far-fetched to put yourself in the shoes of a player this day and age. You would desire a higher wage with the chance at more glory if it were available, correct?
Players these days are being paid boatloads of money to play a game and put their talents on a national stage seeking the highest glory of the sport—a championship.
This question was posed to me the other day: Would you rather be a star player on a mediocre team, or a good player on a great team?
The answer was simple. The ultimate goal, for me, was always a championship.