Evening Edit: This is the sound of a man searching. I still think GM's are incompetent, and there is absolutely no excuse for not being able to imaginatively surround a giant like Iverson or Garnett with a complementary team. But, as the day wore on, and I engaged in a highly efficiently email correspodence with Brother Todd about players that fail to rule but are too unwieldy to follow, I knew what I had to do. I have washed my hands of the heros of my young adulthood, and arrived, full stop, at the plaza of opinion that lends its gracious shade to this very paragraph.
Last summer, Shaq, T-Mac, Stevie Franchise. Already, Air Canada. Now the papers are telling us that Iverson wants out of Philly, and the possibility of the Wolves moving KG is not out of the question. Am I missing somethin here? As axiomatic as "we play to win the game": you own a team to stock it with talent. It's a players' league; otherwise, coaches wouldn't expendable, and we would've seen the NBA's version of the Patriots (don't even try and sell me the Pistons: that team has no fewer than four guys who could make the All-Star team, and Brown's a game coach, not a system guy. The Spurs, maybe. . but isn't that really just orchestrating the obvious around Duncan?). This "change of scenery" principle is crap--if you've got a stud on your team, you make the scenery fit him. Granted, no one (except LeBron, possibly Duncan and KG) is perfect; Shaq's lazy and can't shoot free throws, McGrady needs the ball constantly and coasts while doing so, Francis can't really play point, Vince isn't always playing up to his potential. Is this a rationalization for getting rid of them? This isn't a "trade Brand to get potential superstar" gamble; it's pawning off first-team all-NBA weaponry to the most reasonable bidder. The T-Mac/Franchise trade only happened because both of their reputations had been clouded--otherwise, you can bet they both would've been traded for unfulfilled upside, a vet or two, and a few extra inches in the post.
The Grizzlies might be the exception here. They win with a frighteningly deep rotation and tremendous game-by-game flexibility. But would they trade Gasol to get deeper? Could they stand to have him dominate?
The problem isn't the stars. It's half-wit GM's, who surround All-Stars with trash and cast-offs. Iverson can't play with another scorer. . . have they ever found an effective one for him (Matt Harpring buckets count only in Utah)? Marbury is terminally selfish. . . is there anyone on that team worth giving the ball to?
Draft intelligently. Don't sign slop to long-term deals. That's how GM's can convince the McGrady's and Vince's of the league to give a fuck. Arrogance loves company.