Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Inside Season

We now enter, in my opinion, the most dispiriting period of time imaginable to be a sports fan. It's the time where you have to have Sources, and People, and (gack) pay some small amount of attention to what ESPN says.

I'm speaking, of course, about NBA free agent season. From the coverage and anticipation, this is the best time of the year for many people, not the least of which are the folks who will find this post through some search engine keyword and come by looking for some crumb that might have been achieved through heretofore unknown sources. (Um, you folks can go now. This isn't that kind of blog.)

That's because the media thinks that after so many years of roto speak, fantasy honkery, long-term gambling and behind the curtain marking out for the people pulling the strings, everyone of means is dreaming of being a GM. Which means we need to know about salary caps, and which agent will work with which team, and so on, and so on, and so on.

 So they finally get to talk about what they really want to talk about -- personal soap opera, backstage machinations and drama drama drama -- without any of those pesky, distasteful and downright tedious *games* getting in the way. Why get into the actual merits of Joe Johnson's fading game, or the history of 31-year-old shooting guards with heavy minutes keeping their value, or even his actual worth defensively or beyond his counting stats?

It's better, far better, to talk about how this will be perceived by Next Guy X or Other Guy Z, and how this is just Step 1 or the Nets' master plan (for the record, that's the first time those three words have appeared in that order, well, ever) for world domination, since A Well Known Three is all that it takes to win this 5-on-5 game with 8 likely rotation players and a coaching and training staff.

Oh, and there's one other really bad part about all of this: my Sixers are rarely, if ever, involved, and when they are, they inevitably shoot their wad on guys that will not make you shoot yours. Where's the bad idea package from my team (Andre Iguodala, who is required to be in every trade offer, the eventually expiring contract of Elton Brand and a passel of picks that will turn out to be far more valuable for Dwight Howard or Pau Gasol would work for me), dammit?

I demand equal time of getting jerked about and fellated by the national media for my team's willingness to throw caution to the winds and decimate my depth in ways that show that we secretly think the Mayans were right on the merits, but just off by a little bit on the math. As we saw in the Finals, building a team the right way, through the draft and astute management of bench assets, is for chumps who don't have Big Stars. Big Stars make everything right! Especially if they are getting dealt in the summer dead season.

 So for everyone that's all a-Twitter about what Team X will look like with Dwight Howard, or how Ray Allen's free agent flirting are actually relevant, or how Chris Paul's refusal to sign a long-term deal with the Clippers means that you know exactly how the next 10 to 12 months will go for that franchise, down to the smallest of degrees...

Breathe. Go outside. Watch baseball, God help you, or the Olympics, or paint drying. Go volunteer at your local soup kitchen, or join an ESPN Anonymous group.

 Because what's going on now, and the changes involved, won't matter of a court and in a real game for another 16 to 17 weeks or so. Plenty of time for you to catch up, oh, about a month or so before the season stars.

And when your game doesn't have an off-season, you become nearly as tiresome... as the network refusing to let you have an off-season. Gahhh...

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