Back to the NBA Journey, Week Seventeen: Merchant Dealings

The 2018-19 NBA season is at its All-Star break. The Association still believes that its destination will be another championship for the Golden State Warriors. But that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the season as a whole. Last year was wonderful, so let’s return to the path. Let’s go back to the Journey.

Song of The Week: PJ Morton – “Trade It All”

Buying, selling and trading have been around since people have been around. We acquire, peddle and barter goods and services at all times. Sometimes, the prices and exchanges are fair. Other times, one side stands to gain more than the other. But fair and unfair transactions will never stop the concept of transactions from existing.

Many video games have currency for buying and selling. From the Rupees in The Legend of Zelda series to Nuka Cola Caps in the Fallout series, games allow players to spend earnings on items and accessories. In addition to that, some games allow players to trade invaluable items — or even ones already purchased — for other items that cannot be bought otherwise. For example, in Darksiders II, ancient lost relics found can be traded and only traded with the merchant Ostegoth. They’re only valuable to him, and he gives things like money and experiences points in exchange. Video games allow for many ways to barter in order to help players advance in the game.

Last Thursday, the NBA’s trade deadline passed. While some major names were on the move, I’d like to focus more on the idea of trading players and assets near the midway point of the season and the methodologies behind how different teams handle the rest of the year.

Contending teams like the Philadelphia 76ers and Toronto Raptors acquired players to help better their roster for a deep playoff run. Teams like the Boston Celtics and the Golden State Warriors stood firmly without making any deals, deciding to play the rest of the season with the inventory they have. Disappointing teams like the Washington Wizards and the Dallas Mavericks unloaded bloated contracts and dispensable young players to make the rebuilding process easier. And then, lowly teams like the New York Knicks acquired assets that will expire in order to free up space for buying in the offseason.

Tim Hardaway Jr is one of a few players exchanged between teams. (NY Post)

Every team has the same understanding: There will only be one champion. Some teams believe that team will be them. Others are placing themselves in position to vie for the title next year. And others are hoping to challenge in a few years. Wherever a team lies on that hierarchy, players and assets will be used as currency in order to get there. For now, teams will have to use what they have and play out the rest of the season, living with the results.

Valentine Blurbs!

  • Russell Westbrook has had ten straight games with a triple-double, surpassing Wilt Chamberlain for the record Monday night against the Portland Trail Blazers. We should be talking about how historic this stretch of Westbrook’s career has been, and not treating it like an afterthought. Yes, his shooting has suffered. And yes, Paul George has been phenomenal. But what Russ is doing is nothing short of remarkable and we should never gloss over him.
  • The New York Knicks are terrible. However, forward Mario Hezonja is determined to bring some positivity to the team. He collected another poster Monday night shadiest the Cleveland Cavaliers. A baseline dunk over Marquese Chriss sent the Knicks bench into a fit and gave Knicks fans something to cheer for, despite the team losing it’s 17th straight game to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
  • This week’s Hooper Appreciation Blurb goes to the Chicago Bulls’ newly-acquired forward Otto Porter Jr. There may be some feeling around him that he was expendable because of his $100 million contract, but he has been more than serviceable despite the Wizards’ disappointing season. He’s averaging nearly 18 points per game, more than other, presumably better players than him. While he doesn’t help out in many other areas, a forward with a knack for scoring and shooting will always be valuable, especially in today’s NBA era of versatility.

Seventeen weeks in and the Journey continues. Enjoy the All-Star festivities, folks.

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