The NBA season has just begun, and while we are only a week in, many teams are beginning to show if they can actually be contenders in this 82 game round robin tournament of sorts. It honestly too early to begin crowning champions and MVPs, but it is never too early to point out the players that seem to have lost their touch. Kobe Bryant, the player who was once mired in off the court controversy, now has to deal with questions about his on court playmaking ability. Kobe Bryant was once a man considered by many to be “the next Michael Jordan,” and while his many accolades and championships speak for themselves, it is plain to see that Kobe is getting old. At the age of 37, Kobe seems to be far past his prime, and the fact that he is coming off of two injury ridden seasons doesn’t help him get back into the routine of playing well. This season, Kobe is shooting a woeful 30% from the floor, and he is quickly becoming an afterthought in this increasingly social media driven world. I feel bad for even thinking it, but it may be time for Kobe to retire from the game of basketball. He is not the same player he was ten years ago, and he seems to have no interest in taking a reduced role on a team. With his current level of play it will be hard to imagine seeing Kobe retire at the top of his game, but at least he will be able to keep his reputation and rest on his accolades as one of the greatest players to ever grace the basketball court.
The NBA free agency period has begun and as of yesterday plenty of the league’s top eligible players have already snagged max contracts. The Free agency period is a time when players who are out of contract can be courted and signed by any franchise that is willing to pay their asking price. So far this offseason, the two teams that many expected to make the biggest push for talent have been the most silent. The Knicks and the Lakers, two of the NBA’s most storied franchises, have failed to lock up top talent so far. At the rate players are signing, it seems like both the Knicks and Lakers will be sitting on the sidelines with money to spend but nowhere to spend it. The biggest problem with the Knicks and Lakers is their history, both teams expect the most out of players, but neither team has been competitive for quite some time. The way free agency works these days is different from the past, players are no longer just looking for the highest payday, they are now looking to go where they can win and compete with the least added stress. While I am certain that both the Knicks and lakers will be competitive in the next 5 years, neither team is in a market that is comfortable with losing. New York and Los Angeles are big cities, with fans who spend the most money to watch basketball, even when the teams are awful. As a New Yorker, I don’t want to say we are spoiled, but I understand the requirement we have for winners, since prices here are high regardless of the level of play. Playing in big cities markets puts a great amount of stress on players, and players who can handle the pressure and play well are exactly what is desired and needed in NYC and LA. There are still a handful of fantastic free agents left to be had, I just hope the Knicks have a good enough proposal to land the talent necessary to compete next year.