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And at long last, the NBA goes to sleep for a month

Aug 12, 2012, 9:57 PM EDT

James of the U.S. hugs teammate Durant after their game against Lithuania at their men's preliminary round Group A basketball match at the Basketball Arena during the London 2012 Olympic Games Reuters

The lockout had a lot of effects. One beat writer told me last week that because of the frequency of the games, stacked on top of each other, it didn’t feel like a 66-game season, but a 120-game season. Then there were the playoffs, with back-to-backs in the second round. The conference finals whizzing by every other day, then the Finals, jammed in. As soon as they were done, a week, and then the draft, just like that. A mad scramble to get our bearings around the rookie class. Two days later, free agency started, and one of the wildest periods in NBA history began. While that was going on, not after, during, Team USA began its march towards gold.

The NBA, like the NFL, is evolving towards a 365-day story. But now, mercifully, for the players, coaches, managers, and yeah, the keyboard fanatics among us, there’s a break.

The NBA goes into hibernation officially Sunday night, not to resume until media day and preseason in September. It’s a time to reflect on everything that’s gone on, and what’s to come.

The Heat won the title, validating the super-team model. Oddly enough, what became the difference in a team that failed to convert on its starpower was not the collective force, but the overwhelming brilliance of the best player in basketball, LeBron James. Yes, Wade and Bosh were huge reasons why they were there. But what LeBron James pulled together in that final month of play? Astonishing. Boston remains both headed towards the grave and firmly clenching the ground above, refusing to go down. Oklahoma City’s future is bright, still. But the “they’re still young” will only last so long before the money or the frustration gets them, whichever comes first. The Spurs are either the best sub-elite team in the history of the NBA or the worst powerhouse, and it’s impossible to tell which.

The Bobcats are terrible.

Then the draft, and Anthony Davis brings hope to New Orleans. A team that was supposed to be awful for so long, who made such a big mistake in the Clippers trade, now looks to be back in playoff contention within three seasons. Davis will remake them, and his experience and showing with Team USA proves he’s already on the path. The Wizards got their shooter, the Pacers took another white guy, and the Bobcats went with Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who will be a big part of their future and a player the fans will love.

The Bobcats are still terrible.

Free agency kicked off the most insane period many have ever seen. Deron chose Brooklyn, the money, and Joe Johnson over Cuban, Dirk, and Dallas. The Nets proved that Mikhail Prokhorov may have 99 problems but a luxury tax ain’t one. The Hawks blew themselves up. The Knicks were going to get Steve Nash, so the Raptors overpaid Landry Fields to block that, then neither the Knicks nor the Raptors got Steve Nash, and the Lakers walked away with him, in a move that just feels… wrong. So Jason Kidd went to the Knicks to back up Jeremy Lin, right? Only… not. Houston gets him, and no one understands what happens there but for some reason it’s Melo’s fault. Lin and Asik and 1900 combo forwards make up Houston’r roster. Ray Allen “betrayed” the Celtics before they could trade or bury him, while JET went to Boston. Raymond Felton‘s a Knick again, Goran Dragic is a Sun again, and Camby is a Knick again. We’re somehow going backwards in time.

Michael Beasley‘s a Sun and I’m not sure what that’s about.

The Suns tried and missed for Eric Gordon, the Hornets landed Ryan Anderson. The Magic let Anderson walk, but re-signed Jameer Nelson, and we really don’t know what that’s about.

The Nets deal for Dwight Howard fell apart. Nine times. Like Edward Rooney says, niiine. Times.

And then Dwight went to the Lakers. The best center in the league, joining a team with Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol. Gasol, who two years ago was considered the best big man in the league, is now the fourth option on a team. It would be disgusting in terms of its overt opulence if we hadn’t become so used to seeing it from the Lakers. The Dwightmare is over, Orlando is in ruins, and Bynum’s a Sixer? Seriously?

And guess what. The Bobcats, despite getting Ramon Sessions and Ben Gordon, are still terrible.

Then Team USA. An epic, historic performance against Nigeria. A tough one against Lithuania. A statement made against Argentina, and a thriller against the Spanish who gave them the fight everyone thought they would. But in the end? Gold. LeBron, Kobe, Durant, Anthony, Chandler, Chris Paul, Kevin Love, all added to their legacies. Coach K walks away a winner.

Now the GM’s are all headed for vacations. Players are enjoying their money and time.The media is settling into a time to remember who these strange people they live with that are supposedly called “families” are. It’s a time for rest, to try and get used to this new universe where LeBron’s a champion, Dwight’s a Laker, and the Sixers might be relevant.

The 2012-2013 season will be 82 games. There will be no lockout. There will be no disappointed press conferences. No hijacking, no accusations, no “enormous consequences.” We get basketball in the fall, after this brief respite. It will be thrilling, more exciting than ever, even if the gap between the haves and have nots has never been greater. 2012-2013 is something to look forward to. We’ll enjoy the time, and still bring you stories and analysis every day at PBT, as we move ever closer to October 30th and the tip of Boston and Miami.

Enjoy this time, get acquainted with this new universe, get excited for what’s to come. A lot’s happened in the last few months, and it will still take some time to take it all in. But there’s so much to be excited about, because no matter what, in 79 days, the 2012-2013 season tips off, and it will be rocking.

But the Bobcats will still be terrible. (But maybe not as terrible, if Gordon gets his shot back and MKG surprises offensively, and they can… see? Here we go again…)

  1. timb12 - Aug 12, 2012 at 10:07 PM

    If I just woke up from a coma, I would be all caught up. Possibly the best article of the season. Maybe because it’s all of the articles combined.

    • saint1997 - Aug 13, 2012 at 4:53 AM

      It’s Matt Moore not Kurt that’s why :) ily Kurt

  2. lakerluver - Aug 12, 2012 at 10:08 PM

    Can they just take a week off and then start the season, my LAKERS got rings to get!!!!

    • findthetruth90 - Aug 12, 2012 at 10:55 PM

      Almost as dumb as that Jason terry tattoo.

  3. giselleisasucubus - Aug 12, 2012 at 10:23 PM

    Do you finally get a break for a couple days? It’s Florio’s time to get harassed now.

    • philtration - Aug 13, 2012 at 2:48 PM

      Do you mean “He who shall remain nameless”?
      You cannot even type Floio’s name ay PFT without them removing your comment.

      Very thin skinned.

    • philtration - Aug 13, 2012 at 2:48 PM

      Do you mean “He who shall remain nameless”?
      You cannot even type Floio’s name at PFT without them removing your comment.

      Very thin skinned.

  4. eventhorizon04 - Aug 12, 2012 at 10:29 PM

    Fantastic article. Covered all the major story-lines.

    But you forgot 1 elite team: The Bulls.
    I would’ve added Derrick Rose’s injury and the Bulls blowing up a bench that helped them earn the #1 Seed in the Eastern Conference over Miami’s Big 3 two years in a row.

    I think the Heat still beat the Bulls with Rose in the ECF (assuming the Bulls with Rose beat the Celtics), but we were deprived of that matchup due to that major injury.

  5. tomtravis76 - Aug 12, 2012 at 10:37 PM

    You know who is going to be a fun team to watch, the TWolves, they added AK47 and Shevd to team up with Love, Rubio , Roy and Williams. They won’t be winning any titles but as far as a weeknight game if they are on, they could be playing some entertaining ball.

    There are some good storylines going into next season, hopefully nobody has any major injuries and the season will be just as entertaining as last season. No more trade drama from anyone, keep the business behind closed doors.

    • saint1997 - Aug 13, 2012 at 4:56 AM

      I agree, I think that also the Warriors with a seriously talented, sharpshooting and balanced starting 5 should be soooo much fun. I think the Raptors and DeMar DeRozan are my team to keep an eye on. Continued battle between Clips and Lakers and the Knicks and Nets getting their first full training camp to get acquainted so we have that to look forward to as well. I’m super keen baby NBA 2012-13!!!!

  6. imthedudedude - Aug 13, 2012 at 12:34 AM

    You don’t know what the Beasley signing was all about??? Really, well it’s prob cause the guy can score 30 on any given night, he’s played 5 season of basketball since high school. (1 year at Kansas State and out). Give the kid a chance. I’m telling you the suns are gonna surprise. Goran,w.Johnson,Beasley,Scola,Gortat. Every starter is above size for their position. Bench consists of Marshall,Brown,Dudz, Frye, and jermaine ONeal, that bench squad would beat the bobcats, c’mon now.. Suns playoffs baby!!!

  7. mlhlite - Aug 13, 2012 at 1:16 AM

    needed to put that Shane B was a difference and then Lebron J took over, but alright

  8. mojosmagic - Aug 13, 2012 at 8:39 AM

    And as usual the Sixers don’t get a mention despite rebuilding their roster.

    • mavajo - Aug 13, 2012 at 10:35 AM

      Guess you don’t read too well?

      “[…] and Bynum’s a Sixer?”

      “[…]and the Sixers might be relevant.”

      That’s two mentions. Which, considering we’re talking about the Sixers, seems about right.

  9. brianjoates - Aug 13, 2012 at 8:53 AM

    The Warriors are going to be interesting, Barnes, could be a special player.

    Do want to see what Bynum is going to do being the focal point.

    The Heat are going to be setting some ridiculous records with 3’s next season. Hope Darko does take the minimum for a shot at a ring. And the whole 2003 draft class story.

    Melo should have a good year now that he has a PG he trusts.

    The Wizards are going to be an all new team, what will John Wall do?

    Ready for the season to get here and all the stuff that comes with it.

  10. blantoncollier - Aug 13, 2012 at 11:34 AM

    Outside of LA, OKC, SA, Orlando, MIA, CHI, and maybe one or two other markets, the NBA has been asleep for the past 11 months.

    • blantoncollier - Aug 13, 2012 at 11:35 AM

      Woops—NYC and NJ too.

  11. fanz928 - Aug 13, 2012 at 7:37 PM

    Bobcats should be good this year with Mkg

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