The Brooklyn Nets and the Boston Celtics both made statements on Thursday, with a trade that signals the intentions of both teams going forward.
The Nets are going for a Championship.
The Celtics are starting over.
The basketball world was shook to it's core when the Celts dealt Kevin Garnett, Jason Terry and Paul Pierce to the Nets for three first-round picks (2014, 16, 18), Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries' expiring contract, MarShon Brooks, Kris Joseph and a sign-and-trade deal with Keith Bogans. This deal, subject to confirmation from the league, represents yet another bold move for the Nets as they look to establish themselves as an NBA super-power, while it signals the end of an era in Boston.
When Jason Kidd retired from a 19-year playing career just a matter of weeks ago, I doubt even he expected what was to come next.
Head Coach of the Brooklyn Nets.
Wednesday's announcement sent shockwaves through the Basketball world. The 40 year old has no coaching experience whatsoever, yet he did enough in his interview to convince the Nets that he was the right man to take the franchise forward. He subsequently signed a three-year deal and will start immediately.
Certainly a bold move, very much in-keeping with their new philosophy since their arrival in Brooklyn under Russian owner Mikhail Prokhorov.
There is very much a 'Boom or Bust' element to this hiring. Despite a glorious career in the NBA, which will no doubt make Kidd a first ballot Hall-of-Famer, he has zero coaching experience at any level. Kidd has stated he has been studying for the role for some time, but there is no substitute for experience and many feel this is too large a step for Kidd, who may have been better off taking an assistant coaching job first to learn the ins-and-outs of the game.
However, with big risk comes big reward.
Kevin Durant just cannot catch a break. The league's most prolific scorer is about to complete a historic 50-40-90 shooting season, one of the most amazing in NBA history. Yet LeBron James from the Miami Heat is considered to be the unanimous choice for MVP.
At least Durant was locked in to win the league's scoring title for a fourth consecutive season. It would serve as a nice consolation prize for the league's most dangerous scorer, who had led the NBA in that category for most of the regular season.
However, a late-season surge from New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony has threatened to take the title away from the Oklahoma City superstar. Durant's scoring average of 28.3 points per game as of April 9, 2013 has been eclipsed by Anthony, who holds a narrow lead at 28.6 points per game.
LeBron James has been drawing a lot of comparisons to the all-time greats as of late. His recent six-game streak of scoring 30 points while shooting 60 percent from the field is one piece of evidence that we are witnessing an all-time great entering his prime. "King James" has raised his level of play to such a level of excellence that his NBA peers simply cannot match.
If he is above comparison to most current NBA superstars, then the next logical place to weigh and compare his greatness to is the past. After finally winning that elusive first championship ring last season, he is drawing more comparisons to all-time greats Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson instead of current rivals Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony.
James has a long way to go before matching Jordan or Magic, but there is one all-time great that he could legitimately surpass in the next couple of seasons: Larry Bird. This should be the primary target for LeBron as overtaking Bird would elevate the "King" to a new title: the greatest small forward to ever play the game.