It has been one heck of a start to the NBA free agency period. LeBron James leaving his hometown for the Los Angeles Lakers was thought to be the talk of the offseason. Well, the Golden State Warriors thought otherwise.
On July 2, All-Star Center DeMarcus Cousins signed a one-year/$5.3M contract to join the NBA champs. This move caught much of the NBA by surprise. Players, analysts and fans alike took to social media to voice their hatred and flat out annoyance of this decision.
While “Boogie” Cousins says the Warriors gave him his only offer, I for one believe he is full of it. Aron Baynes and Ersan Ilyasova signed contracts where they are making more than Cousins. I understand Cousins is a massive dude who is coming off of an Achilles tear, but I just can’t connect the dots.
Regardless, Cousins is joining a 73-9 team that has also added the second-best player in the world in Kevin Durant. They are going to win another NBA championship no matter what the other teams do to their rosters.
Where is the competition? What happened to all the David’s wanting to take down Goliath? The NBA lost a lot of credibility when this happened and fans are already calling the 2018-19 season done.
With all this happening, I know that Cousins is using this year to accomplish two things.
A) He wants to prove to other teams that he is still a top 15 player in this league and look for a supermax contract next year.
B) Grab an NBA championship ring just to relieve the pressure later on in his career so he can make decisions that are solely monetary.
While I agree with on his first goal, I just don’t like the second goal. He is going to cake walk into a championship that he frankly does not deserve. There are at least five players (a few them are Denver Nuggets) that I would rather see sign a veteran minimum contract. They could take Boogie’s spot so they can get a ring.
Player #1: Tracy McGrady
Tracy McGrady might have been the best skilled basketball player I have ever seen. He was an absolute assassin on the court and he did not back down from any challenge. To this day, this is the greatest thing I’ve ever heard T-Mac say during one of his segments on ESPN’s The Jump:
When asked what it was like to dunk on somebody, T-Mac responded just like I knew he would. “I want to embarrass you…” He was a natural born killer and he did not shy away from competition much like players in today’s NBA are doing.
While his skill-set and athletic ability usually overpowered his opponent, his career was decimated by injuries.
T-Mac went from being an All-Star in 2007 while averaging 24 points to practically out of the rotation by 2009. His knees as well as his body just began to fall apart, and he was never able to get over the hump into the final round.
Player #2: Nene Hilario
I grew up watching the Brazilian big-man take up space in the lanes at Pepsi Center. He is a very polished big man, and he always seems to do exactly what his team needs him to do.
However, the reason I feel Nene Hilario deserves a ring, isn’t just by his accomplishments on the court, but what adversity he overcame off of the court. Back in 2008, Nene was diagnosed with testicular cancer that almost ended his career. Nonetheless, Nene returned, stronger than ever and became a big piece to Denver’s success in 2009. He believes that his medical issue was just a test that would be used to get him ready and motivated to help society.
Player #3: Vince Carter
Everyone must believe that Half-Man/Half-Amazing deserves a championship ring. Vince Carter was one of the premier players from the 2000’s who’s still making an impact today.
After years of getting close but never able to pull off the victory, Carter has become a bit of a journey man. Following stints with the Dallas Mavericks and the Memphis Grizzlies, Carter decided to play with the Sacramento Kings. Let’s be honest, the Kings are nowhere close to competing for an NBA title, but Carter is a class act and wants to help the young team mature. I don’t know about you but seeing someone who would rather do that than just ride the bench of a superstar team speaks volumes.
Player #4: Allen Iverson
Allen Iverson had a quick stint in Denver, but we loved every minute of it. For those one and a half seasons, Iverson was the heart and soul of the Nuggets squad. He played with fire and grit every night and the city fell in love with his passion for the game. All we wanted to do was see him hoist the Larry O’Brien trophy but sadly it never came to fruition.
Iverson is one of the greatest scorers to every play the game. He single-handedly took his Philadelphia 76ers team to the finals in 2001. He put everything he had into the game and I would love for him to have something to show for it in terms of a championship.
Player #5: Carmelo Anthony
Yes, I know Carmelo Anthony is a very random selection given all the media attention regarding his contract situation. Despite all of that, I am still a Melo fan. Anthony was the man I looked up to when I first became a basketball fan. He was the guy I’d be ecstatic to see each time I’d get to go to the Pepsi Center. He was my first true sports hero and I don’t want him to be remembered as a selfish, great scorer but sub-par teammate.
Anthony has been through a lot during his NBA journey. After leaving the Nuggets, he walked into a buzz saw with the New York Knicks front office. Sure, many of his decisions were based on him getting his way, but I still feel for the guy. Just let the dude close the book on a great career being on top.
The final take
I know most of these scenarios are probably not going to happen and many of them are leaving you scratching your head. Why would you choose these guys and not guys like Karl Malone or Charles Barkley? Well, this is my list and I tried to use more relevant players who could actually help in a game if needed. Regardless of who’s on the list, I know that I would much rather see a bucket of other players win an NBA championship. At least let them take a spot on Golden State’s bench before Cousins.