Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
The Houston Rockets are the league's youngest team and have one of the least-experienced rosters in NBA history. They dealt with a mid-season trade that dramatically altered their continuity, with an offense more fluid than a flowing river.
And they're in the playoffs. That's phenomenal. But Harden shouldn't be on this team. He should be on the Oklahoma City Thunder. And that's a reflection of the league's new Collective Bargaining Agreement and how it's hamstrung the long-term finances of almost every team in the league.
The Memphis Grizzlies traded Rudy Gay because their new owners weren't thrilled about his contract, and when the trade deadline came around, nobody wanted to part ways with valuable assets on rookie contracts/draft picks or acquire soon-to-be free agents who might be looking for a payday.
(Except for the Milwaukee Bucks and Sacramento Kings, two of the league's least-successful franchises.)
The luxury tax and the new CBA will always be a story line, but this year we saw it mold the league in ways nobody expected this soon.
This is listed as one of the better story lines because it helps spread the NBA's talent around the league, preventing super teams from beating everybody else up (regardless of market size) and forcing general managers to maneuver in clever ways.