David Stern went on record by saying that he hoped LeBron stayed in Cleveland.
Many shared his sentiment.
I can't help but believe that Stern may be changing his mind based on the amount of attention the NBA and their top players are getting as a result of the free agent signings.
What has happened with LeBron, Wade, Bosh, and Stoudemire as a result of free agency has shown that if the players want to, they can exert more control over where they play than the owners of the team.
In the big scheme of things I think that would bring more pizazz and interest to the game than David Stern's model.
Expansion hasn't brought more fans to the game, or made the game more exciting as a whole, even though many of the most gifted athletes alive are show-cased. Expansion has thinned out the talent, and has made it difficult for teams to build championship teams solely through the draft.
If you can't entice top free agents to come to a boring city, your franchise is destined to flounder in mediocrity. There are at least three franchises that could contract right now and we wouldn't even notice. The league expanded too much anyway.
Some of the best players in the league are taking their future and destiny into their own hands. Forming their own alliances may rub people the wrong way, but it has energized the league in a way that it hasn't been in a long long time.
The speculation of where everyone was going to land drew interest from the fans. Fringe fans also got caught up wondering where everyone would land.
Even Mayors and Governors of various cities chimed in.
It became a regular soap opera.
Stars can collectively control the league, in spite of the owners and commissioner, if they take things in their own hands and plan ahead when they sign their contracts.
It worked for Boston, and it will work for others as well.
High level mergers are not only happening in the corporate world, they are becoming the best way to win an NBA Championship.
The NBA stars consolidating has not only created some much needed buzz, but it has revitalized some of the biggest and best rivalries that have been dead for a while. It started with Boston's big three, which translated into a long awaited title. Instantly. Over the Lakers no less.
Chicago is back in business with the addition of Carlos Boozer. They are relevant and will challenge Boston, Orlando, and Miami.
New York took a major step forward by signing Amar'e Stoudemire. Carmelo Anthony is the big name 2011 free agent that will either leave this year, or next year for sure.
If the Knicks can secure his services, and I think they will, almost every large market will be revitalized again. The New York versus Miami rivalry that was the best in the NBA for a while will be alive again. Boston versus New York will be hot. New York versus Chicago will mean something.
The ability of the Knicks to add two more marquee names will set the league up for some of it's greatest competition in a long time.
If the league is smart, they will let it happen and not try to impede it in the next collective bargaining agreement.
I am looking forward to how everything will play out.
Who would have thought that we are having major NBA talk and rumors, with NFL Football a few weeks away?
The NBA needs to realize this is their time and embrace it, and not despise it.