The NBA is becoming a league of super teams.
It's a term that's become derogatory over the years, as if loading up a roster with multiple stars, as either orchestrated by an executive or the players themselves, is somehow a bad thing. There are five guys on the court at a time. If three or four of those guys for your team are star players, you're probably going to win. That's generally the goal.
One already exists with the Warriors. If they stand pat, the Celtics would be one next season; you can't tell me Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward and Jayson Tatum aren't stars, especially with Al Horford and Jaylen Brown playing with them.
Another's set to be built somewhere thanks to LeBron James. Unless he does something insane and either joins the Warriors or comes to the Celtics (it's hilarious how seriously that tiny possibility has been taken locally), other stars will follow him. Paul George has long been rumored as a potential LeBron teammate should he go to the Lakers. This week, the possibility of a LeBron-George-Kawhi Leonard trio has been the popular rumor.
Now that word has emerged that Kawhi wants out of San Antonio (who could have guessed that?), the possibility of that Lakers super team is even more plausible. Sure, the Lakers might not have much that the Spurs would necessarily covet, but if interested teams feel that he might bolt for the Lakers as a free agent next summer anyway, perhaps the offers of teams like the Celtics might not be that strong. That would certainly help the Lakers' chances of landing the player.
Indiana had little interest in Paul George trade w/ Lakers -- and that'll be case for Spurs too. Boston gives Spurs best building blocks of assets -- one of young forwards (likely Jaylen Brown), its own 18 pick/19 protected Kings pick, etc. Lonzo to Spurs? Don't hold your breath.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 15, 2018
Should that happen and LeBron and George were to also end up with the Lakers, that team would be scary. Just that aforementioned trio would be better than what LeBron had with Irving and Kevin Love when they won a title back in 2016.
Honestly, as a Celtics fan, I'm cool with it as long as the C's don't do anything to make themselves worse this offseason.
Why? Because it would mean that new super team is in the West. The East, which would be without LeBron in such a scenario, would be the Celtics and nobody else. The only way the Sixers become peers of the Celtics is if they can get LeBron. Otherwise, they're a good team in a conference with only one great team.
This isn't to advocate for an Eastern Conference completely devoid of competition. In a perfect world, LeBron would stay with the Cavaliers, Cleveland would try to trade what little assets it has (the No. 8 pick, perhaps Kevin Love) for help and we'd still see some great Celtics-LeBron series.
Nobody seems to think that's happening, though, and with each passing day, it sounds more and more like he'll end up in Los Angeles.
That Lakers team would presumably have to duke it out with some great teams out West. In order to even reach the NBA Finals, they would need to play at least one of the Warriors and Rockets. The Celtics would be arguably as good as any of those teams, and by the time whichever one of them reaches battles its way to the finals, the Celtics will have presumably had a comfortable postseason of short series.
Plus, and this really hinges on Irving re-signing, such a layout would not interfere with a potential post-Warriors era of dominance for the Celtics. If and when the money for all of those stars in Golden State no longer fits in a few years, LeBron could at the very least be a declining player. Same for Chris Paul, who's the same age as LeBron (33).
So sure, let LeBron go form another super team. As long as it's out West and doesn't involve mending fences with Draymond Green, Celtics fans shouldn't think it's the end of the world. The Celtics are a super team, too.