David Thorpe, former ESPN analyst and longtime NBA skills coach, joins Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck to discuss the current state of superstar empowerment and how it could shape the league’s future. He also gives his take on the wild offseason, including Kyrie Irving’s trade request, Chris Paul (and potentially Carmelo Anthony) joining the Houston Rockets, the Oklahoma City Thunder acquiring Paul George and what Jimmy Butler brings to the Minnesota Timberwolves.
On NBA players holding all the cards
“I think we’re just seeing the very natural evolution of what began years ago, and LeBron’s decision was part of it—I don’t know that it was the first thing. We’re just starting to see the result of players beginning to recognize they have all the leverage. It is their league.”On what changed
“They’re just done with letting the owners make the billions and everyone else makes the decisions where they should be. And yes, of course when contracts are expired, they can choose another place. … But now we’re starting to see the final stage in a sense. … They want to be in control of what their only basketball career is going to look like.” said David Thorpe.
“I do know that most players just aren’t motivated solely by winning until they know they can be just the best player on the court—period.”
“We’re gonna start being able to hold owners accountable like never before when they can’t keep their stars, even after they sign them to a five-year deal, four-year deal…in most cases we know what bad management is or bad ownership or both.”
“I think James Harden had to do so much this year with the ball—there’s no question that he did—playing him next to Chris Paul frequently, and Paul as quarterback, is going to allow James to do less and still be productive and efficient.
“And I also think Chris Paul, for the first time in his career, we’re going to see him be able to play next to a playmaker equal to him—he can kind of just be a scorer, especially if that’s how the game is dictated. … Chris Paul’s going to be more wide open now than he ever has been in his whole career.”On Chris Paul’s role
“I think Chris Paul should be watching Steve Nash tapes all summer and try to be Steve Nash. Think score, then read and really work on fine-tuning his wide-open three-point shot because he’ll have a ton of them.”
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