Although the world of basketball has been global for many years, this type of news can still surprise the unaccustomed. The Memphis Grizzlies have traded Marc Gasol to the Raptors in exchange for several players and a round of the draft. Sports culture in the US and Europe has developed differently. In the NBA the changes of players in teams were never paid with money, but are always carried out as a barter; signing Marc Gasol has cost the Raptors a Valanciunas, a Delon Wright, a CJ Miles, whose salaries add up to 26 million euros (a couple more than what Marc charges), and an election in the second round of the draft of 2024.
To this first difference in the way of interpreting the competition in their professional leagues (the players are owned by the league, they end up playing where the owners of the franchises decide, and they never do it with money in between the transfers), it adds another substantial difference; Marc Gasol gets a candidate to be champion this year, the Raptors, which has never been before, and whose consideration by comparison in a European league would not go beyond what was always called the typical half table equipment. Are the Raptors really candidates for the ring? Could they be considered a big team, as we call here those who fight for the title every season? With this movement in the offices, both answers are affirmative. This, together with the arrival of Nikola Mirotic to the Bucks, also candidates for the Eastern conference, puts the Warriors in front of new threats in the search for a new championship, and will give Spanish fans a boost of motivation to Follow the league these months.
Golden State, Toronto, Milwaukee, Denver, Oklahoma and Indiana are the six teams that currently dominate the North American regular league. Looking back, the data tells us that in the last 18 championships, those corresponding to the 21st century, there have been up to nine different champions, only with Lakers, Warriors and San Antonio winning more than twice. That's why I often tell the anecdote that I lived with José Miguel Antúnez (former player of Estudiantes, Real Madrid and the Spanish national team), as presenter of a pre-match event that the New Jersey Nets (before emigrating to Broklyn) had to play against Real Madrid on their European preseason tour. José Miguel wanted to make a compliment to the recently signed star of the Nets, the base Deron Williams, and expressed it as any follower of European sport would have done; "Deron, I hope you play well this year in the Nets, and soon you finish in a team of the big ones." Williams' face reflected the strangeness of an American professional athlete. And it is that, their owners there, are so determined that everyone is doing well in the medium and long term, that they take care of this kind of odious comparisons.
Allow, therefore, to translate a little the history of the signings of Gasol and Mirotic to the version of the other side of the Atlantic. Marc and Nikola have actually been sent to work in Toronto and Milwaukee so that their delegations can be, once and for all, the best franchises of the year, with happy investors ("our goal is to keep together the next 20 years at Porzingis and Doncic ", has declared the ambitious Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, boasting of aggressive executives). But at the end of the story, whatever happens, it will always be the league that will end up taking a lot of benefit out of the matter and prestige of its acronyms. What they want, in short, are the best NBA basketball professionals. And then the right of the different businessmen to get the best out of their cities and markets.