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The NBA “Super Team” Trend

In the summer of 2007, the Boston Celtics were coming off a 24-58 season (2nd worst in the NBA) and the future didn’t look promising. The team’s only star, Paul Pierce, wanted to leave the team unless the Celtics were able to sign or trade for better players. The Celtics did just that, by trading for two future Hall of Fame players in Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett. The Celtics went on to win the NBA Finals that season, which set the trend for the creating “super teams” throughout the league.

Fast forward to the summer of 2010 when LeBron James became a free agent. James decided that he would be leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers and, “taking his talents to South Beach,” to join Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh with the Miami Heat. Superstar players began to take notice. Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul and Dwight Howard are the most recent players who demanded a trade to help form a super team. The trend is expected to continue as players like Kevin Love, Josh Smith and possibly Chris Paul (again) look to form the next “Big 3”.

This situation is an example of the direct-benefit effect. This direct-benefit effect is achieved because the more superstars a team has, the better chance it has to win (or at least this is what players believe). Therefore, an increasing number of superstar players are demanding trades or using free agency to team up with other star players, usually in big-market cities. The Los Angeles Lakers are the NBA’s latest super team and many experts believe they are this year’s favorite to win the championship. If they are able to win it all, this trend will only grow stronger as the direct-benefit becomes even more obvious to superstars around the league.





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October 2012