The Brooklyn Nets now have a superteam consisting of all the following: James Harden, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin, and LaMarcus Aldridge. At least three of those players have seemingly been intentionally discontent or a lackluster version of themselves until they could find greener pastures located closer to the playoffs.
Jalen Rose and David Jacoby addressed the developments and along the way Rose opened up my eyes to the fact that individual players are now tanking in order to get what they want through a dramatic rebuild. Perhaps you're smarter than me and already realized this weeks ago, but dammit, I want to talk about it now.
Harden showed up to Houston carrying a lot more weight and though he still tore it up on the court, he made no effort to be there mentally or emotionally and created an awkward, untenable situation. Griffin fought through injuries but definitely played with a governor on. Aldridge is a bit different because, well, it's unclear exactly how much he has left in the tank.
Jacoby correctly points out that the Nets should have nothing to feel sorry about as it's their job to assemble the best team. And not everyone is going to go as far as Rose did in alleging that these players were going full Philadelphia 76ers or Houston Astros or any other team that has shown the way to get better is to be worse.
But even if you disagree with Rose's conclusions, it's not much of a leap to understanding that individual tanking without some form of guardrails is going to lead to some awkward situations and expedite the widening gulf between the league's haves and have-nots.
If this becomes the norm, then it won't be long until a disgruntled player gives away the game by suddenly averaging eight points per contest before joining a new team and dropping 22 per. It's probably too early to suggest the sky is falling but not too early to start thinking of some solutions to prevent such disaster being incentive-laden.