Blake Griffin joined a stacked Nets team.

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How a $2.8 million bargain uncovered the NBA’s “flawed” system

Blake Griffin joined a stacked Nets team.

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How a $2.8 million deal exposed the NBA’s “broken” system

LaMarcus Aldridge’s new addition to Brooklyn is about more than just the wealthy getting richer. A billionaire wins the Powerball, and everyone else gets triggered. The Nets reportedly signed the seven-time All-Star after San Antonio bought him out.

It happened after they signed six-time All-Star Blake Griffin and traded for three-time scoring champion James Harden in January, moves that infuriated fans and experts alike.

And Griffin is chuckling to himself

“It’s sort of hilarious to me because all I’ve heard for the last couple of years is how horrible I am.”

When you sign with this team, everyone says, ‘That’s not fair!'” Griffin told The Washington Post about the angry reactions.

“Everyone says whatever they want. I don’t place much stock in other people’s perspectives.

“I believe in the people I believe in.” If I don’t seek your advice, I’m not likely to accept your criticism.

So I have that network and that group of folks I trust, real basketball people; that’s who I listen to.

I just find it amusing. I’m not sure what people are saying about him.

That’s how I felt when I first arrived here. People were telling me how horrible I was, and now they care for some reason.”

To say they are concerned is an understatement.

When the news of Aldridge’s signing broke Saturday evening, the NBA’s Twitter was flooded with reactions, many of which referred to the Nets as the NBA’s villains, the league’s Darth Vader.

Howard Beck of Sports Illustrated wrote an article stating that buyouts are “warping the NBA’s competitive landscape,” citing the Nets’ moves as the latest example.

“Aldridge (35) and Griffin (32) are both past their primes,” he wrote, “but they are still quality players and a wonderful luxury for a Nets team already packed with top scorers.”

“Aldridge’s Spurs deal paid $24 million ($A31 million) this season (excluding an estimated $7.25 million buyout).”

Griffin’s deal was for $36.8 million ($A48 million) this season and $38.9 million ($A51 million) next season (after a $13.3 million buyout). The Nets just paid $2.1 million ($A2.8 million) for both of them.”

Blake Griffin has laughed off Brooklyn’s critics.
Blake Griffin has laughed off Brooklyn’s critics. Source: Getty image

Beck was told by a team official that it is merely “another injustice for small markets,” while another remarked that “the system is faulty.”

“This is giving huge, destination markets a competitive advantage,” adds the first team executive. “It’s also another injustice for small markets.”

ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith added his voice to the chorus in a lengthy soliloquy on Twitter.

“What happens next if you’re the Brooklyn Nets?” For crying out loud, this is practically like purchasing a championship.

Blake Griffin arrives. “LaMarcus Aldridge has decided to leave,” Smith raged.

“I mean, you want a championship, I’ve got it all. You should be considered the favorite.

But crap! KD, James Harden, Kyrie, and Lethal Weapon 3! What about the competition?

“Are you just going to get everyone now?” Everybody? I mean, I’m excited about the playoffs; I want the competition.

But, c’mon, if we’re simply going to stockpile and send everyone and their brother to Brooklyn to try to steal a championship, I mean, come on. That’s cool, KD, Kyrie, James Harden.

I understand everything. Blake Griffin couldn’t go somewhere else? “What are we doing now, LaMarcus Aldridge, after all the years you spent in Portland and San Antonio?”

Blake Griffin joined a stacked Nets team.
Blake Griffin joined a stacked Nets team Source: Fetty image

Griffin fought back against the grand heist myth, pointing out that when the Lakers signed new Nets coach Steve Nash and Dwight Howard to a roster, they did so with the intention of forming a team.

In 2012-13, it already contained the late Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol, who drew equal scrutiny.

The club finished seventh in the Western Conference.

“It’s really crazy how everything comes together.”

If you told people at the start of the season that James, LaMarcus, and I would finish up with the Nets, they would have laughed.

So it’s just how it all comes together, how it all shakes out,” Griffin explained.

“Having said that, we still have a lot of work to do, and we have to prove ourselves.”

“There have been so many examples of people establishing teams and making a big deal out of it,” I recall when the Lakers acquired Dwight and Steve.

It doesn’t always work out. We are aware of this. We are aware that we have work to do and that we must excel.”

Griffin and Aldridge will join Harden, Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and DeAndre Jordan on the court.

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They’ve also appeared in at least one All-Star Game, for a total of 41 times.

However, as Griffin points out – and as Nash discovered on the Lakers’ roster – names alone do not guarantee championship rings. It will be up to the Nets to make the decision.