‘Superteams’ – The Virus Some Teams Failed to Catch
Some NBA Superteams Didn’t Work Out
If there is something that gets NBA fans ecstatic it is the formation of ‘superteams’. The term, in general, refers to at least three (or more) players of All-Star caliber teaming up. Over the past 15 years, when the creation of ‘superteams’ has become like a virus, it has become a regular source of debate. However, the lack of debate before the aforementioned time frame does not mean that ‘superteams’ did not exist 20 or more years ago.
Modern-era ‘superteams’, such as the Miami Heat with Wade, LeBron, and Bosh (2010 to 2014) or the Golden State Warriors with Curry, Durant, Thompson, and Green (2016 to 2019) – both considered the most successful ones with two rings apiece – came after few others.
The Los Angeles Lakers with Abdul-Jabbar, Magic, and Worthy took four titles between 1982 and 1989. How about the Chicago Bulls with Jordan, Pippen, and Rodman, who won three titles between 1995 and 1998. Still, there were attempts of forming ‘superteams’ that ended with a fiasco. Given that trades were the most common ways of acquiring the missing ‘pieces’ in the roster for ‘superteams’, we will deal with those who largely failed in its purpose.
Back to the Past: The “Rocket” Didn’t Take off at All
The Rockets were eliminated in 1998 by the Jazz after which Clyde Drexler retired. It seems that Olajuwon and Barkley were not enough for Houston to rise to the biggest success, so they made a risky but also disastrous transfer.
They agreed to a trade with the Chicago Bulls in which they send Roy Rodgers and two second-round picks in exchange for Scottie Pippen, Michael Jordan’s longtime squire and one of the most underrated players in the league.
Immediate results were expected from this team because they gathered three top players but also the three players in advanced age, so it was now or never. The experiment had soon flown through the air but not exactly towards the ring. After being eliminated by the Lakers in the first round of the conference, Pippen showed his dislike of Charles Barkley, who responded by showing the same apathy for Scottie.
Pippen went to Portland where he would seek individual success and recognition and get known for something more than helping Jordan, at the same time, trying to forget his failure in Houston. And, although Olajuwon and Barkley stayed and the promising Steve Francis joined the project, they remained out of the postseason.
Barkley’s retirement came after an injury that prevented him from continuing to play and, a year later, Olajuwon had also said goodbye after playing a year in Toronto. The fuel to try to get the ring was insufficient and the “rocket” failed to take off.
Pippen’s New Attempt With the Blazers
The experience in Houston was not satisfactory for either of the two parties and Pippen was traded to the Blazers. It seemed an ideal destination for Pippen, as he would function as the leader of a team that already had players of the stature such as Rasheed Wallace, Steve Smith, Arvydas Sabonis or Schrempf, as well as a young Jermaine O’Neal.
A good regular season led them to a 59-23 record and advancement to conference finals where they found themselves against the Lakers, who eliminated the Oregon team in 7 games. To ensure continuing to compete at a higher level, the Blazers traded Jermaine in exchange for Dale Davis (in Indiana, the power forward showed a tremendous level) and signed Shawn Kemp.
Despite having a powerful team and not making risky movements, they got eliminated in the first round by the Lakers and criticism began to rain on the team. After several fights, scandals at the Moda Center, and the transfer of Steve Smith to Spurs, Sabonis decided to leave the team.
The Blazers remained relying on Rasheed Wallace and a form-descending Pippen, who spent two more seasons in Portland until he decided to play the last season in the environment in which he achieved true success, in Chicago.
Brooklyn Nets: The Worst Managerial Move Ever Made by an NBA Franchise
The failure in Boston was seen from miles away. After the departure of Allen and the downfall of their other stars, such as Pierce and Garnett, the Celtics decided to dismantle the ‘superteam’ and send these two players to Brooklyn, along with Jason Terry, in exchange for future first-round picks of the draft (James Young, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Humphries, Wallace, Marshon Brooks, Bogans, and Joseph).
At first instance, the Brooklyn team looked very good because it teamed up a good part of the core of those Boston Celtics champions with Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, and Brook Lopez, which made them a team that in theory would give a lot of fight and could be more than a serious contender to the Finals. In addition, there was an amazing fact, and that is that the quintet of these Nets collected 35 appearances in the All-Star game.
And the season was not all bad: they had a rookie coach Jason Kidd commanding the team to a 44-38 record and they started the playoffs well, eliminating the Raptors in 7 games, but then they were eliminated in 5 games in the semifinals of the conference from Miami.
After failing to achieve expectations that were anticipated, Pierce took his bags and went to Washington and, after a season without reaching the playoffs, Garnett had returned to his beloved Minnesota, while Deron was transferred to Texas to play with the Mavericks.
Brook stayed to see how the bad trade made years ago with Boston doomed them to lose year after year without a definite direction. Today, without Brook, it seems that there is light at the end of the Brooklyn Bridge, especially if James Harden, as rumors say, joins Durant and Irving, but they have a long way to go.