Seth Rosenthal is the man behind Posting and Toasting and a contributor to New York Magazine. He’ll be writing here occasionally…
The summer of 2010 will always stand out as one of the NBA’s monumental free agency periods. As a heap of big ticket contracts expired, many teams around the league cleared space to attract them. Indeed there were so many free agents on the market, and so many organizations grappling for their services, that it’s only natural to wonder how things might have gone differently — to fantasize about the various permutations of talent that never happened.
Dwyane Wade, like the rest of that summer’s free agent class, met with a number of teams before settling back in Miami to form the “super team” we now know and fear. There were flirtations, though, and when Wade was asked before the Nets-Heat game last week to reflect on his dalliance with the then-New Jersey Nets in 2010, he had the following to say:
Dwyane Wade’s biggest take away from his 2010 free-agent meeting with the Nets: “Jay-Z wasn’t there. He was there for LeBron.”
That’s it. Jay-Z wasn’t there. He had other stuff going on, as it happened. Now, Dwyane is and was an adult, and we can assume that the mere presence of one of his favorite rappers/NBA minority owners wouldn’t have been enough to sway him. Little things can make a difference, though, and given the rippling nature of that free agent market, one wonders how a single minute difference could have caused a chain reaction that would have altered the course of NBA history. It’s like “The Butterfly Effect,” but with slightly less dog murder.
If we may:
July 1, 2010: Jay-Z postpones a tour date in France to accompany Nets officials in a meeting with Dwyane Wade. The only input he offers is “It’s your boy!,” which just floors Dwyane. “It IS my boy,” thinks Dwyane to himself later that night.
July 5, 2010: After a weekend spent meeting with all his suitors, Dwyane phones LeBron James. The two have privately discussed teaming up for some time, and they contemplate their options. LeBron suggests Miami, but Dwyane — Nets meeting in mind — declares that he’s ready for a change of scenery and counters with a vision of the two of them and Jay-Z being bros in Brooklyn once the Nets move.
July 8, 2010: LeBron and Dwyane hold a “Decision” television special together. In a conversation with Jim Gray, the two announce in unison: “This fall we’re going to take our talents to the Garden State and join the New Jersey Nets,” except LeBron botches the “New Jersey” part and accidentally says “Brooklyn.” Everybody knows the Nets are moving, but people still freak out about the gaffe for like three weeks.
July 9, 2010: The Heat complete sign-and-trades for both Chris Bosh and Carlos Boozer, thus creating the most despised frontcourt in the NBA.
July 24, 2010: Somewhere in Provence, Johan Petro hangs up on a phone call with his agent. Having been told that no NBA teams are seeking his services, Johan solemnly paces outside to tend to his garden and clear his head. While tilling a plot of soil for his aubergines, Johan’s hoe strikes a hard object. Johan gingerly digs around the object, eventually discerning what appears to be a whole human body wrapped heavily in gauze and crawling with maggots. It smells foul, and it kind of seems like it’s making noises. It moves suddenly. Johan blacks out.
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