Some teams would discuss themselves about it; the situation was just too ripe. There was a great success.
In the summer of 2018, Masai Ujiri kept thinking about the difference between a good team and a good team.
The president of the Toronto Raptors has built well span; he even won the NBA Award for Executive of the Year in his third season as general manager of the Denver Nuggets. He built up a bunch of 50-win teams. He built teams that won division titles. He built teams that went to the finals of the conference.
But Ujiri asked himself: Did he ever build a great team in Toronto – one that could legally win everything?
While spending days on what could be the most dangerous step in his career, he finally got the answer and then executed the trade for Kawhi Leonard.
Right now, the NBA has an inflated middle class. There is a large group of teams, perhaps as many as a dozen, that are on the brink of contention. They have a star or two. They have a way of reaching maybe the second round of the playoffs or maybe even the conference finals, if things just go well. They are good; they are not wonderful.
This is where James Harden comes in, and why his future may shape how this NBA season plays out.