I am not a Dwight Howard fan. Ever since this whole thing got started back at the beginning of last year, I was not going to cheer for someone who acted the way he did, telling his team that he had basically outgrown them. Then, to give up on a season, have back surgery in what seemed like a middle finger to the Magic, and then demand a trade is ridiculous. Maybe I am oversimplifying the recent developments, but I am just like every other casual fan out there. Now that Howard has been traded to LA, I am wondering what this means for a team like New Orleans and their brand spanking new superstar, Anthony Davis. Are we going to be walking the same fine line five years from now with the Hornets? As collectors, how should we approach team collecting in the NBA, especially if we are cheering for a small market team?
Howard’s cards have definitely responded to the trade, as everyone wants a piece of the new acquisition:
In football, the draft picks are signed for four years at a time. After that time period is up, if they performed, they are either re-signed or franchised to prevent other teams from signing them. Bottom line, a great player your team drafts will stay on your team due to the way the league works. Each team collector, like myself, can at least buy into the POTENTIAL for greatness post-draft, and not have to worry about the team alignment.
In the NBA, its different. Come the end of the contract, its relatively up to the players to stay with their team or move on to a new city. Of course, there is always the OKC model of striking gold on early and late round picks, but lightning rarely strikes twice on a situation like that. So, if I start buying my favorite small market team’s draft pick, and then he eventually just leaves, I am left with a collection that either needs to be sold or traded.
Anthony Davis was thought of as a once in a decade style talent. Collectors have agreed with the assessment placed upon him. He was the consensus #1 pick, much like Andrew Luck was for the NFL this year, and Bryce Harper was for MLB a few years ago. I am not saying the Hornets should not have drafted this guy, I am wondering if it is possible to be a collector for a team that isnt the Lakers, Heat or one of the other bigger markets. How long before Davis decides that New Orleans is not the team best suited for him to win a title?
Dwight Howard isnt even fully recovered from the surgery that ended his season, and the Lakers are already being considered a top contender to unseat Miami. Personally, I dont really see Howard ever becoming the kind of star that Kobe is, or Magic Johnson was, but he will definitely help LA to a new level of talent. With that, is there a reason to go nuts on his cards just yet? Im not thinking there is, even though LA has the equivalent of a New York Yankee fan base in the NBA.
As we saw with Jeremy Lin, NBA collecting is about as flash in the pan as it can get. One day his cards are worth thousands, the next, nearly half as much. Howard will need to continue to perform to stay relevant in collecting the way he has, and no market will support him if he does not. The name on the front of his jersey is not going to sustain card values if he doesnt play well.
And now, the clock starts ticking on a Hornets’ championship or Anthony Davis trade.