My passion for the NBA runs deep. I am a devout NBA junkie. I live and breathe NBA hoops during the season almost to a fault. During the months of October to June, I immerse myself in all things NBA. I am the acting commissioner of a NBA fantasy hoops league that is heading into its 8th season (The CAI). A league, I might add, that I have yet to win a championship in. If you have played fantasy sports as long as I have you can understand just how painful that last sentence was for me to type. When I started this league I was already an NBA junkie. Before the fantasy hoops league I would equate my addiction to that of a pothead. Since the inception of this league I would say my addiction status has risen somewhere between Bubble’s thirst for heroin and Jesco White’s cocktail of choice…gasoline. During these months I must perform a complicated act of juggling my addiction and my marriage. You see, my wife despises the NBA. It’s not so much the sport that she hates; it’s what the sport does to her husband.  During the NBA season I am plugged into the NBA 24/7. My wife somehow puts up with me during this time of year. If there were an award given to wives of NBA junkies who exude the most patience, my wife would be a recipient of the lifetime achievement version of this award.  

When June rolls around I enter a very important time of year. From June until the end of August I must take this time to show my wife that I am capable of being a normal member of society. Why August? While not on the same level as the NBA, I have an NFL addiction fueled by fantasy football that gets kicked off then. We’ll save that for another article. During this time of year, I do my best to watch some of the shows that my wife is into:

Bachelor/Bachelorette (The social demise of the values that make up traditional marital courtship)                              

 16 and Pregnant (The social demise of battling our nation’s teen pregnancy epidemic)                              

The Real Housewives (The social demise of the sanctity of marriage and women in general)

 I will even agree to watch a few “chick flix” with her. To summarize, I do everything I can to work myself back into the good graces of my wife. By now she knows the pattern and I have been very fortunate to have such a loving and acceptable wife who allows me to carry on with my addiction for the NBA annually. Thanks Boo!!!

So the 2012 NBA season ended on June 21st. As with every June, I was mentally prepared to head into my off season to rehab from another year of living as a fully-functioning NBA junkie. But my self-imposed off season hiatus from all things hoops was thrown a curveball this year. I should have seen this coming and have a strategy in place, but I was completely unprepared. It all started with the NBA draft. This year the draft fell exactly one week after the NBA Finals. Normally I am about one to two weeks into my break from the NBA and am able to casually watch the draft from a distance. Not this year. I had yet to come down from the high of watching a very entertaining NBA Finals when all hell started to break loose on Twitter about the how the NBA draft was to be filled with a whirlwind of trades. Some of which could potentially reshape the landscape of the NBA. So there I was with one eye on the Bachelorette making out with a bunch of similar looking dudes in a single episode, and the other eye on my NBA Twitter feed. My ADHD was in full effect and my wife knew it. By now, we all know that the NBA draft was rather uneventful. There were no trades of significance. By all accounts it was a rather boring, predictable draft. However, I have to point out that I am overly excited about the Grizzlies’ pick of Tony Wroten Jr. Besides Perry Jones III going to the OKC Thunder, there may not be a bigger steal in the draft, possibly Miles Plumlee to the Pacers (I kid…I kid).  Boring or not…It was too late. I was puffing on the proverbial NBA crack pipe in June like it was opening night in October, and it was only going to get worse.


Well no sooner had the NBA draft ended did the NBA’s free agency period begin.

Let me start by saying that this year’s NBA free agency period has been nothing short of amazing. Is it just me or has the NBA continued to dominate the sports headlines this summer? While the names of the free agents don’t live up to the 2010 class (LeBron, D-Wade, Bosh, and Amare to name a few), it has been more about the willingness of team owners and GMs to go about their jobs in a very cunning fashion. However, the 2010 free agency period, mixed with a dash of Twitter, is the reason my rehab is failing miserably in 2012, but I digress. The strategies we have seen deployed by the likes of the Houston Rockets, NY Knicks, New Jersey Brooklyn Nets, LA Lakers, Toronto Raptors, and the Atlanta Hawks have been unlike anything we have ever seen. It has been a game of chess mixed with a dash of reality show gamesmanship (see Survivor or Big Brother). From the back loaded contracts offered to players like Jeremy Lin and his nerd-pal Landry Fields, which were used to put the kibosh on the NY Knicks plans to either acquire Steve Nash or keep Lin on the roster, to the absurd contracts being offered to a big, stiff white guy named Omar and a big, stiff black guy name Roy (Ok…I realize his name is spelled Omer but I had to embellish a little to make my point).  Then there is the max contract offered to Brooke Lopez who gets rebounds about as often as I get compliments on my physique. Now, I am currently working on my part to improve my stats on the compliments, the Nets hope for $60 million that Brooke is planning to snag a few more boards too.

This free agency period has provided us more headlines than my NBA junkie brain can physically process. It feels like the Joe Johnson trade to the Nets happened about 3 months ago instead of three weeks. I can’t remember, even in 2010, being absolutely blown away on a daily basis with news about Player A signing with Team B instead of resigning with Team C (See Ray Allen). At this point my body and mind have been ravaged by NBA rumors. My addiction has blown right past Bubbles and Jesco White status and has hit a comfortable cruising altitude somewhere around a Hunter S. Thompson business trip to Las Vegas level.

“The Timberwolves offered how much to Nicholas Batum?”

The only thing that brings me back to earth is the ongoing saga that is the aforementioned Dwight Howard. My only hope is that this is the last time we, as fans, have to be subjected to the antics of prima donnas like Dwight Howard and their relentless quest to “do what is best for him” no matter how ridiculous it makes them look. He is without a doubt the most dominant big man in the NBA but his uncanny ability to come across as the world’s most physically imposing douche will forever hold a place in my heart. However, if the Memphis Grizzlies were to somehow acquire him in a trade I would probably reconsider. What can I say? I like when the teams I root for are really good (See John Calipari and the UK Wildcats).  

So here I am, it’s mid-July and normally I am sitting on the couch with my wife, sipping on my 2nd or 3rd glass of chardonnay and making my usual spot on prediction of who the Bachelorette is going to pick as the guy she will be dumping six months from now. Instead, I am neck deep in arguments with my fellow addicts on whether or not the Lakers are actually a contender with the acquisition of Steve Nash. For the record, I say no (see Terry Porter’s coaching philosophy when he coached the Phoenix Suns).  Unless, of course, they land Dwight Howard in some disgusting eight- team trade involving around 20 players. So as much as this is a post to explain just how great this NBA off season has been, the real reason I wrote this was to apologize to my wife. Sweetie, I know you have read this article and perhaps comprehend 5% of what I have even been talking about. Nonetheless, I just want you to know that I am sorry for being addicted to the NBA. I am a junkie and I accept the fact that I need help. But can it wait until after the Olympics?  

-Drew Stratton

Follow me @DrewStratton