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Playoff Difference-Makers For Hire

The other night I watched the Kings take on the Bobcats; Sactown's announcers were positively drooling over Drew Gooden, who struck them as a road to the future. Or at least a tenable present. So I'm sure they're as crushed as I am to find out that the Kings have bought out Gooden. This coming right on the heels of OKC setting free Joe Smith. It should come as no surprise that both players are now angling to land a spot with a contender; both have already been linked to the Cavs. But hey, why not include the Celtics in there? Or anyone else looking to load up for a title run! ↵
↵I fully understand that players like Smith and Gooden want rings, and that, in the case of the Bulls, they might rather give the burn to young players like Tyrus Thomas, Joakim Noah, and even Aaron Gray. And that unless they're landing someone like Tyson Chandler, the Thunder would probably like to be cutting salary these days. Still, there's something a little unseemly about this trend, which has gotten more pronounced with each passing season. It's as blatant as ex-stars' ring-chasing, and really, there's no one to demonize here. But the fact that there's depth for hire as the playoffs come into sight doesn't sit right with me. It's like an arms race, or baseball, or some other blow against the purity of a roster, and its chemistry, going through a year of stories together. ↵
↵You can say "whatever, Drew Gooden's not going to win anyone a title." But he will make a difference. And I feel like that's what trades are for. Take a risk, make a splash, show the public where you're headed. Not this backdoor, only-hits-you-in-the-Conference-Finals crap.
Y! is reporting that the Spurs are most likely to sign Gooden.↵

This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.