You know them, I know them, we all know them. The banana boat clique, comprising of four early 2000 guys that are still All Stars to this day (exception of Dwade that is). LeBron James, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony. The best pals vacation together, win gold medals together and even conspire to join forces together.
We all were made into witnesses when LeBron James opted to relocate his talents to South Beach in 2010 to pair with his guy Dwade. He and Wade made history together and secured two rings while fellow friends didn’t pan out so well. Carmelo’s Knicks was hoovering around mediocrity before just plummenting to downright terrible in the past two seasons. Meanwhile Cp3 was out West struggling to not disappoint year after year, injury after injury under Doc Rivers coaching or lack of and management or lack of.
As it is presently 2017, the banana boat clique are all post age 30, and in ending stages of their careers. Some more obvious and closer than others, according to the thin if any cartilage left in Dwade’s knees. Germany for the Kobe procedure, D, just go to Germany! While LeBron appears to age like Benjamin Button, Dwade is a shell of what he used to be, while Carmelo Anthony seems to have become the media’s black sheep as seen with his horrible player rankings the last few seasons. As for Chris, well Chris is that small guy that can’t seem to catch a break.
The lone bright spot for Chris in recent years may be his election of President of the NBA Players Union. LeBron serves as the league’s first Vice President. The terms agreed upon in the current collective bargaining agreement is very player favorable but unfortunately Chris is not yet a player that has cashed in on such favorable terms. Before entering Free agency, Chris opted not to test the waters but instead orchestrate a sign in trade to the Houston Rockets.
The move may have been a hasty one as Chris did not test free agency and the Clippers possibly could have offered him a 5 year, 201 million dollar contract. Paul’s quick move, proved that he was heavily determined to change his zip code but it was clear that he and the Rockets were quite hopeful that another piece would join him. Sadly, Carmelo Anthony nor Paul George will be swangin doors in Houston, as both guys landed in Durant’s old backyard. A backcourt of Cp3 and James Harden will be interesting but if it is any closer to getting Chris to at least the WCF remains to be seen. But hey that turned out to be a big no in Los Angles so what does Chris have to lose but another early post season exit?
As for Carmelo, his last three years has been a wash if we are talking team success but heading into year 15 his individual numbers are hard to knock. The 14 time NBA All Star has never averaged less than 20 ppg and last year he put up 22/5/5. All last season his name was in trade talks but this off season he finally became more flexible in teams he would waive his trade clause for. The team that got the deal done was not Cleveland or Houston as expected but instead the surprise Oklahoma City Thunder. Yes, yes Sam Presti with another magic trick folks. Melo joins MVP, Russel Westbrook and versatile Paul George to complete a new big three out west. As if the West needed any more Big 3’s.
What about Dwyane Wade? As the eldest of the group, Dwade may be the one that loses financially but wins basketball wise. After a failed campaign in Chicago Flash decided to join his former teammate, LeBron James on a 1 year veteran minimum deal in Cleveland after being waived. The 12 time All Star will be age 36 in January but unlike in Chicago, Wade will be more open to pick his spots on offense. Wade adds great depth to the Cleveland Cavaliers, and can be an asset off the bench or in the starting lineup.
Dwade and LeBron James are yet again the winners of the Banana Boat Clique. LeBron made the move to the 305 7 years ago and now Dwade is returning the favor by moving to the 216. Can you believe it? As for Melo and Chris, well those two didn’t quite get to team up together but next year presents a new possibility. The west will be a wild one this season and both Chris and Melo will need to tweak their games to fit their respective new teams.
Melo may be best suited coming off the bench to play 6th man for a less than talented OKC bench or he may be moved to Power Forward to formulate an ISO heavy big 3 starting line up. Chris on the other hand will have to figure out the grab and go D’antoni offense and he and James will have to learn how to best play with one another. James Harden shined bright playing Point Guard for the first time in his career last year but with the arrival of traditional Point Guard, Chris Paul that dynamic will surely change. Meanwhile, Dwade can play a supporting role with his ol pal…. But its not like we have not seen that before.
What are your thoughts? Which member of the banana boat clique will have the most success this season?