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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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Kawhi Leonard. Photo: Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

We've reached the point in the NBA's ever-evolving player empowerment era where fans must simply accept that their team's best players will probably leave at some point.

Why it matters: These days, it feels like the best — heck, maybe the only— way to follow the NBA is to be a fan of the league as a whole rather than rooting for one team.

  • When new players arrive and are offered ungodly sums of money to stick around, there's no guarantee that they will (see: Kawhi Leonard only signing for two guaranteed years with the Clippers instead of four).
  • This is having a profound impact on everything from team building to player legacies, but I'm not sure we've fully grasped how big of an impact it's having on modern NBA fandom.

There are pros and cons to this situation...

Pro: When you follow the league as a whole and watch the drama unfold like a reality show, suddenly a Tuesday night game between two random teams becomes interesting. That's a plus for fans (always something to watch) and the NBA (can sell more League Pass subscriptions).

  • Con: With players switching teams like never before and rosters constantly in flux, it's become increasingly difficult for fans to fully invest in one team. As a result, will we see the connective tissue between teams and cities begin to deteriorate? Could ticket sales plummet?

Pro: Thanks to the insanity of free agency, the NBA offseason has become almost as popular, if not more popular, than the season itself. This has helped the league stay relevant year-round.

  • Con: Is that actually a good thing? If fans are constantly looking to the future rather than focusing on the present, the whole idea of, ya know, winning games can get lost amidst the trade proposals and free agency rumors.

The bottom line: The NBA's nomadic era means more headlines, more tweets and more drama than ever before. But at what cost?

Go deeper: China is searching for NBA success

Go deeper

Women rise to the top at major media companies

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Several women have been tapped to lead some of the country's largest newsrooms over the past year — a promising sign of progress for an industry that's typically been slow to accept change and embrace diversity.

Driving the news: CBS News executive Kimberly Godwin was named president of ABC News on Wednesday. Godwin will be the first Black woman to lead a major broadcast news division when she takes the helm in May.

Americans will likely have to navigate a maze of vaccine "passports"

Illustration: Rae Cook/Axios

Many private businesses and some states are plowing ahead with methods of verifying that people have been vaccinated, despite conservative resistance to "vaccine passports."

Why it matters: Many businesses view some sort of vaccine verification system as key to getting back to normal. But in the absence of federal leadership, a confusing patchwork approach is likely to pop up.

The future of political advertising is connected TV

Reproduced from Centro; Chart: Axios Visuals

Political advertising has quickly begun to migrate over to connected TV (CTV), or digital and streaming television, according to new data.

Why it matters: "If the current trends of explosive growth in CTV viewership continue, we could see a tipping point where CTV makes up nearly half of political digital ad spend as soon as 2022," says Grace Briscoe, vice president of candidates and causes at Centro, a digital ad placement firm that works with hundreds of campaigns across the country.

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