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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

DHS to increase deportation flights to Haiti from Del Rio

Migrants walk across the Rio Grande River carrying supplies back to a makeshift encampment under the international bridge between Del Rio, Texas, and Acuña, Mexico. Officials are struggling to provide food, water, shelter and sanitation, forcing migrants to cross the Rio Grande several times per day for basic necessities. Photo: Jordan Vonderhaar via Getty Images

The Department of Homeland Security on Saturday announced plans to ramp up deportation flights to Haiti out of the small Texas border town Del Rio, starting as soon as Sunday.

Why it matters: Reports have emerged of more than 10,000 migrants, primarily from Haiti, crowded in a temporary camp under the international bridge in Del Rio. Hoping to find refuge in the United States, they've had to bear with filthy conditions and the scorching sun for days, per an NBC News affiliate.

2 hours ago - World

Pope Francis urges bishops to listen to survivors of sexual abuse

Pope Francis rides his Pope mobile through a crowd of pilgrims before holding an open-air mass on September 15, 2021 in Sastin, Slovakia. Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Pope Francis on Saturday urged European bishops to listen to survivors of clergy sexual abuse, saying "these important discussions truly touch the future of the church," AP reports.

Driving the news: Francis spoke in a video message to Central and Eastern European bishops who are convening in Poland for a four-day child protection conference beginning on Sunday.

Students vandalize and steal from schools for viral TikTok challenge

TikTok logo displayed on a phone screen in Krakow, Poland on July 18, 2021. Photo: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

A viral TikTok challenge is leading students nationwide to shatter mirrors, steal fire alarms and intentionally clog toilets, The Washington Post reports.

Driving the news: Dubbed the the “Devious Licks challenge, students are showing off their "devious licks" on TikTok — with a sped-up version of "Ski Ski BasedGod" by rapper Lil’ B playing in the background.

You’ve caught up. Now what?

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