isn't going to just work itself.
Between the NHL's lacklustre crop of free agents and the NBA's much-hyped "big three" and beyond, every sports fan in North America has been transfixed by the daily intrigue of NBA free agency. And that no doubt includes many hockey fans who have otherwise never followed basketball, and may be confused by some of the what they're seeing.
Have no fear, hockey fans. NBA free agency is really very similar to the NHL version, with only a few key differences. To help you make sense of it all, I've prepared this handy guide to help you compare and contrast the two leagues.
NBA free agency: America's largest sports networks allows a star player to spend an hour announcing his decision in a farcical display of tone deaf self-promotion.
NHL free agency: Canadian networks would never participate in such a vulgar display due to higher journalistic standards, a distaste for self-aggrandizing hype, and the lack of available airtime due to their previously scheduled round-the-clock "NHL Free Agent Super-Mega-Frenzy 2010" coverage.
NBA free agency: To the horror of fans, one team can assemble an instant dynasty by just going out and buying three of the best young players in the game.
NHL free agency: A team can only assemble a team of young superstars the honorable way: by purposely tanking several seasons for high draft picks.
NBA free agency: Teams are often unable to free up roster spots by trading players thanks to the intricacies of the salary cap.
NHL free agency: Teams are often unable to free up roster spots by trading players thanks to contracts given out by John Ferguson Jr.
NBA free agency: Players and teams may begin negotiating on July 1 but can not finalize a contract until July 8, in an effort to avoid tampering.
NHL free agency: No such restrictions are needed; unfailingly honest players and teams respect the league's strict tampering rules, then agree to complicated multi-year contracts 15 minutes after free agency begins.
NBA free agency: If you're really tall, some team will pay you millions of dollars even though you never learned how to skate.
NHL free agency: Derek Boogard.
NBA free agency: Teams can exceed the salary cap by resigning their own players thanks to a rule known as the Bird exception.
NHL free agency: Teams can exceed the roster limits by building a lineup consisting entirely of defencemen thanks to a rule known as the Burke exception.
NBA free agency: "The July Moratorium" is the first week of July each year, during which teams may not sign free agents or make trades.
NHL free agency: "The July Moratorium" is Ilya Kovalchuk's new nickname.
NBA free agency: Teams can achieve temporary cap relief by sending players to a minor league organization known as the D-League.
NHL free agency: Teams can achieve temporary cap relief by sending players to a minor league organization known as the Atlanta Thrashers.
NBA free agency: A player can undo years of positive image management with one foolish appearance on ESPN.
NHL free agency: Players wisely avoid this risk by never being mentioned on ESPN, ever, for any reason.
NBA free agency: The entire proceedings are overseen by a commissioner who is dedicated to making the NBA the most popular winter sports league in the world.
NHL free agency: Same.