That never-ending search for new story lines has fueled the NBA’s surge in popularity during a time it once would disappear. With an ever-increasing appetite for coverage of the league’s offseason transactions — from the NBA draft in late June to free agency in July (Sixers J. J. Redick and Amir Johnson, above) — and its annual summer leagues that showcase future stars, the NBA has taken hold during a period long dominated by another sport: