January 11, 2008
The trade deadline is on February 21st. From here until then you're going to hear a litany of trade suggestions from TV talking heads (who usually don't name names in lieu of screaming that certain teams need "a big man who can score"), NBA scribes, beat writers on blogs, bloggers on blogs, and message board denizens. It's only natural, and there's nothing wrong with it. You'll hear plenty on this space as well.
And, if we could implore these suggest'ors to do one thing, it would be consider this:
In a two-team deal, there are two teams.
(Also, in a three-team deal, there are three teams. In a four-team deal, there are a lot of lawyers making a lot of overtime pay.)
Stuck at home and without an outlet to vent last summer, I spent the warmer months bashing my head against the wall upon hearing trade rumor after trade rumor that usually left us screaming (at the cat), "why in the hell would the Timberwolves want Lamar Odom/Shawn Marion and his contract? They're rebuilding!"
You see, a lot of these trade creators, and the people that follow up on the creation, love to get it really, really right for one team (usually residing in the town that this particular person works out of), while leaving other teams in the dust.
It can't work that way. Every newspaper is online. Every blog has been bookmarked. Shows can by Tivo'd, videos can be uploaded to YouTube, and radio chat shows can be transcribed or made available in mp3 format. Everyone should be held accountable, and every media member (whether you're getting paid, or not) should consider the flip side of the coin. We owe it to our readers, listeners, watchers, employers ... everyone.
Let's go over some examples.
Marc Narducci is a great beat writer, fine writer in general, and he's covered the 76ers for 23 years. On his blog, he relayed the suggestion of a 76ers blogger who wondered aloud if the Memphis Grizzlies might be up for trading Pau Gasol and Kyle Lowry to the Sixers for Sam Dalembert, Rodney Carney, and a first-round pick.
Now, let's go over particulars:
Pau Gasol, way the hell better than Sam Dalembert.
Kyle Lowry, way the hell better than Rodney Carney.
First round pick? Currently, the Sixers are looking at something in the low lottery range.
So, the Grizz would take on two players worse than the ones they have, add to their glut at the wing position, not grab any cap relief ... for the 11th pick in the Draft?
Not quite, says Narducci.
(Sweet. He's going to tear this one apart)
"The first round pick would have to be protected because if not, the Sixers might be giving up Michael Beasley or O.J. Mayo or Derrick Rose."
First off, it's not Narducci's suggestion, and it's only a blog post, and he does raise a little quibble ("And why would Memphis make the trade? The Grizzlies are allowing 104 points per game and could use Dalembert's defense. Yet if they got rid of Gasol, their offense would be worse than the Sixers."); but we really have to take the time to try and walk in the other team's shoes for a while.
Now that everyone is held accountable, we can't fill space for the sake of filling space trying to put Tracy McGrady in a New York Knick uniform without thinking about the team that would be trading Tracy McGrady. I don't like picking on Narducci, nothing he said was really off, but this likely starts off a good five weeks worth of nonsense, and I'd like to nip it in the bud tout bloody suite.
On the flip side, Gary Woelful of the Racine Journal-Times is nipping buds all over the place:
"Let's squelch these two, almost laughable rumors about the Bucks right here and now:
Those rumors have been circulating on the Internet the last couple of days and, while they make for lively talk show banter, they're simply unrealistic.
Take Randolph, for example. The guy has a history of off-court issues, not to mention $61 million still remaining on his contract. Do you think for one nano-second Bucks owner Herb Kohl would even contemplate taking on such a plump contract, much less for someone who has hardly been a choir boy?"
Forgetting the "choir boy" aspect, let's just look at someone like Randolph as an asset, and little else.
The Bucks have one expiring contract in Jake Voskuhl, and it's good for three million bucks. Randolph makes 13.3 million this season, and the Bucks have to come close to matching that salary. With Andrew Bogut and Yi Jianlian untouchable, the Knicks would have to take any combination of Mo Williams (another shoot-first point guard?), Bobby Simmons (making an average of 10 million a year until 2010), Dan Gadzuric (who I still think can play, but he's due to make about 6.5 a year until 2011), or Desmond Mason (who the Bucks probably won't trade).
Isiah Thomas, as nutty as he is, won't be making this trade. Doesn't matter how bad he is at his job, doesn't matter that Zach isn't a choir boy made for Milwaukee, and it doesn't matter if Zeke and Zach get into a row between now and February 21st. There are two teams, and the deal isn't happening for either side unless both sides agree to be really, really bad at their jobs.
So once, again, imploring:
Study the other teams you're involving in the boffo deal for the team you're most interested in. Understand what they're trying to do with their salary structure, who they're building around, who's in the rotation, look at the ages of the players, find out how much they're making, and consider that at least 2/3rds of the NBA fans listening or reading are either going to be objective observers of both teams, or a fan of the "other team."
And if things don't change, we've plenty of space to nip.