February 19, 2009

Dud Deadline Deals

Is it me or has the League morphed into an uber-business model on us, jumping the shark on what "Trade Deadline" conventionally meant. Gone are the blockbusters and shrewd deals to find the last piece of the puzzle for contenders. We're now left with GM's clamoring to eschew luxury tax deadweight on their rosters and find those "diamond in a rough" expiring contracts. By my estimation, there were 3 impact trades: Jermaine O'Neal & Jamario Moon for Shawn Marion; Brad Miller & John Salmons for Drew Gooden & Andres Nocioni; and the last-minute Rafer Alston for Kyle Lowry and Brian Cook. That third deal is stretching the definition of impact, but it boosts a legit title contender a legit PG to fill Jameer's absence. That's what deadline day is for.

Alas, majority of deals are made with the impetus to dump salary. I understand the reason teams need to do this as a way to I'm just worried that it's a growing trend that will continue for years to come. This happens in MLB as well when the pretenders realize it's time to cash their chips and reload. But NBA deals like Larry Hughes for Tim Thomas, Jerome James and Anthony Roberson is more a "which crap looks better in which jersey." Neither team benefits on the court from the pu pu platter of bodies changing hands.

The real problem is teams foolishly rewarding players with exorbitant and bloated salaries, then putting these players on a carousel of teams once they don't match their unrealisitic "worth." I'll throw blame towards players' agents on the other side, equally responsible for driving up these ridiculous contracts. But sooner or later, teams have to say no. We're entering a new world order where "fiscally responsible" is the catchphrase. When Brian Cardinal gets an obscene contract, it affects the organization as owners have to raise ticket prices and inflate the rest of the "NBA experience" to offset these terrible deals. If Obama can make Wall Street executives be more accountable and responsible with their business moves, why shouldn't professional sports follow suit and do the same? I love the tighter purses currently dictating MLB free agency. It's a step in the right direction. I pray no team bows to Manny Ramirez' preposterous demands and he comes back to the Dodgers with his afro between his legs and accept their more than generous offer.

I'm sure you're all wondering who Raptors #5 is above. Shame on you for not recognizing the signature piece of a huge 3-team deal - undrafted 30 year old, Will Solomon. What a dud day.

1 comment:

Doug said...

Have there been a lot of blockbuster deadline trades in recent history?? I honestly have no idea, so I figured I'd ask the NBA fans out there. I don't recall any big trades, but I'm only a casual NBA fan. It seems like it is tough to make these trades because the dollars have to match up for cap purposes and you have team chemistry issues to deal with since we're talking about basketball.

I know the Cavs were rumored in a bunch of trade talks (including Amare Stoudemire..thank god that didn't happen now that he's out 8 weeks ), and it seemed like it came down to money and chemistry for them. They were already over the cap, and the owner would have been completely jacked up for luxury tax penalties if they had made a big splash at the deadline for a big name player. It's one thing to add a $2 million player and take a cap hit. But when you are talking about a guy making $15 million or whatever for multiple years, that's a pretty substantial amount of money. In baseball, these deadline deals are usually for guys in the last year of their deals, so the financial ramifications aren't as severe. But for the Cavs to take on Antawn Jamison and his contract, you are talking about a ton of money.

Then you have team chemistry. The Cavs were worried about bringing in new parts and messing up what they had going. It takes awhile for guys at that level to really get comfortable playing with each other. If you bring a star in from another team, he has to learn the new offense and how everyone fits in and all that.

I think the Bulls were smart to move some guys around to create cap space for 2010. It seems like every team in the NBA is doing that, but I guess they might as well try to be a player in the free agent sweepstakes.

These things all seem to run in cycles. Everyone is getting fiscally responsible right now, but that will go out the door as early as 2010 when teams start spraying money all over the place.

Same with MLB. This market has been brutally tough, but that will change eventually. The days of guys like Carlos Silva getting 4 years, $52 million will return.