Friday, February 25, 2011

NBA Trades and Traps

Yesterday's trading deadline led to a lot of last-minute excitement, and I've been devouring blogs ever since trying to read all the analysis. Here are a few points that stood out to me:

Welcome to 2011, NBA offices! Believe it or not, in this day and age, the NBA still requires teams to call in trades, and only has one line for them to do so. Naturally, several teams are calling at 3PM, which led to this amazing paragraph from the Indianapolis Star about the voided trade for OJ Mayo:
"Sources told The Star, though, that the Pacers called the league at 3 p.m. to notify them of the three-team deal, and were on hold, waiting to get into the league's queue, when the deadline passed at 3:01 p.m. While the Pacers were waiting, New Orleans apparently backed out of the deal -- which wouldn't have been consummated anyway, since the league insisted it was 3:01."
You're telling us that the fate of multi-million dollar trades are in the hands of...a phone queue? NBA teams can't email in trades before 3:00 PM? Really? The office can't do a little verification to make sure that is really Larry Bird and then let him email in a trade?

I had hoped, in an age of more voices and choices, that people would stop pretending that Mark Cuban is a voice of reason in the NBA wilderness. He somehow managed to convince many writers that his having to pay the prorated salary of Carl Landry was "wrong every which way" according to this ESPN article. But let's run the numbers on how much personally comes out of Mark Cuban's pocket for this deal. The difference in salary is 2,240,000 million, pro-rated. Given that most teams have already played about 59 games, that means that the Hornets must only pay 23/82 of Carl Landry's salary. Now, Mark Cuban is personally responsible for 1/29 of that. Roughly, that means that Mark Cuban is shelling out 1% of 2.24 million, which is...are you ready? $21,655. I would bet many of you make more than that each year. THAT is the amount Mark Cuban is complaining about paying. Seems like Cuban's generosity has died out quite a bit since hosting "The Benefactor"-and since no one remembers what that is, here's a link.

Finally, a quick note about an underrated winner of draft day deals. By trading Billups and Anthony, Denver has eliminated two of its slowest, most methodical players from the lineup. The point guards are now Felton (taught in D'Antoni's offense) and Lawson, well-known for his quickness. A quicker team with a deep bench, playing in the high air of Denver, coached by a guy who has struggles with stars but gets a lot out of deep teams. I'm not quite crazy enough to predict a play-off upset, but might this Denver team be able to wear out the older Lakers, Spurs, and/or Mavs in a first-round series and push a series to 6-7 games? And what would that mean for the Thunder, if given the opportunity to play an already weary veteran team in Round 2? Let me know how crazy this idea is in the comments.

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