Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Mullin, McHale, and Ainge

chris mullin kevin mchale danny ainge
Hereby one of the most intriguing NBA photos ever.
(Click for larger view)
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[UPDATE: It's Scott Wedman, indeed!!! See comments below. Ah well, I guess it was too good to be true...]

Today the Golden State Warriors take on the Boston Celtics. Many, many years ago (twenty?) the Warriors visited the Celtics as they always have. Except on that night, there were three players who would eventually shape the very league that they play in from an executive level.

I found this photo at Amici's pizza joint down by Pac Bell Park (yep, I still call it that) not too long ago and just had to take a quick snap of it.

Chris Mullin, Kevin McHale, and Danny Ainge, all in the same action shot. Seriously, who woulda thunk 20 years later a superstar by the name of Kevin Garnett would be tossed in deal discussions involving these three (today's article in the Boston Globe talks about this)?

I mean, think about how amazing this photo is. How rare! Imagine a still shot today that shows, say, only Tim Duncan, Yao Ming, and Manu Ginobili. Think about that, twenty years from now in the year 2027, Yao's the GM of a new NBA franchise in Shanghai, Duncan's the GM of the Spurs, and Ginobili's the GM of, what, the Miami Heat?!!

Btw, my buddies at Golden State of Mind have a
nice interview
with the Celtics blog that touches on the "collusion" between Ainge and McHale for Garnett.

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Thursday, November 1, 2007

NBA Owners Manual: use forum negativity to your advantage

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[From Stephen B. Snyde...]

Today was the NBA's deadline for contract extensions and left me scratching my head. Maybe certain teams are caught in circumstances they can't get out of, but Al Jefferson for 5 years at $65 million? When was the last time Jefferson came into town and blew up your local team, with highlights left and right and the news channels saying your boys couldn't stop Al Jefferson?

How about Jameer Nelson for 5 years at $32.5 million? That's a $6 million man right there! When was the last time you got tickets to the arena to go see Jameer Nelson?

Or how about "swingman" Sasha Pavlovic for 3 years at $12 million? What's up with this "swingman" notation? It's supposed to be "shooting guard" or "small forward", no? But yeah, no one can ever really call Pavlovic a shooting guard without laughing. The thought of him being a forward doesn't seem right, either. "Swingman" is like the guy who catches the ball and shoots after the ball is swung. How hard is that? Are you telling me there are no decent swingmen in the DL (haha, that's NBDL, not our "DL" of course! -- ???)?

This time of year also tells you which franchises got their heads screwed on right. Chris Mullin let Patrick O'Bryant become an unrestricted free agent. John Paxson told Ben Gordon and Luol Deng, take this non-exorbitant $50 million offer for 5 years or leave it (Gordon and Deng left them). The Bobcats and 76ers couldn't come to terms with Emeka Okafor and Andre Iguodala, respectively, so they'll let their inevitable non-playoff seasons pan out before pulling any panic triggers. In the business mode of buying low and selling high, what could be better than restricted free agents? Take Delonte West and Robert Swift of the Sonics. Neither was handed an extension and will therefore become restricted. That means other teams, unless they are bluffing, will set the market prices -- perhaps a more fair process -- on these guys at the end of the season.

Back to the questionable roster commitments, I'm wondering if some of these teams are pressured into signing fat extensions for these non-household or otherwise expendable guys.

You know what can counter that pressure? A little discussion forum riot, that's what. Turn something that used to be a nuisance into a weapon.

So if I'm an NBA owner, I elevate my team's blog or discussion forum and have a specific area where fans can go and gripe about roster moves and which players are worth what. Make a joke out of it, haha this haha that.

But all the while, you'll get the online trolls who love to spread negativity with their venom comments write stuff about these marginal guys. The more, the better. Remember, you the owner have got to elevate this online slandering into entertainment.

Then you take this little tidbit of info into your meeting with the player's agent and blow it out of proportion. "Sasha for $12 million? You mean I gotta keep getting these hate comments on our website for 3 more years? Are you kidding me? No way, man. 1 year at $4 million. If his popularity rises over the season, okay, we'll revisit next summer."

And there you have it. NBA Owners Manual page 11, paragraph 6: When under pressure to sign a marginal player, use the court of public opinion, especially if consolidated on the Internet in a common area of online interest and high content value, to help negotiate your contract with said marginal player.

Paragraph 7 would say something like: Focus your time and energy (and hence, MONEY!) on the players that matter. It's a long season. Focus on your leaders -- your blockbusters -- and you can have followers for a dime a dozen. Three words: The Big Three.

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