2019 NBA Offseason Discussion

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Re: 2019 NBA Offseason Discussion 

Post#621 » by Doctor MJ » Wed Aug 28, 2019 5:55 am

Outside wrote:Re: Draymond and Barnes, I'm late to the discussion, and lots of good points made, but will add my two cents.

I may have missed it, but I don't think anyone mentioned that the Warriors offered Barnes a four-year, $64 million extension after their first title in 2015, and he turned it down. That same offseason, Klay signed a four-year, $70 million extension and Draymond signed a five-year, $82 million extension (almost the same per year as they offered Barnes, one extra year).

That was a generous offer to Barnes, but he was looking at being a big fish in another pond rather than a smaller fish in the Warriors pond. Barnes refusal to sign the extension caused some friction with the other core players, especially after Klay and Draymond agreed to their extensions. They thought Barnes was going against the spirit of the group, where everyone was taking a little less and doing what they could to keep the core together. Barnes made it look more about himself at the expense of the team.

It looked even worse in the next offseason when Barnes held out for max free agent money after a horrible postseason -- 9.0 pts, 5.1 reb, 44.6% EFG, 47.4% TS, and a particularly awful finals.

As for Draymond taking less with his recent extension, there are mitigating factors that mean less money with the Warriors makes financial sense.

-- We won't know unless he plays elsewhere, but there's good reason to believe that the Warriors are the best fit for him, possibly by a wide margin.

-- His ancillary income will likely be much greater with the Warriors, both because of the Silicon Valley connection and remaining associated with the Warriors success.

-- Having seen multiple players go down with serious injuries, including two on his own team, it can be prudent to take the money now rather than hope for more later. He just saw Cousins lose a huge amount of money after getting injured in New Orleans.


Great points.

I have to admit to a feeling of exasperation toward Barnes.

This is the same guy who said he was returning to North Carolina for a second season to help his brand. He spent much of his early career trying to think of half-baked ways to optimize his financial success after he became the next Michael Jordan and it was really distasteful watching him fail to ever really figure out the game of basketball. So many times I found myself thinking "Dude, if that's all you can do, no one will want to wear your shoe. STFU and learn to play if you want a brand, otherwise just quietly invest your money.

And I'll acknowledge it maddening to see the Sacramento deal given this. The Dallas deal I absolutely expected. Barnes got incredibly lucky that GS context made him look like a success who might (somehow) still bloom into a star with more primacy, but it was a given someone would pay big money in a desperate prayer for legitimacy. Sacramento though? To me that's prospect/contract inertia. Take Barnes, make him a minimum contract guy without a history of hype, no way Sac sees the way he played last year and says "Here, have 80 million dollars." Such a contract wouldn't even enter into the conversation. It wouldn't occur to anyone to offer that kind of money. To see Barnes benefit from him being so drastically overrated to start his career years after his underachievement has become a fact set in stone after seeing what his attitude back when he was overrated, it's annoying to me.
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Re: 2019 NBA Offseason Discussion 

Post#622 » by Outside » Wed Aug 28, 2019 6:02 am

Doctor MJ wrote:
Spoiler:
Dr Spaceman wrote:
Doctor MJ wrote:
Success doesn't mean you made the best choice, particularly when you have so much else in your favor.

I didn't think returning to Cleveland was a great choice, but I understood the emotional pressure and respected it at the time. (It became closer and closer to a bad choice with the way he approached the Cavalier situation, but I'll avoid focusing on that here because it's not the really bad decision.)

The really bad decision was to come to the Lakers and give full trust to Magic Johnson to build a team around. LeBron didn't have to do that. He could have come to LA and said the type of team he wanted built around him, it's not like he hadn't done that before. This mistake may well result in him never winning another title, and him never winning another title will almost certainly hurt his legacy, and he very much cares about his legacy.

You can argue all the reasons why it was pretty understandable for LeBron to assume Magic understood what LeBron needed because it's basically the same thing Magic needed, the fact remains, LeBron took his empowerment and used it to make this decision, and it wasn't a wise one.


I couldn’t disagree more with you on Cleveland. I think it’s perhaps the smartest decision and NBA player has ever made.

Lebron could’ve been Chris Paul and just been totally pragmatic with his decisions and end up not really loved by anyone in particular. Chris Paul doesn’t have fans in the way a Kobe or Dirk or Duncan does. Lebron wouldn’t either.

Basically every classic story ever told involves a hero returning to the place where his journey started with new skills and smarts to finally slay that dragon, from Gilgamesh to Odysseus to Bruce Wayne. It’s important here that Lebron didn’t only return to Cleveland, he chose Cleveland. And he brought them a title in what will probably go down as the biggest event in basketball history and probably sports. I have watched maybe 10 baseball games in my life. I know that Babe Ruth called his shot. I’ve never really watched Hockey but I know about the 1980 Olympic team. Certain moments just live on in the cultural imagination, and the image of Lebron collapsing a bawling and screaming “CLEVELAAAAAAAAND” into the microphone has solidified him as a legend in a way no one else has really gotten to do.

Human brains are wired to remember stories, not details. 50 years from now no one is going to remember who anytime Irving even is. But there will be a SkyHookFTW or 70sFan still here building up the legend of Lebron for the next generation.

I grew up attending basketball camps and playing for my school team and being totally engrossed in the sport and I’ve probably heard the anecdote about MJ being cut from his high school team 100+ times. And you know what? It’s not even true. His coach had a policy of not letting Freshman play varsity even though he was by far their best player. But Jordan has built a narrative and lives on in the cultural imagination through things like this.

Lebron is the American Dream. Poor Kid from a single family home in rust-belt-nowhere USA turned billionaire philanthropist who got his mom out of the ghetto and gave generations of kids in his hometown the opportunities he never had. He is the Bruce Wayne of Cleveland and that’s how they’ll remember him. They are on his side in a way not even chicagoans are for MJ.

I think it’s important to remember that while we all love talking about this stuff here, none of it really matters. In 50 years most of it will be forgotten. What won’t be forgotten is how Lebron made people feel and the narrative he built. I can’t thhink of anyone who’s done it better than him.

As far as LA, I honestly just think basketball wasn’t his main concern. Fine to hold it against him in a basketball sense but I think selling it as “he put his faith in Magic” makes it seem much worse than it is.


Great points about Cleveland.

Clearly the entire rationale for returning to Cleveland was to have that hometown success. I get it, but when you're choosing to go back and return to play for an incompetent man you hate for good reason, you have to think really hard about what your approach will be, and I take issue with LeBron's approach.

He won the title in a glorious moment so everything else will likely be erased, but of course, he shouldn't have won that title. If GS doesn't get rattled at the wrong moment, LeBron doesn't get that '15-16 title, and then what happens? The embarrassment of leaving Cleveland empty handed again would have done HUGE damage to legacy unless it was immediately followed with huge success on his next team.

From this lens, I see the Cleveland move as one that he was very lucky it worked out.

Now at the same time, when he went back to Cleveland he didn't know that GS would turn into with competent coaching, and a world where Mark Jackson remains the coach in GS probably leads to at least one title, so it is unfair to talk about LeBron as "lucky" with too much vehemence. Just saying:

The move back to Cleveland is only a success because he won a title there, and he could have easily failed, in part because of the way he forced the Cavs to make short-term moves because he didn't trust them to make long-term moves. I would have told LeBron to consider the very real possibility that he wouldn't win a title under incompetent Cavs management, and to seriously think about how he would spin the narrative in such a circumstance.

And to the extent he was trying to spin a positive narrative, well, his drama regularly got in the way.

Re: basketball not his main concern in LA. He's a fool if he thinks his stardom won't suffer if the Lakers are a joke. One thing to prioritize the Lakers, another thing to let incompetence run wild.


While the return to Cleveland redemption story was certainly a big part of it, there was another big factor -- power and control. Part of why LeBron wanted out of Miami was to escape Riley's control and the relative lack of power he had in the organization.

Returning to Cleveland meant LeBron could dictate terms. Dan Gilbert had to grovel because of his stupid Comic Sans letter and because the Cavs had been one of the worst teams in the league since LeBron left.

LeBron took advantage of that to become the most powerful athlete in the history of sports. He got his circle of friends and associates access they never had in Miami, even jobs in the Cavs organization. He used 1+1 contacts to get max money and max leverage to get what he wanted from the organization.

He enjoys similar leverage with the Lakers, though he did commit to a longer contract. Success on the court is important, winning in Cleveland was huge, but getting this unprecedented level of power and control as an athlete was also important.
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Re: 2019 NBA Offseason Discussion 

Post#623 » by Dr Spaceman » Wed Aug 28, 2019 6:08 am

Doctor MJ wrote:
Dr Spaceman wrote:[
With respect Doc, I really want you to re-think this:

If GS doesn't get rattled at the wrong moment


Because if you’re going to go down this route you have to start getting into all the other times the Warriors were “rattled at the wrong time”. The series before the Warriors were down 3-1 to The Thunder coming off consecutive 24 and 28 point losses. Two years later they’d find themselves down 3-2 to the Rockets after failing to score 95 points in consecutive games.

The Warriors sure seem to get rattled at the wrong time a lot. Matter of fact it’s seemed to happen in pretty much every competitive series they’ve played. I’ve grown really tired of the revisionism that’s gone on about the Warriors run; they’ve barely slipped through by the skin of their teeth a number of times.

I don’t want to play the historical revisionism game. I just think it’s logically inconsistent to say Lebron got lucky in 16 but not acknowledge that the Warriors got just as lucky the series before and the year before facing Cleveland without 2 of the big 3.

The reality is if you wipe away the injuries to Kyrie and Chris Paul it’s within the realm of possibility GSW leaves this era with just the 1 title in 17. At no other time did they look like a team that couldn’t be beaten (and frankly several of the other times they looked like they should be beaten.

The Warriors were shook in that Rockets series. They looked completely lost and like they’d forgotten who they are. My memory of the Thunder series isn’t that sharp but there’s all sorts of interviews about how the locker room after game 4 could’ve been a funeral.

I just chafe at the idea that a Warriors dynasty was inevitable and that Bron was lucky to steal one off them. I don’t think that’s accurate at all. And with that in mind, what basketball situations were actually better than Cleveland in 2015? His plan to trade long-term assets for short term gain even makes more sense if you think he never planned to retire there, which I don’t think he did.


My statement wasn't about the Warriors, it was about the spectrum of LeBron's potential results. I'm not discrediting the on-court achievement, I'm critiquing the notion that because we ended up winning a title his choice to go back to Cleveland is an indication of great decision making process.


If it’s not about the Warriors then I’m not sure I really understand what your argument is. In the past you’ve used the Warrio3rs as a foil for LeBron and it seemed like you were doing the same here.

Lebron went to a team that had two under-25 all-stars and an owner who was willing to spend more than anyone else in the league. Regardless of the contempt between the two, both seemed to understand they were using the other so I’m not seeing where the big issue is. In the summer before the 2015 season, what team offered more basketball-wise than Cleveland?

The only way the Cleveland move doesn’t make sense is if you consider Golden State to be leagues ahead of them, which I believe you do. Otherwise, yeah, they could have lost and it could have backfired, but that also happened in Miami (in 2011 and 2014 and almost 2013). For 4 years the range out outcomes in Cleveland was better than any other situation IMO. For 8 years? Probably not, but LeBron came back with the goal to win 1 title with his hometown and he did it in those 4 years.
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Re: 2019 NBA Offseason Discussion 

Post#624 » by Dr Spaceman » Wed Aug 28, 2019 7:59 am

Outside wrote:
Doctor MJ wrote:
Spoiler:
Dr Spaceman wrote:
I couldn’t disagree more with you on Cleveland. I think it’s perhaps the smartest decision and NBA player has ever made.

Lebron could’ve been Chris Paul and just been totally pragmatic with his decisions and end up not really loved by anyone in particular. Chris Paul doesn’t have fans in the way a Kobe or Dirk or Duncan does. Lebron wouldn’t either.

Basically every classic story ever told involves a hero returning to the place where his journey started with new skills and smarts to finally slay that dragon, from Gilgamesh to Odysseus to Bruce Wayne. It’s important here that Lebron didn’t only return to Cleveland, he chose Cleveland. And he brought them a title in what will probably go down as the biggest event in basketball history and probably sports. I have watched maybe 10 baseball games in my life. I know that Babe Ruth called his shot. I’ve never really watched Hockey but I know about the 1980 Olympic team. Certain moments just live on in the cultural imagination, and the image of Lebron collapsing a bawling and screaming “CLEVELAAAAAAAAND” into the microphone has solidified him as a legend in a way no one else has really gotten to do.

Human brains are wired to remember stories, not details. 50 years from now no one is going to remember who anytime Irving even is. But there will be a SkyHookFTW or 70sFan still here building up the legend of Lebron for the next generation.

I grew up attending basketball camps and playing for my school team and being totally engrossed in the sport and I’ve probably heard the anecdote about MJ being cut from his high school team 100+ times. And you know what? It’s not even true. His coach had a policy of not letting Freshman play varsity even though he was by far their best player. But Jordan has built a narrative and lives on in the cultural imagination through things like this.

Lebron is the American Dream. Poor Kid from a single family home in rust-belt-nowhere USA turned billionaire philanthropist who got his mom out of the ghetto and gave generations of kids in his hometown the opportunities he never had. He is the Bruce Wayne of Cleveland and that’s how they’ll remember him. They are on his side in a way not even chicagoans are for MJ.

I think it’s important to remember that while we all love talking about this stuff here, none of it really matters. In 50 years most of it will be forgotten. What won’t be forgotten is how Lebron made people feel and the narrative he built. I can’t thhink of anyone who’s done it better than him.

As far as LA, I honestly just think basketball wasn’t his main concern. Fine to hold it against him in a basketball sense but I think selling it as “he put his faith in Magic” makes it seem much worse than it is.


Great points about Cleveland.

Clearly the entire rationale for returning to Cleveland was to have that hometown success. I get it, but when you're choosing to go back and return to play for an incompetent man you hate for good reason, you have to think really hard about what your approach will be, and I take issue with LeBron's approach.

He won the title in a glorious moment so everything else will likely be erased, but of course, he shouldn't have won that title. If GS doesn't get rattled at the wrong moment, LeBron doesn't get that '15-16 title, and then what happens? The embarrassment of leaving Cleveland empty handed again would have done HUGE damage to legacy unless it was immediately followed with huge success on his next team.

From this lens, I see the Cleveland move as one that he was very lucky it worked out.

Now at the same time, when he went back to Cleveland he didn't know that GS would turn into with competent coaching, and a world where Mark Jackson remains the coach in GS probably leads to at least one title, so it is unfair to talk about LeBron as "lucky" with too much vehemence. Just saying:

The move back to Cleveland is only a success because he won a title there, and he could have easily failed, in part because of the way he forced the Cavs to make short-term moves because he didn't trust them to make long-term moves. I would have told LeBron to consider the very real possibility that he wouldn't win a title under incompetent Cavs management, and to seriously think about how he would spin the narrative in such a circumstance.

And to the extent he was trying to spin a positive narrative, well, his drama regularly got in the way.

Re: basketball not his main concern in LA. He's a fool if he thinks his stardom won't suffer if the Lakers are a joke. One thing to prioritize the Lakers, another thing to let incompetence run wild.


While the return to Cleveland redemption story was certainly a big part of it, there was another big factor -- power and control. Part of why LeBron wanted out of Miami was to escape Riley's control and the relative lack of power he had in the organization.

Returning to Cleveland meant LeBron could dictate terms. Dan Gilbert had to grovel because of his stupid Comic Sans letter and because the Cavs had been one of the worst teams in the league since LeBron left.

LeBron took advantage of that to become the most powerful athlete in the history of sports. He got his circle of friends and associates access they never had in Miami, even jobs in the Cavs organization. He used 1+1 contacts to get max money and max leverage to get what he wanted from the organization.

He enjoys similar leverage with the Lakers, though he did commit to a longer contract. Success on the court is important, winning in Cleveland was huge, but getting this unprecedented level of power and control as an athlete was also important.


This is true and also a factor and Klutch Sports definitely benefitted from Bron being in CLE.

I Think the main factor though honestly is jsut that Gilbert was willing to throw obscene amounts of money at the problem. He was willing to go broke to bring Cleveland a title. Gilbert is a very prideful and vocal man and almost as obsessed with his legacy as Lebron is. Their goals aligned for a short while. It’s no coincidence that both the Cavs and Warriors were spending almost double the amount of money the third highest payroll team was during that period, and indicative of where the NBA aid headed. Lebron took advantage of Gilbert’s deep pockets and his self-serving need to be written into Cleveland history.

Remember Bron left Miami in part because they used the Amnesty clause to get off Mike Miller’s salary. Wade left because they weren’t willing to give him the Kobe Legacy contract. The Cavs are an interesting contrast to that, willing to spend up to max salaries for the 4th/5th best players in the roster and starter money for role players. There’s really no precedent for a team recklessly spending like that, even the Warriors made moves to squeeze some financial breathing room.
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Re: 2019 NBA Offseason Discussion 

Post#625 » by Dr Spaceman » Wed Aug 28, 2019 9:45 am

Doctor MJ wrote:
Dr Spaceman wrote:
Doctor MJ wrote:
Re: easier to trade. Sure, but they won't trade him until things head south, and when they do, they'll be the bad guys, not Draymond. It's fair to say that there's a lot we can't predict, but if you're someone whose legendary status is inherently tied to to the players you play with, doing what you can to make sure you get to stay is generally what I'd call the wise move.

Of course someone might believe that Draymond somewhere else will gain even more acclaim. Those who believe that would come to very different conclusions. I think thought that as valuable as Draymond is, it's unlikely that he'll ever be so celebrated again if he left for another team.

Re: reasonable to ask why other members were not willing to give up money. Sure we can ask, but I think in general NBA superstars have concluded that pay cuts are a scam. The justification for them is to allow the team to acquire other great players which their team would be able to do if not for the rules the NBA owners put in place to keep salaries down. If I'm Steph Curry and I'm worth north of $100 mill per year to my franchise, I'm probably pretty frustrated with the idea that I'm being greedy for taking $40 mill.

It's worth noting that with respect to Dirk that whatever pay cuts he took, the team literally never acquired another great player after they let Steve Nash walk 15 years ago, so the notion that he's the guy we hold up and say "See, look at what all the team was able to accomplish because he took a pay cut" is actually an argument in the other direction in my book.

I think the clear cut truth here is that Draymond saw the benefit of looking like he valued team over money in part because he saw dangers in demanding a max deal. It would have been very different if Steph had done it.

Klay's an interesting case of course because in the bizarre NBA landscape demand for him is more like Steph than Draymond despite being a worse player than Draymond.


Re: Dirk, The Mavs certainly acquired great players after Nash left. Jason Kidd, Shawn Marion, Caron Butler, Tyson Chandler were all great. Not as great as Nash, but from 2009-2011 they could all be considered top 15ish players at various points, and it’s precisely that depth of quality guys that allowed them to survive Butler’s injury in 2011 and take down teams that were far less balanced in the postseason. The Mavs had a top 10 guy at every position that season and that type of team construction is very rare. Dirk’s sacrifice is basically the whole reason he has a championship ring.

And I do understand what you’re saying about Draymond and public perception and all that. But I just don’t think banking on loyalty is ever smart, especially when it comes to corporations. The truth is he can make the Warriors look like the bad guy all he wants but the Warriors have an appetite for big fish and if he’s part of a deal that nets them, say, Karl Towns in a few years literally no one will even remember Draymond. I mean are Clipper fans upset about Blake Griffin?

Dray’s pay cut here actually hurt his chance to be a Warrior lifer, IMO. The reason I bring up Steph is not to call him greedy but to say if this was part of a pre-conceived plan to bring on more talent (like the big 3 in Miami did in 2011) then I’d be in favor. But Draymond is acting alone here and gave up money for no clear concrete reason. Steph should take all the money in the world. But if they want to pull in another Kevin Durant it needed to be all 3 of them who took pay cuts, otherwise Draymond is just giving the team money for free with no guarantees given back to him.


Re: Mavs certainly acquired great players. You and I have different standards if you think those post-prime cast-offs are great players. The only one of that bunch that was remotely all-star quality at that point was Chandler, and that was because he figured out how to really be useful for the first time in Dallas.

I'm not saying the Mavs were incompetent in that player acquisition here - I like what they did - but they built what they built acquiring players that were not exactly the subject of a bidding war. There was a reason why even as they were approaching their lone title were turning their sites to lure actual superstars: They knew they hadn't acquired anyone that could be a co-star to Dirk or carry them going forward as Dirk aged. They knew if they did nothing, they'd largely become irrelevant over the bulk of the 2010s. Which of course they did, because they never were able to acquire any great players to play with Dirk while he was still great himself.

Re: I don't think loyalty is ever smart. As I've said, I'm talking about the perception of loyalty not actual loyalty. Dray is smart to make it look like he didn't care about money, but he clearly cared about money else he wouldn't have railed against taking "another pay cut" not too long ago. The value of the perception of loyalty pays dividends with everyone. The corporate, the teammates, and the fans.

I'll also note that while this would be true of anyone, there's also the matter of legacy to consider. If Draymond wants to be seen as a legend who people keep bringing up after he retires, he should stay with Steph.

It's interesting you brought Marion. There you have a Draymond-type who shattered his legacy by leaving Phoenix. He was a 4-time all-star who probably would have been an 8-time all-star if he'd simply swallowed his pride and stayed in Phoenix with a smile on his face. Instead he left and went to the East where it was much easier to make all-star (go look at the East all-star in '08-09, it's pathetic), and he couldn't even get consideration as he failed his way out of Miami and Toronto before ending up as a mere "great role player" in Dallas that no one would remember if they hadn't won the title.

Not every decision in your career is a battle of negotiation with your employer, and while it's painful to let your employer "skim off the top" from what you contribute, you always have to consider the entirety of the context your are in and how you're benefiting from it. Just because your boss doesn't deserve you doesn't mean you're not in the best situation for you to succeed.

Re: no one will remember Dray. I think people will remember Dray because people will remember the Warriors. No matter what happens in the future, what the Warriors did from '14 to '19 stands as the best 5 year run of any franchise in a very long time and it made Steph, Dray, and Klay into guys who are locks for the Hall as long as they don't do anything too foolish. Nothing will erase those 5 years, and the odds that the Warriors will match those 5 years again are very, very small no matter who they get. But if Dray craps all over everything in bitterness on the way out because he doesn't get the contract offer he wants, and then the Warriors win another title, then the narrative becomes "it was always about the Splash Brothers!". Even if Dray does really well on his next team, his legacy will get hurt by leaving...and there's a really good chance in my mind that Dray moving to a new team doesn't go so well. The danger of a Marionesque downward spiral would be very real.

Oh and if KAT joins the Warriors and they win the title? Unless he's the clear cut alpha, the headline will be "Splash Brothers win another title". Consider the ambivalent way Durant felt like he was received in GS. Anyone joining the Warriors at this point is likely to be seen as riding coattails.

Re: hurts his chances of being a lifer. I think you're talking about one specific scenario, and in that scenario Green staying in GS as an albatross doesn't exactly help his legacy. When guys think about being a lifer the idea is that there's an overwhelming feeling of gratitude toward them in their later years. If people instead feel "My god, that guy's contract has hurt us so bad, I hate every time I hear his name called because it's a reminder of why we're hamstrung now and can't win titles.' I'm not saying I'd take the pay cut to avoid being an albatross, but the value of being a lifer is certainly dependent on how it is achieved.


There’s a lot of good thoughts here. I’ll take the time to respond to some later but for now I think there’s something we need to agree on: I am indeed fixated on the scenario of Draymond being traded, and that’s because its the only plausible scenario.

For 2018-19 the Warriors were a two-way contract away from ring the first team to spend $200 million in payroll. As it was they spend $198 million total; $53 million in luxury tax alone. They managed to open some breathing room by dumping Iguodala but after Dray’s extension kicks in the Warriors will owe $134 million to Curry, Klay, Russell, and Draymond combined. That is over the current luxury tax threshold for 4 players. Even if all of their other 10 players are on minimum deals that means another luxury tax bill in the range of $50 million and a team payroll of near $200 million.

That literally is not sustainable unless Joe Lacob is willing to be the first billionaire to lose his fortune on a basketball team. I don’t care how much he wants to stay competitive, something has to give. It’s simple math. If the Warriors don’t look like a contender there are going to be cuts and my guess is it will be 30 year old Draymond instead of the sexy new all-star guard they just acquired. Draymond has sealed his fate.

This is the new NBA. The cap jump in 16 papered over the bubble that was slowly rising from when the Cavs and the Warriors started their arms race. The cost of competing for a championship over multiple years in the NBA with the current salary rules is going to be about $200 million and so far only two teams have really been willing to pony up for that.

EDIT: miscalculated. It’s even worse than this for the Warriors. By 2020 they will be in the repeater tax unless they duck under it this year, meaning by 2020 they will owe in the range of $80 million in luxury tax alone with these 4 and minimum contracts.
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Re: 2019 NBA Offseason Discussion 

Post#626 » by Doctor MJ » Thu Aug 29, 2019 4:20 am

Outside wrote:
Doctor MJ wrote:
Spoiler:
Dr Spaceman wrote:
I couldn’t disagree more with you on Cleveland. I think it’s perhaps the smartest decision and NBA player has ever made.

Lebron could’ve been Chris Paul and just been totally pragmatic with his decisions and end up not really loved by anyone in particular. Chris Paul doesn’t have fans in the way a Kobe or Dirk or Duncan does. Lebron wouldn’t either.

Basically every classic story ever told involves a hero returning to the place where his journey started with new skills and smarts to finally slay that dragon, from Gilgamesh to Odysseus to Bruce Wayne. It’s important here that Lebron didn’t only return to Cleveland, he chose Cleveland. And he brought them a title in what will probably go down as the biggest event in basketball history and probably sports. I have watched maybe 10 baseball games in my life. I know that Babe Ruth called his shot. I’ve never really watched Hockey but I know about the 1980 Olympic team. Certain moments just live on in the cultural imagination, and the image of Lebron collapsing a bawling and screaming “CLEVELAAAAAAAAND” into the microphone has solidified him as a legend in a way no one else has really gotten to do.

Human brains are wired to remember stories, not details. 50 years from now no one is going to remember who anytime Irving even is. But there will be a SkyHookFTW or 70sFan still here building up the legend of Lebron for the next generation.

I grew up attending basketball camps and playing for my school team and being totally engrossed in the sport and I’ve probably heard the anecdote about MJ being cut from his high school team 100+ times. And you know what? It’s not even true. His coach had a policy of not letting Freshman play varsity even though he was by far their best player. But Jordan has built a narrative and lives on in the cultural imagination through things like this.

Lebron is the American Dream. Poor Kid from a single family home in rust-belt-nowhere USA turned billionaire philanthropist who got his mom out of the ghetto and gave generations of kids in his hometown the opportunities he never had. He is the Bruce Wayne of Cleveland and that’s how they’ll remember him. They are on his side in a way not even chicagoans are for MJ.

I think it’s important to remember that while we all love talking about this stuff here, none of it really matters. In 50 years most of it will be forgotten. What won’t be forgotten is how Lebron made people feel and the narrative he built. I can’t thhink of anyone who’s done it better than him.

As far as LA, I honestly just think basketball wasn’t his main concern. Fine to hold it against him in a basketball sense but I think selling it as “he put his faith in Magic” makes it seem much worse than it is.


Great points about Cleveland.

Clearly the entire rationale for returning to Cleveland was to have that hometown success. I get it, but when you're choosing to go back and return to play for an incompetent man you hate for good reason, you have to think really hard about what your approach will be, and I take issue with LeBron's approach.

He won the title in a glorious moment so everything else will likely be erased, but of course, he shouldn't have won that title. If GS doesn't get rattled at the wrong moment, LeBron doesn't get that '15-16 title, and then what happens? The embarrassment of leaving Cleveland empty handed again would have done HUGE damage to legacy unless it was immediately followed with huge success on his next team.

From this lens, I see the Cleveland move as one that he was very lucky it worked out.

Now at the same time, when he went back to Cleveland he didn't know that GS would turn into with competent coaching, and a world where Mark Jackson remains the coach in GS probably leads to at least one title, so it is unfair to talk about LeBron as "lucky" with too much vehemence. Just saying:

The move back to Cleveland is only a success because he won a title there, and he could have easily failed, in part because of the way he forced the Cavs to make short-term moves because he didn't trust them to make long-term moves. I would have told LeBron to consider the very real possibility that he wouldn't win a title under incompetent Cavs management, and to seriously think about how he would spin the narrative in such a circumstance.

And to the extent he was trying to spin a positive narrative, well, his drama regularly got in the way.

Re: basketball not his main concern in LA. He's a fool if he thinks his stardom won't suffer if the Lakers are a joke. One thing to prioritize the Lakers, another thing to let incompetence run wild.


While the return to Cleveland redemption story was certainly a big part of it, there was another big factor -- power and control. Part of why LeBron wanted out of Miami was to escape Riley's control and the relative lack of power he had in the organization.

Returning to Cleveland meant LeBron could dictate terms. Dan Gilbert had to grovel because of his stupid Comic Sans letter and because the Cavs had been one of the worst teams in the league since LeBron left.

LeBron took advantage of that to become the most powerful athlete in the history of sports. He got his circle of friends and associates access they never had in Miami, even jobs in the Cavs organization. He used 1+1 contacts to get max money and max leverage to get what he wanted from the organization.

He enjoys similar leverage with the Lakers, though he did commit to a longer contract. Success on the court is important, winning in Cleveland was huge, but getting this unprecedented level of power and control as an athlete was also important.


I completely understand an athlete wanting power and control and absolutely agree that LeBron has had that on unprecedented levels which drove what we now call the Player Empowerment Era.

I'm just saying that I think LeBron hasn't wielded this power all that adroitly, and as a result it likely will end up hindering his career to some degree.

We can talk about basketball not being as important as more general celebrity power, but LeBron matters because he's good at basketball. No, the specific results of a particular game don't matter at all to celebrity power, but if things go badly on the Lakers it's going to hurt that power.

Example:

LeBron is doing SpaceJam. My understanding that it's aimed for a summer release that would ideally follow LeBron leading a team to a championship.

If instead the Lakers are eliminated from the playoffs early and the studio is left to run a ton of ads at the height of basketball season while LeBron isn't play, it will be a joke. Literally, that's what SNL will bring up when they bring up the movie. That's what non-basketball fans will hear about the movie. And basketball fans will rightly see it as an embarrassing contrast to the invincible feeling that Jordan always had that actually made saving the world seem kind of plausible.

Being in LA brings more opportunities to sell "LeBron", but the value of selling "LeBron" is directly tied to LeBron's narrative, and that narrative has not been helped by Laker management, who only did what they did because LeBron chose them and let them.
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Re: 2019 NBA Offseason Discussion 

Post#627 » by Doctor MJ » Thu Aug 29, 2019 4:26 am

Dr Spaceman wrote:
Doctor MJ wrote:
Dr Spaceman wrote:[
With respect Doc, I really want you to re-think this:



Because if you’re going to go down this route you have to start getting into all the other times the Warriors were “rattled at the wrong time”. The series before the Warriors were down 3-1 to The Thunder coming off consecutive 24 and 28 point losses. Two years later they’d find themselves down 3-2 to the Rockets after failing to score 95 points in consecutive games.

The Warriors sure seem to get rattled at the wrong time a lot. Matter of fact it’s seemed to happen in pretty much every competitive series they’ve played. I’ve grown really tired of the revisionism that’s gone on about the Warriors run; they’ve barely slipped through by the skin of their teeth a number of times.

I don’t want to play the historical revisionism game. I just think it’s logically inconsistent to say Lebron got lucky in 16 but not acknowledge that the Warriors got just as lucky the series before and the year before facing Cleveland without 2 of the big 3.

The reality is if you wipe away the injuries to Kyrie and Chris Paul it’s within the realm of possibility GSW leaves this era with just the 1 title in 17. At no other time did they look like a team that couldn’t be beaten (and frankly several of the other times they looked like they should be beaten.

The Warriors were shook in that Rockets series. They looked completely lost and like they’d forgotten who they are. My memory of the Thunder series isn’t that sharp but there’s all sorts of interviews about how the locker room after game 4 could’ve been a funeral.

I just chafe at the idea that a Warriors dynasty was inevitable and that Bron was lucky to steal one off them. I don’t think that’s accurate at all. And with that in mind, what basketball situations were actually better than Cleveland in 2015? His plan to trade long-term assets for short term gain even makes more sense if you think he never planned to retire there, which I don’t think he did.


My statement wasn't about the Warriors, it was about the spectrum of LeBron's potential results. I'm not discrediting the on-court achievement, I'm critiquing the notion that because we ended up winning a title his choice to go back to Cleveland is an indication of great decision making process.


If it’s not about the Warriors then I’m not sure I really understand what your argument is. In the past you’ve used the Warrio3rs as a foil for LeBron and it seemed like you were doing the same here.

Lebron went to a team that had two under-25 all-stars and an owner who was willing to spend more than anyone else in the league. Regardless of the contempt between the two, both seemed to understand they were using the other so I’m not seeing where the big issue is. In the summer before the 2015 season, what team offered more basketball-wise than Cleveland?

The only way the Cleveland move doesn’t make sense is if you consider Golden State to be leagues ahead of them, which I believe you do. Otherwise, yeah, they could have lost and it could have backfired, but that also happened in Miami (in 2011 and 2014 and almost 2013). For 4 years the range out outcomes in Cleveland was better than any other situation IMO. For 8 years? Probably not, but LeBron came back with the goal to win 1 title with his hometown and he did it in those 4 years.


LeBron chose to go play for an organization he didn't trust enough to allow them to build with long-term thinking in mind, then he got the coach fired, caused drama with his team, pushed for trades, encouraged the co-star who never wanted to be a co-star to think he'd be better served by leaving, pushed for more trades, and left to join an even more incompetent organization who he then proceeded to sign the rest of his basketball prime away to.

I really don't know what's hard to understand about why I question LeBron's thought process. It's frankly bizarre to think that anyone would see this and conclude that LeBron's making genius move after genius move.
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Re: 2019 NBA Offseason Discussion 

Post#628 » by Doctor MJ » Thu Aug 29, 2019 4:34 am

Dr Spaceman wrote:
Doctor MJ wrote:
Dr Spaceman wrote:
Re: Dirk, The Mavs certainly acquired great players after Nash left. Jason Kidd, Shawn Marion, Caron Butler, Tyson Chandler were all great. Not as great as Nash, but from 2009-2011 they could all be considered top 15ish players at various points, and it’s precisely that depth of quality guys that allowed them to survive Butler’s injury in 2011 and take down teams that were far less balanced in the postseason. The Mavs had a top 10 guy at every position that season and that type of team construction is very rare. Dirk’s sacrifice is basically the whole reason he has a championship ring.

And I do understand what you’re saying about Draymond and public perception and all that. But I just don’t think banking on loyalty is ever smart, especially when it comes to corporations. The truth is he can make the Warriors look like the bad guy all he wants but the Warriors have an appetite for big fish and if he’s part of a deal that nets them, say, Karl Towns in a few years literally no one will even remember Draymond. I mean are Clipper fans upset about Blake Griffin?

Dray’s pay cut here actually hurt his chance to be a Warrior lifer, IMO. The reason I bring up Steph is not to call him greedy but to say if this was part of a pre-conceived plan to bring on more talent (like the big 3 in Miami did in 2011) then I’d be in favor. But Draymond is acting alone here and gave up money for no clear concrete reason. Steph should take all the money in the world. But if they want to pull in another Kevin Durant it needed to be all 3 of them who took pay cuts, otherwise Draymond is just giving the team money for free with no guarantees given back to him.


Re: Mavs certainly acquired great players. You and I have different standards if you think those post-prime cast-offs are great players. The only one of that bunch that was remotely all-star quality at that point was Chandler, and that was because he figured out how to really be useful for the first time in Dallas.

I'm not saying the Mavs were incompetent in that player acquisition here - I like what they did - but they built what they built acquiring players that were not exactly the subject of a bidding war. There was a reason why even as they were approaching their lone title were turning their sites to lure actual superstars: They knew they hadn't acquired anyone that could be a co-star to Dirk or carry them going forward as Dirk aged. They knew if they did nothing, they'd largely become irrelevant over the bulk of the 2010s. Which of course they did, because they never were able to acquire any great players to play with Dirk while he was still great himself.

Re: I don't think loyalty is ever smart. As I've said, I'm talking about the perception of loyalty not actual loyalty. Dray is smart to make it look like he didn't care about money, but he clearly cared about money else he wouldn't have railed against taking "another pay cut" not too long ago. The value of the perception of loyalty pays dividends with everyone. The corporate, the teammates, and the fans.

I'll also note that while this would be true of anyone, there's also the matter of legacy to consider. If Draymond wants to be seen as a legend who people keep bringing up after he retires, he should stay with Steph.

It's interesting you brought Marion. There you have a Draymond-type who shattered his legacy by leaving Phoenix. He was a 4-time all-star who probably would have been an 8-time all-star if he'd simply swallowed his pride and stayed in Phoenix with a smile on his face. Instead he left and went to the East where it was much easier to make all-star (go look at the East all-star in '08-09, it's pathetic), and he couldn't even get consideration as he failed his way out of Miami and Toronto before ending up as a mere "great role player" in Dallas that no one would remember if they hadn't won the title.

Not every decision in your career is a battle of negotiation with your employer, and while it's painful to let your employer "skim off the top" from what you contribute, you always have to consider the entirety of the context your are in and how you're benefiting from it. Just because your boss doesn't deserve you doesn't mean you're not in the best situation for you to succeed.

Re: no one will remember Dray. I think people will remember Dray because people will remember the Warriors. No matter what happens in the future, what the Warriors did from '14 to '19 stands as the best 5 year run of any franchise in a very long time and it made Steph, Dray, and Klay into guys who are locks for the Hall as long as they don't do anything too foolish. Nothing will erase those 5 years, and the odds that the Warriors will match those 5 years again are very, very small no matter who they get. But if Dray craps all over everything in bitterness on the way out because he doesn't get the contract offer he wants, and then the Warriors win another title, then the narrative becomes "it was always about the Splash Brothers!". Even if Dray does really well on his next team, his legacy will get hurt by leaving...and there's a really good chance in my mind that Dray moving to a new team doesn't go so well. The danger of a Marionesque downward spiral would be very real.

Oh and if KAT joins the Warriors and they win the title? Unless he's the clear cut alpha, the headline will be "Splash Brothers win another title". Consider the ambivalent way Durant felt like he was received in GS. Anyone joining the Warriors at this point is likely to be seen as riding coattails.

Re: hurts his chances of being a lifer. I think you're talking about one specific scenario, and in that scenario Green staying in GS as an albatross doesn't exactly help his legacy. When guys think about being a lifer the idea is that there's an overwhelming feeling of gratitude toward them in their later years. If people instead feel "My god, that guy's contract has hurt us so bad, I hate every time I hear his name called because it's a reminder of why we're hamstrung now and can't win titles.' I'm not saying I'd take the pay cut to avoid being an albatross, but the value of being a lifer is certainly dependent on how it is achieved.


There’s a lot of good thoughts here. I’ll take the time to respond to some later but for now I think there’s something we need to agree on: I am indeed fixated on the scenario of Draymond being traded, and that’s because its the only plausible scenario.

For 2018-19 the Warriors were a two-way contract away from ring the first team to spend $200 million in payroll. As it was they spend $198 million total; $53 million in luxury tax alone. They managed to open some breathing room by dumping Iguodala but after Dray’s extension kicks in the Warriors will owe $134 million to Curry, Klay, Russell, and Draymond combined. That is over the current luxury tax threshold for 4 players. Even if all of their other 10 players are on minimum deals that means another luxury tax bill in the range of $50 million and a team payroll of near $200 million.

That literally is not sustainable unless Joe Lacob is willing to be the first billionaire to lose his fortune on a basketball team. I don’t care how much he wants to stay competitive, something has to give. It’s simple math. If the Warriors don’t look like a contender there are going to be cuts and my guess is it will be 30 year old Draymond instead of the sexy new all-star guard they just acquired. Draymond has sealed his fate.

This is the new NBA. The cap jump in 16 papered over the bubble that was slowly rising from when the Cavs and the Warriors started their arms race. The cost of competing for a championship over multiple years in the NBA with the current salary rules is going to be about $200 million and so far only two teams have really been willing to pony up for that.

EDIT: miscalculated. It’s even worse than this for the Warriors. By 2020 they will be in the repeater tax unless they duck under it this year, meaning by 2020 they will owe in the range of $80 million in luxury tax alone with these 4 and minimum contracts.


The Warriors by themselves are worth well over a billion dollars - because that's the NBA now. Their brand is stronger than it has ever been, they have a new stadium in the middle of the richest city around and it is being designed to make money on far more than basketball tickets. Quite literally, if the Warriors are good it's impossible to see them as anything worse than a loss leader generating opportunities for profit that are on an immense scale.

That has everything to do with why they through out that contract to Russell, don't you think? A small market team doesn't do that, period. You make that deal because you want to make as sure as you can that you have stars to hype as you move into the new building. Hopefully there are basketball reasons too of course, but that spending is designed to give both star power and potential for future star power based on the thinking that the Warriors need to be seen as really going for it in SF.

I can see plenty of ways where Green ends up traded, but if GS continues to be THE team in the NBA with Green continuing to be the presence he is, it would be poor salesmanship to let him go, whatever his salary is. The moment you start trading guys to save money is the moment when you pop your own balloon.
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Re: 2019 NBA Offseason Discussion 

Post#629 » by Dr Spaceman » Thu Aug 29, 2019 5:35 am

Doctor MJ wrote:
Dr Spaceman wrote:
Doctor MJ wrote:
Re: Mavs certainly acquired great players. You and I have different standards if you think those post-prime cast-offs are great players. The only one of that bunch that was remotely all-star quality at that point was Chandler, and that was because he figured out how to really be useful for the first time in Dallas.

I'm not saying the Mavs were incompetent in that player acquisition here - I like what they did - but they built what they built acquiring players that were not exactly the subject of a bidding war. There was a reason why even as they were approaching their lone title were turning their sites to lure actual superstars: They knew they hadn't acquired anyone that could be a co-star to Dirk or carry them going forward as Dirk aged. They knew if they did nothing, they'd largely become irrelevant over the bulk of the 2010s. Which of course they did, because they never were able to acquire any great players to play with Dirk while he was still great himself.

Re: I don't think loyalty is ever smart. As I've said, I'm talking about the perception of loyalty not actual loyalty. Dray is smart to make it look like he didn't care about money, but he clearly cared about money else he wouldn't have railed against taking "another pay cut" not too long ago. The value of the perception of loyalty pays dividends with everyone. The corporate, the teammates, and the fans.

I'll also note that while this would be true of anyone, there's also the matter of legacy to consider. If Draymond wants to be seen as a legend who people keep bringing up after he retires, he should stay with Steph.

It's interesting you brought Marion. There you have a Draymond-type who shattered his legacy by leaving Phoenix. He was a 4-time all-star who probably would have been an 8-time all-star if he'd simply swallowed his pride and stayed in Phoenix with a smile on his face. Instead he left and went to the East where it was much easier to make all-star (go look at the East all-star in '08-09, it's pathetic), and he couldn't even get consideration as he failed his way out of Miami and Toronto before ending up as a mere "great role player" in Dallas that no one would remember if they hadn't won the title.

Not every decision in your career is a battle of negotiation with your employer, and while it's painful to let your employer "skim off the top" from what you contribute, you always have to consider the entirety of the context your are in and how you're benefiting from it. Just because your boss doesn't deserve you doesn't mean you're not in the best situation for you to succeed.

Re: no one will remember Dray. I think people will remember Dray because people will remember the Warriors. No matter what happens in the future, what the Warriors did from '14 to '19 stands as the best 5 year run of any franchise in a very long time and it made Steph, Dray, and Klay into guys who are locks for the Hall as long as they don't do anything too foolish. Nothing will erase those 5 years, and the odds that the Warriors will match those 5 years again are very, very small no matter who they get. But if Dray craps all over everything in bitterness on the way out because he doesn't get the contract offer he wants, and then the Warriors win another title, then the narrative becomes "it was always about the Splash Brothers!". Even if Dray does really well on his next team, his legacy will get hurt by leaving...and there's a really good chance in my mind that Dray moving to a new team doesn't go so well. The danger of a Marionesque downward spiral would be very real.

Oh and if KAT joins the Warriors and they win the title? Unless he's the clear cut alpha, the headline will be "Splash Brothers win another title". Consider the ambivalent way Durant felt like he was received in GS. Anyone joining the Warriors at this point is likely to be seen as riding coattails.

Re: hurts his chances of being a lifer. I think you're talking about one specific scenario, and in that scenario Green staying in GS as an albatross doesn't exactly help his legacy. When guys think about being a lifer the idea is that there's an overwhelming feeling of gratitude toward them in their later years. If people instead feel "My god, that guy's contract has hurt us so bad, I hate every time I hear his name called because it's a reminder of why we're hamstrung now and can't win titles.' I'm not saying I'd take the pay cut to avoid being an albatross, but the value of being a lifer is certainly dependent on how it is achieved.


There’s a lot of good thoughts here. I’ll take the time to respond to some later but for now I think there’s something we need to agree on: I am indeed fixated on the scenario of Draymond being traded, and that’s because its the only plausible scenario.

For 2018-19 the Warriors were a two-way contract away from ring the first team to spend $200 million in payroll. As it was they spend $198 million total; $53 million in luxury tax alone. They managed to open some breathing room by dumping Iguodala but after Dray’s extension kicks in the Warriors will owe $134 million to Curry, Klay, Russell, and Draymond combined. That is over the current luxury tax threshold for 4 players. Even if all of their other 10 players are on minimum deals that means another luxury tax bill in the range of $50 million and a team payroll of near $200 million.

That literally is not sustainable unless Joe Lacob is willing to be the first billionaire to lose his fortune on a basketball team. I don’t care how much he wants to stay competitive, something has to give. It’s simple math. If the Warriors don’t look like a contender there are going to be cuts and my guess is it will be 30 year old Draymond instead of the sexy new all-star guard they just acquired. Draymond has sealed his fate.

This is the new NBA. The cap jump in 16 papered over the bubble that was slowly rising from when the Cavs and the Warriors started their arms race. The cost of competing for a championship over multiple years in the NBA with the current salary rules is going to be about $200 million and so far only two teams have really been willing to pony up for that.

EDIT: miscalculated. It’s even worse than this for the Warriors. By 2020 they will be in the repeater tax unless they duck under it this year, meaning by 2020 they will owe in the range of $80 million in luxury tax alone with these 4 and minimum contracts.


The Warriors by themselves are worth well over a billion dollars - because that's the NBA now. Their brand is stronger than it has ever been, they have a new stadium in the middle of the richest city around and it is being designed to make money on far more than basketball tickets. Quite literally, if the Warriors are good it's impossible to see them as anything worse than a loss leader generating opportunities for profit that are on an immense scale.

That has everything to do with why they through out that contract to Russell, don't you think? A small market team doesn't do that, period. You make that deal because you want to make as sure as you can that you have stars to hype as you move into the new building. Hopefully there are basketball reasons too of course, but that spending is designed to give both star power and potential for future star power based on the thinking that the Warriors need to be seen as really going for it in SF.

I can see plenty of ways where Green ends up traded, but if GS continues to be THE team in the NBA with Green continuing to be the presence he is, it would be poor salesmanship to let him go, whatever his salary is. The moment you start trading guys to save money is the moment when you pop your own balloon.


Well I will say if the Warriors ownership group is legitimately willing to throw $80-100 million down the drain every year in perpetuity to keep this group together, then honestly hats off to them and I will admit they are indeed light years ahead. I’d also expect major changes for the next CBA because the progressive tax scheme is designed to prevent exactly what the Warriors appear to be doing (and it has for the most part, I believe only 10 teams have ever paid the tax under this scheme).

I’m skeptical, but I guess we’ll see.
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Re: 2019 NBA Offseason Discussion 

Post#630 » by Outside » Thu Aug 29, 2019 5:53 am

Doctor MJ wrote:
Outside wrote:
Doctor MJ wrote:
Spoiler:


Great points about Cleveland.

Clearly the entire rationale for returning to Cleveland was to have that hometown success. I get it, but when you're choosing to go back and return to play for an incompetent man you hate for good reason, you have to think really hard about what your approach will be, and I take issue with LeBron's approach.

He won the title in a glorious moment so everything else will likely be erased, but of course, he shouldn't have won that title. If GS doesn't get rattled at the wrong moment, LeBron doesn't get that '15-16 title, and then what happens? The embarrassment of leaving Cleveland empty handed again would have done HUGE damage to legacy unless it was immediately followed with huge success on his next team.

From this lens, I see the Cleveland move as one that he was very lucky it worked out.

Now at the same time, when he went back to Cleveland he didn't know that GS would turn into with competent coaching, and a world where Mark Jackson remains the coach in GS probably leads to at least one title, so it is unfair to talk about LeBron as "lucky" with too much vehemence. Just saying:

The move back to Cleveland is only a success because he won a title there, and he could have easily failed, in part because of the way he forced the Cavs to make short-term moves because he didn't trust them to make long-term moves. I would have told LeBron to consider the very real possibility that he wouldn't win a title under incompetent Cavs management, and to seriously think about how he would spin the narrative in such a circumstance.

And to the extent he was trying to spin a positive narrative, well, his drama regularly got in the way.

Re: basketball not his main concern in LA. He's a fool if he thinks his stardom won't suffer if the Lakers are a joke. One thing to prioritize the Lakers, another thing to let incompetence run wild.


While the return to Cleveland redemption story was certainly a big part of it, there was another big factor -- power and control. Part of why LeBron wanted out of Miami was to escape Riley's control and the relative lack of power he had in the organization.

Returning to Cleveland meant LeBron could dictate terms. Dan Gilbert had to grovel because of his stupid Comic Sans letter and because the Cavs had been one of the worst teams in the league since LeBron left.

LeBron took advantage of that to become the most powerful athlete in the history of sports. He got his circle of friends and associates access they never had in Miami, even jobs in the Cavs organization. He used 1+1 contacts to get max money and max leverage to get what he wanted from the organization.

He enjoys similar leverage with the Lakers, though he did commit to a longer contract. Success on the court is important, winning in Cleveland was huge, but getting this unprecedented level of power and control as an athlete was also important.


I completely understand an athlete wanting power and control and absolutely agree that LeBron has had that on unprecedented levels which drove what we now call the Player Empowerment Era.

I'm just saying that I think LeBron hasn't wielded this power all that adroitly, and as a result it likely will end up hindering his career to some degree.

We can talk about basketball not being as important as more general celebrity power, but LeBron matters because he's good at basketball. No, the specific results of a particular game don't matter at all to celebrity power, but if things go badly on the Lakers it's going to hurt that power.

Example:

LeBron is doing SpaceJam. My understanding that it's aimed for a summer release that would ideally follow LeBron leading a team to a championship.

If instead the Lakers are eliminated from the playoffs early and the studio is left to run a ton of ads at the height of basketball season while LeBron isn't play, it will be a joke. Literally, that's what SNL will bring up when they bring up the movie. That's what non-basketball fans will hear about the movie. And basketball fans will rightly see it as an embarrassing contrast to the invincible feeling that Jordan always had that actually made saving the world seem kind of plausible.

Being in LA brings more opportunities to sell "LeBron", but the value of selling "LeBron" is directly tied to LeBron's narrative, and that narrative has not been helped by Laker management, who only did what they did because LeBron chose them and let them.


I generally agree. I didn't get into whether LeBron's empowerment was good or bad (that's a whole 'nother discussion). I was mainly responding to the statement that "Clearly the entire rationale for returning to Cleveland was to have that hometown success," because I thought his empowerment was another very important aspect to him, and the move to Cleveland made that happen to unprecedented levels.
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Re: 2019 NBA Offseason Discussion 

Post#631 » by Doctor MJ » Thu Aug 29, 2019 5:59 am

Dr Spaceman wrote:
Doctor MJ wrote:
Dr Spaceman wrote:
There’s a lot of good thoughts here. I’ll take the time to respond to some later but for now I think there’s something we need to agree on: I am indeed fixated on the scenario of Draymond being traded, and that’s because its the only plausible scenario.

For 2018-19 the Warriors were a two-way contract away from ring the first team to spend $200 million in payroll. As it was they spend $198 million total; $53 million in luxury tax alone. They managed to open some breathing room by dumping Iguodala but after Dray’s extension kicks in the Warriors will owe $134 million to Curry, Klay, Russell, and Draymond combined. That is over the current luxury tax threshold for 4 players. Even if all of their other 10 players are on minimum deals that means another luxury tax bill in the range of $50 million and a team payroll of near $200 million.

That literally is not sustainable unless Joe Lacob is willing to be the first billionaire to lose his fortune on a basketball team. I don’t care how much he wants to stay competitive, something has to give. It’s simple math. If the Warriors don’t look like a contender there are going to be cuts and my guess is it will be 30 year old Draymond instead of the sexy new all-star guard they just acquired. Draymond has sealed his fate.

This is the new NBA. The cap jump in 16 papered over the bubble that was slowly rising from when the Cavs and the Warriors started their arms race. The cost of competing for a championship over multiple years in the NBA with the current salary rules is going to be about $200 million and so far only two teams have really been willing to pony up for that.

EDIT: miscalculated. It’s even worse than this for the Warriors. By 2020 they will be in the repeater tax unless they duck under it this year, meaning by 2020 they will owe in the range of $80 million in luxury tax alone with these 4 and minimum contracts.


The Warriors by themselves are worth well over a billion dollars - because that's the NBA now. Their brand is stronger than it has ever been, they have a new stadium in the middle of the richest city around and it is being designed to make money on far more than basketball tickets. Quite literally, if the Warriors are good it's impossible to see them as anything worse than a loss leader generating opportunities for profit that are on an immense scale.

That has everything to do with why they through out that contract to Russell, don't you think? A small market team doesn't do that, period. You make that deal because you want to make as sure as you can that you have stars to hype as you move into the new building. Hopefully there are basketball reasons too of course, but that spending is designed to give both star power and potential for future star power based on the thinking that the Warriors need to be seen as really going for it in SF.

I can see plenty of ways where Green ends up traded, but if GS continues to be THE team in the NBA with Green continuing to be the presence he is, it would be poor salesmanship to let him go, whatever his salary is. The moment you start trading guys to save money is the moment when you pop your own balloon.


Well I will say if the Warriors ownership group is legitimately willing to throw $80-100 million down the drain every year in perpetuity to keep this group together, then honestly hats off to them and I will admit they are indeed light years ahead. I’d also expect major changes for the next CBA because the progressive tax scheme is designed to prevent exactly what the Warriors appear to be doing (and it has for the most part, I believe only 10 teams have ever paid the tax under this scheme).

I’m skeptical, but I guess we’ll see.


As I'm saying, I don't think they're looking at it as throwing down the drain, I think they see concrete monetary value in being the Yankees, and I think that the moment that stops making sense, they make trades.

One might say Green is a sap for betting on these winds to keep blowing, but those winds are the only reason why he's made it this far in the first place and the odds of anything comparable ever emerging again in his career are virtually nil. I find it rather analogous to being a typical bassist in a major rock band. Chances are, if you leave the band, you never play the big time circuit again, so do you want to be a rock star or do you want to take your chances?

Of course the difference is that bassists are artists. There's something romantic about a musician leaving his big time band to do something "authentic" and "high brow". When an athlete does it it just makes him a guy who didn't realize how lucky he was until he threw it away.

If I'm Green I want to stay in GS as long as times are good, and if the going gets bad, then a trade wouldn't be the worst thing in the world. The only scenario that really hurts is if the team stays great and decides to trade him any way - which of course they may well do if he drops off cliff, but if he drops off a cliff then that's the end for him no matter where he is.
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Re: 2019 NBA Offseason Discussion 

Post#632 » by Doctor MJ » Thu Aug 29, 2019 6:05 am

Outside wrote:
Doctor MJ wrote:
Outside wrote:
While the return to Cleveland redemption story was certainly a big part of it, there was another big factor -- power and control. Part of why LeBron wanted out of Miami was to escape Riley's control and the relative lack of power he had in the organization.

Returning to Cleveland meant LeBron could dictate terms. Dan Gilbert had to grovel because of his stupid Comic Sans letter and because the Cavs had been one of the worst teams in the league since LeBron left.

LeBron took advantage of that to become the most powerful athlete in the history of sports. He got his circle of friends and associates access they never had in Miami, even jobs in the Cavs organization. He used 1+1 contacts to get max money and max leverage to get what he wanted from the organization.

He enjoys similar leverage with the Lakers, though he did commit to a longer contract. Success on the court is important, winning in Cleveland was huge, but getting this unprecedented level of power and control as an athlete was also important.


I completely understand an athlete wanting power and control and absolutely agree that LeBron has had that on unprecedented levels which drove what we now call the Player Empowerment Era.

I'm just saying that I think LeBron hasn't wielded this power all that adroitly, and as a result it likely will end up hindering his career to some degree.

We can talk about basketball not being as important as more general celebrity power, but LeBron matters because he's good at basketball. No, the specific results of a particular game don't matter at all to celebrity power, but if things go badly on the Lakers it's going to hurt that power.

Example:

LeBron is doing SpaceJam. My understanding that it's aimed for a summer release that would ideally follow LeBron leading a team to a championship.

If instead the Lakers are eliminated from the playoffs early and the studio is left to run a ton of ads at the height of basketball season while LeBron isn't play, it will be a joke. Literally, that's what SNL will bring up when they bring up the movie. That's what non-basketball fans will hear about the movie. And basketball fans will rightly see it as an embarrassing contrast to the invincible feeling that Jordan always had that actually made saving the world seem kind of plausible.

Being in LA brings more opportunities to sell "LeBron", but the value of selling "LeBron" is directly tied to LeBron's narrative, and that narrative has not been helped by Laker management, who only did what they did because LeBron chose them and let them.


I generally agree. I didn't get into whether LeBron's empowerment was good or bad (that's a whole 'nother discussion). I was mainly responding to the statement that "Clearly the entire rationale for returning to Cleveland was to have that hometown success," because I thought his empowerment was another very important aspect to him, and the move to Cleveland made that happen to unprecedented levels.


I don't think it was Cleveland that made his power happen per se, I think he could have driven a similar bargain with lots of teams. Not with Riley of course because that would have meant Riley effectively agreeing to be castrated, but very few execs are in a similar boat.

I think the one sticking point teams might have had was with LeBron's insistence on taking short deals and short-term thinking. This would have been inappropriate for LeBron to ask from any competent organization, and part of my bias here is that I think LeBron should have been looking for a competent organization. Choosing one basket of incompetence out of hometown feelings is one thing, but choosing a second such basket just makes clear that LeBron - despite getting furious when people are incompetent around him - doesn't seem to be able to steer away from the car crash even when it's pretty clear to many basketball observers.
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Re: 2019 NBA Offseason Discussion 

Post#633 » by Dr Spaceman » Thu Aug 29, 2019 6:47 am

Doctor MJ wrote:
Dr Spaceman wrote:
Doctor MJ wrote:
The Warriors by themselves are worth well over a billion dollars - because that's the NBA now. Their brand is stronger than it has ever been, they have a new stadium in the middle of the richest city around and it is being designed to make money on far more than basketball tickets. Quite literally, if the Warriors are good it's impossible to see them as anything worse than a loss leader generating opportunities for profit that are on an immense scale.

That has everything to do with why they through out that contract to Russell, don't you think? A small market team doesn't do that, period. You make that deal because you want to make as sure as you can that you have stars to hype as you move into the new building. Hopefully there are basketball reasons too of course, but that spending is designed to give both star power and potential for future star power based on the thinking that the Warriors need to be seen as really going for it in SF.

I can see plenty of ways where Green ends up traded, but if GS continues to be THE team in the NBA with Green continuing to be the presence he is, it would be poor salesmanship to let him go, whatever his salary is. The moment you start trading guys to save money is the moment when you pop your own balloon.


Well I will say if the Warriors ownership group is legitimately willing to throw $80-100 million down the drain every year in perpetuity to keep this group together, then honestly hats off to them and I will admit they are indeed light years ahead. I’d also expect major changes for the next CBA because the progressive tax scheme is designed to prevent exactly what the Warriors appear to be doing (and it has for the most part, I believe only 10 teams have ever paid the tax under this scheme).

I’m skeptical, but I guess we’ll see.


As I'm saying, I don't think they're looking at it as throwing down the drain, I think they see concrete monetary value in being the Yankees, and I think that the moment that stops making sense, they make trades.

One might say Green is a sap for betting on these winds to keep blowing, but those winds are the only reason why he's made it this far in the first place and the odds of anything comparable ever emerging again in his career are virtually nil. I find it rather analogous to being a typical bassist in a major rock band. Chances are, if you leave the band, you never play the big time circuit again, so do you want to be a rock star or do you want to take your chances?

Of course the difference is that bassists are artists. There's something romantic about a musician leaving his big time band to do something "authentic" and "high brow". When an athlete does it it just makes him a guy who didn't realize how lucky he was until he threw it away.

If I'm Green I want to stay in GS as long as times are good, and if the going gets bad, then a trade wouldn't be the worst thing in the world. The only scenario that really hurts is if the team stays great and decides to trade him any way - which of course they may well do if he drops off cliff, but if he drops off a cliff then that's the end for him no matter where he is.


Well, I just really, really hope it doesn’t play out this way because this very offseason the Bucks made cost-cutting moves even with a surefire contender. If we end up in a situation where one team is paying double the payroll of all of their competition things will get very bad very quickly.
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Re: 2019 NBA Offseason Discussion 

Post#634 » by Dr Spaceman » Thu Aug 29, 2019 8:21 am

Doctor MJ wrote:
Dr Spaceman wrote:
Doctor MJ wrote:
My statement wasn't about the Warriors, it was about the spectrum of LeBron's potential results. I'm not discrediting the on-court achievement, I'm critiquing the notion that because we ended up winning a title his choice to go back to Cleveland is an indication of great decision making process.


If it’s not about the Warriors then I’m not sure I really understand what your argument is. In the past you’ve used the Warrio3rs as a foil for LeBron and it seemed like you were doing the same here.

Lebron went to a team that had two under-25 all-stars and an owner who was willing to spend more than anyone else in the league. Regardless of the contempt between the two, both seemed to understand they were using the other so I’m not seeing where the big issue is. In the summer before the 2015 season, what team offered more basketball-wise than Cleveland?

The only way the Cleveland move doesn’t make sense is if you consider Golden State to be leagues ahead of them, which I believe you do. Otherwise, yeah, they could have lost and it could have backfired, but that also happened in Miami (in 2011 and 2014 and almost 2013). For 4 years the range out outcomes in Cleveland was better than any other situation IMO. For 8 years? Probably not, but LeBron came back with the goal to win 1 title with his hometown and he did it in those 4 years.


LeBron chose to go play for an organization he didn't trust enough to allow them to build with long-term thinking in mind, then he got the coach fired, caused drama with his team, pushed for trades, encouraged the co-star who never wanted to be a co-star to think he'd be better served by leaving, pushed for more trades, and left to join an even more incompetent organization who he then proceeded to sign the rest of his basketball prime away to.

I really don't know what's hard to understand about why I question LeBron's thought process. It's frankly bizarre to think that anyone would see this and conclude that LeBron's making genius move after genius move.


Your argument presupposes that Lebron’s interests are better served by an organization taking the long view as opposed to the short view- could you make a case for that? Because I don’t necessarily buy it. Teams operating to maximize a 5 year title window operate very very differently from teams maximizing a 2 year title window.

An instructive example here would be the Thunder. I think a big part of the reason Durant left is because they never really went for it. They made the mistake of assuming their star duo would be there forever- and now none are there. At almost every turn they cut costs to maximize flexibility and it meant they never really put together a serious title contender. As soon as guys ended their rookie deals they were traded away, and they rarely made moves beyond the minimum.

A team on the clock doesn’t operate like that. Teams on the clock trade 1st round picks for Kyle Korver and Marc Gasol and say “we’ll figure it out later”. A team taking the long view says “nah, we’re good with Anthony Morrow for now”.

The difference between the elite, expensive veteran role players and cheaper, younger ones is almost always the difference between winning and losing. Look at what happened in Houston this year. They tried to outsmart everyone by thinking they could replace Ariza with House and it burned them badly. Their title window might be over because of this.

Look at the guys Cleveland was trotting out as their 8-10th men: Iman Shumpert, Richard Jefferson, Timofey Mozgov. These are really good players on fairly expensive contracts. The type of contracts a long-term play type of team doesn’t pay. These guys all contributed towards Cleveland’s title; hell Richard Jefferson started game 6 and basically won them a game.

Now the downside is at the end you’re left with an aging, expensive roster with no flexibility. And for most players, that matters. It doesn’t for Lebron though. He can just bail and get another team to mortgage the future to maximize his window. He’s now done this to three teams, two being marquee, A-List franchises.

So again, can you make a case for Lebron taking the Longview?

I think people underestimate how badly the Mike Miller thing pissed Lebron off. The Heat refused to pay a guy who took a pay cut to go to war with Brom and hit five threes in a Finals game. I think that was the moment Lebron realized teams were always going to act in their own interests despite him, being “on the ground” knowing better. If “ incompetence” is the price to pay for Lebron being listened to I think he’s willing to pay it.
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Re: 2019 NBA Offseason Discussion 

Post#635 » by Doctor MJ » Thu Aug 29, 2019 7:16 pm

Dr Spaceman wrote:
Doctor MJ wrote:
Dr Spaceman wrote:
Well I will say if the Warriors ownership group is legitimately willing to throw $80-100 million down the drain every year in perpetuity to keep this group together, then honestly hats off to them and I will admit they are indeed light years ahead. I’d also expect major changes for the next CBA because the progressive tax scheme is designed to prevent exactly what the Warriors appear to be doing (and it has for the most part, I believe only 10 teams have ever paid the tax under this scheme).

I’m skeptical, but I guess we’ll see.


As I'm saying, I don't think they're looking at it as throwing down the drain, I think they see concrete monetary value in being the Yankees, and I think that the moment that stops making sense, they make trades.

One might say Green is a sap for betting on these winds to keep blowing, but those winds are the only reason why he's made it this far in the first place and the odds of anything comparable ever emerging again in his career are virtually nil. I find it rather analogous to being a typical bassist in a major rock band. Chances are, if you leave the band, you never play the big time circuit again, so do you want to be a rock star or do you want to take your chances?

Of course the difference is that bassists are artists. There's something romantic about a musician leaving his big time band to do something "authentic" and "high brow". When an athlete does it it just makes him a guy who didn't realize how lucky he was until he threw it away.

If I'm Green I want to stay in GS as long as times are good, and if the going gets bad, then a trade wouldn't be the worst thing in the world. The only scenario that really hurts is if the team stays great and decides to trade him any way - which of course they may well do if he drops off cliff, but if he drops off a cliff then that's the end for him no matter where he is.


Well, I just really, really hope it doesn’t play out this way because this very offseason the Bucks made cost-cutting moves even with a surefire contender. If we end up in a situation where one team is paying double the payroll of all of their competition things will get very bad very quickly.


Warriors are currently valued at 3.5 billion while the Bucks are more like 1.5 billion. Such numbers aren't "true value" of course, but I think the difference here has a lot to do with geography. The Bay Area is swimming in money, Wisconsin is not.

All that said: The Bucks are in a situation where we may really, really look at them as blowing it with an unforced error in the years to come.

There's no doubt they made a bad decision when they gave Bledsoe a massive extension BEFORE the playoffs only to have him outperformed by someone younger who they then let go for financial reason - just incredibly boneheaded, you're almost to the playoffs, it's just obvious that you should wait until then - but of course the uncertainty is how big of a deal this ends up being. Maybe Bledsoe ends up looking clearly better than Brogdan in the future and it ends up the right move, or maybe it just seems like 6 of one half dozen of the other.

But if the Bucks can't ever get over the hump, and Bledsoe keeps holding them back, and Brogdan becomes an all-star, this will be seen as an all-time stupid unforced error.
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Re: 2019 NBA Offseason Discussion 

Post#636 » by Doctor MJ » Thu Aug 29, 2019 7:31 pm

Dr Spaceman wrote:
Doctor MJ wrote:
Dr Spaceman wrote:
If it’s not about the Warriors then I’m not sure I really understand what your argument is. In the past you’ve used the Warrio3rs as a foil for LeBron and it seemed like you were doing the same here.

Lebron went to a team that had two under-25 all-stars and an owner who was willing to spend more than anyone else in the league. Regardless of the contempt between the two, both seemed to understand they were using the other so I’m not seeing where the big issue is. In the summer before the 2015 season, what team offered more basketball-wise than Cleveland?

The only way the Cleveland move doesn’t make sense is if you consider Golden State to be leagues ahead of them, which I believe you do. Otherwise, yeah, they could have lost and it could have backfired, but that also happened in Miami (in 2011 and 2014 and almost 2013). For 4 years the range out outcomes in Cleveland was better than any other situation IMO. For 8 years? Probably not, but LeBron came back with the goal to win 1 title with his hometown and he did it in those 4 years.


LeBron chose to go play for an organization he didn't trust enough to allow them to build with long-term thinking in mind, then he got the coach fired, caused drama with his team, pushed for trades, encouraged the co-star who never wanted to be a co-star to think he'd be better served by leaving, pushed for more trades, and left to join an even more incompetent organization who he then proceeded to sign the rest of his basketball prime away to.

I really don't know what's hard to understand about why I question LeBron's thought process. It's frankly bizarre to think that anyone would see this and conclude that LeBron's making genius move after genius move.


Your argument presupposes that Lebron’s interests are better served by an organization taking the long view as opposed to the short view- could you make a case for that? Because I don’t necessarily buy it. Teams operating to maximize a 5 year title window operate very very differently from teams maximizing a 2 year title window.

An instructive example here would be the Thunder. I think a big part of the reason Durant left is because they never really went for it. They made the mistake of assuming their star duo would be there forever- and now none are there. At almost every turn they cut costs to maximize flexibility and it meant they never really put together a serious title contender. As soon as guys ended their rookie deals they were traded away, and they rarely made moves beyond the minimum.

A team on the clock doesn’t operate like that. Teams on the clock trade 1st round picks for Kyle Korver and Marc Gasol and say “we’ll figure it out later”. A team taking the long view says “nah, we’re good with Anthony Morrow for now”.

The difference between the elite, expensive veteran role players and cheaper, younger ones is almost always the difference between winning and losing. Look at what happened in Houston this year. They tried to outsmart everyone by thinking they could replace Ariza with House and it burned them badly. Their title window might be over because of this.

Look at the guys Cleveland was trotting out as their 8-10th men: Iman Shumpert, Richard Jefferson, Timofey Mozgov. These are really good players on fairly expensive contracts. The type of contracts a long-term play type of team doesn’t pay. These guys all contributed towards Cleveland’s title; hell Richard Jefferson started game 6 and basically won them a game.

Now the downside is at the end you’re left with an aging, expensive roster with no flexibility. And for most players, that matters. It doesn’t for Lebron though. He can just bail and get another team to mortgage the future to maximize his window. He’s now done this to three teams, two being marquee, A-List franchises.

So again, can you make a case for Lebron taking the Longview?

I think people underestimate how badly the Mike Miller thing pissed Lebron off. The Heat refused to pay a guy who took a pay cut to go to war with Brom and hit five threes in a Finals game. I think that was the moment Lebron realized teams were always going to act in their own interests despite him, being “on the ground” knowing better. If “ incompetence” is the price to pay for Lebron being listened to I think he’s willing to pay it.


Just big picture: If you're a guy who hopes to have 8+ years of relevance left, you'd think the right move is to go to a franchise that would make the right moves to optimize team performance over those 8 years, and the best way to do that is rarely to make emergency trades giving up 2 first round picks for a guy you'll let go in little over a year and who will then fairly rapidly suck his way out of the league.

We all agree that David Griffin making that deal made a lot of sense...but only because of the pressure LeBron was putting on the Cavs. Had LeBron been able to have faith in his organization he could have said "Whoa, that guy ain't worth that, don't let them squeeze you."

Again, you can say it was all worth it because he got that title, but the Cavs were not behaving the way a team should behave in order to win as many championships as possible with LeBron as their long-term franchise player, they were behaving like their house was on fire and they needed to put it out ASAP.

I fully understand why LeBron saw things as he did, and I'm critiquing what it turned him into. The analogy is a bit like understanding why a woman raised by an abusive father turns into a nightmare of a girlfriend, but that doesn't mean you pretend she's a good girlfriend. Dealing with what is, however it came to be, LeBron's made decisions that have made him less likely to lead dynasties...and I find that really hard to swallow when considering him, say, a serious GOAT candidate.

Not saying he can't end up my GOAT, but the way he's forced this short-term thinking has literally lowered the ceiling of what's possible for him.
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Re: 2019 NBA Offseason Discussion 

Post#637 » by eminence » Thu Aug 29, 2019 8:06 pm

Doctor MJ wrote:
Dr Spaceman wrote:
Well, I just really, really hope it doesn’t play out this way because this very offseason the Bucks made cost-cutting moves even with a surefire contender. If we end up in a situation where one team is paying double the payroll of all of their competition things will get very bad very quickly.


Warriors are currently valued at 3.5 billion while the Bucks are more like 1.5 billion. Such numbers aren't "true value" of course, but I think the difference here has a lot to do with geography. The Bay Area is swimming in money, Wisconsin is not.


A ton of it is geography, but at least some small part of it is success before blowing past the cap as well.

I'm not too upset by the Warriors being able to hang on to their pieces, one of the most home grown teams around at this point, only one guy (Russell) that isn't a draftee or a near minimum.
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Re: 2019 NBA Offseason Discussion 

Post#638 » by Dr Spaceman » Thu Aug 29, 2019 8:35 pm

Doctor MJ wrote:
Dr Spaceman wrote:
Doctor MJ wrote:
LeBron chose to go play for an organization he didn't trust enough to allow them to build with long-term thinking in mind, then he got the coach fired, caused drama with his team, pushed for trades, encouraged the co-star who never wanted to be a co-star to think he'd be better served by leaving, pushed for more trades, and left to join an even more incompetent organization who he then proceeded to sign the rest of his basketball prime away to.

I really don't know what's hard to understand about why I question LeBron's thought process. It's frankly bizarre to think that anyone would see this and conclude that LeBron's making genius move after genius move.


Your argument presupposes that Lebron’s interests are better served by an organization taking the long view as opposed to the short view- could you make a case for that? Because I don’t necessarily buy it. Teams operating to maximize a 5 year title window operate very very differently from teams maximizing a 2 year title window.

An instructive example here would be the Thunder. I think a big part of the reason Durant left is because they never really went for it. They made the mistake of assuming their star duo would be there forever- and now none are there. At almost every turn they cut costs to maximize flexibility and it meant they never really put together a serious title contender. As soon as guys ended their rookie deals they were traded away, and they rarely made moves beyond the minimum.

A team on the clock doesn’t operate like that. Teams on the clock trade 1st round picks for Kyle Korver and Marc Gasol and say “we’ll figure it out later”. A team taking the long view says “nah, we’re good with Anthony Morrow for now”.

The difference between the elite, expensive veteran role players and cheaper, younger ones is almost always the difference between winning and losing. Look at what happened in Houston this year. They tried to outsmart everyone by thinking they could replace Ariza with House and it burned them badly. Their title window might be over because of this.

Look at the guys Cleveland was trotting out as their 8-10th men: Iman Shumpert, Richard Jefferson, Timofey Mozgov. These are really good players on fairly expensive contracts. The type of contracts a long-term play type of team doesn’t pay. These guys all contributed towards Cleveland’s title; hell Richard Jefferson started game 6 and basically won them a game.

Now the downside is at the end you’re left with an aging, expensive roster with no flexibility. And for most players, that matters. It doesn’t for Lebron though. He can just bail and get another team to mortgage the future to maximize his window. He’s now done this to three teams, two being marquee, A-List franchises.

So again, can you make a case for Lebron taking the Longview?

I think people underestimate how badly the Mike Miller thing pissed Lebron off. The Heat refused to pay a guy who took a pay cut to go to war with Brom and hit five threes in a Finals game. I think that was the moment Lebron realized teams were always going to act in their own interests despite him, being “on the ground” knowing better. If “ incompetence” is the price to pay for Lebron being listened to I think he’s willing to pay it.


Just big picture: If you're a guy who hopes to have 8+ years of relevance left, you'd think the right move is to go to a franchise that would make the right moves to optimize team performance over those 8 years, and the best way to do that is rarely to make emergency trades giving up 2 first round picks for a guy you'll let go in little over a year and who will then fairly rapidly suck his way out of the league.

We all agree that David Griffin making that deal made a lot of sense...but only because of the pressure LeBron was putting on the Cavs. Had LeBron been able to have faith in his organization he could have said "Whoa, that guy ain't worth that, don't let them squeeze you."

Again, you can say it was all worth it because he got that title, but the Cavs were not behaving the way a team should behave in order to win as many championships as possible with LeBron as their long-term franchise player, they were behaving like their house was on fire and they needed to put it out ASAP.

I fully understand why LeBron saw things as he did, and I'm critiquing what it turned him into. The analogy is a bit like understanding why a woman raised by an abusive father turns into a nightmare of a girlfriend, but that doesn't mean you pretend she's a good girlfriend. Dealing with what is, however it came to be, LeBron's made decisions that have made him less likely to lead dynasties...and I find that really hard to swallow when considering him, say, a serious GOAT candidate.

Not saying he can't end up my GOAT, but the way he's forced this short-term thinking has literally lowered the ceiling of what's possible for him.


I get it, you want him to be Tim Duncan. The hard truth though is that it’s not 1997 anymore. Tim Duncan signed a 7 year contract that ran him from 2003-2010. That contract is literally illegal today.

Every single change made to the CBA since Duncan was in his prime has been in favor of player movement at never before seen levels. Over 50% of players were free agents this summer. The NBA that used to support dynasties does not exist anymore, they killed it on purpose and it’s dead. Player contracts are shorter and the tax scheme is explicitly set up to prevent teams from holding onto good players.

Joining a team with an 8 year plan does LeBron no good. There is almost a 0% chance any player there in year 1 will still be there in year 8. And no GM is skilled enough to dance around this minefield of player movement to keep a team afloat for 8 years with entirely different personnel. It’s absurd. Ask Boston. Ask OKC. Ask the Kawhi-era Spurs. Ask all the planners.

Fortune favors the bold, my friend. The Raptors are champions because they traded the farm for a guy who left after a year and followed that up by trading picks and good assets for an aging center on an albatross contract. Banners fly forever. Would you rather be Massai or Danny Ainge right now? One stayed conservative and has a decent future. One went for it and gave his fans the experience of a lifetime.

I don’t think any of this is Bron’s fault. He is ahead of the curve. Something like 70% of the 2017 all-stars are now on new teams. This is the new normal.

EDIT: if,you follow the transaction game, the rate at which teams are trading draft picks is also pretty unprecedented at least this century.
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Re: 2019 NBA Offseason Discussion 

Post#639 » by Dr Spaceman » Thu Aug 29, 2019 8:51 pm

eminence wrote:
Doctor MJ wrote:
Dr Spaceman wrote:
Well, I just really, really hope it doesn’t play out this way because this very offseason the Bucks made cost-cutting moves even with a surefire contender. If we end up in a situation where one team is paying double the payroll of all of their competition things will get very bad very quickly.


Warriors are currently valued at 3.5 billion while the Bucks are more like 1.5 billion. Such numbers aren't "true value" of course, but I think the difference here has a lot to do with geography. The Bay Area is swimming in money, Wisconsin is not.


A ton of it is geography, but at least some small part of it is success before blowing past the cap as well.

I'm not too upset by the Warriors being able to hang on to their pieces, one of the most home grown teams around at this point, only one guy (Russell) that isn't a draftee or a near minimum.


The Bucks are home-grown as well though. Or at least were, with their core of Giannis, Middleton and Brogdon.

The tax is the tax. If the Warriors can keep their homegrown talent and the Bucks can’t then the system is broken. I don’t want to live in a world where one team can just outspend everyone else.
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Re: 2019 NBA Offseason Discussion 

Post#640 » by eminence » Thu Aug 29, 2019 9:24 pm

Dr Spaceman wrote:
eminence wrote:
Doctor MJ wrote:
Warriors are currently valued at 3.5 billion while the Bucks are more like 1.5 billion. Such numbers aren't "true value" of course, but I think the difference here has a lot to do with geography. The Bay Area is swimming in money, Wisconsin is not.


A ton of it is geography, but at least some small part of it is success before blowing past the cap as well.

I'm not too upset by the Warriors being able to hang on to their pieces, one of the most home grown teams around at this point, only one guy (Russell) that isn't a draftee or a near minimum.


The Bucks are home-grown as well though. Or at least were, with their core of Giannis, Middleton and Brogdon.

The tax is the tax. If the Warriors can keep their homegrown talent and the Bucks can’t then the system is broken. I don’t want to live in a world where one team can just outspend everyone else.


The tax is the tax, but the Bucks would've shortly blown past the Warriors luxury tax bill bringing back Brogdon without other major moves. That Giannis extension looms. If they hadn't brought back Bledsoe they'd be in a very similar situation to GS going forward (big 3 draftees earning approx 90m (40/30/20), with another mini-max worth of guys Russell vs Lopez/Hill/Ilyasova).
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