Dr Spaceman wrote:Doctor MJ wrote:Dr Spaceman wrote:
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.
I'm not looking for him to be Duncan. I'm looking for him, if he's going to chase super-team after super-team, to win "not 7" titles like he clearly was aiming for back when he said "not 7".
Can you imagine if the Clippers win the title this year? It was one thing for Steph to match LeBron's title count, but if Kawhi matches him to all while he's still trying to game the system for maximum success? It's crazy. Yes there's some luck involved, but I wouldn't be making these statements if I thought the only story was a freakishly good Warriors team. I see LeBron making problematic moves that to me don't serve him as well as he could have been served, and I really wish it were otherwise.
I think LeBron is the single greatest basketball talent we've ever seen even before you factor in his potential for off-the-charts longevity, and I think he's hampered his GOAT candidacy in frustrating short-sighted ways that I'd have thought he'd be wise enough to play better.
ftr, I hope that Steph Curry is like Duncan. I absolutely think you can still get that in this age...but it has to come on a franchise operating more like the Spurs than the Cavs.
Re: 8 year plan no good. I'm not actually suggesting that LeBron should think with that many years in mind, really I'm just trying to emphasize there are clear decisions being made that are obviously bad decisions. Mozgov played less than 6 MPG in the Cavs championship playoff run and didn't play at all in the Game 7 against the Warriors. And then they let him go. If the Cavs had never traded for Mozgov, literally the only reason to think they wouldn't have been in better shape is LeBron's attitude. Basketball-wise, they didn't need him to build a title-winner and could have used those assets for something actually useful when the time was ripe, but instead they made a panic move while LeBron was taking a WTF mid-season vacation.
People wanted to defend it as LeBron putting their foot to the fire, and I get it, and I also get that the fact that all of a sudden the Cavs were way better made people think Mozgov was a really defensible move, but we can look back now and see pretty clearly how ridiculous it all was.
Re: Masai or Danny. Masai acquired Kawhi, Danny acquired KG, the Cavs acquired Mozgov. C'mon now.
Re: LeBron's ahead of the curve. He's ahead of the curve in recognizing his power and using it. I'm all for both of those teams, I"m criticizing his performance in deciding how to use his power.
Re: Rate of draft pick trading up. It is precisely for the reasons we're talking about, and it's a dangerous game for all these guys. I'm not saying that forcing a short-term play is never the right move for one of these guys, but if you're going to spend long-term assets for a shot right now, you best not miss.