Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Put On For Your City

My whole perspective on the lockout, and the NBA in general, changed today when my friend asked, “Will anyone really care about Kobe’s Denver Citibank Armadillos vs. Lebron’s Akron MetLife Wildcats?” He was referencing Amar’e Stoudemire’s recent suggestion of the players creating their own league with its own season. “No,” I responded, “No one would.” Up until this summer, I always thought the players were the only focus in the NBA. Now, I am realizing the heart of the league lies much deeper.

It dawned on me that real fans, like myself, yearn for the league and the game, not necessarily the stars. Throughout the summer we have all watched or heard of Durant, LeBron, ‘Melo, Wade, and others hoop it up across the country. For an hour or two, these games provide entertainment and discussion, but they are simply a façade of the real deal.  I get the feeling stars think all we want is to see them put on a show – throw down uncontested dunks on one end while playing matador D’ on the other.

Truth is, I don’t have nearly the same attachment to Melo as he shoots in a Miami exhibition as I do when he is wearing a New York jersey shooting against the 76’ers. I don’t check Amare’s stats when he is playing for “Wade’s” team, but after any Knicks game, I scour the box score for hours.  During the lockout, I have become detached from the players and more attached to my team – the Knicks.

Real fans don’t invest their love in the players so much as the city and the franchise. This is why Amare’s proposal of a player-run league does not excite me. Sure, it would be fun, in a way. But, if the stars think we are content with just seeing them in any uniform, they are sorely mistaken.  There are those out there who would LOVE Stoudemire’s idea.  Unfortunately, many of them are similar to the guy sitting next to me at the home opener last year. He wore an Anthony jersey, was decked in Knicks gear from head to toe, but shouted several times “who is number 23?!?”

Real fans love getting behind their team and representing them as best they can. The perfect example is the hatred towards LeBron by Knicks fans (again, including me) just moments after the “decision.” In the days, months, and years leading up to this, we were begging him to come to New York. We didn’t actually care about LeBron – we cared about the Knicks regaining power in the East.

The All-Stars have it wrong.  We are here to watch our team as a whole, from the end of the bench to the starters.  I will have more respect for Carmelo, or any player on the Knicks,  if he fights to bring basketball back to NY, rather than put up 45 against LeBron in an exhibition. We don’t want you to set up charity games. We want you to show the same desperation and urgency that Knicks fans have in starting the regular season. NBA players should stop worrying about playing overseas and, instead, fight for their team back in this country. At the end of the day, we all just want to see our team play and represent our city, no matter what shape or form.  The NBA is not only about the players, and they will be the last ones to realize.

52 comments on “Put On For Your City

  1. cgreene

    I wholeheartedly agree. That’s why I wrote in the last thread that the players have overplayed their hand. We root for the Knicks. We also root for the competition that no other infrastructure can provide for basketball besides the NBA. We love Amare for bringing pride, passion and leadership back to the Knicks last year but we would trade him in a heartbeat for Dwight Howard. I’d pay hundreds of dollars to see the Knicks play the Heat. I’d pay no more than $30 or so to watch some new league even if it was all stars. That’s the economics.

  2. Zach Horst Post author

    Exactly. There is something disenchanting about these exhibition games. Just realizing now that I don’t actually watch the NBA for the players.

  3. jon abbey

    any article based around the concept of some kind of universal “real fans” is ridiculous. if the players are into a new league and really care about winning and losing (not the case for exhibitions), then fans eventually will be also.

  4. Zach Horst Post author

    It’s not a 100%, universal concept. I was simply suggesting that die-hard fans would rather see an NBA regular season game 100x over before a charity game. Band-wagon fans, or those that don’t actually follow the NBA, on the other hand, find just as much excitement in an exhibition as they do a playoff game.

  5. jon abbey

    you said “Real fans don’t invest their love in the players so much as the city and the franchise.” there’s some truth to that, but these are desperate times, not to mention I’m sick and tired of rooting for a team owned by Dolan. and if this happened, it wouldn’t be exhibitions, so that’s not a fair comparison. it’d be (hopefully) legit competition and people would get used to it if the competition level was consistently high.

    also I just hate the concept of “real fans”, so you hit a hot button for me with that phrase.

  6. cgreene

    real fans = fans who watch nba games consistently and read about the league and understand its details. ok?

    rooting for a Dolan team aside, it’s the knicks you love not the players was the premise of Zach’s article.

    i agree that over time we would convert our interest into the new league that the players form. how much time? years right? so that’s the rub. presented with rooting for the knicks now or some imaginary NY team that a new league forms in a few years is a huge trade off for “real fans” as described above. it’s essentially going several years without our favorite form of entertainment.

  7. Zach Horst Post author

    Perhaps real wasn’t the best word. Die-hard or active may have been a better choice. But for example, if there was a players-run league, I think that “active” Knicks fans would root for the New York team, not for a team on which Amar’e Stoudemire or Carmelo Anthony play. They would care more about the team, than the players. That is what I would hope. I wasn’t really trying to propose this as a thesis of any sort, just my two cents.

  8. jon abbey

    I’m as diehard as almost anyone here, and while my Knicks fandom has never totally ended, I spent a few years rooting for the Suns at the start of D’Antoni’s time because they played the kind of ball I wanted to see. I even spent a season or so rooting for the Clippers when they had that collection of superfreak young athletes (Odom, Miles, Q, Dooling, etc.). I’m also a lifelong New Yorker, but don’t necessarily need to root for the team based in NY.

    here’s a better question: if the top 100 players form a new league and the NBA responds by getting scabs in to play in Knicks uniforms, which league will you follow more? did anyone care about the replacement games played by the NFL players back in the day? I don’t think this question is as easy as this article makes it seem.

  9. Matt Smith

    Jon, just because you can’t delineate when someone is or is not a ‘real fan’ doesn’t mean the concept doesn’t exist… I think it’s pretty easy here to understand what Zach is talking about without toying with semantics.

    The players could create their own league, sure. But they’d be starting from scratch. The NBA has decades of history – the players, the rivalries, the dynasties, the overall storylines – built into it. What Zach is (I think, correctly) pointing out here is that the basketball happening on the court isn’t 100% of the reason for why we buy tickets. I think it’s especially interesting when that history affects the outcome of certain games. For instance, I’m sure when the Celts play the Lakers, they’re trying just a bit harder than they normally would…

    Now, don’t get me wrong, I’d take exhibition games (or even a new league) over nothing any day. But, even if you added salaries (to make them care about winning), removing the rich history of the league would make the games (for me at least) so much worse.

  10. jon abbey

    dunno, to me a “real fan” of the Knicks is anyone who’s been boycotting Dolan for years now. anyone giving him their money is not a “real fan”, as they don’t have the best long-term interest of the franchise at heart. so anything that will get Dolan out is what the “real fan” should want.

  11. Matt Smith

    jon abbey: here’s a better question: if the top 100 players form a new league and the NBA responds by getting scabs in to play in Knicks uniforms, which league will you follow more? did anyone care about the replacement games played by the NFL players back in the day? I don’t think this question is as easy as this article makes it seem.

    I think the point of the article is that both leagues wouldn’t be nearly as great as the NBA in its state last season, not that the only thing that matters is the history of the NBA.

    Look at the last line.

    “The NBA is not only about the players, and they will be the last ones to realize.”

    His argument is that it’s not just about the players, but the league too, and I agree. I don’t think you’re really attacking his point here…

  12. jon abbey

    my main problem is too much use of the term “we”, he doesn’t speak for me.

    I will root for whatever outcome allows me to never see the smug face of David Stern again, a person who I think I currently hate more than anyone else in sports. if that means a player league with no history and new uniforms, more power to them.

  13. jon abbey

    I don’t quite get the binary there, and maybe I’d feel differently if I thought the Knicks had any real chance at winning a title.

    but I’d give up the entire 2011-2012 NBA season in a second if it meant David Stern would no longer have any connection to professional basketball. then again, I’m the one who started this blog back in 2008:

    http://sternmustgo.blogspot.com/

  14. Zach Horst Post author

    I dislike David Stern as well, but I guess our priorities just lie differently. Personally, I would rather the Knicks play and lose every single game of a season than not play at all. I LIVE on watching them play. Win or lose, I will always watch them, and there are few things I would rather be doing.

  15. Nick C.

    Wow, Jon, I found Stern to be dictatorial and a self-serving liar who until recently was long stroking himself over how successful the league was etc. etc. but you make me seem quite tame.

  16. jon abbey

    yeah, I stopped being that kind of sports fan a decade or two ago, or at least I tried. if a team is not enjoyable for me to watch in their current incarnation, I do my best to stop, although it’s not always easy.

    let me ask you this: if whatever politician you currently dislike the most in the US somehow bought the Knicks, would you still feel just as strongly? this is kind of how I feel about Dolan, and it’s interfered at least a bit in my Knicks fandom for a while now.

  17. jon abbey

    Nick C.:
    Wow, Jon, I found Stern to be dictatorial and a self-serving liar who until recently was long stroking himself over how successful the league was etc. etc. but you make me seem quite tame.

    I’m just so sick of his smug face on my TV.

  18. dsi

    I think the “fan” discussion is a chicken-or-egg argument. I would guess that it’s only a small percentage of fans that could actually be described as love-the-team-care-little-for-the-players OR love-the-players-little-loyalty-to-the-team. Most of us are right in the middle.

    Here’s the test: if, after the Melo trade, you spent a few weeks checking the boxscores to see how Felton and Gallinari were holding up in Denver, but still didn’t give two craps whether the Nuggets won or lost, you’re in the middle.

  19. latke

    i think young people more often root for players more than teams. There’s a reason, after all, that Laker games got great ratings this decade and last decade Bulls games did. Younger people float towards whichever team has the best players. I think that’s why Zach says “real fans”.

    That said, I think as a knicks fan during the last decade, if you wanted to stay sane then you HAD to root for the logo, because everything about the roster and management has been so dysfunctional.

    That said, there are players, coaches and GMs who I really enjoy watching play or manage the game of basketball, and if the NBA died and the players formed a new league in which teams for whatever reason were no longer tied to a specific location, I don’t think it would take me long to warm up to a new team that played a kind of basketball that I can appreciate and that had players that play the game in a way that I enjoy.

    Eventually, I might grow attached to that team in the same way I am still attached to the city of New York. NYC, especially the neighborhood I grew up in, is nothing like how it was when I grew up there. All my friends have moved away or moved to other neighborhoods. However, I still love it because of the past. It’s the same reason I still love the knicks, and it COULD be the same reason I could become loyal to some new team, even if it shifted away from a style of play that I appreciated.

  20. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin)

    The thing with Stern is that he approaches his job as a litigator whose job is getting his clients (the owners) whatever they ask of him. And he’ll do whatever he’s legally allowed to do (including some rather ruthless behavior) to achieve those goals. I totally get disliking him for that approach, as it is inherently an adversarial one (and you could make a good case that it is inherently a glory-craving one) which is not really what a commissioner should be at the end of the day.

  21. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin)

    We were wondering earlier about how could the gap be that wide on system if the players were willing to compromise on the 50/50 split. Well, as it turns out, it is quite significant. Since the players have been adamantly opposed to any deal involving an actual hard cap (including willing to significantly reduce their revenue split), the owners instead are asking for a change in the luxury tax. It is currently $1 for every $1 you go over the cap. So if the Lakers go over the cap $20 million, they have to spend another $20 million in luxury tax, thereby turning an $80 million cap into a $100 million payout. The owners want that to be SIX DOLLARS for every $1 you go over the cap. So in the same scenario, the Lakers’ $80 million cap would be a $200 million payout!! As the players rightly have pointed out, that’s as much of a hard cap as you can possibly get.

  22. BigBlueAL

    As difficult as it can be at times I always have and always will root for the name on the front of the jersey not the name on the back of the jersey.

  23. Zach Horst Post author

    This is disconcerting – Henry Abbott of TrueHoop just tweeted “If we don’t make it on Tuesday,” Stern says, “my gut is that we won’t be playing on Christmas Day.”

  24. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin)

    You hear stuff like that and how do you not think “decertify”?

    The problem, of course, as latke and others have nicely pointed out, is that for a good chunk of the NBA, doing any sort of long term labor struggle royally screws them out of money they’ll never see again. So while you would love to see Stern raked over the coals for his bad faith negotiations via a decertification, it likely is not worth the lost income to the players to do it. Which, of course, is something Stern is betting on.

  25. dsi

    Fear not. The season is going to start sometime in the first half of December.

    Here’s why: the owners (even the big market teams) lose money during the pre-season and first few weeks. The revenue doesn’t cover their expenses. The league turns profitable after the World Series, and then really starts printing money after the Superbowl and through the (NBA) playoffs.

    Here’s how the owners are thinking: “Hey, you know, we can be real hardasses through the middle of November. If we convince the players we’re willing to lose the season, maybe we’ll be able to take them to the cleaners. And as long as we get started before January, there won’t be any real damage to the fan base.”

    So the next time it sounds to you like the owners keep shifting their requests, keep in mind that they’re doing it on purpose. They have nothing to gain by starting the season before December.

  26. cgreene

    I have to be honest that I dont have a big problem with soft cap penalties that Stern is proposing: $1.75 for first $5Million and $.25 for each $5Million. He proposed that a team could only be over the cap for a certain number of years in a row. I would not take that. I also dont have a problem with contract lengths of 3,4,5 years with players and owner left to negotiate how much is guaranteed. Players should give on both of those. Negotiate harder on the mid level, the Bird and the max and take 52% BRI.

    Who disagrees?

  27. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin)

    Yeah, $1.75 for the first $5 million and $0.25 past that is fine by me, too. Certainly a far cry from $6!!!

    I also don’t mind the notion of having guaranteed contracts be part of a negotiation process because, well, let’s face it, the owners will all cave on it as soon as they have to have Player X. What I don’t want is “no guaranteed contracts past three years” or anything set in stone designed just to bail owners out from making dumb moves.

    And yes, the mid-level and the Bird have got to be the two most important things for players (the Max is important, but not as important).

  28. jon abbey

    dsi:
    Fear not.The season is going to start sometime in the first half of December.

    if I were still a betting man (I am not), I would bet big against this, but we’ll have an answer by Tuesday, according to Stern’s comments today.

  29. latke

    Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin): The owners want that to be SIX DOLLARS for every $1 you go over the cap. So in the same scenario, the Lakers’ $80 million cap would be a $200 million payout!! As the players rightly have pointed out, that’s as much of a hard cap as you can possibly get.

    Here’s what I don’t get about the players’ concerns with the higher tax. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t the luxury tax the NBA’s version of revenue sharing? Sure, the Lakers would have to pay out a lot more, but that money would be redistributed to other teams, who, at least in theory, would then increase their spending. Player earnings would then remain the same. There’d just be more parity.

  30. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin)

    Just like with baseball, the teams that receive the luxury tax money rarely put that money back into their club. Note how few teams go over the luxury tax in the NBA. Heck, good players like Tyson Chandler get waived just to avoid it!

  31. latke

    Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin):
    Just like with baseball, the teams that receive the luxury tax money rarely put that money back into their club. Note how few teams go over the luxury tax in the NBA. Heck, good players like Tyson Chandler get waived just to avoid it!

    Yeah, but if player salaries are tied to BRI, it won’t matter, as if teams don’t spend enough to make up their percentage of BRI, the league will have to give out additional money at the end of the season. I mean, haven’t the players been preaching for more revenue sharing? Whether it’s worked out via a luxury tax or some more accounting-based measure seems irrelevant as in either case teams like the lakers and knicks are going to be paying out more and therefore spending less.

  32. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin)

    Seems reasonable enough. Before the season, I would have had Amar’e a bit higher (maybe 9/10), but yeah, after the fade job last season I don’t think I can make the case anymore.

  33. BigBlueAL

    Melo tweeted this earlier today:

    “I needed some motivation today and i just received it. Thank you @NBAonESPN!!!!!!!!!”

    lol

  34. John Kenney

    @Brian Cronin: You are underestimating the stretch of the season where Amar’e literally carried us on his back. The fourth quarter scoring leader who willed us to victory. Did he get overworked? yes. but that doesn’t mean his overall skill is less than a 9/10, only that he is no longer in the LeBron health stage of his career (if he ever had one).

    I, for one, was a part of these rankings and gave Melo an 8 and Amar’e a 9. did i willfully ignore amare’s defense while counting Melo’s against him? Perhaps. But what a joy he was to watch.

  35. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin)

    I love the notion that someone saying that he is the 12th best player in the entire NBA is an insult in Melo’s mind. It reminds me of the old Kobe arguments we used to have back in the day (when the Knicks were so bad all we needed other things to talk about) where anything less than “Kobe is the best player in the NBA” would be seen as an insult.

  36. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin)

    You are underestimating the stretch of the season where Amar’e literally carried us on his back. The fourth quarter scoring leader who willed us to victory. Did he get overworked? yes. but that doesn’t mean his overall skill is less than a 9/10, only that he is no longer in the LeBron health stage of his career (if he ever had one).

    Overall skill has to be factored in with health, doesn’t it? Like Tim Duncan – the guy’s skills are still tremendous, he’s just too old to use them as well as he did, so he gets ranked lower than he did when he was younger.

  37. gregory arkadin

    Youth and potential was preferred over experience in these rankings–Rondo being voted higher than Boston’s 3, Griffin breaking the top 10 in spite of the work he needs to do defensively–except, of course, in the case of Kobe, whom we’re still giving lifetime achievement awards. How else does a guy who hasn’t played consistently tough defense for years get voted on to the All-Defense 1st Team, while Andre Iguodala is once again forgotten? On a list such as this, I’d have a hard time ranking Bryant much higher than Garnett and Duncan, who, in spite of their perceived offensive limitations, are still fueling their teams’ defenses to a remarkable degree.

  38. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin)

    Man, I continue to be irritated by Bill Simmons’ “it is everyone’s fault!” position on the lockout. I mean, I guess if he stuck to “the players are handling the public relations of this situation terribly” as a criticism of the players, then fair enough, but he continues to seriously argue that players getting overpaid is something that the players should feel responsible for.

    What the players need to realize is that it’s bad for them to be overpaid. When someone like Josh Childress is mailing in a big deal that he never should have gotten to begin with, it makes fans resent the players and their sport. Do they care? Do they see the big picture here? Doesn’t seem like it. That’s why we need shorter contracts, and that’s why we need more checks and balances to prevent the owners from pulling a Plaxico on themselves. Sometimes it’s not all about “getting the most you can get.” I’d love to hear a veteran player admit that publicly. Just once.

    That is so woefully unsupportable that while I am surprised/disappointed that he actually made the point, I’m even more surprised/disappointed that he seems to think that this is something that the players should cop to as though it were an obvious truth. Players were getting overpaid in 2010-11 and it was a great season. Players have been getting overpaid basically as soon as we had real free agency in the early 1990s (players were overpaid as soon as there was free agency at all, but “overpaid” back then meant a player got $500,000 when he was only a $200,000 player, not like the millions players began to make during the 1990s) and no one has yet given a shit (don’t get me wrong, people complain about how much players make, but it is a general “they get paid millions to play a game!” sort of complaint that all professional athletes get). It is a non-issue.

  39. Zach Horst Post author

    BigBlueAL:
    Melo tweeted this earlier today:

    “I needed some motivation today and i just received it. Thank you @NBAonESPN!!!!!!!!!”

    lol

    I am not positive, but I’m pretty sure this wasn’t concerning his rank, but rather the segment they did on him about his involvement in Puerto Rico with building basketball courts. It aired a few minutes before he said it, and his previous tweet was also referencing it, if I remember correctly.

  40. BigBlueAL

    Zach Horst: I am not positive, but I’m pretty sure this wasn’t concerning his rank, but rather the segment they did on him about his involvement in Puerto Rico with building basketball courts. It aired a few minutes before he said it, and his previous tweet was also referencing it, if I remember correctly.

    If you read the NBA rank page they had this tweet in the reaction section under Melo’s page so ESPN thought this tweet was referring to their ranking. Thats where I saw it initially even though I do follow Melo on Twitter but didnt see the tweet when he initially tweeted it lol

  41. John Kenney

    Melo’s tweet of “ROTFL LMFAO” was more likely attached to shock at his ranking as opposed to any charitable work he did. I’m 99.9% sure of this.

    And Brian, health does have to be factored in, but I don’t think Amar’e's problems represent a permanent deterioration in his skills/ ability to use them (as with Duncan) but rather a temporary issue created by his minutes that hopefully would not exist next season.

  42. jon abbey

    Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin):
    Man, I continue to be irritated by Bill Simmons’ “it is everyone’s fault!” position on the lockout. I mean, I guess if he stuck to “the players are handling the public relations of this situation terribly” as a criticism of the players, then fair enough, but he continues to seriously argue that players getting overpaid is something that the players should feel responsible for.

    That is so woefully unsupportable that while I am surprised/disappointed that he actually made the point, I’m even more surprised/disappointed that he seems to think that this is something that the players should cop to as though it were an obvious truth. Players were getting overpaid in 2010-11 and it was a great season. Players have been getting overpaid basically as soon as we had real free agency in the early 1990s (players were overpaid as soon as there was free agency at all, but “overpaid” back then meant a player got $500,000 when he was only a $200,000 player, not like the millions players began to make during the 1990s) and no one has yet given a shit (don’t get me wrong, people complain about how much players make, but it is a general “they get paid millions to play a game!” sort of complaint that all professional athletes get). It is a non-issue.

    I’m wholeheartedly with the players in general, but don’t agree with you at all on this. it’s not exactly that they’re overpaid, it’s situations like Eddy Curry, where he didn’t even try for the last three obscenely paid seasons (going from memory) and he faced zero repercussions and just kept collecting massive paychecks. this never happens in baseball or football.

  43. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin)

    There are plenty of baseball players who have had similar situations to Eddy Curry. Look at Vernon Wells, for a current example. Heck, people complained about Carl Pavano in much the same way fans complained about Eddy Curry. No one stopped watching the Yankees and/or the Knicks because of either player. And surely no player looked at Curry’s situation and said, “Wow, look at what happened to Eddy Curry. We better cut down on the lengths of our guaranteed contract because Eddy Curry is such a loser.” And that is what Simmons is arguing – that players would be better off if they got less guaranteed years because it would give them more motivation to work hard. How patronizing of a view is that? That not only would less guaranteed money be better for them, but that they know it and just won’t admit it.

  44. cgreene

    @46 I didn’t interpret what Simmons said as “less money would be better for them and they know it”. I interpreted it as they know that there are way too many instances where either mediocre players are way overpaid like Rashard Lewis or that some players get a pay day and stop trying both of which are true. The players understand that this is bad for the game and can kill the health of a franchise. That’s what he’s saying and he’s right. They do realize that and they will end up giving on contract years and structure. It’s a foregone conclusion. This will be better for the league.

  45. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin)

    The game is doing quite well with the fans with overpaid players. They just had their best season in years. The ratings for the playoffs were actually up the past two seasons. And the NBA Finals was just won by a team filled to the brim with overpaid veteran players. This does not mean, of course, that players should check out if they get long term deals. Of course they shouldn’t. But A. those players are the outliers, not the standard and B. it sure doesn’t seem to be affecting the fans much.

    Now, of course, while fans don’t care that they guys are overpaid, they similarly don’t carry if the players get screwed by the owners in negotiations, which leads to the current situation where the players have no support from the general public because no one cares how much they get paid. Mediocre players getting the mid-level doesn’t piss people off, but the elimination of the mid-level doesn’t piss people off, either.

  46. Z

    Re: Players being overpaid–

    Why, exactly, are they overpaid? Isn’t it because owners agree to pay them what they do? Did anyone force Otis Smith to give Rashard Lewis $118 million dollars? Did Magic owner Richard DeVos not have to okay they contract before it was signed?

    Perhaps I only have a third grade understanding of all this, but how on earth can the owners be winning the PR battle in this? Does nobody remember July 1st, 2010? A day when career journeyman Drew Gooden got offered a 5 year $32 million contract that set in motion the most obscene public meat-market in sports history?

    Darko Milicic, a career-scrub, canceled his move back to Serbia when his agent shocked him with the news that a real life NBA team was actually going to pay him 20 million guaranteed dollars to suck at basketball for the next 4 years?

    Rudy Gay, a middling talent playing in the league’s smallest market, gets 5 years and $82 million?

    Joe Johnson, a barely-recognizable “superstar” already several years past his prime, signs the mother of all albatross contracts, getting 6 years and $118 million?

    And these were just the first 4 contracts agreed to!

    It’s no wonder that the owners are having buyers remorse, but, come on… If you can’t afford Rudy Gay at $17 million a year, don’t buy him.

  47. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin)

    Obviously, I agree, Z.

    And really, I totally understand the logic of arguing, “We are too stupid not to pay Drew Gooden a long-term guaranteed money deal, so we need rules to protect ourselves from our stupidity.” I totally get that. I don’t begrudge the owners for asking for such things. My bone of contention is the notion that the players should want these restrictions. And moreover, the notion that the players do think that these restrictions are good for them, they just don’t want to publicly admit it.

  48. jon abbey

    Vernon Wells is terrible, but at least he’s out there trying, and at least he’s not taking up valuable cap space. Pavano is a better example, but I think the cap makes it a much bigger problem in the NBA. Marbury is another one who just stopped trying with tens of millions of dollars left on his deal, and there’s no recourse.

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