NBA GMs are Wrong: The Cavs Should Trade Andrew Wiggins For Kevin Love

LeBron made what most people thought was an unforgivable mistake four years ago with how he handled his departure from Cleveland in the hour-long ESPN special, The Decision. It seemed unlikely that’d he ever return to play for his hometown. But he did.

And now that LeBron has returned to Cleveland, the biggest storyline of the NBA offseason will be whether Cleveland adds Kevin Love to the mix before the season starts. The Cavs would love to acquire Love, as long as they don’t have to part with last month’s top overall pick Andrew Wiggins. That’s where things get complicated. Minnesota is reluctant to deal the 25 year old Love, who averaged 26 points and over 12 rebounds per game last season. Even though Love only has one year left on his deal and is unlikely to re-sign with Minnesota in the offseason, the T’Wolves are still hesitant to ship off Love, unless they get a major haul in return. The hardest thing to do in the NBA, especially for a small-market team like Minnesota, is to land a superstar. And the easiest thing to do in the NBA, especially for small-market teams, is to trade away a disgruntled superstar for 75 cents on the dollar. That is precisely what Minnesota wants to avoid.

In a way, the T’Wolves have all the leverage. They know how badly the Cavs want Love. Yet, the Wolves also have zero leverage: everyone in the league knows that Love will be a free agent next summer, and has no interest in staying in Minnesota. Continue reading

The First Hilariously Bad Contract (Offer) of Free Agency

You might be expecting this to be an article on the deal the Pistons just signed Jodie Meeks to. And that would be a good guess. Meeks is nowhere near deserving over $6 million per season. But that is not the craziest thing we’ve seen this free agency. Today, on day two of free agency, the Cavaliers offered Gordon Hayward a max deal. To be fair, it’s not a MAX max.

It’s a lower level max deal since Hayward is in his first post-rookie contract. But that is just an issue of semantics. What is perplexing, is how a player who shot 30% from 3 and 41% from the field is worth a 4 year/$63 million deal. Especially when that player is marketed as a shooter. Hayward is not like Kyle Korver. Hayward’s game is much more rounded out and can do lots of things on the court, but more than anything, he is supposed to be a good shooter. As CBS Sports’ Matt Moore puts it, Hayward is pretty good at everything, but elite at nothing. That’s fine. That’s just another way of saying he’s a versatile player–not a speciality guy. But there is the very legitimate question of how good your team can be, especially in the West, if your two highest paid players are Derrick Favors and Gordon Hayward. Both guys are probably the third or fourth best players on very good teams. But right, restricted free agency. This is how it works: you have to overpay to pry someone away. Continue reading

A World Cup Roster of NBA Players

Ever imagine how good the United States would be at soccer if the country’s best athletes decided to focus on soccer, instead of soccer or basketball? I know, it’s a popular talking point for Americans, who try to defend their country’s relatively weak soccer team. Don’t get me wrong: US soccer has made great strides. We’ve gotten out of three of the last four group stages, but imagine how good we could be if our best athletes were soccer players. Without even considering the NFL, let’s construct a World Cup roster from the current players in the NBA, who are American.

Goalie: LeBron James
LeBron would be the idea goalie, center defender, center-mid, and center striker. He would be perfect no matter where you put him. In goal though, he would never lose a ball in the air, and he’d be stronger than any striker he encountered on corner kicks. He’s also agile enough to dive and make quick stops. You can count on clean sheets with LeBron in goal. Continue reading

Top 75 NBA Trade Value (Part 4)

Here’s Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 of the series.

Group H: “He’s Young, Puts Up Great Stats, And Isn’t A Winner. We Hate Ourselves For Listening To Your Deal”

24. DeMarcus Cousins
Cousins should be in the top 10. He has that much talent. How many 23 year old centers averaged 23 and 12, with a PER over 26? If only Cousins could be surrounded by well-respected vets. The Kings made the poor decision of building their entire team around Cousins. He’s good enough to build around, but at this stage in his career, he needs other All-Star caliber vets to show him the ropes. Despite Cousins’ attitude problems, he’s still one of the best players in the league. Cousins needs to be on a good team with good players. Liken him to Zach Randolph. Cousins is more talented and a little crazier than Randolph. Remember though: Randolph had his share of issues when he was on the JailBlazers. It wasn’t until he joined the Grizzlies that he really turned his career around. Cousins could do the same if in the right situation. Continue reading

Lottery Breakdown

Ahh, it’s that time of the year again. The time of the year when the most incompetent franchises in the NBA pray that they’ll be gifted the absolutely unearned right to draft a great player. The draft is supposed to be a plac

e to get promising players who are very cheap. Unfortunately, many of the same teams find themselves in the lottery year after year, and are either hindered by bad luck or by delusional incompetence. (See: 2008-2009 Washington Wizards) This a useful example, if only because it is so absurdly idiotic and illustrates why every Wizards fan feels like this whenever Ernie Grunfeld is about to make a decision. It would not surprise me if some fans have in fact “lost their eyes,” being forced to watch the likes of Oleksiy Pecherov and Jan Vesely in the past few years. Anyway, the 2008-2009 Wiz give us a textbook example of a GM and team that are impatient and ridiculously delusional. We’re talking about a team coming off a 19-63 campaign. What does a 19 win team look like you ask? Well, we’re talking about a team 1) whose best player was bringing guns into the locker-room, 2) had a soon-to-be convicted murderer, and perhaps the worst indictment of all, 3) started Darius Songaila.  We’re looking at a historically dysfunctional team that needed to be dismantled ASAP. So what did manageme

nt do when it had the 5th pick in the draft and the chance to draft Stephen Curry? They did what any competent team would do: they traded the pick for two mediocre role players, Randy Foye and Mike Miller! The Wizards may have been 19-63 and the punchline of the NBA, but they were going all-in next season! What’s the point of this example? The point is that patience is key and trading away top picks is rarely worth it, unless it’s possible to acquire a franchise player in return. Sort of like how the Wizards had a chance last year to trade the #3 pick used on Brad Beal for JAMES HARDEN, one of the ten best players on earth. This year’s draft has been called one of the weakest of all time, and while that may be true, there will inevitably be very good NBA players somewhere in this draft. Let’s look at the best and worst case scenarios for each of the lottery teams in this draft whose top prospect is a 206 pound center with a torn ACL!

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1. Cleveland Cavaliers

Best-Case Scenario: Victor Oladipo
Worst-Case Scenario: Nerlens Noel

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Who would you build an NBA Franchise around?

Here’s the situation: you’re an NBA GM and you’re trying to draft from entire pool of NBA players to make your team as successful as possible. This obviously slightly rates how players are valued. Would you rather select Kobe Bryant at age 34 with a $30 million salary coming off of a torn achilles, or 24 year old James Harden, set to make $15 million next year? Would you rather have Dwyane Wade at age 31, making nearly $19 million, or 20 year old Kyrie Irving who’s still on his rookie deal? Further, would you rather have Russell Westbrook or Derrick Rose, coming off a torn ACL? Age, contract size, injury history, and potential all factor into your decision. Position matters too. Point guard is a very deep position, but center is not. But as the Heat showed us last season, small ball can work fine. If you have Lebron James, at least.

Running a successful NBA franchise isn’t easy. Well, it might be, but we’ll never know, when teams are run by people like this. After all, only nine different franchises have the title in the past 32 years. Going into each season, there’s usually only 3 or 4 teams that have a realistic shot at winning the title. Underdogs stand little chance when they have to beat a team four times out of seven. Usually the better team will advance in the playoffs. The league today is very top heavy– so much, that LeBron recently advocated contracting the league. The league wouldn’t be so uneven if not for teams habitually overpaying bad players (looking at you, Wizards), teams having to deal with whining superstars (sorry, Magic), and teams trading all their young assets for injured players (we know how you feel, 76ers). That’s why the size of contract, character of the player, and the injury history are all important in deciding who to build an NBA franchise around. Without further ado…

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