27 April 2008

Conflict of interest

In my view, there were three very unbalanced trades in the 2007-2008 regular season in the NBA.

The first, Shawn Marion for Shaq, I already outlined in a post yesterday.

The second, Pau Gasol to L.A. for almost nothing, I've ranted about enough on this blog.

And then there's the third, Kevin Garnett to Boston for Al Jefferson, Sebastian Telfair, Ryan Gomes, Theo Ratliff and two first-round picks last July.

Any trade involving Garnett should have demanded nothing short of an established superstar in return. Al Jefferson is a great young talent, to be sure. But Telfair is horrible and Gomes is a nice role player. Ratliff was thrown in only for his expiring contract. The first-round picks might be nice, but with how well Boston will play for the next few years, they'll be late first-rounders at best.

Sure, the salaries worked within the NBA's rules, but talent-wise, Minnesota got worked. At the very least they should have gotten Pierce and Jefferson.


What do these three trades have in common?

Major decision-makers for the teams that got the short end of the stick have major ties to the team on the other side of the table.

Jerry West, Memphis' President of Basketball Operations, used to the Lakers' Vice-President of Basketball Operations, and played for the Lakers his entire career.

Kevin McHale, Minnesota's Vice-President of Basketball Operations, spent his entire career in Boston, winning three championships, and is known as one of the Celtics' original "Big Three," along with Larry Bird and Robert Parish.

And Steve Kerr, Phoenix's President of Basketball Operations, while initially drafted by the Suns, only spent one season there and picked up two NBA championships during four seasons playing in San Antonio, where he retired.

Three bad trades. In each case, a former star helps out the team he has the most allegiance to (or in Kerr's case, at least a lot of allegiance).

And in each case, the teams looking to move a star could have gotten much more elsewhere. Gasol was worth more than Kwame Brown and Javaris Crittenton. Garnett was worth more than Jefferson and couple late-round draft picks. And Shawn Marion was worth more than an aging Shaq, who destroyed the Suns' entire offensive philosophy.

Lesson learned? Don't hire a former NBA star as your GM.

Also, the NBA needs to look very hard at trades like these before allowing them. It's borderline obscene that David Stern signed off on these three in particular.

I hope we're not witnessing the start of a trend.

1 comment:

Filbert Karo said...

There will be more trades like that. It will be horrible. Although, the Garnett and Gasol trades were pretty good trades- for LA and Boston.