Friday, August 24, 2012

5 comments Bill Simmons Breaks Out the "Real" Mailbag to Break Down the Dwight Howard Trade

I have created a College Football Yahoo Pick 'Em league if anyone cares to join that league. The league ID is 5656 and the password is "asu." Though large numbers aren't as necessary in that league, we only have two people and that's depressing.

Bill Simmons had a great time over at the Olympics. Don't take my word for it. He'll prove to be the annoying braggart we all know he can be when he tells you himself in a minute or so. Bill also has a great time in Los Angeles because of the great weather and will mention this no less than three times in this "mailbag." Bill did not have a great time hearing about the Dwight Howard trade. He is a very sad right now. Not sad enough to not do a two-question mailbag on the topic though! Not sad enough to make further excuses for Daryl Morey thought! Not sad enough to not put together words in sentences that give thousands a headache.

Man, life just couldn't be better out here in how-the-hell-is-it-still-sunny London.

Well great, just be sure to tell us all about in an effort to prove your insufferability is off the charts. God knows there isn't anything people enjoy reading more than how good of a time someone had on vacation. Only if Bill sat us down and showed us pictures for 30 minutes could it get worse then getting to read about all of the awesome things Bill did in London because he works for Grantland which is affiliated with ESPN, though Bill could afford to go to the Olympics even if he didn't start Grantland with his own two hands because he gets paid a lot of money and used to work for Jimmy Kimmel.

I knocked Wimbledon and Wembley off my sports bucket list. I caught a do-or-die quadruple-header of men's hoops. I watched the USA women's gymnastics and soccer teams capture gold medals under especially tense conditions.

Again, good for you. We are all bitter and don't care to hear about your good fortune. Well, that is except for the SimmonsClones. They live vicariously through Bill Simmons so his good fortune is their good fortune.

You know what? I say we immortalize this experience with a mega-mailbag for old time's sake. As always, these are actual e-mails from actual readers.

This is actually a mailbag that answers two questions, followed by two other mailbags about the London Olympics. Will I get to at least one of the other mailbags? As Joe Morgan used to say, it's too early to tell, but Ryan Howard is underpaid if you compare him to Matt Holliday.

Q. The Lakers got Howard without having to give up Gasol??? Seriously NBA GM's, what the hell? I'm very drunk and I have to work hardcore tomorrow. Is there a bright side or silver lining to this?
— Jay, Chicago

Just a tip to you sports fans out there. If you are drunk and have to work tomorrow, hardcore work nonetheless, and you decide while you are drunk the one thing you need to do is email Bill Simmons...then you need to sober up and take a good hard look at yourself in the mirror. There's a chance you may led a sad life and need to find new role models. There is no excuse for someone's judgment to be so impaired while drinking they think emailing Bill Simmons, and stating they are drunk as if this gives them "cool points" in the mind of a 40 year old man with two children, is what they should be doing with their time.

Q: You went on record saying that the Lopez/Humphries/multiple first round picks deal for Howard was "unacceptable." If that deal was 30 cents on the dollar, this deal has to be 2 cents on the dollar, right? The Magic got family sized pupu platter deluxe in Afflalo, Harrington, Vukevic, Harkless and 3 protected picks in the 20s.
— Matt Whitaker, Columbus, OH

Allow me to go on record. I like Moe Harkless a lot. Not as much as I like Brad Beal, but I like Moe Harkless a lot lot. I like him as a rookie who needs a year or two to learn to play in the NBA. He is not worth Dwight Howard. Not that Harkless was traded straight up for Howard, but this was not a good trade for the Magic overall. Though the good news is the Magic fans got rid of the Dwight Howard stories that were dominating the coverage of the that's something, right?

I'm just going to start typing. Here are my gut reactions …

Right because I am sure this mailbag was typed straight from his gut and contains absolutely no editing. Bill is just going to start typing his gut instincts, then review what he typed 2-3 times, add in a few jokes, and finally submit the column. It's all just so off-the-cuff.

WINNER: The Lakers Couldn't have played it any more perfectly these past six months: never biting on Orlando's "No, we need Gasol AND Bynum" power play,

Yes, the Lakers played this perfectly, but it also helped the Magic ended up having very little leverage when it came to Howard. Dwight Howard only wanted to play in certain cities and the leading offer on the table was a package built around Kris Humphries-Kardashian and Brook Lopez. So the Lakers didn't really need to start throwing Gasol and Bynum on the table in the trade talks until it was clear there were other serious offers out there which could top an offer of Bynum and Gasol. Bynum or Gasol individually topped the centerpiece of what any other team seemed to offer, so the Lakers didn't need to play anything perfectly. They just saw how desperate the Magic were and figured the price for Howard would decrease.

And as always with the Lakers, it worked out:

I've covered this before. It isn't just the Lakers that have things work out for them. Bill's very own Celtics often have trades work out for them, as do other NBA teams. Bill's bitterness towards the Lakers has caused him to be unable to distinguish between the truth and what he believes to be the truth.

If scientists could create basketball-playing robots from scratch and were asked to create someone to play with Pau Gasol, Kobe Bryant and Nash, basically, they would create Dwight Howard: a ridiculously strong shot blocker/rebounder who can run the floor and doesn't need the ball to be happy. In the span of 3.5 seconds, the Lakers went from "old, slow, can't defend anybody" to "who's stopping us?"

This brings me back to the other point I want to make. Bill has stated over, and over, and over, and over again the 2012 NBA Finals is the template upon which all NBA teams will now be built. He's said it repeatedly. He's stated the athleticism on display in that NBA Finals will be the standard upon which teams will have to meet in order to win an NBA Title. Apparently Bill was under the impression every NBA team needs their very own Durant, LeBron and Wade, because there are so many of those types of guys out there and all.

I said "was under the impression" because Bill changes his mind in this very column, without actually saying, "I'm an idiot who pretends to know more about the NBA then I probably do and stated the NBA was moving in a direction it certainly wasn't moving all because I overreacted to the makeup of the two teams in the 2012 NBA Finals." In fact, Bill claims his readers are the ones who thought the small-ball era was here, which is clearly false.

This brings me to my point. If the 2012 NBA Finals is the template on how teams can win an NBA Title then how can an NBA team with no athletic wing players and a natural center win the NBA Title and be unstoppable? The Lakers aren't athletic enough under Bill's "premature theory that every team needs to be super athletic because one time there was an NBA Finals with super athletic players," yet Bill seems them as an unstoppable team. Funny how that works.

LOSER: Brooklyn If Howard's inexplicable February flip-flop never happened, the Nets would have launched their new stadium with a Howard/Williams duo. Instead, they're headed for a series of second-round playoff exits with one of the least charismatic playoff contenders ever assembled. Will anyone care? Not really.

And apparently no charisma means no wins. I'm fairly certain if you told Bill Simmons that skill is what wins games for an NBA team, he would smack you in the face and call you wrong. Bill believes teams win games if they show attributes in the following order:

1. Give each other a lot of high-fives.
2. Ubuntu. Use it.
3. Appear to like each other.
4. Have charisma.
5. Look like they are having fun on the court.
6. Have a white guy on the bench who waves a towel.
192. Have players with a strong set of skills which causes those players to have talent at playing basketball.

I don't remember anyone complaining about LeBron stacking his Miami team, or choosing to play with his biggest rival over trying to beat him, when we were watching him lay waste to Oklahoma City. We only care about what's happening in the moment.

Really? Really? Really? There was no one saying LeBron stacked his Miami team or criticizing LeBron for choosing the Heat as he made his way to winning his first NBA Title? Bill should check ESPN sometime and find a guy named "Skip Bayless" on the television. Or read an article posted on this thing called "the Internet." There were plenty of people criticizing LeBron as he made his way to winning his first title. Perhaps Bill should read articles that are posted on the Internet sometime and he would find out his assumption is very much incorrect.

That's professional sports in the 21st century — once you reach a certain level of quality, you can walk all over whomever you want without any real repercussions. Remember the Bridesmaids scene when they were trying on wedding dresses and everyone came down with violent diarrhea? Howard was all five bridesmaids and Orlando's fans were the wedding dresses.

Then he shoehorns a pop culture reference in to remind everyone he is incapable of simply stating what he means, rather he has to compare Item X to Item Y in order to show his audience what Item X means. If Bill were a painter, he would paint a picture and then paint another picture in order to show what the first painting was supposed to show or mean.

In April, after the Lakers win 65 games and everyone is getting psyched for a Heat-Lakers Finals, nobody will care that Howard acted like such a big baby. We'll be busy with crap like ranking him against the other great Lakers centers of all time. That's just how sports works.

Don't do this "we" shit. I'll always remember Howard acted like a baby. Of all people, Bill Simmons won't EVER forget how Howard ended up with Lakers. He'll be talking about it in his columns for the next decade at a very minimum. Bill makes "6 for 24" jokes in his columns about Kobe Bryant and the Celtics lost that NBA Finals over two years ago. So for Bill to say "we" will forget about Howards pre-Lakers antics is not only wrong, but Bill is probably the person who will be the one doing the reminding.

I hate it when Bill uses this "we" shit. He acts like he's the Sports Guy, when we all know he isn't the Sports Guy. He isn't my buddy who talks about sports like me and is just like me. He's a wealthy, pop-culture spewing, self-involved fan of Boston sports who managed to get a job with ESPN and has done very well for himself. He isn't like me and my friends. He's like me and my friends if I hated my friends and their professional success caused them to become know-it-all jerks who name-drop anyone slightly famous they know.

WINNER: Steve Nash Went from playing with 11 bench guys on a lottery team to playing with Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant on a title favorite. Remember SNL's "Orgasm Guy" sketches with Rob Schneider? I think that was Steve Nash this morning when he woke up and found out about this trade.

Remember that SNL skit about Debbie Downer? It's not at all related to what I am saying, but let's pretend it is for the sake of my pop culture reference.

Important note: Most human beings move to Los Angeles for what they assume will be a short period of time, feel like they're on vacation for a few months … and eventually, they come to grips with the fact that they're probably never leaving because it's 75 degrees every day and there are 10,000 things to do in Los Angeles.

It is an "important note" for Bill to remind us he loves where he lives. This is absolutely crucial to this trade. Because Dwight Howard can't afford a house in pretty much any city in the entire United States he wants to live in. So if he hated Los Angeles he would forced to live there and build a house, and only one house, in that city and in no other city. It's very important we know that everything Bill sees and does is great.

I am one of those people. Apparently, so is Dwight Howard.

The conclusion I immediately drew upon hearing this trade occurred was that Los Angeles must be a great place to live. I didn't think that Howard wanted to play with Nash and Kobe. Nor did I think Howard accepted the trade because the Lakers weren't giving up Gasol in the trade. No, I just thought of how great Los Angeles is and that must be why Howard agreed to play for the Lakers.

We'll never know this for sure, but I don't think he would have pushed for a Los Angeles trade if he hadn't lived there this summer. There has to be a connection.

No, there doesn't have to be a connection. These two events can be completely unrelated. The Lakers are one of 30 NBA teams and they have Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash and Pau Gasol on that team. Maybe Howard wanted to play there because he liked the Lakers team and the idea of playing for the Lakers franchise. I'm sure it was the city of Los Angeles which is the only reason Howard agreed to the trade. Howard hated the idea of playing with three All-Star players until he saw how awesome Rodeo Drive truly was.

Had I been running the Magic, there would have been a zero percent chance — repeat: zero percent chance — that I was trading Howard unless I was getting Bynum back AND dumping Turkoglu's contract.

Bill Simmons not-so-covertly applies for the job as Orlando Magic GM. If Bill was running the Magic no other NBA owner or GM would talk to him because he would constantly talk up trades and say shit like, "Who says 'no' to that offer?"

What Bill also fails to see, and I'm not defending the Magic here, is they didn't have a ton of options. Howard was unhappy and eventually he was going to have all the leverage. He could leave and the Magic would get nothing for him after the 12-13 season or he would be a distraction the entire year until he finally got traded during the season. I do think the Magic could have gotten more for him than they did, but once the summer ends and the Magic lose more leverage when Howard's free agency gets closer, I don't know if they could have gotten Bynum and dumped Turkoglu's contract.

Without those two things, I'm just keeping Howard, letting the soap opera drag on and on for a few more months, then hoping I could do better in February.

Yeah, "hoping" you could do better. There's a plan that screams "I am incredibly competent at my job."

And guess what? I'm pretty sure that, six months from now, Philly, Denver and the Lakers would all still want to do a four-team trade in which all of them made out great and the Magic made out like crap.

Would they? Bill has no way of knowing this. He is making assumptions only to help prove the point he wants to make. Maybe the Lakers don't want to trade Bynum in February. Maybe Bynum gets hurt this season and the Magic don't want to trade for him. Quite a few of Bill's brilliant ideas rely on assumptions, which he will only hope come true.

WINNER: Kendrick Perkins Remember when everyone was saying, "A year from now, OKC will just amnesty Perkins so they can pay Ibaka and Harden?" Not so fast! Getting rid of Howard's Personal Kryptonite when Howard is suddenly playing for your biggest conference rival isn't the best career move. (And you thought Miami's shift to small ball had rendered the Perkins Era obsolete … )

No! You thought the shift to small ball had rendered the Perkins Era obsolete. Your readers don't automatically believe every fucking thing you type. They don't believe the Ewing Theory is true, they don't believe you are qualified to be an NBA GM, they don't believe your daughter is truly magical and they don't believe there was a shift to small-ball in the NBA. Those are things that Bill Simmons believes, not his readers. I have been saying Bill's insistence that the NBA was moving to small-ball is bullshit and I am sure plenty of other people have thought the same thing. Bill Simmons thought the Perkins Era was obsolete, his readers just laughed at him.

(Except for the SimmonsClones though. Bill can do no wrong in their eyes. They are probably throwing their arms back and saying, "I certainly did think the Perkins Era was over. Boy, I'm stupid. I'm glad Bill is around to correct my own misconceptions.")

LOSER: The Rockets After getting demolished by The Veto, they spent the last nine months gathering enough assets to land Howard or Bynum and hoping for a situation exactly like the one that played out this week: you know, Orlando finally panicking and needing a third team for their mega-trade. What happened? Philly and Denver snuck in there, leaving Houston GM Daryl Morey with the permanent McKayla's Not Impressed Face.

So let's kill Daryl Morey for believing that Howard is going to go to Houston over Los Angeles or New York. Let's do it. Because quite frankly if the Suns sold all of their assets to get Bynum or Howard, Bill would be pointing out no one wants to play in Phoenix when they can play in a sexier NBA city. So Bill will kill Morey for thinking Howard wanted to play in Houston, right? I mean, Houston wasn't even Howard's first choice in the state of Texas. That was Dallas. Bill has to kill Daryl Morey for believing Howard wanted to play for the Rockets.

So, can you kill Morey for how it played out? Not for going all-in for a chance at Bynum or Howard, that's for sure.

We can't forget that Daryl Morey is Bill Simmons' friend. Friends of Bill get a pass and receive no criticism from Bill. Of course when the Indiana Pacers clear cap room in seven years to get a shot at signing Anthony Davis, Bill is going to be mocking them for actually believing Davis will play in Indiana over another sexier city. So yes, you can kill Daryl Morey. It is somewhat justified.

He wanted to be on the board if those two chess pieces ever moved … and by the way, they moved. He just didn't get them. But if you wanted to kill the Rockets for (a) turning Goran Dragic into Jeremy Lin, (b) recklessly amnestying Luis Scola when they didn't have to do so, and (c) caring so much about cap space that they amnestied Scola during the same month that they shelled out $25 million to Omer Asik … I mean … (let's just move on).

Even when Bill knocks the Rockets for their offseason moves, he does so passive-aggressively. Howard wasn't coming to the Rockets, and mostly Howard wasn't re-signing with the Rockets, as long as the Nets or Lakers were in play. Bill needs to be real about this. Andrew Bynum? Maybe, but I don't know if Andrew Bynum is the type of player a team should clear all cap space in order to acquire. He's talented, but there are a lot of "buts" that go along with him.

Fear No. 2: They're building around two of the league's moodiest and most enigmatic players (Bynum and Turner). That one worries me. You can get away with one enigma (see: Rondo, Rajon), but if you have two, suddenly there's a risk that they'll be hanging out and enabling each other's moodiness OR trying to out-enigma each other.

So does this mean the Lakers could be in trouble because they are building around Howard and Kobe, with a little side of Ron Artest thrown in? Of course not! Bill's theories only apply when he wants or needs them to apply.

The Laker fans love their team, but they also live near the Pacific Ocean in a place that's 75 degrees every day. Tends to keep everything in perspective.

Again, Bill wants to emphasize that Los Angeles is a great place to live. He can not overstate or talk about this enough.

The two craziest, most overreactionary, life-or-death sports cities in America are probably Philly and Boston — because of their cold weather, because of their provincialism, because of their respective tortured histories,

I'd love to hear about this tortured history of Boston teams again. Five Super Bowls since 2001 for the Patriots, 17 championships for the Celtics, two World Series wins in the last decade for the Red Sox...just based solely on the Bruins and the Celtics alone Boston fans haven't ever been tortured, no matter how much Bill continues to further this false narrative. The Bruins were successful for a good period of time and the Celtics have more championships than any other NBA team. How can Bill say Boston is tortured with a straight face?

LOSERS: Miami, Oklahoma City So much for the small-ball era. This is going to be verrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrry interesting.

There never was a small-ball era. Bill Simmons made this era up and now he is pretending like there was an era where small ball was played, rather than there being one NBA Finals where small-ball was played one time between two NBA teams.

TO BE DETERMINED: Kobe Bryant Guess who has a chance to pass MJ's six rings now?

Guess who suddenly has a legitimate chance to go down as the best Laker ever?

Guess who basically won the lottery by ending up with Shaq and Howard in the same career?

You are supposed to not give the answer until after you ask the questions, not tell the answer and then ask the questions after you have identified who the answer to the questions are.

The Lakers nailed six franchise-altering moves over the past eight years, and that's not including last month's Nash trade, when they somehow convinced a Pacific Division rival that absolutely hates them to hand over their most iconic player for some meaningless picks and cap space.

Here are the franchise-altering moves. Really it can be summed up in four moves, but Bill makes the last move not to trade Bynum or Gasol into it's very own moves in order to convince us he has a really, really good point.

Picking Kobe over Shaq in 2004.

Kobe was the best player in the NBA at the time. This wasn't the most difficult of decisions, even at the time. Kobe was younger too.

Keeping Kobe in 2007 when just about everyone else would have panic-traded him.

Again, you don't just trade one of the best players in the NBA simply because he doesn't like the makeup of the team.

Stealing Gasol from Memphis in 2008.

As opposed to the fair deal the Sonics got for Ray Allen of course.

Making a 2011 deal for Chris Paul that, in retrospect, would have been a hijacking if it hadn't been vetoed. Not panicking after the CP3 trade fell through and keeping Bynum and Gasol over blowing things up. And now, waiting out this Howard saga until they got exactly the trade they wanted.

This should all be one move. The deal got vetoed so the Lakers didn't panic and got the trade they wanted.

(By the way, I think I'm just going to stay in London. I don't want to come home.

Feel free to stay there.


jacktotherack said...

"Remember the Bridesmaids scene when they were trying on wedding dresses and everyone came down with violent diarrhea? Howard was all five bridesmaids and Orlando's fans were the wedding dresses."

Seriously, what the fuck is this? Is that a joke? Is that supposed to be funny? Couldn't Bill just say "Howard shit all over Magic fans" and spare us an awful, awful Bridesmaids reference? I hate this man.

Oh and my advice to the drunk bro-han who has X-treme hardcore work tomorrow but found it necessary to write Simmons isn't to find better role models, its to shoot himself before he produces offspring that are as stupid as he is.

jacktotherack said...

"Remember SNL's "Orgasm Guy" sketches with Rob Schneider? I think that was Steve Nash this morning when he woke up and found out about this trade."

Sorry but I didn't realize it got even worse. I mean, GODDAMN that is terrible!!! That is just unfunny on every level. I think Gregggggggggggg writes funnier jokes than this shit. Holy fuck, how are there people who find Simmons entertaining???

rich said...

eventually, they come to grips with the fact that they're probably never leaving because it's 75 degrees every day and there are 10,000 things to do in Los Angeles.

Holy shit the arrogance here is so strong it's affecting all five of my senses.

It always amazes me when people from places like NY and LA think that anyone who doesn't want to live their is batshit crazy. Well, between the high rent prices, high taxes, retarded local laws, absurd amounts of traffic and, in the case of LA, pollution issues... ya, I can't think of a single reason why anyone would want to move away from LA.

Having lived in Chicago, NY, Boston, Philly, Dallas, St. Louis and now Kansas City there's a very simple pattern. Once you lived somewhere for six months, you've done most of the shit you're going to do. The rest of your time is mainly a pattern of going to the places you like an occassionally going somewhere new.

Who gives a fuck if there's 10,000 things to do when you might do 400 of them?

I am one of those people. Apparently, so is Dwight Howard.

Dwight Howard had no say in the matter. Given that Howard also hasn't signed an extension and even went so far as to say he wasn't going to... how the fuck is Howard "one of those people"?

that I was trading Howard unless I was getting Bynum back AND dumping Turkoglu's contract.

Ya, after spending an entire year listening to your all-star center bitch about not wanting to play in Orlando and demanding trades and being a general asshole... you'd demand to get a guy who has one year left on his deal, refuses to sign an extension until the off-season and has injury and behavioral issues.

Basically, if I were the Magic, I'd stay the fuck away from Bynum because what are the chances he sticked around in Orlando? Zero? I'm going with zero.

I'm pretty sure that, six months from now, Philly, Denver and the Lakers would all still want to do a four-team trade in which all of them made out great and the Magic made out like crap.

This is very easy to answer: no, it wouldn't.

The reason: The Sixers aren't dumping Iggy, Harkless and a first for a guy with 2-3 months left on his deal. Before the deal, they weren't going to seriously contend in the East, so why in the world would a team fighting for the 4th seed trade away a promising rookie, a first and their best player for a rental player?

Fear No. 2: They're building around two of the league's moodiest and most enigmatic players (Bynum and Turner).

I wasn't aware Turner was moody. His problem is self-confidence, not being a moody asshole.

They're also not building around Turner... at al. If anything, they're building around Jrue.

By the way, I think I'm just going to stay in London. I don't want to come home.

THAT... THAT'S HOW HE ENDS IT? Holy shitballs, what happened to LA being the most incredibly amazing, awesome city ever? It's 75 every day! There's beaches!

Fuck Bill.

Theo said...

As usual you guys are killing it on this blog. I know we've all read the incredibly wordy yet compelling destruction of Simmons by Et tu, Mr. Destructo but this quote sums it up in far fewer words and without the need of a thesaurus:

Then he shoehorns a pop culture reference in to remind everyone he is incapable of simply stating what he means, rather he has to compare Item X to Item Y in order to show his audience what Item X means. If Bill were a painter, he would paint a picture and then paint another picture in order to show what the first painting was supposed to show or mean.

Well done dude. Thanks again for the great takes.

Bengoodfella said...

Jack, that Bridesmaids reference was really tossed in there carelessly. It's like how Charlie Sheen threw away trash with Emilio Estavez in the movie "Men at Work."

Also, whatever the opposite of not being able to get enough of something...that's how I feel about guys writing in and saying they are drunk and are writing Bill an email.

Simmons is at his worst when he makes forced pop culture references and tries to prove how clever he is.

Rich, I'm glad Bill likes LA so much. It's almost like he just moved to LA and just realized how great it is.

Howard hasn't even signed an extension yet. I think he will, but it's a bit too early to start a parade for how much Howard likes LA. I don't know if Bynum would have re-signed in Orlando or not if he got traded there, but the Magic had very little leverage and it was only going to get worse. I don't think they did well, but getting rid of Hedo's contract probably wasn't going to happen if they wanted talent back come early February.

That is very true. Why would the Sixers trade those guys for a rental player? I didn't think of that and clearly Bill didn't either.

London is great. LA is great. Everywhere Bill goes is great. It's mostly because he is there.

Theo, I appreciate the sentiments. That may be the first time someone has told me I use fewer words compared to someone else in order to say something. Usually I am pretty wordy.

That Et tu, Mr. Destructo post about Simmons was great. Any time what I write is used in the same sentence it's always appreciated.