Monday, March 3, 2014

9 comments Since Zach Lowe Works for Bill Simmons I Guess He Has to Indulge Him with a Trade Deadline Diary

I like Zach Lowe. He knows his NBA basketball pretty well and can be insightful when writing. As a person who has an eye for writing talent, Bill Simmons is pretty good himself. He has pulled together a pretty good team of writers at Grantland and Lowe is one of those writers. The problem is that Lowe essentially works for Bill Simmons, so he has to interact with Simmons to do something silly like a rambling trade diary. The NBA trade deadline has already become sort of boring due to the lack of trades and interest in NBA GM's to make trades that would significantly affect the playoff race. This year we have Evan Turner for Danny Granger as the big trade when it's really basically a trade of the Pacers saying "Well, maybe we should get a more versatile small forward" versus the 76ers saying, "We are not signing Evan Turner and we are not signing Danny Granger. Maybe Granger will want to be bought out." And yet, Bill Simmons thought the trade deadline deserved a diary of his fake "Who says 'no'?" trades, a ton of YouTube clips and quick changes of the subject when he is wrong about something.

Editor’s note: Every time there’s an NBA trade deadline, Zach Lowe and Bill Simmons like to trade emails about the relative nonaction while secretly hoping that something huge will happen. It never does. Every February, they gamely press on. Here are today’s emails from coast to coast, as they appeared in real time, as our boys killed time until the 3 p.m. ET trade deadline.

And why wouldn't anyone want to read Zach Lowe and Bill Simmons killing time? Sadly, this column probably gets a bunch of pageviews simply because Bill's name is attached to it and his lemming readers will immediately read anything that he writes (or doesn't write as it seems to be of late).

Zach Lowe (10:08 AM EST) 
So, I was about to ask for your thoughts on why the deadline is so quiet at this point — whether it’s the new CBA in effect, general managers getting smarter, some sort of overcautious groupthink, or something else. But Spencer Hawes just got traded to Cleveland for two second-round picks!!

Philly will receive two second-rounders, which is decent return for a mediocre unrestricted free agent who has regressed defensively this season.

Yes, but Spencer Hawes is tall, not uncoordinated and can shoot the three-point shot. Basically he's a 5 year $50 million contract waiting to happen. There's no such thing as a mediocre seven-foot tall free agent who is in his mid-20's and can score in double figures while shooting the three-point shot. He's getting overpaid. The only question left is by whom?

Bill Simmons (10:21 AM EST)
So, to recap — Jordan Crawford was worth more than Spencer Hawes in an NBA trade this season. I love the NBA. Never change, NBA!

This is part of the problem with Bill when he does a diary with another individual. Bill tries so hard to make jokes that sometimes really obvious analysis misses him completely. For example:

Zach Lowe (10:22 AM EST)
Well, Crawford is much cheaper, which will come into play as we discuss Hawes deals that didn’t happen. I can see the thinking here for Cleveland, I guess.

Exactly, Jordan Crawford is much cheaper than Spencer Hawes. That's why he is worth more.

Bill Simmons (10:22 AM EST)
That sentence hasn’t been written in four years.

I'm not sure if Bill is trying to have an actual discussion or just crack as many jokes as possible to kill time. Probably a little of both. I think this sentence has been written in the last four years, namely when the Cavs drafted Kyrie Irving.

Zach Lowe (10:22 AM EST)
Anyway, they want to make the playoffs, they’re on a nice six-game winning streak against mostly very bad teams, and Hawes gives them a big man who can shoot 3s. The Cavs suffer from spacing issues, in part because none of their bigs can really shoot beyond 15 feet or so on the pick-and-pop/pick-and-roll — which is just about all the Cavs run,

There's the analysis that Bill gives us in his columns where he basically dicks around and tries to think of as many "Who says 'no'?" trade ideas, while determining that a team is going to do well in the playoffs because they exchange a lot of high-fives. Then there is analysis like Zach Lowe gives here, you know, actual analysis that shows why/why not Hawes will fit in with the Cavaliers. Basically there are NBA experts and then there are guys who like to talk about the NBA. I think Bill is good at talking about the NBA as long as he can make shit up and think of fake trades.

Bill Simmons (10:24 AM EST)
On NBA Countdown last night, we discussed how the two most exciting types of people at the trade deadline are new owners and restless owners. I totally forgot about screaming-and-restless-owners-who-want-to-win.

It's really the same thing, but whatever. The reason restless and screaming owners have those characteristics is because they want to win.

Any sane person running the Cavs would be thinking two things. First, missing the best lottery in six years just so the Cavs can get annihilated by Miami or Indiana in Round 1 sounds like the dumbest plan since “We have a young and impressionable team … let’s bring in Andrew Bynum as a mentor for everyone.”

This is typical Bill Simmons. He's right about the Cavs, but Andrew Bynum was brought in to fill the center position for the Cavs, not to be a mentor. Bill is right, but he has to stretch the truth just a little bit to make himself seem more right.

Bill Simmons (10:36 AM EST)
One of my favorite underrated traditions: when a healthy Anderson Varejao plays well for three or four weeks, then the Cavs forget to trade him before he gets hurt … and then he gets hurt.

Here is another typical Bill Simmons comment. He wants to be the GM of an NBA team, but he can't quite divorce himself from being a video game GM. Bill criticizes the Cavs for not trading Varejao before he gets injured again, but Varejao's injuries are something every other NBA GM is aware of as well. So that probably affects the trade market for Varejao's services. Yet Bill just sees it as, "Oh, the Cavs failed to trade Varejao again," as if getting very little for Varejao is better than having him on the roster and occasionally healthy.

Bill Simmons (10:41 AM EST)
But they have to please Kyrie — he doesn’t make his teammates better, thrives in pickup games when there’s no defense, and has lost over 60 percent of the NBA games he’s played.

I'm a huge fan of Kyrie Irving, so take my comments with a grain of salt if you choose to, but since when it is bad that Irving plays well in pickup games where there is no defense? It seems he has thrived in the NBA so far, have no teams guarded him over his three year career? Also, what teammates does Irving have to make better and how can Irving be blamed for losing 60% of his career games at this point? Bill can't talk about what a disaster the Cavaliers draft picks/free agent signings have been and then criticize Kyrie Irving for not making these teammates better and losing games. It doesn't work that way.

Here’s my question, Zach — where the hell were the Clippers on Hawes??? If the price was two second-rounders, they couldn’t have topped that? They have Ryan Hollins, Byron Mullens, Hedo Turkoglu, Keith Closs Jr., Mike Golic, Stan Verrett and Snoop Dogg as their backup bigs right now. Hawes REALLY would have helped. Explain this to me.

That was Bill's not-so-subtle reminder that he coached one of the celebrity basketball teams during All-Star weekend. He names celebrities and ex-athletes who played in that game as a reminder he got to coach one of the teams. Subtle he is not.

This is another instance where Bill can't divorce himself from being a video game GM. Yeah Zach Lowe, why wouldn't the Clippers trade for Hawes?

Zach Lowe (10:45 EST)
As for the Clips, well, Hawes is making $6.6 million this season, and the Clips are $2 million over the tax. So that’s hard to swallow, even though this is a freaking potential title contender in obvious need of a third quality big man.

Oh yes, "reality" is the reason the Clippers won't trade for Spencer Hawes. Bill thinks about trades in a vacuum and doesn't seem entirely capable of understanding the full picture of why one of his "Who says 'no'?" trades wouldn't work out. There is a human element Bill consistently fails to account for when charting out trades on paper. The Clippers don't want to go further over the tax. There's your reason. NBA GM's aren't always incompetent, sometimes they have to work within the salary parameters they are given.

Bill Simmons (10:49 AM EST)
Is it OK if I don’t break out my violin for the Clippers — playing in America’s second-biggest market, filling Staples every night, charging Hollywood prices and trotting out two of the NBA’s most marketable players — because they might creep into the luxury tax this season? Especially when the league is about to double its media revenue with its next media deal? And especially when 29 of the 30 NBA teams aren’t for sale right now because the league has quietly turned into a cash cow?

Don't break out the violin, but it's reality. That's why the Clippers didn't go after Spencer Hawes because the NBA is a business and Donald Sterling likes making money.

Zach Lowe (10:58 AM EST)
In any case, the Clips also don’t have great pieces to sell in a direct two-team trade with the Sixers, since they need Jamal Crawford (given J.J. Redick’s injuries) and Jared Dudley has long-term money the Hinkster won’t want. Now you’re starting to talk about cobbling together a three-team deal when the Clips might actually want to duck the tax so they can reap the Brooklyn bonanza payout only non-tax teams can get.

Oh, and Bill, there is another reason the Clippers didn't go after Spencer Hawes. So other than financial reasons and the fact it would take a three-team deal to get it done, it was a brilliant idea for the Clippers to go after Spencer Hawes.

Bill Simmons (11:02 AM EST)
Here was my dream 2014 trade deadline deal that died an hour ago: Thaddeus Young and Willie Green to Phoenix; Hawes to the Clippers; then Philly gets Jared Dudley, Byron Mullens, Emeka Okafor’s expiring contract, Byron Mullens’s expiring basketball career, the highest of Phoenix’s 2014 first-rounders and a super-duper-ultra-protected future first-rounder from the Clips. Everyone would have been a winner. Alas.

Again, Jared Dudley has long-term money that the 76ers don't want. What part of "rebuilding" is hard to understand? I'm not sure Jared Dudley should be a centerpiece of the Sixers rebuilding plan, but hey, Bill has proclaimed all teams as "winners" in this trade he thought of so it can't be so bad. It's not a bad trade other than the fact Zach Lowe has given three good reasons why this trade could never happen and I'm not sure what Phoenix gets out of it besides rebuilding and then taking on two more seasons of a non-franchise player like Thaddeus Young.

Zach Lowe (11:10 AM EST)
That’s not bad. Young is an interesting trade piece. There hasn’t been much noise about him. He’s due about $19 million combined over 2014-15 and 2015-16, and that kind of price tag is scaring teams right now — even when it is attached to a good player. 

Zach Lowe can't poop on this trade idea even though he has already stated why it won't work. He doesn't want to piss his employer off. 

And that gets back to the overcautious thing I mentioned earlier.

Bill Simmons has had enough of your reality and attempts to point out the human part of his obsession with the NBA Trade Machine.

Bill Simmons (11:19 AM EST)
You just laid out Cuban’s zigzag theory: If a growing cluster of NBA teams are trying to execute the same strategy (in this case, keeping their cap unclogged, avoiding that no-man’s-land range of 39-45 wins, stockpiling picks and maybe even semi-sabotaging their current team for ping-pong balls), then common sense says it’s better to zag the other way because you’ll find inefficiencies just by thinking differently.

Of course Bill (as usual) neglects to mention the Rockets hung in the "no-man's land" of 39-45 wins since the 2009-2010 season, sabotaged their chances of a lottery pick and yet Bill lauded Daryl Morey for essentially doing this. So Bill's idea of what an NBA team should avoid is true unless it's proven untrue.

Bill Simmons (11:38 AM EST)
Why isn’t Phoenix trying to parlay one or more of those four first-rounders, Okafor’s expiring and/or Alex Len into a major trade piece? What are they waiting for? That’s a dangerous playoff team with one more quality perimeter guy; they remind me of some of those explosive Western Conference teams from the early ’90s (KJ’s Suns, the Run TMC Warriors, etc.) — potentially, anyway. But it seems like the new wave of GMs are afraid to make in-season moves unless it’s absolutely the perfect move. Do you think GMs are getting too smart and too risk-averse? I would hate this. I need stupid contract extension, crazy trades and insane free-agent overpays, Zach

What kind of major trade piece are we talking about Bill? What player? We won't find out because Bill just uses the generic term of "a major trade piece" without actually telling us who the Suns should be focused on acquiring. And also, Bill loves to criticize GM's for dumb extensions, crazy trades and insane free agent overpays because those are easy to criticize. It's low hanging fruit.

It seems interesting to me that Bill would criticize NBA GM's for making bad moves, but he encourages more of these impulsive moves that aren't the perfect in-season move. It's like he wants to see bad decisions made so he can criticize these decisions. Well, GM's are getting smarter possibly (though doubtful) and they know there's no point to making a move if it isn't a smart move.

Bill Simmons (11:59 AM EST)
Quick interjection: Imagine how much more fun this trade deadline would be if teams could trade their amnesties (remember, 10 teams have amnesties left) and teams could trade back-to-back first-rounders? Remember, the NBA created that first-rounder rule because of the immortal Ted Stepien, who recklessly traded so many first-rounders that the NBA actually had to give Cleveland’s next owner LOTTERY PICK REPARATIONS to quell some of the damage. 

Whenever Bill does a chat/conversation with a guy like Zach Lowe, Bill Barnwell, or Jonah Keri it really shows how over his head Bill can be when discussing a specific sport in-depth. When these chats/conversations happen I want to tell Bill to pipe down with his juvenile "How cool would that be!" ideas and let the adults talk. Zach Lowe is having a real discussion about why first round picks aren't being traded and Bill changes the subject because he has absolutely nothing to add to the conversation.

Zach Lowe (12:05 PM EST)
I actually wrote during the lockout that teams should be able to trade amnesties. It rewarded teams who had done dumb stuff, but did not offer any similar reward to teams with no real amnesty candidate.

Bill Simmons (12:05 PM EST)
Yeah, if I had been an NBA owner who didn’t have an amnesty candidate, I would have gone nuts about that. Thrown a drink across the room, flipped over a chair, stormed out of the room, the whole thing. You shouldn’t be able to make massive mistakes and then get mulligans on them.

But allowing teams to trade amnesties would also be rewarding teams who made a big mistake, because a team could conceivably amnesty one candidate and then go and trade for another amnesty candidate. So allowing teams to trade amnesties would probably reward stupid teams more than not allowing these amnesty candidates to be traded would.

Bill Simmons (12:12 PM EST)
And also — the cap keeps going up as long as revenue keeps going up. Everyone forgets this part.

Absolutely nobody forgets this part. The reason NBA teams want more revenue is because they realize if revenue increases then they may have more money to play with. Of course if teams have more money to play with then agents and players know this and more players will want more of this money. So it seems like a cycle. EVERYONE forgets this part.

Zach Lowe (12:20 PM EST)
I also agree with the theory that GMs are just getting smarter. A lot of guys have looked at the Atlanta-Brooklyn Joe Johnson deal and told me, basically, “Every team trying to make a big trade wants a lopsided return like Atlanta got.” And there are just fewer guys who can get hoodwinked now. The specter of Kevin Durant’s free agency is affecting some teams, too. They want those post-2016 books as clean as possible.

Bill Simmons (12:24 PM EST)

Oh yeah, Bill was going to say that too, but he just didn't get a chance between ranting about how NBA teams are like that guy in your fantasy league who wants to clean up on value players and then overspends on these value players and talking about how cool it would be if teams could trade amnesties. But yeah, Bill totally thought about Durant's impending free agency in 2016.

Zach Lowe (12:29 PM EST)
All this said, I know for a fact there are big names and big contracts being talked about right now — and not just teams begging other teams to swallow some unpleasant deal. There are real discussions about teams taking on some large contracts, and giving up stuff to do it. Those deals probably won’t happen, but teams are considering them, at least. Bill's "NBA teams are afraid to spend" mantra may not be entirely true? There's a shock.

Bill Simmons (12:35 PM EST)
Here’s a theory for you: If you’re a GM, what’s the best way to make sure you’ll stay employed for four to five years? The answer: Blow everything up, bottom out, build around young players/cap space/lottery picks, make a bunch of first-round picks, and sell the “illusion of hope” to your fans.

Okay Bill, the big boys are talking now.

What the new wave of young GMs like Sam Hinkie, Ryan McDonough and Rob Hennigan are doing is extremely smart — both from a basketball standpoint and a self-preservation standpoint — because it’s hard for anyone to say “YOU FAILED!” when you’re executing a multiyear plan that can’t be judged until 2016 or 2017 at the earliest.

You mean executing the multiyear plan that Danny Ainge is executing and Bill Simmons appears to be completely behind? Also, these GM's can get fired if the team doesn't progress as quickly as the owner thinks the team should progress. So it isn't like an owner will wait until 2018 to say, "Oh, the plan didn't work so I had better fire the GM now." If the 76ers don't win more than each year 30 games over the next two seasons and there isn't talent accumulating on the roster then Sam Hinkie could very well be gone. He can't just sit back and know his job is safe until 2018. So bottoming out is a smart move, but there isn't a lot of patience among NBA owners and owners like to see progress.

I’d like to see people in other professions try this. For instance, the guy who runs ABC right now, Paul Lee, is mired in a two-year mega-slump.

Oh my God, I wish Bill could stay on point for just a few minutes without running off on a tangent to show how clever and smart he is.

I think he’s launched 23 shows in the past two years and only two of them have had even mild success. Last week, Kimmel’s 11:35 late-night show outrated ABC’s 10 p.m. prime-time show on three different nights. That’s almost impossible.

Of course Bill has to pimp out Jimmy Kimmel's show. Did you know Bill used to write for Jimmy Kimmel? Did you know that? He did. Since Bill is so connected to the Hollywood scene I am sure he is also aware of two things:

1. The Winter Olympics were on, so CBS, ABC, and FOX changed their programming to re-runs so as not to go up against the Olympics.

2. The Olympic coverage ended every night at 11pm, which means Jimmy Kimmel wasn't competing against the Olympics.

So yes, Jimmy Kimmel has outrated re-runs of ABC shows that went up against the Olympics while he was showing new shows that didn't have to go up against the Olympics. There's a little perspective that Bill fails to provide while bragging about Jimmy Kimmel's success at 11:35pm. This is some perspective that you won't find from Bill for two reasons.

1. He wants to make Jimmy Kimmel look good because they are friends. Bill knows famous people you know.

2. His idea wouldn't seem as smart or clever if the reader knew the 10pm ABC programming was predominantly re-runs going against the Winter Olympics.

OK, so let’s say Paul Lee started thinking like an NBA GM. What would happen? He’d tell everybody, “Look, we fell into the bad habit here of throwing up 10 to 12 shows every year just because we had to have new shows for our schedule. I gotta be honest, I knew most of these shows wouldn’t work. But we needed to put SOMETHING on. So next year, I’m swinging the other way — I have only two new shows that I like, so we’re launching those and that’s it. Instead of wasting your time with the other eight to 10 shows that won’t work, I’m filling those spots with the cheapest reality shows possible, then long-term, I’m using the extra money we saved on failed pilots and lousy pilots to develop better shows with more accomplished showrunners. We’re going to be really good … in 2016!”

So basically ABC should do what FOX announced they were doing back in January? I like how Bill is trying to not only pass this off as HIS original idea, but pass it off as an original idea that a major network hasn't already had. Brilliant plan.

You know what would happen if Paul Lee announced that? He’d get fired within five minutes. But in the NBA, everyone accepts that mind-set and even encourages it. Hey, fans — who’s ready to bottom out? Who wants to hinge their hopes to a bunch of maybes and might-bes? Totally bizarre. 

This is bizarre if you are a mentally incompetent person who believes that a television show and a human being who plays sports are totally comparable to each other...which of course Bill does.

I find it hard to believe that every Phoenix fan would rather use those four first-rounders over parlaying one or two of them into players who would make this season’s already-fun Suns team even more fun.

Hey Bill, guess what? Phoenix Suns fans don't run the team, Ryan McDonough does. So what the fans think or want is totally irrelevant.

Zach Lowe (12:45 PM EST)
There is truth in that. Job preservation is a bigger driver of transactions than a lot of fans realize, and teardowns can fall under that category. But in some of the cases you mention, and maybe all of them, the GMs are new and came in with a mandate from ownership to rebuild/tear down. So they are not changing course in order to save their jobs.

Sad face for Bill. It turns out these GM's aren't just saving their job by rebuilding but are actually doing their job by rebuilding at the request of the owner. There goes that theory. Actually, I wish there were always someone to debunk all of Bill's crazy ideas in his columns.

Should Phoenix trade real assets for, say, Pau Gasol, just because? Why? He’s an awkward fit, he’s old, his defense is in serious decline, and he doesn’t move the needle much. On the other hand, I pitched on Twitter a potentially less costly deal that upgrades a position of greater need: Okafor’s contract and one first-rounder to Cleveland for Luol Deng. He’s an easier salary to fit, might cost a tad less in terms of which pick Phoenix would have to send, and can take minutes from several players who aren’t as good as he is.

This is a polite way of saying, "Bill, it doesn't make sense for the Suns to go after a big name player just for the sake of doing so." What's Bill's response? He changes the freaking subject to avoid the reality that his ideas probably aren't very good.

I understand I'm constantly on Bill's ass for his writing deficiencies, but until he starts speaking with someone who actually knows what he's talking about it is really hard to see sometimes how Bill's ideas and theories really aren't that good.

Bill Simmons (12:52 PM EST)
Come on, Zach — the Cavaliers can’t make that trade! Don’t you realize they’re trying to win the 2014 title? They’re in this thing!

Yeah, make a joke after your idea that the Suns should have gone after "a major trade piece" (again, whatever the hell that is) is nixed by someone smarter than you.

Bill Simmons (1:15 PM EST)
“Next on When GMs Totally Outsmart Themselves, we’ll talk to Sam Hinkie — who mistakenly accumulated 38 second-round picks over a three-year span when you’re allowed to carry only 15 players at the same time! And coming up later — more of our interview with Chris Grant!”

I like the idea of accumulating second round draft picks and spending them on undervalued college players (which I think there will be quite a few of this year) or overseas guys who need a few more years. There is a difference in Chris Grant and Sam Hinkie. Chris Grant wanted to compete now while accumulating talent while Sam Hinkie is clearly looking to build a contender in 2016.

Zach Lowe (1:27 PM EST)
Maybe Charlotte could have gotten Neal for less, though they don’t have quite the right tradable asset, or a trade exception. Also, they probably avoided Evan Turner by making this trade! They could still pull the trigger, in theory, but it’s a good idea to pass on dealing a first-round pick for Turner and then coughing up the inevitable four-year, $40 million instant albatross on him in the summer. Yay!

Bill Simmons (1:37 PM EST)
Or as it’s more commonly known, “The John Hammond.”

Bill is still a little bitter his "fake" campaign to be the Milwaukee Bucks' GM didn't work out. Of course Bill just got done saying the Bucks got the better end of the Sesssions-Neal deal, but perhaps he believes this doesn't count since the trade was with the Bobcats/Hornets/Desperate Attempt to Recall the Past.

Bill Simmons (2:11 PM EST)
Yup, we’re at the point of the day when you’re spending two paragraphs on an Aaron Brooks–Jordan Hamilton trade and I’m juggling texts on my BlackBerry from league insiders

Bill is just absolutely shameless when it comes to name-dropping and letting his readers know that he has sources in the NBA. This is just a hilarious effort to let his readers know that knows league insiders. Of course none of these league insiders can seem to pass information to Bill telling him that these NBA teams who are tanking are doing so on orders from the owner and this isn't a ploy by the GM's of these teams to stay employed.

Bill is just shameless at times with his starfucking and name-dropping. I wonder if his loyal readers have caught on to this and just don't care?

Then Bill and Zach take a 30 minute break and Zach Lowe clearly had to be talked back into continuing with this charade because it took him 45 minutes to come back.

Bill Simmons (2:52 PM EST)
Shelburne: “Sounds like Jordan Hill discussions are dying or dead, per sources on both sides.”
(I like how this is open-ended — it can be discussions about trades, Hill’s career as a whole, whatever you want.)

Zach Lowe (2:55 PM EST)
Jordan Hill is a pretty good two-way big man, and especially a rebounder!

Bill Simmons (2:57 PM EST)
Just looked up Hill’s stats — had no idea he was throwing up 8.5 points and 7.0 rebounds in less than 20 minutes a game. That’s impressive! If he were doing that on the Celtics, I’d be demanding two first-round picks for him.

Oh, so Bill is throwing out jokes now and then turning out to be completely wrong. Remember, he hosts ESPN/ABC's NBA pregame show and takes great pains to let us know he knows NBA insiders, but he can't be bothered with looking up a player's stats before making a joke about that player.

Bill Simmons (3:08 PM EST)
Did the fork in Jamison’s back count against the Clippers’ luxury tax? If so, good trade. Two things …

1. No Knicks trade! Any time you can keep your roster intact when you’re 21-33 and might lose your superstar in four months for nothing, you have to do it.

But if the Knicks traded Carmelo Anthony for a shitty return then what purpose would that serve? Other than to give Bill Simmons a chance to dust off his several years old jokes about James Dolan.

2. No significant Lakers trade, either. The Celtics and Lakers are standing pat. It’s a race to the top level of the lottery. It’s like the mid-’80s in reverse. Kris Humphries and Chris Kaman are Bizarro Bird and Bizarro Magic. 

And of course everything comes back to the Celtics at some point.

Bill Simmons (3:24 PM EST)
2. I don’t think the Clips care about falling under the tax. They’re clearly a buyout guy waiting to happen. My guess: Jason Thompson. 

Zach Lowe (3:31 PM EST)
The Clips have only 12 guys on their roster, so they’re not going to duck the tax after all; they need to add someone. You listed all the good candidates, including Jason Collins, who is based in L.A. and has played for Doc before. That would be a nice story. Thompson would be an awfully expensive buyout, with three years left on his deal after this one.

Don't contradict Bill! He's right and to prove this Bill will elicit his own opinion showing how right he is.

Bill Simmons (3:33 PM EST)
If I’m Thompson, I’m asking the Kings to buy me out for 40 percent of my deal, then I sign with a contender, hope I impress other teams this spring … and make up that lost money this summer. But that might be too logical.

Jason Thompson is due $19.2 million over the next three years. Bill Simmons thinks it is logical to forgo $11.5 million of this money in order to be a free agent. Let's see, Thompson can get a guaranteed $19.2 million or he can choose to become a free agent and enter the free agent market and hope to make up the money he gave away.

So, keeping $19.2 million guaranteed or offering to give up $11.5 million and taking a chance on the free agent market. Which move is "too logical" again?

By the way, Doc Rivers loved Collins in Boston and claimed that Collins was one of the best people he ever coached. Also, Collins defended Dwight Howard as well as just about anyone. 

Well not really. I have shown before the playoff series where Collins is credited as defending Howard well was the same series where Dwight Howard had his highest playoff averages in his career. Whatever though, I don't want to ruin the perception.

Bill Simmons (3:39 PM EST)
What a shocker — wait, the Thunder cheaped out, avoided the luxury tax and decided to “go with what they had?” Who saw that coming? Keep rakin’ in that money, Clay Bennett. And keep looking the other way, everyone who lives in Oklahoma City.

Yeah, fans of Oklahoma City. You should be livid that the Thunder have been one of the best teams in the NBA over the last five seasons and that the Thunder are putting a product on the court that has been in contention for the best record in the NBA during the 2013-2014. Storm the castle, this isn't right!

Just got this email from Friend of Grantland Alan Sepinwall:

Hey, I'm Bill Simmons! I'm going to name-drop real quick, okay? Cool. I just did it.

“Please mock the Knicks as much as possible for the worst of all possible trade deadline worlds: didn’t face reality and blow it up by trading Chandler and/or Melo, didn’t do anything to improve chances of the team making the playoffs (in a season with ZERO draft picks), and didn’t fire Woodson (who has ruined Shumpert and refuses to play the optimal lineup except when injuries leave him no choice).” The natives are restless!

And how could a television critic's criticism of an NBA team ever be wrong? Just blow up the Knicks team. Who cares what you get back in the trade? Just do it!

Then Bill Simmons embeds a Celtics YouTube video because he doesn't know how to write without mentioning the Celtics or embedding a YouTube video.

Then Bill embeds a 15 minute Larry Bird YouTube video because if you keep doing the same thing over and over again it gets funnier and more creative.

Zach Lowe (3:52 EST)
Put broadly: Turner is just not that good an NBA player, and the things he does well require him having the basketball. Well, Lance Stephenson has already turned into the ball-handling captain of the second unit, even pushing C.J. Watson, a nominal point guard, mostly off the ball. Stephenson’s a good enough 3-point shooter to spot up around Turner-centric plays, but that would represent a large rejiggering of Indy’s second-unit offense late in the game. Turner isn’t providing much spacing as a spot-up guy around Stephenson, and he’s probably a defensive downgrade even from a hobbled Granger. And those bench units have survived based upon very stingy defense.

Bill Simmons (4:04 EST)
I concede all of those points. But Granger looks done to me – we just watched a 24-game sample size of someone who couldn’t shoot anymore and lost his brakes. You lose your brakes in the NBA, you’re done.

Yeah Zach, you forgot to mention whether Granger had lost his brakes or not in your analysis. Once those brakes are gone, a player is done. Great point, Bill.

Turner offers the following things: creates his own shot, played in big games (college and pro)

You know I'm jumping all over any mention by Bill Simmons of college basketball. When did Evan Turner play in big games in college? I guess playing in the NIT Championship or the Sweet Sixteen counts as playing in big games. It sounds like Bill is just sort of making things up though in an effort to pretend he's doing real analysis.

a little fearless (irrationally so), can play either guard position, provides an extra set of young legs … oh, and remember his 26-point game on Opening Night when Philly shocked the defending champs? I’d rather take my chances with Turner than Granger in Round 3.

See Zach Lowe, you forgot about how fearless Evan Turner is, how young he is and that one time he scored 26 points against the Heat in a regular season game. Plus, you didn't even talk about how Granger has lost his brakes. Boy, I bet you feel stupid now.

Bill Simmons (4:11 EST)
Plus, I’m excited for how Grantland’s Mark Titus handles this one – his hometown Pacers acquiring his archenemy from his college days (the man Titus nicknamed “The Villain”), then going into battle against Miami and his good buddy Greg Oden in Round 3? Can you say “conflict of interest?”

Can you say, "Why am I involved in a discussion with an expert on the NBA when I clearly don't have much to offer in the way of analysis, outside of rarely funny comments and quick changes of the subject when my thoughts are shown to be wrong?"

Philly’s over/under for wins in Vegas was 16½. Right now, they’re 15-40. And they’re trotting out the likes of Byron Mullens, Eric Maynor, Tony Wroten and a sobbing Thad the rest of the way. They might not get to 17 wins! That would be an amazing “under” cover. As for Indiana, let’s all agree that “The Villain” makes the Heat-Pacers playoff series a little more fun.

Yeah, I'm not using the nickname Mark Titus uses to refer to Evan Turner.

We may have blown the Celeb Game on Friday thanks to six straight missed free throws and a little too much Kevin Hart, but hey, we’ll always have the 2014 Trade Deadline column.

This is another reminder that Bill Simmons coached one of the celebrity teams that played at the All-Star break. It might just save time if Bill wrote, "Will people ask me questions for my next mailbag about what it's like to coach a celebrity basketball team at All-Star Weekend? Just ask me, I'm dying to answer questions about it in my next mailbag so I can remind myself of how much of a celebrity I am."


Anonymous said...

Just wait until you read his latest, yep you guessed it, mailbag. You won't believe this, but he determines that the Celtics have the most assets to acquire Kevin Love.

Bengoodfella said...

Anon, haha. I have it written and am posting it soon. That's exactly what I took out of it too.

I didn't want to post back-to-back Bill Simmons posts so I will probably post it later this week.

franc said...

i've been reading your blog for a couple of weeks now. always love me some simmons hate. i started reading his columns back in 2005 and so far it's mostly been like doing heroin for a very long time. lowe has written some decent stuff though. too bad simmons is probably guilt-tripping him into writing these shlock-pieces.
anyway, nice blog.
cheers from europe

franc said...

plus, i like your point on daryl morey. houston has been mediocre with him so far, but they were in a pretty bad situation going into that 2010 rebuilding season with mcgrady and yao still on roster (i think he did a very good job, but you can't base a franchise success or failure solely on their gm). on the other hand, houston never bottomed-out between 2006 and 2014, which seems to be simmons' advice to every team which isn't winning a championship this season.

Bengoodfella said...

Franc, glad you like it. Lowe is pretty good, which is why I didn't go after him.

Oh yeah, the Rockets were in bad shape, there's no doubt about that. What I find interesting is Bill insists that teams can't go for the 8th seed or go .500 and still rebuild. He thinks that's not the way to rebuild and it doesn't work, yet his friend Morey's team did exactly that over the last few years. Morey never bottomed out, like Bill insists must be done. So it can be done to go for the 8th seed and still rebuild at the same time.

Bill should look at Daryl Morey's team to show that he is wrong.

franc said...

exactly. if a small-market team has 8 solid rotation/role guys but no franchise player (like denver, phoenix or houston recently), why does it make more sense to get rid of as much competent personnel as possible in the hopes of striking gold at the draft, rather than a slew of mediocre seasons accompanied by a couple of short playoff runs? i'm not saying there is no point in tanking (it's the only strategy for philly and utah currently), but simmons seems to be implying there that winning 45 games in the nba is somehow worse than winning 15 (basically, what morey's been doing for the past 10 years). and he's a clippers season ticket holder.

Bengoodfella said...

Franc, there clearly is a strategy in tanking, but I do think Bill is way off base. A team consistently losing a bunch of games is not the way to build a winning team. A team has to draft well either way and make smart moves, so a team that has won 45 games can just as easily progress as compared to a team that won 15 games. It ridiculous to state a team doesn't want to get stuck in the 35-45 win spot because this is assuming this team doesn't have players who consistently get better or (like the Rockets/Packers) that team isn't going to draft/sign a Top 25 player that is able to take the team to the top.

Bill seems to think there is only one way to rebuild, which is silly, plus it ignores how the Rockets (and even to a lesser extent, the Pacers) built their teams.

franc said...

i looked up indiana's draft history, and it's pretty impressive. i'm lazy so i didn't double check this, but since they drafted paul george at #10, the last player they drafted within the top 10 was eric dampier in 1996 (also 10th). their worst seasons of the past two decades where 2007 (35 wins) and 2010 (32). despite the pacers and rockets probably having more sheer luck than other teams, it's a really good argument against the whole "win or die" circlejerk, in my opinion.
anyway, your blog (and some others) has inspired me to write down some of my own thoughts about sports, even if they're just for me. i can't stomach the lame pop-culture references and man-child fantasies anymore, and that seems to be the MO of most sportswriters, not just in the US. some of your posts so far have been really refreshing.

Bengoodfella said...

Franc, I like Indiana a little because I grew up a big Larry Bird fan, and of course, he is part of the organization. There is a way to win without bottoming out. Bill's folly is to claim there is a single way to rebuild or that one way of rebuilding won't work. It's just not true. A team can win 35-45 games for a few years and then go on to have a good team. It's all about drafting well.

I'm glad you like it. I started posting on FJMariotti and then I got inspired to just start my own blog and create a time drain of my own rather than commenting elsewhere as a time drain. I think bad writing is everywhere unfortunately.