Wednesday, May 28, 2014

2 comments Bill Simmons Lazily Writes Another Fake Mailbag

After having written four original pieces of material in a row, FOUR!, Bill Simmons takes a step back and decides he hasn't done a mailbag in three weeks, THREE WEEKS!, and hasn't done a mailbag where he admits to making up the questions in almost a month. It's been a long time coming. So Bill decides he will write a "Self-Mailbag," which appears to be a mailbag where he admits to actually making up the questions, as opposed to his usual mailbags where I think he makes up some of the questions or at least edits them in a way they sound like Bill wrote them. So Bill has an idea presented in this mailbag that will shake up the NBA. Don't like you aren't excited.

Greetings from Miami, Florida, the gorgeous home of South Beach, LeBron and Wade, Pat Riley and the Miami Mafia, David Caruso’s sunglasses, the strongest coffee in America, Crockett and Tubbs (both semi-retired), my media nemesis Papi Le Batard (he calls me the “Great Houdini”),

Then Bill continues on with a long list of things in Miami including a mention of Jalen Rose and his friend/ex-teammate Juwan Howard, most likely discussing how they got a lot of hype at Michigan without actually having won an NCAA regular season Big 10 title or a title of any other kind during their two years there.

It’s an amazing city, one of those places that makes you feel like you’re walking around a 24-hour movie set.

And Bill has been on movie sets! He was an executive producer for "Million Dollar Arm," the movie that tanked at the box office because it looked shockingly uninteresting, AND he knows Jon Hamm. He also knows Jimmy Kimmel, and yes, he has his phone number.

It also has just about nothing in common with Indianapolis, a lovable city in its own right for an entirely different set of reasons. In fact, they barely have any direct flights between Indy and Miami, just a bunch of connections through Atlanta, Houston or wherever. It’s like the airlines decided, “Why the hell would anyone fly from Indianapolis to Miami unless it was for the NBA or the Indy 500?”

Or unless the Dolphins were playing the Colts, or unless someone from Miami wanted to attend the NCAA Tournament or unless a person from Indianapolis wanted to go to Miami.

I planned on writing off Game 2 and the NBA lottery for Wednesday, figuring I could bang the piece out on my two flights (Indy to Atlanta, then Atlanta to Miami). One problem: I forgot to charge my laptop. What a rookie mistake.

So this mailbag is going to feel even more rushed and half-assed than it usually does. Get excited! Bill was going to mail in a column about the NBA lottery, (as I predicted in a Tweet...I bring this up not to pat myself on the back, but to point out how predictable Bill's writing has become):

but he was too lazy to plug in his computer to charge it to lazily write the column, so he had decided to mail in a mailbag where he writes the questions.

Because the Grantland email page that forwards me reader emails has been broken since last weekend. (As soon as we fix it, I’ll post something on my Facebook page.)

In the words of Bob Dylan, "everything is broken," but in the words of Bill Simmons, "WE forgot to charge the laptop" and WE broke the Internet and prevented him from getting his reader emails.

So I’m going to attempt to GUESS your questions. Unlike always, these are not actual emails from actual readers.

You sure it's "unlike always"?

Q: Cleveland just won the NBA lottery for the third time in four years. Does this mean that God doesn’t hate Cleveland anymore?

Bill was upset that the Cavs won the NBA lottery for the third time in four years and expressed his displeasure on "NBA Countdown" immediately after the lottery. Bill even had the Cavs last in his "Lottery Karma Rankings," which didn't really make sense to me. Few teams in the lottery actually deserve to get the #1 overall pick. The Sixers tanked so they could get the first pick, the Kings are always in the lottery, and neither the Lakers/Celtics deserved a top-3 pick. The idea one team "deserves" the #1 overall pick is silly.

A: Or, you could say that He hates Cleveland so much that He gets bored just having them flounder or lose in agonizing ways, so occasionally, He sprinkles in a little extra hope just so He can squash it later. I would keep my guard up, Cleveland.

I'm not ready to give up on Anthony Bennett, but the Cavs have won the lottery two prior times when there wasn't considered a real franchise player available. Last year there were a few good players available and in 2011 Kyrie Irving was the clear best player in the draft. Compare that to the drafts over the past five years when the Cavs haven't had the #1 overall pick where Anthony Davis, John Wall (he is on par with Irving in my mind), Blake Griffin, Derrick Rose, Kevin Durant were available. This is the first time the Cavs have won the lottery in a fairly strong draft. The 2011 and 2013 drafts weren't bad, they just didn't have the quality and depth of other recent drafts.

Q: You mentioned on TV that “we need new rules” after Cleveland won the lottery again. What are those new rules?

A: I barely remember this because I was trying so diligently to avoid becoming the first ESPN talking head to say “motherf—er” on live TV. No offense, Cleveland fans. I’m happy for you.

Talk out of both sides of your mouth much, Bill? Bill listed the Cavs as last on the "Lottery Karma Rankings" and admittedly almost had a meltdown when the Cavs got the #1 overall pick. Does it sound like Bill is happy for them?

Lord knows you suffered enough over the past 50 years, and you certainly deserved some extended Ping-Pong luck after getting shanked by LeBron four summers ago.

On "NBA Countdown" immediately after the lottery Bill specifically made reference to the Cavs losing LeBron and said that doesn't mean they get permission to be an incompetent franchise. He said something like those words. But yeah, Bill is happy for you Cavs fans.

I ranked the Cavs last in Tuesday’s Lottery Karma Rankings for basketball reasons only. They wasted seven LeBron years and never found him the right help (or came up with a smart long-term plan to build around him). They went through three coaches and two GMs since 2009 … including the same coach twice (one year into a five-year deal, no less). They had four top-four picks in three years and thought Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters could coexist. They vowed to make the playoffs 12 months ago, then proceeded to unleash the strangest collection of front-office moves in recent league history — here’s a team that spent five picks renting Luol Deng and Spencer Hawes so they could get swept in Round 1, and they couldn’t even make the playoffs.

Regardless of whether it was personal or not, and it's weird for Bill to try and indicate he ranked the Cavs last "for basketball reasons only" as if anyone cares who Bill personally likes or doesn't like, it certainly doesn't sound like Bill is happy for Cavs fans. He's got a laundry list of why the Cavs should not have gotten the #1 overall pick.

The NBA treats franchises like Cleveland the same way absentee billionaire fathers treat their screwup sons — just keep buying them stuff and throwing money into their accounts and everything will be fine, right?

The NBA doesn't treat them any sort of way. It's a lottery. The NBA (supposedly) has no control over the lottery results, so they aren't doing anything to help the Cavs.

I just hate the mentality of repeatedly enabling poorly run franchises with the league’s best incoming talent.

Here you go, Cleveland — I bought you another Ferrari, try not to crash this one!

Bill wanted his Celtics to get the #1 overall pick. Reward the good, smart teams with the best players, that's what he wants. As I have stated before while recognizing the difference in the NBA/NFL/MLB in terms of the impact one player can have, the NBA is the only major sports league that attempts to punish teams for being terrible by not guaranteeing them the #1 overall pick. So I don't know what Bill expects the NBA to do about poorly run franchises. Adam Silver just can't decide the Kings don't get a draft pick this year.

And by the way, it’s not just the Cavs. Minnesota just made its 10th-straight lottery. Sacramento just landed its sixth-straight top-seven pick. Washington made the 2014 playoffs only after landing the no. 5, no. 1, no. 6, no. 3 and no. 3 picks from 2009 through 2013. I can’t accept that we created a professional basketball league in which …

A. The same incompetent teams get rewarded — repeatedly, over and over again — for being incompetent.

The Wizards made the playoffs this year and appear to be on the up-tick. Granted, they blew some of these first round picks but I don't know if they can be considered an incompetent franchise at this point. Doesn't it mean the Wizards did something right by landing those picks and then eventually making the playoffs? Isn't that the intended point of the NBA lottery?

B. The same team in a 30-team league can win the no. 1 overall pick three times in four years.
C. We refuse to put any rules in place to temper A and B.

"We"? How is it "we" won't put rules in place? Don't worry, Bill has the rules already in place. At this point it seems like he is suggesting the NBA rig the lottery so one team can't win the #1 overall pick three times in four years...or at least so the Celtics get the #1 overall pick.

Q: Is this response ever going to end? Can you tell us what those “new rules” would be?
A: Sure …

Rule No. 1: Once you win the no. 1 overall pick, you can’t win it again for four years.
If four years is good enough for an Olympic cycle or a presidential term, it’s good enough for the same team getting the no. 1 pick.

In today's episode of "Spot the False Equivalency..."

I'm not sure how Bill proposes this happen with the current lottery system. If the Cavs have their ping-pong balls removed from the discussion then this increases the chances every other team would get the #1 overall pick or does the NBA just remove the Cavs ping-pong ball if it's selected for the #1 overall pick? We don't learn the specifics because Bill is an idea man who can't be bothered with exactly how to prevent the same team from getting the #1 overall pick more than every four years.

Rule No. 2: No team can get two top-three picks in a three-year span.
In other words, anyone who landed a top-three lottery pick in 2012 or 2013 would have been ineligible for 2014’s lottery drawing. We’d toss their Ping-Pong balls out and everything. So on Wednesday, the Cavs would have been stuck at no. 9, Orlando would have been relegated to third or lower, and everyone else would have had better chances.

Bill better hope the same teams don't end up in the lottery over a two year span or else there is going to be a shit-show in the third year where six of the 14 teams can't get a top-3 pick. Much like Bill's other ideas, this seems really overcomplicated.

Rule No. 3: You can trade future Ping-Pong ball combinations to any other potential lottery team.
I’m suggesting this one for three reasons: It’s easier than it sounds, it would be an incredibly fun wrinkle for the Trade Machine, and the Cavaliers absolutely would have been dumb enough to do it last February (saving us from the stupidity of them winning another no. 1 pick).

Because the one thing that should occur is NBA trades need to be MORE complicated so the average fan can't understand at all what was given up and what was received. Great move. I'm not going to acknowledge this rule because it just seems too complicated.

But if those three rules get voted down, then let’s at least add this one …
Rule No. 4: If any NBA team wins the lottery for the third time in four years, the team’s representative isn’t allowed to celebrate in any way.
What are they allowed to do? Nothing. They just have to stand there stoically and soak in their own shame. No fist-pumping, no smiling, nothing.

It's not much of a punishment. The team still gets the #1 overall pick, and really, how often does the same team get the #1 pick three years in a row?

Q: When Ibaka got knocked out for the playoffs two days after you wrote that “What if this is OKC’s last shot?” column, did any OKC fans blame you for jinxing the team?

A: Of course! They sent me hundreds and hundreds of emails about it!

Hundreds and hundreds? I feel like this is a bit of an exaggeration.

Who knew I had the powers to tear Ibaka’s calf muscle? Could I just keep doing that to people? Am I like the Carrie of sports columnists? Miami fans — I would definitely NOT dump a bucket of pig’s blood on my head during Game 3 or Game 4 of the Eastern finals.

Yeah, who knew? It's not like Bill has referenced him jinxing a team in his columns for the last decade and it's not like he recently reminded his readers that he believes he jinxed the Patriots by taking a picture with his dad at the Super Bowl commemorating the Patriots perfect season? It's silly to suggest Bill can affect the outcome of a game, just not silly when he does it.

Q: Are you disappointed that Milwaukee didn’t win the lottery, followed by Arn Tellem refusing to show them Joel Embiid’s medical records and bullying them into taking someone else?

A: I was really looking forward to that! I love when Arn Tellem goes Frank Underwood on us. No way Milwaukee could have taken Embiid without knowing if the stress fracture in his back totally healed.

Now remember that Bill is writing these questions himself, so...well, you will see.

Anyone who could pull off this Embiid/medical records thing just 10 months after getting New Orleans to spend $44 million on Tyreke Evans probably just needs to run our country. By the way, Embiid’s back is fine. I watched him work out last week.

There we go. Bill writes a fake question just so he can brag to his readers that he saw Embiid work out last week. Bill is very impressed with himself and as a veteran of watching tall men walk to determine whether they have a back problem or not (like he did with Greg Oden), Bill pronounces Joel Embiid medically cleared. So, no need to do a physical and Bill just had to brag to his readers he saw Embiid work. And guess what? That's not all the bragging Bill is going to do to show how impressed with himself he is.

Q: Wait … what? You watched Joel Embiid work out last week?

A: Yes — at a secret location in Santa Monica.

It was a secret location that Bill was invited to and you WERE NOT invited to. It was a super-secret location where Embiid played basketball by himself. Be jealous. After all, Bill wants his readers to be jealous and that's why he brought this up in the first place. 

He wasn’t playing against anyone, just going through a two-hour workout with Will Perdue. Here’s what I can tell you: He moves around as effortlessly as a 7-foot Serge Ibaka; he’s such an athletic freak that he’s one of those “still going up as he’s finishing the dunk” guys; his freakish wingspan might make Jay Bilas pass out; he has been playing basketball for only four years (which seems impossible); he gave up a world-class volleyball career; he has 3-point range; he can shoot jump-hooks with both hands already; he couldn’t have seemed more coachable/agreeable/likable; he’s a hard worker with a goofy sense of humor; his voice is just a touch Mutombo-y (deep with a heavy African accent); and his friends call him “Jo-Jo.” And again — his back seemed totally fine.

If this were Peter King then I would be wondering if his agent was also Embiid's agent, but I don't think Bill's agent is Arn Tellem. This is quite the review of Embiid's abilities, as well as some background on Embiid that most people who follow college basketball already know.

News flash: As I said on TV before the lottery, Embiid was always going first. None of these teams was passing on him. Repeat: none of them. The amount of smokescreening going on in April and May was high comedy. We keep hearing his back is really screwed up, this could be another Oden situation … Just stop it.

The truth is, Wiggins and Parker never separated themselves enough this season to warrant anyone saying, “We’re passing on a potential franchise center with a good chance of becoming the 7-foot Serge Ibaka.”

I will remember this. I really hope "we" aren't wrong that Embiid is going to be the first pick in the draft.

Q: What could have happened at the 2014 NBA draft lottery that would have inspired the worst rom-com of the last 20 years?

If Bill is going to make up questions then shouldn't he at least do a better job than this of making up the questions? Oh, a question about a romantic comedy involving the NBA! Great, everyone loves bad romantic comedy jokes.

If Embiid and Mallory fell for each other on lottery night, followed by Embiid demanding that only Milwaukee could see his medical records (so they’d take him second), then Tellem turning evil and trying to break them up, followed by some sort of Romeo and Juliet scenario developing and Embiid and Mallory going on the run. They’d definitely call this rom-com either The Love Lottery or Drafting My Heart, and it would definitely star Jennifer Lawrence as Mallory and Michael B. Jordan as Embiid.

I don't know if this is supposed to be funny, creative or what. It fails on all counts and I don't see the purpose of this question and answer.

Q: Can you give us four more predictions for the 2014 lottery?

Sure! I’ll even throw on my Clairvoyant Bill hat for you …

Because that hat has worked out so well for Bill in the past...

Prediction No. 1: Utah tries like hell to trade up for Jabari Parker.

Because Jabari Parker is Mormon and a lot of people in Utah are of the Mormon faith. This is analysis!

I’m almost positive that Jabari is the first Mormon who can be described like this: “A little bit of Paul Pierce and a little Carmelo offensively, only if they were more fun to play with, and they were trapped in Rudy Gay’s body if Rudy needed to go gluten-free and hire a personal trainer.”

There have only been rumors of Parker being out of shape and no verification I have seen. I also enjoy how scouts nitpick prospects like Durant when he was coming into the NBA saying, "I'm not sure how much more muscle mass he could add to have an NBA body," but kid with a bit too much fat but an NBA body and a strong work ethic has a knock against him too. They are never happy.

Prediction No. 2: Orlando happily jumps on Dante Exum.

And not just because he might be really good, but because that could ignite Victor Oladipo’s career. He’s not a point guard and he’s too small to defend certain 2-guards … but if he could defend point guards and play 2-guard offensively? Boom! I love the Exum-‘Dipo backcourt.

Me too. Because the one thing many NBA teams look for is a backcourt combo where neither player is a true point guard and both want to score. What could go wrong? 

(Important note: I’m making all Exum judgments so far based on 3 a.m. viewings of him on YouTube as well as the ravings of the Grantland office’s international basketball expert, Danny Chau, who loves Exum as much as I love both of my children combined.)

And really, based on Bill's stories about taunting his daughter after the Kings lose, I wouldn't be surprised to hear Danny Chau only sort of likes Exum. Also, 3 a.m. viewings of Exum on YouTube is almost as good as Bill making his usual judgments on American players after having seen two weeks of the NCAA Tournament.

Prediction No. 3: If the Celtics don’t trade their pick, they’re taking Shawn Marion 2.0 (a.k.a. Aaron Gordon).

Of course there is going to be a Celtics draft prediction. Of course.

I believe that Gordon is destined to become this year’s Russell Westbrook — a.k.a. the crazy-competitive, crazy-good athlete who doesn’t seem to have an official position yet, only the more teams work him out and watch tape of him, the more they fall in love with him. I’m worried about Utah taking him fifth if they can’t trade up for Jabari.

Gordon has been projected to go in the 4th-8th range over the past couple of months. Nothing new here.

If you’re the Lakers, would you flip no. 7 and Nash’s expiring for Lopez and Lopez’s still-healing foot, then roll the dice that you just landed a top-five center for two years?

No, no I do not. I try not to overvalue draft picks, but Nash's expiring contract and the #7 pick have to get something better than Brook Lopez.

If you’re Charlotte, wouldn’t you shop that no. 9 straight-up for Al Jefferson’s old buddy Millsap, or maybe Monroe or Afflalo? I think two of those teams are making a move.

Maybe Monroe, but part of the reason the Jazz didn't keep Millsap around is because he and Jefferson seem to take up the same space on the court at times. Besides, Charlotte needs a guy who can shoot, not another guy taking up space on the inside. Well, every team can use another quality big man, but you get what I mean.

And what’s Rubio worth, for God’s sake? Would you give up any pick from no. 8 through no. 12 for him? What if Orlando traded no. 12 for Rubio, then drafted Exum and went with the Exum-Oladipo-Rubio backcourt?

Then they would have a true point guard, but have a skinny small forward who may or may not be able to play small forward at the NBA level. It very well could work but if the Magic want a true point guard they should just draft Tyler Ennis at #12.

Q: You were there for Game 2 in Indiana — was there any point when you said to yourself, “Holy shit, Miami’s three-peat might be going out the window?”

And because Bill was at the game he had a different perspective from those watching on television. It was a totally different game in person, as opposed to watching on television. In fact, when watching the game in person Bill noticed the Pacers weren't even playing in the game, it was in fact the Pistons who were playing the Heat, but you couldn't tell this from watching on television.

Still — Lance Stephenson missed an 8-footer that would have given Indy a five-point lead with under six minutes to play (and ignited the crowd, too). When it happened, I remember thinking, If Lance makes that shot, this is suddenly the most important 90 seconds of the season for Miami.

Bill remembers thinking, "I'm going to have a super-hyperbolic thought here in a second that will affirm my status as an ESPN talking head who makes overdramatic statements for effect."

Meanwhile, the Heat threw the kitchen sink at them, knowing they had three days’ rest before Saturday’s Game 3. And they barely won. I don’t mean for this to come up like an awkward SportsCenter integration, but would you go “GOOD SIGN!” or “BAD SIGN!” for that one? (That’s Good Sign/Bad Sign, Presented by Dick’s Sporting Goods!) I’m leaning toward “BAD SIGN!”

Bill may want to take off the Clairvoyant Bill hat until he actually earns it.

Q: So what did that just mean? Are you saying Miami is in trouble?

A: Not necessarily.

OF COURSE NOT! Bill is just wanting to make bold statements through the use of jokes in order to get attention, but not actually say anything in those bold statements. He thinks it was a bad sign the Heat barely won, but they aren't in trouble. Basically, Bill is saying the Heat may or may not have been in trouble. It could go either way. It's too early to tell, but either way Bill isn't going to say anything that could be seen as him being wrong.

If the role players come through one time, they’ll finish the series off in five or six.

But if not? They’re flirting with a dangerous Game 7 return to Naptown, against a team that feels exceedingly comfortable playing them, setting up a potentially frightening repeat of what happened in the 2002 Kings-Lakers series.

Just remember that Bill makes part of his living as a talking head on a pregame show for ABC/ESPN commenting on the NBA. So Bill tells us the Heat would be in trouble if the role players for the Heat come through one time, but if they don't then the Pacers could win the series. So basically, if Wade, Bosh, and LeBron have to score all of the points then the Heat could lose. No way! Isn't this kind of obvious? I don't know how much information Bill is really providing here. NBA titles are won by role players stepping up. A team's supporting cast playing well is crucial to winning a playoff series in the NBA. It just seems like Bill is riding the whole "Here's a bold statement...the Heat could have been in trouble...or may not" type of analysis. It sounds bold, but it's really not.

If Indy blows the Eastern finals, blame LeBron first because it’s always near-impossible to win a series when you don’t have the best player in the series.

And obviously if the Heat role players don't step up in one game then that means LeBron wasn't the best player in the series, right? Bill states the key to the Heat winning the series is if the role players come through one time, but then will blame LeBron if this doesn't happen? LeBron can still be the best player in the series and the Heat lose the series, especially if the role players for the Heat are so important.

But after that, blame last summer’s trade with Phoenix for Luis Scola — the Pacers gave up Gerald Green (who blossomed into a Sixth Man of the Year candidate), Miles Plumlee (suddenly a valuable big man) and their 2014 no. 1 pick (which could have been later packaged with Danny Granger’s expiring for someone better than Turner).

The Suns' offense better fit the talents of Plumlee and Green. I don't think there should be any doubt about that. Plus, packaging the #1 pick with Granger's expiring contract is complete hindsight. I don't know if anyone expected the Pacers to trade Granger last summer. So Bill is using hindsight to criticize the Pacers and ignoring Plumlee and Green fit better in the Suns offense than they did the Pacers offense. And no, the Pacers shouldn't have changed the offense to fit the talents of Plumlee and Green.

Q: Do you think Kevin Love will get traded before the draft? Who has the best chance to get Kevin Love right now?

If you think the Boston Celtics aren't on this list then you don't know Bill Simmons at all. Bill writes a short paragraph on all of the other teams and dedicates three paragraphs to the Celtics. He is the Boston Sports Guy after all.

A: Yes, he’s getting traded before the draft. That’s when they will get the biggest haul for him. The suitors, in descending order from “least likely” to “most likely”:

And the Celtics are the second most likely team to land Kevin Love prior to the draft. Don't question this conclusion like it's Bill's opinion. It's a fact.

L.A. Lakers: Could offer the no. 7 pick, the chance for Love to come home, and the chance for him to be reunited with his girlfriend (the actress Cody Horn).

Because it is very important to know who who Love's girlfriend is and that she lives in California. After all, this is 2014 and there are no such things as planes or any other modern technology/transportation that would allow Love to see his girlfriend while playing for an NBA team not in Los Angeles.

I don’t know how any of this helps Minnesota. 

Why not just stay in Minnesota one more year, then sign with the Lakers in 2015?

Maybe for the same reason Bill thinks Love wouldn't just stay in Minnesota for one more year, then sign with any of the teams on this list in 2015. Is playing with Kelly Olynyk, Jared Sullinger, and Avery Bradley so attractive that Love wants to be traded to Boston NOW before they actually accumulate talent around him?

Phoenix Suns: They have a bunch of decent assets (the nos. 14, 21, 28 and 29 picks, Alex Len, the Morris twins, etc.) but no headliner. They’d have to package multiple picks to move up to no. 5 (Utah)

But I thought Utah wanted to move up to grab Jabari Parker? He is Mormon after all.

Houston Rockets: But they’d have to convince Chandler Parsons to agree to a sign-and-trade, something they couldn’t do until July (after the draft). No way Parsons wants to live in Minnesota — he wants to be famous too badly. He’d rather attend Hollywood red-carpet premieres and become the next Bachelor. (I’m not even kidding.)

Bill loves swinging insider information like this around. He doesn't even try to pretend he's not getting a hard-on handing out insider information like this. Bill wants his readers to know how tapped into the personality of the players in the NBA he truly is. He's very impressed with himself.

So what if they sign-and-trade Parsons to the Lakers for whomever they took with the no. 7 pick (not inconceivable), deal Omer Asik for another first-rounder, then package those picks with other assets (future picks, Terrence Jones, etc.) for Love? Unlikely … but not impossible, right?

I would love to see Dwight Howard and Kevin Love play together. I mean this. I can see them fighting over rebounds now. I can see Howard pouting if he doesn't put up a double-double every game because Love isn't letting him get rebounds. I just want to see what would happen.

But no, this isn't impossible, though it may make more sense just to trade Asik for a first round pick and keep Parsons or trade Parsons in another sign-and-trade that won't involve giving up so many assets and picks. Maybe I'm not over-thinking this enough.

Boston Celtics: They have a war chest of assets, including two 2014 picks (no. 6 and no. 17), two 2015 first-rounders (their own and an unprotected Clippers pick), two unprotected Brooklyn first-rounders (2016 and 2018), a pick swap from Brooklyn in 2017 (unprotected), a $10.3 million trade exception, Keith Bogans’s waivable-ASAP contract ($5.1 million, perfect for trade match), Brandon Bass’s deal (expires in 2015) and two decent young players (Jared Sullinger and Kelly Olynyk).

Except this doesn't necessarily explain why Kevin Love would agree to go to Boston prior to the draft rather than just keep his options open to sign with them once he becomes a free agent after the 2015 season. Other than Rondo, is there any real reason to choose the Celtics now? Especially since they will have to get rid of some of these picks to acquire Love and the Celtics haven't been shy about waving Rondo around in trade discussions. Why not see what the Celtics do with their two 2014 picks, then make the decision to go to Boston after the 2015 season? See, the same logic for why Love wouldn't go to Los Angeles to play with Kobe for two years applies in some ways to the Celtics. The Lakers have no assets, but the Celtics have potential assets but no Kobe, and Boston isn't Los Angeles. It seems to me if I were Kevin Love I would look at Boston as a frontrunner in free agency, but don't see why I should sign there before they have shown they are willing to use these assets to put another superstar (through the draft or through trade...though knowing the Celtics and the lack of patience the fans/team can show, it's more likely through a trade) on the roster so I don't end up on a decent playoff team that isn't a title contending team.

Oh, and they have Brad Stevens and one of the league’s most respected organizations, as well as the team that keeps celebrating its players and welcoming them home even after they retire. That too.

I mean this in the most polite of ways, but shut the hell up. Nobody wants to hear your Boston homer crap. Other NBA teams celebrate their players and welcome them home after they retire as well. And do we know Brad Stevens is a good NBA coach? He seems good, but after one year as the head coach with a crappy team I think it's really too early to tell.

The most logical offer: Both 2014 picks, both 2015 picks, Sullinger, Bogans and Bass’s expiring for Love. That’s four first-rounders (including the no. 6 pick).

Son of a fucking bitch. Four first round picks for a guy who isn't even the best player on a championship team? Seems like a bit much to me. I like Kevin Love, don't get me wrong, but four first round picks and a quality rotational guy for him? No thanks. A team of Rondo and Love with the Celtics current roster isn't going to compete for an NBA Title. I know Bill has no patience to go through a rebuilding process or else he would become a basketball widow (like he did with the Bruins when they were losing), but I feel like four first round picks is overpaying for Love.

You tell me: Could you compete in the East with a starting five of Love, Rajon Rondo, Asik, Jeff Green and Free Agent 2-Guard TBA? And could you make the Finals with a Big Three of James Harden, Dwight Howard and Carmelo Anthony? YES AND YES! Let’s do this!

Can the Celtics compete in the East by drafting players with their four first round picks and then having Kevin Love sign with the Celtics (after all, they are the only team who celebrates their players and welcomes them after they retire, so why wouldn't Love want to play anywhere but in Boston?) after the 2015 season? YES AND YES!

(And if all of this happens, followed by an unhappy Celtics season and Love and Rondo bolting in 2015 to sign with the Lakers and Knicks, respectively, then I’m moving to England and throwing myself into the Premier League. No farewell column, no good-bye party, nothing. I’m out. Nice knowing you.)

I take it back. Let's do this! YES AND YES!

Cleveland Cavs: It all depends on whatever Bat Signal LeBron is sending them. If they truly believe they can bring LeBron home this summer or next summer — remember, he can always opt back into his Miami contract for one more season, then leave after the 2015 Finals — then here’s what the Cavs SHOULD do:

Step No. 1: Trade the no. 1 overall pick, Anthony Bennett and an unprotected 2015 first-rounder to Minnesota for Kevin Love.

And then the Cavaliers will have traded two first round picks and Anthony Bennett for a one season rental of Kevin Love. Brilliant.

And by the way, ’Sota could flip that no. 1 pick to Philly for no. 3 and no. 10, take whomever’s left between Wiggins and Parker, then have the no. 10 and no. 13 picks as well, plus Bennett! That’s a RESET button and then some.

And the only thing standing in the way of this trade is Philly would have to decide to trade the #3 pick. And really, when they have the chance to land a franchise guy at #3, why wouldn't they trade up, ruin part of their rebuilding plan and get rid of the draft picks they have carefully acquired so that Bill's rosterbation becomes reality? Who says "no" to this?

Bill Simmons Paper GM of the Year. He seems to misunderstand the human element of his brilliant ideas.

Step No. 2: Pull Miami’s old Udonis Haslem trick — renounce Anderson Varejao’s rights (for more cap space), then re-sign him in July for a longer deal.

What if Varejao doesn't want to come back to the Cavs? It was easy to convince Haslem to come back and play for the Heat because they are a championship team, but once Varejao becomes a free agent what prevents him from deciding he would rather sign with another NBA team? Whoops, there goes the human element screwing Bill's ideas up again.

Step No. 3: Bring LeBron home.

Seems simple enough. It's not like Dan Gilbert kicked LeBron on the way out the door or anything.

Your 2014-15 Cavs (potentially): LeBron, Love, Kyrie, Varejao, Tristan Thompson, Jarrett Jack, Dion Waiters and their choice of three ring-chasing veterans who would commit murder to play on that team. A little more palatable than that 2014-15 Heat roster … right?

If rosterbation were a sport, Bill would be an All-Star. Unfortunately that which works on paper and in Bill's head doesn't work all the time in real life. The Cavs SHOULD convince the Sixers to trade up inexplicably to get one of the best three players in the draft when they could sit back at #3 and have their choice of Embiid, Wiggins and Parker, the Cavs should renounce Varejao's rights and brainwash him into wanting to re-sign with them, and then all they have to do is convince the best player in the NBA to come back and play for them again even though they burned his jersey in effigy when he left the first time. That's what the Cavs SHOULD do and the fact Bill seems astounded the Cavs could screw this plan up as if all these steps are only up to them tells you something about Bill Simmons.

(The good news for Celtics fans: Cleveland will probably screw this up. And somehow end up winning the 2015 lottery, of course. Enjoy the three-day weekend.)

You mean the Cavs would screw it up by not being able to unilaterally making these decisions and realizing other NBA teams have a choice whether to make a trade or not based on their own interests and the Cavs can't force Varejao and Lebron to sign with them? I don't believe it. Bill's ideas make sense when working under the assumption NBA teams can unilaterally make decisions without the human element being present. 


rich said...

Love, Rajon Rondo, Asik, Jeff Green and Free Agent 2-Guard TBA? And could you make the Finals with a Big Three of James Harden, Dwight Howard and Carmelo Anthony? YES AND YES! Let’s do this!

So window closing on Westbrook/Durant/Ibaka, but Harden/Howard/Anthony? Fuck and yes.

Also Love, Rondo, Asik, Green and some other dude is not a particularly good lineup.

Bill Simmons Paper GM of the Year. He seems to misunderstand the human element of his brilliant ideas.

I don't get why Bill thinks the Sixers would make his hypothetical trade?

They completely gutted their roster on the basis that they'd have two lottery picks to fill holes and grow a young team up together. To then give up on getting a really good talent at number 3 and a pretty good talent at 10, they're going to give up on that to get what? A slightly better player?

The Sixers are also coming off the Bynum debacle and traded their young, all-star PG for Noel, who, just like Bynum, didn't play a single minute last year. So obviously Bill thinks they're going to give up the #3 and #10 to get another center with injury problems.

At three, the Sixers are assured of either Wiggins, Parker or Embiid. So they get a SG, SF/PF or a C. All three fill needs the Sixers have, so why they give up the number 10 pick for... um... things?

Bengoodfella said...

Rich, that's a good point. The Thunder players are younger as a group than Harden/Howard/Anthony. Don't get me started on this Kevin Love crap.

As a Celtics fan, I want Love. As a logical person I know Love is the second-best player on a title team so there is more that has to be done in order to make the team better. I like Love, but that lineup of Love/Rondo/Asik/some dude isn't a top team in the East. Not as long as the Heat and Pacers are together.

I would get if the Sixers made the trade because they didn't like one of Embiid/Parker/Wiggins but at #3 they are guaranteed one of those three guys. I don't get the reason to trade up two spots. Wasn't the entire point to get draft picks and get talented players through the draft?

Personally, I think pairing Parker with Noel is ideal. Parker isn't a great defensive player and he Noel can help erase some of his deficiencies and I have a weird feeling some one will fall in the draft and the Sixers will have a chance at a steal at #10.

I thought the plan was to build through the draft and this is a good draft. The options at #10 are absolutely wide open.