Max Deal The Way To Go With Irving
May 28th, 2014

(originally published elsewhere) Cleveland committed their future to Kyrie Irving. They picked him first overall, gave him all the reins, and gave him all the plaudits. And yet now there are reports that they do not want to give him a maximum contract extension. Whether or not Irving is worth the maximum salary is not really relevant here. The point is loyalty, and, more importantly, the perception of loyalty. It is not automatically disloyal to offer less than the maximum salary in an extension to a player you (rightly) do not feel is worth it, but to the player and his powerful agent, it is perceived as so. Anything less than undivided love is insufficient love, because the assumption – fuelled by perception – is that undivided love is available elsewhere. If you show anything less than undivided love, you do not show sufficient loyalty. And NBA players are driven by loyalty. Offer them less than the maximum and they will point to all those beforehand in comparable situations who received it. Blake Griffin, for one, or fellow point guards Derrick Rose and John Wall (particularly Wall, who had a long way to go at the time he received his deal, moreso than Rose). It matters not if they are not worth the maximum – the assumption was always that they were going to get it, especially after picking him first overall, openly stating he is the future and the foundation, and when given that they are one of the few bright spots for the franchise in the last three moribund seasons. The fact that the last three years have been poor is partly Irving’s fault, of course, but that is not how this particular process works. It could, then, be a situation headed for a messy divorce. Especially if […]

Posted by at 1:55 AM

The Declaration Of Sim Bhullar
May 16th, 2014

(originally published elsewhere) In a post written last month, one armed unashamedly with the benefit of four years of hindsight, I looked back at the decision of one time Oklahoma guard Tommy Mason-Griffin to leave school, declare for the NBA draft and turn professional after only one collegiate season, a poor season that had been mired by underwhelming play and much tumult within the program. In the four seasons hence, Mason-Griffin has missed more than two full campaigns due to injury, yet he has been under contract and thus been paid for his time nonetheless, something which would not have happened had he stayed in college and given his services away for free. The idea of the piece was in part to repudiate the conventional line of thinking, whereby a player’s decision to leave school early and/or declare for the NBA draft is to be evaluated entirely upon their likelehood of being drafted. Mason-Griffin served as a useful barometer for that – he never made the NBA, never came close, and surely never will, yet his decision can be justified on account of what it meant for his earning potential, one the injuries have crippled. Another player who can serve as an example of this is now upon us in the goliath form of New Mexico State centre, Sim Bhullar. Bhullar has declared for the draft after a sophomore season in which he averaged 10.4 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.4 blocks in 26.3 minutes per game. It is widely and entirely correctly held that, despite his size and relative productivity, he is not ready for the NBA. Yet he has declared anyway, as, once again, there is professional basketball life outside of the NBA from which he can earn. And he will earn, because of his remarkable qualities. Bhullar, famously, […]

Posted by at 1:49 AM