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 Bulls should trade for Andrew Bynum
January 5th, 2014

This article was due to run on Monday on another site. However, it seems as though there can be no delay. Andrew Bynum’s time in Cleveland is all but over. After a poor first few months on the court, in which he has looked awful at times in trying to recover from serious knee problems, a recent suspension for off-court behaviour has seen him essentially placed on gardening leave, while Cleveland tries to find a new home for him and his contract. And they likely will. Cleveland signed Bynum for two reasons. Firstly, to potentially land themselves a quality player at a position of weakness – Bynum’s interior game on both ends once made him one of the best big men in the league, and based on age alone, he should still be short of his prime. And secondly, for the value – even at $24.6 million dollars over two years, Bynum nevertheless represented value if he didn’t work out on the court, based on the nature of his contract. Primarily, though, they wanted him to produce. Bynum, however, has not been able to produce. Save for a couple of strong outings, he has mostly looked like a shadow of his former self, still playing in severe pain and looking just as painful as he is said to be feeling. His inability to play through the kind of severe pain that would lead to most of us taking several months work has unfortunately led to ugly (and apparently open season) speculation about his ‘love’ of the game, for it is always easier to blame someone for things, yet whatever we think of Bynum’s commitment to the game, one thing seems apparent by this time – the former Andrew Bynum, the second best centre in the league, is not coming back. […]

Posted by at 9:31 PM