Josh Huestis’s D-League adventure, a misplaced exercise in loyalty
July 23rd, 2014

(originally published elsewhere) A few days ago, Darnell Mayberry broke the story that Oklahoma City Thunder draft pick Josh Huestis might spend next year in the D-League, collecting a mere $25,000 or so salary, rather than sign in the NBA. This would be groundbreaking, not as the first first rounder to not sign immediately in the NBA (this happens quite often), but as the first to do so who instead signs in the D-League. It also makes absolutely no sense on the face of it. As useful as the D-League can be, its salaries are extremely uncompetitive. Players are paid by the league in one of three salary brackets, determined by their ability, and even though Huestis would no doubt be worthy of the highest D-League salary possible, that figure is still paltry. It will be comparable before tax with what an NBA 10 day contract pays, and when I say ‘comparable with’, I mean ‘slightly lower than’. Huestis would be doing so because the Thunder asked him to, in a pre-arranged deal running unnervingly close to the line. Tom Ziller speculated it, and Zach Lowe confirmed it. The projected second round or undrafted player going in the first round was indeed a eye opener, and it follows that, given that they may have been alone in wanting to take him that high, the Thunder felt they had the leverage to lean on him in this way. Apparently, to agent Mitchell Butler, the fact that it is the Thunder makes it all worthwhile. An analogous situation here is that of George Hill with the San Antonio Spurs in 2008. The Spurs took the IUPUI guard in the first round when no one expected them to, and used this as a means of leveraging him into accepting less than the customary […]

Posted by at 1:24 AM

Tax Payers, Trade Kickers, And Other Deadline Day Bookkeeping
February 26th, 2011

He looks happy. And why shouldn’t he. That was one of the most interesting trade deadline weeks you’ll ever see. Fourteen trades, one kind of funny near trade, 50 players traded, 3 players signed, 4 players waived, 16 draft picks traded, 1 rights to swap traded, and two absolute Stone Cold Stunners of trades that no one expected. And these weren’t trades like Sam Cassell and cash for a 2016 top 55 protected second rounder, either. These were trades that changed teams significantly, and altered the landscape of the entire NBA. (Well, except for the Marquis Daniels one.) Superstars Carmelo Anthony and Deron Williams were dispatched from teams they didn’t want to stay with. Shane Battier and Mo Williams were dispatched from teams they didn’t want to leave. Draft busts Brandan Wright and Hasheem Thabeet were shipped for minimal returns; recently drafted rookies Derrick Favors and Jordan Crawford were shipped before even completing a season. And while my T.J. Ford for Dan Gadzuric idea never got done, Gadzuric did move to the New Jersey Nets, where he can grab as many rebounds as Brook Lopez in a third of the minutes. New York and New Jersey made the two biggest moves by acquiring the two All-Stars, Williams and Anthony. The Knicks finally closed the deal on the Anthony saga, their additional acquisition of Chauncey Billups and their retention of Landry Fields keeping the price tag just about on the right of ‘acceptable.’ Meanwhile, the Nets’s genuinely staggering trade for Williams, whilst ultimately a backup plan, turned out to be better then their original plan. If their intention was to chase Melo for half a year, then give up and trade less in a deal for a better, cheaper player with less mileage on the clock, then they pulled it off […]

Posted by at 6:21 AM