Shame on us?

The Knicks, who just threw away two whole seasons in an effort to sign LeBron James and still don’t know if they can, should be ashamed of themselves. The NBA, which has engineered a free-agency system that allows and often encourages teams to do otherwise unconscionable things like tank entire seasons, should be ashamed of itself. The players, who have all been groomed to believe these max contracts are their birthright, should be ashamed of themselves, but that’s clearly not about to happen.

But we, the sporting public, should be the most ashamed. Because what we have allowed this league and these players to do to us is thoroughly shameful….

These players wouldn’t spit on you if you were on fire. You’re the fool and they’re all playing you for it. Can you imagine if you found out the CEOs of three different high-profile banks got together in secret  with a mortgage calculator to discuss which one of them was going to buy your mortgage loan? Or if the presidents of three different Ivy League colleges got together to decide which of them was going to accept your application and which one was going to accept your neighbor’s?

Well, you’d think it was an outrage. The people who hold all the power hanging out together, lighting up cigars and laughing about how great it was all going to turn out for all of them no matter what happens, no matter whose feelings get crushed in the process.

Dan Graziano, SNY.tv.

Graz’s scathing teardown of the NBA free agency system is definitely worth a read.  I don’t know that I’m as worked up as he is over the current nonsense since, to me, the fault lies wholly on the league for creating this situation. The players and teams are doing their best to take advantage of it, as they should be expected to. But it’s a stupid system regardless, one that appears in need of an overhaul. I’m not saying I know how to fix it, but I’m certain it’s broke.

6 thoughts on “Shame on us?

  1. The Knicks were going absolutely nowhere the last two seasons, so there wasn’t much to throw away. Unless they were supposed to try to trade for more bad contracts in an effort to make the 8 seed. Most of the moves they made were the correct ones even if they don’t end up getting anyone in free agency.

    And I think the problem comes from the NBA being a league where so much is predicated on having a superstar player. No matter what the system, that’s going to be a necessity and a team without a superstar is going to have to base its strategy in getting one through whatever avenue is available.

    • True, but a big part of the reason the Knicks weren’t going anywhere the last two seasons was the NBA’s salary cap structure, no?

      The second point is a great one.

      • A bigger reason is bad deals. The cap only hurts you when you hand out a bunch of bad contracts. Most teams only have themselves to blame for being too obsessed with winning now rather than realizing their teams weren’t going anywhere and needed blowing up. Just for a contrast the nets and wizards had the same cap problems as the knicks did and the nets got rid of all their bad contracts, and the wizards all but one, without giving away draft picks. And they both managed to amass young cheap talent in the trades. Of course most of their bad contracts weren’t nearly as bad as the knicks’s contracts which isn’t Walsh’s fault.

        That being said I agree it’s broken, but I don’t really see how it could be fixed. I don’t think guys like Joe Johnson, Amar’e or Bosh are worth anywhere near the max but if owners are going to give it to them anyway what can the NBA do to stop it. They could lower the max but then it wouldn’t be fair to players who actually are worth it. Maybe the real problem is there’s too many teams and not enough available top tier talent, but the NBA obviously isn’t going to start contracting franchises.

        Really, IMO, the only player so far who was worth the contract he signed was Darko, and that’s only because Darko is insane and frightening and who knows what terrors would have been unleashed onto Minnesota if he wasn’t resigned.

  2. Can you imagine if you found out the CEOs of three different high-profile banks got together in secret to discuss which one of them was going to buy your mortgage loan? Or if the presidents of three different Ivy League colleges got together to decide which of them was going to accept your application and which one was going to accept your neighbor’s?

    What’s happening in NBA free agency isn’t like what Dan says at all. Rather, it’s like three top students getting together to decide which Ivy League college they’re going to go to, and possibly turning down better scholarship money to be together. Or, three college basketball recruits discussing together where to go. Or three employees in any line of work deciding they may want to work together. The collusion is among the workers, not the employers. What’s wrogn with that?

    • That’s spot on. The comparison is wrong. Also, I can’t stand this telepathic journalism. What’s the basis for thinking the players loathe their fans? Maybe these elite athletes deserve elite contracts because they, you know, are among the best on the entire planet at what they do? What’s unreasonable about their behavior here?

      (And I think people by now already know they have no control or in some cases idea who’s buying all or part of their mortgage.)

  3. Graziano is way off, and to see someone blaming labor and not management in this situation is actually just kind of hard to believe.

    Frankly, this seems like a pretty Holden Caulfield–esque analysis of sports in general. Should players NOT try to get the most money possible? Do sportswriters NOT try to get the most money possible?

    Frankly, I’m not sure Buster Olney would spit on me if I was on fire, either.

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