Category: Business

By VaMedia (Flickr: D30_5377a2 s) [CC-BY-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Should College Athletes Be Paid?

Taylor Branch’s recent Atlantic article on the evolution of the NCAA’s

,
By VaMedia (Flickr: D30_5377a2 s) [CC-BY-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)
controversial brand of amateurism reignited a vigorous debate about whether

college athletes should be compensated. Branch’s argument that

NCAA athletes deserve to be paid is not a novel one, and I am sure that as a noted historian he’s keenly aware of how timing has helped spur interest in his article. Were his piece written twenty, maybe even ten years ago, Branch might’ve been branded as an out of touch academic overstepping his bounds. However, in an era where young musicians (e.g. Justin Bieber) can take to youtube to create the kinds of following previously only imaginable with a big studio’s help, it’s unfathomable why collegiate athletes have to relinquish their marketability to the NCAA.

I for one agree with Branch and others who believe that it NCAA athletes should be compensated. Yes, scholarships are a form of compensation, but I agree with Branch in that scholarships should not be the only form of compensation. In fact, allowing players to earn revenue from sponsorship agreements and stipends can only strengthen NCAA athletics. For one, doing so will enable the NCAA to revamp its mission and instead of being a de facto kangaroo court, the NCAA can evolve into an effective policy body capable of addressing the real issues plaguing collegiate sports (e.g. divisional re-alignment and abysmal graduation rates at certain schools).

There are others like Sports Illustrated’s Seth Davis, and the Washington Post’s Sally Jenkins firmly disagree with offering college athletes other forms of compensation. It’s striking that journalists still disapprove of this concession. Imagine for a minute if a top-flight journalism student at Northwestern, Missouri or Columbia was prohibited from being compensated for an article published in the New Yorker or Sports Illustrated, or even accepting a paid internship at one of these publications because as a collegiate journalist she or he is an amateur writer, and as such should not be paid. No young writer would stand for such a rule. Yet, you have journalists like Davis of Sports Illustrated and Jenkins argue that NCAA athletes should not be paid even though they likely would not have accepted a similar arrangement in their own professions.

Baseball and collegiate tennis are great examples that in some cases scholarships are worthwhile alternatives to launching a professional career. Dozens of highly touted baseball prospects decline lucrative signing bonuses and professional contracts in order to play collegiate baseball every year. Similarly, dozens of amateur tennis players accept scholarships instead of trying to launch their professional careers.

Who’s to say that in an open market, collegiate football and basketball players would not continue accepting scholarships to high profile institutions such as Ohio State, Alabama and Duke if the alternative is sitting at the end of a D-League bench or being a third round pick of the Cincinnati Bengals? Moreover, why wouldn’t a highly touted recruit from an affluent family like Austin Rivers opt for at least one more year carefree living and tutoring from one of his sport’s greatest minds, instead of competing to backup Anthony Parker in Cleveland?

Those who insist on arguing that college’s can’t afford to pay athletes, therefore the NCAA shouldn’t allow athletes to be compensated are either naïve or hypocritical. If anything what many of the scandals from the last thirty years, from SMU to USC, have taught us is that there are plenty of people willing to step in to help college’s make payroll. Jerry Jones wouldn’t have ever bought the Cowboys if he had to pay all his players out of his own pocket. He pays them from the revenue earned from sponsorships, ticket sales and licensing agreements. In other words the schools who earn revenue from particular sports would have the liberty to share the earnings with the players who made such revenue possible, and the schools who don’t earn revenue…well I am sure they’ll figure something out, after all isn’t why their administrators went to college.

What we have to resign ourselves to is that the real issue isn’t whether to pay or not pay players, but rather that not all schools are created equal. South Florida will never make as much money from football as Florida and Florida will never make as much as the University of Texas. And you know what, that’s ok. Each school should be free to negotiate with their players as they see fit. Professional sports have taught us time and again that teams with the biggest payrolls are not locks to win championships. Just ask any Redskins fan whether they would prefer, their team’s previous owners who were thrifty, but who brought home three Super Bowl titles, or Daniel Snyder, a real life Richie Rich, but under whose stewardship the franchise has a sub-500 record.

Paying players and ensuring an equal distribution of talent across colleges are very different goals. Talent is not divided equally now and paying players would do nothing to alter that reality. Therefore if Nike, Under Armour and Adidas are intent on using collegiate athletes as pawns in their battle for consumers’ soles, then the athletes who are the headliners in these contests deserve to be compensated for their work.

But wait you say, won’t some players earn more than others? Yes, they will earn more than their teammates. They will earn a lot more. But why precisely is that an issue? LeBron James earns a lot more than Eddie House yet I never heard Eddie House complain once this season that he deserves to be making as much as LeBron. Heck, half the league earned less than Eddy Curry this past year yet you didn’t hear players walking out in protest. It’s a fact of life some people in the same workplace earn more than others.

And it’s not as if there currently aren’t wealth disparities on collegiate teams? Andrew Luck’s family is wealthier than those of many of his Stanford teammates, as was Peyton Manning than most of his teammates at Tennessee, yet you didn’t see anyone turning on either Luck or Manning because of their wealth. Sure, except for maybe at Florida State, the place-kicker will never make as much as the quarterback on a collegiate team. But you know what, maybe he’ll negotiate to have more time to pursue a more difficult major, or have his travel to and from home covered four times a year so he can visit his parents. Compensation doesn’t always have to come in the form of salaries, as we all know from our own jobs there are things we negotiate for when hired that do not have a numerical value assigned to them.

The last canard in most arguments for not paying NCAA athletes is that not all sports generate revenue. While I can’t say that table-tennis will ever be a revenue earning sport, I wouldn’t rule out the potential for some schools to be able to make more money from sports like Golf, tennis, baseball, hockey or soccer. Colleges with strong soccer programs can learn a thing or two from their football counterparts in how to leverage the rabid fanaticism that some people have toward their alma maters to boost this sport’s profile among American audiences.

By allowing players to earn money from sponsorship deals NCAA soccer players wouldn’t lose anything by accepting a scholarship to UCLA for example instead of turning pro. In fact, they might have even more to gain as more players opt to play in college and sponsors take advantage of historic collegiate rivalries to boost interest in these sports. If American audiences were assured that some of best young players were on college teams I am sure that this would pique their interest in sports beyond football and basketball. If the Freddy Adus of this world continue turning pro at sixteen and spending their teenage years out of the American limelight in Italy, American audiences will continue to have good reason to be skeptical of the quality of play of collegiate soccer players in the US.

In short, paraphrasing that wise old sage Rasheed Wallace, the time has come for the NCAA to “CTC,” cut the check!

Mike-Bloomberg

$130 Million NYC Initiative for Black and Latino Males

On Thursday, August 3, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg

Why wouldn't $130 million make a difference?

announced he will be pledging $30 million to a $130 million city initiative aimed at improving the conditions of black and Latino men in New York City.  It would primarily focus on improving graduation rates and decreasing rates of incarceration and recidivism for black and Latino males between age 16 and 24.  The ultimate purpose is to help these men gain more stable and secure positions in the mainstream economy.

I am curious about Mayor Bloomberg’s motivations.  I am not questioning his desire to help the targeted group, but I wonder: why invest these funds in the city when much of the plan is likely to be carried out after the Mayor will have left office?  Having already asked George Soros to match his pledge, why not simply set up a well-run, Gates Foundation style non-profit?

Many would say that New York City government itself, particularly its police department’s policies and actions such as its infamous stop and frisk initiative, have contributed greatly to a climate many minorities, particularly males, have found hostile.  Many have gone elsewhere to seek more temperate climes.  Perhaps Mayor Bloomberg’s initiative is a way of acknowledging the city’s comparative fault.

Questions aside, I nonetheless applaud Mayor Bloomberg.  It goes without saying that $130 million, or even $30 million, is nothing to shake a stick at.  I can imagine this happening in few other American cities, recession or no. The New York Times ran a rather, I think,  unfortunate article quoting several young men who would stand to gain from the initiative voicing doubts overits ultimate effectiveness.  We are told one such man is a 23-year old father of four.

A more complete perspective would be gained from interviewing men like Anthony Cardenales,  who participated in Bard College’s Prison Institute, served his time, and now works in management for a successful recycling company helmed by a forward-looking, bottom-line capitalist who also happens to be black.  Cardenales was recently featured on a PBS NewsHour Business Desk segment:

My questions about the Mayor’s initiative won’t soon disappear, but I hope that those who stand to benefit see this at least as much as an opportunity to be leveraged as an  inadequate compensation for irreparable and ongoing injuries.

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Should NBA Players be Allowed to be Part Owners of Their Teams?

One of the causes for this current NBA labor dispute is the inability of small market teams to remain profitable.  A soft cap that was tied to a luxury tax incorporated into the previous collective bargaining agreement has not generated the kind of revenue sharing between small and big market teams that the league imagined.  Instead of a level playing field, teams such as the Knicks, Lakers and Mavericks have been able to spend as they see fit for the best talent available, or in the case of the Isaiah Thomas era Knicks, the most dysfunctional talent available.  Owners and players alike agree that changes are needed, but the two sides are miles apart on exactly who should bear the brunt of responsibility for these changes.

I’ve long been an advocate of contraction, something unlikely to occur.  Now I would like to offer another prescription for the NBA’s economic woes.  It’s time that the league consider abolishing the rule that prohibits active players from becoming part-owners of a team.

Comprised of about 400 players the NBA is a small league compared to its counterparts Major League Baseball and the National Football League.  NBA players are more recognizable than their peers in other sports and a dynamic player is infinitely more capable of transforming a team’s fortunes in terms of ticket sales and victories.  Think about how many promising young quarterbacks whose careers were derailed because they played behind poor offensive lines.  Compare that with the sellouts enjoyed by the Raptors at the Air Canada Center during Vince Carter’s tenure even though most of those Raptors’ squads were middling at best.  Fans flocked to see Carter play in ways that NFL fans in say, Carolina, would never flock to see David Carr–or Indianapolis fans to see Peyton Manning were he not leading them to the playoffs year after year.

The NBA is as much a white shoe law firm as it is a sports league.  NBA players are key revenue drivers, or to continue the law firm analogy, NBA players are the ones who bring in the clients (fans) to the arena.  One way that law firms retain their top lawyers is by making them partners.  Law firms do this not only as a way of acknowledging the work done by a particular attorney, but to also ensure that they don’t strike out on their own as their client lists build up.  And in turn, lawyers accept these offers to become partners because it saves them the costs that they’d incur if they started their own firms.  Under the current system NBA teams provide their attorneys (the players) with a great platform to build up their client rosters (i.e. endorsement deals) but can’t offer them anything beyond a higher salary when a player decides he wants to take his services elsewhere.

Take last year’s LeBron saga.  One of the supposed drawbacks to staying in Cleveland was that LeBron could make more money in endorsements by signing with the Knicks or Bulls.  More endorsement money for LeBron didn’t necessarily translate to more revenue for the Cavaliers, and vice versa, continued high octane ticket sales also wouldn’t translate to more money for LeBron.  Did it really make sense to limit the Cavs to being able to pay LeBron as much as Atlanta paid Joe Johnson?  LeBron is infinitely more valuable to the Cavs than Joe Johnson is to the Hawks so why should he be held to the same standard?

What if Cleveland had been able to offer LeBron a 3% ownership stake in the franchise, a 5-10million dollar cash investment in his branding firm LMR, and HR/back-end support for all of LMR’s ventures as long as LeBron remained a Cavalier.

Granted, there’s no guarantee that LeBron would have taken this offer, but if such a deal had been on the table, it would have made things more interesting.  After all would Miami have been able to afford LeBron, Wade and Bosh if Cleveland and Toronto had been able to extend such lucrative options to their marquee players.

Who knows, maybe LeBron works out a deferred compensation package with Cleveland, and lures Joe  Johnson or Ray Allen to help him in his quest for the title.

As it stands now the current NBA salary structure is incapable of really addressing a player’s value to a particular team or franchise.  The problem isn’t that Gilbert Arenas or Rashard Lewis make 17million dollars a year.  No, the problem is that teams are hamstrung in their ability to appropriately compensate the players who are its economic engines. Moreover, teams continue to see every player simply as an employee when clearly there are a handful of players who are not simply employees, and for whom an argument can be made that they deserve to be partners in their respective franchises.   Its unconscionable that Kobe Bryant wasn’t consulted by the Lakers before they decided to hire Mike Brown.  Bryant didn’t deserve to have the final say, but he did deserve to have a say, as did Derek Fisher, Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom for that matter.

But maybe Bryant prefers to be a Laker employee and would rather not integrate his other ventures with the Lakers brand.  There are other players, namely Dwyane Wade, who has shown an interest in being a manager and recruiting talent for their teams.

Ironically, the biggest drawback to this proposal is not that it would create another salary-tier among players but rather that given the financial straights of many NBA franchises a player is better off simply accepting the max-contract than venturing into an ownership stake.  Really, would you flock to become part owner of the Kings right now?

 

Jimmer-Fredette_

Is Jimmer Fredette The NBA’s Tim Tebow?

“New rule: if you killed Allen Iverson in his prime for being a ballhog, you can’t be a cheerleader for 2011 Jimmer Fredette.”–Bill Simmons

It’s been interesting watch Jimmer Fredette climb up NBA draft boards these past few weeks.  While Fredette had an outstanding college career, the list of small shoot first guards who did not pan out in the NBA is a long one.  Even small pass first guards struggle in the league.  For every Stephen Curry or Steve Nash, there are two dozen Dan Dickaus and Sebastian Telfairs.  In the lead up to the draft all of these players were attractive because of their David vs Goliath potential, but if NBA success was governed on great stories then guys like Shaq and Dwight Howard wouldn’t have a had a shot at making the pros. And since we have to have a draft every year, it makes sense that we must also go through the annual search for the NBA’s next Cinderella.

However, Fredette is different from the recent crop of diminutive guards.  He’s not a high school phenom like Telfair was when he burst on the scene, nor is he a physical freak a la Nate Robinson.  He’s somewhere between Stephen Curry and Johnny Flynn, which in most years would make for a fairly unexceptional prospect.  Moreover, as Bill Simmons’ comment above suggests, Fredette’s been groomed to play in a system that not only doesn’t work in the NBA, but the last 6′ to dominate the league was vilified in a manner that has escaped Fredette thus far in his career.

Fredette’s draft prospects are undoubtedly being aided by the fact that this draft is not only low on talent but also superstars.  This is arguably the most pedestrian draft since 2000 when Kenyon Martin and Stromile Swift went first and second respectively, and Fredette has quickly distinguished himself as the most marketable prospect in this year’s draft.  He’s not the best player, but the one guaranteed to sell jerseys and grab eyeballs from day one.

Fredette’s marketability inspires a comparison to another recent college phenom, college football’s Tim Tebow.  Prior to the 2010 NBA draft the Associated Press had the following to say about Tebow;

Tim Tebow’s marketing power is already reaching its potential, even if his NFL future isn’t quite so certain.

Similarly, the Bleacher Report had this to say about Fredette:

Jimmer Fredette could potentially be the most marketable player in the draft, especially in a market like Utah

While Tebow was a more dominant college player than Fredette he and Fredette are similar in that most experts doubted their prospects as pro players.  Tebow and Fredette were also immensely popular because of their “wholesome” images.  They both are perfect contrasts to the two pro players who their styles of play bear the strongest resemblance, Michael Vick and Iverson respectively.

Tebow has thus far proven that his q-rating translates well from college to the NFL.  It remains to be seen whether Fredette can have a similar impact outside of Utah.  Still, teams such as Sacramento and Phoenix who are looking for young players to revive their fan bases are surely looking at Tebow’s success as a model for what they might be able to achieve with Fredette on board.

 

 

 

 

Rich Cho

Portland’s Loss, Charlotte’s Gain: Bobcats Hire Rich Cho

Michael Jordan took another step in improving Charlotte’s front office with the hire of Rich Cho as General Manager.  Cho, who was recently fired by Portland in a move that surprised NBA insiders is a keen cap manager and evaluator of talent.  His hire should be help the Bobcats maneuver through what everyone believes is a lackluster draft class.

Bobcats hire ex-Blazers GM Cho; promote Higgins | NBA.com.

jimbuss2

Where’s The National Outrage Against Jim Buss

A year ago LeBron James captured the nation’s attention by announcing on live television that he’d be leaving his then current team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, to join the Miami Heat.  Delivered during what most can now agree was a misguided television production titled melodramatically enough, “The Decision,” LeBron’s now infamous declaration “I will be taking my talents to South Beach” instantly became the butt of jokes.  It also turned LeBron, formerly one of the most admired players in the NBA, to the league’s pre-eminent villain.  He instantly came to represent all that was wrong with the NBA, i.e. a  spoiled young star, and as some basketball commentators would opine, another example of how the pathological single black mother is unable to raise a young man of high moral character.  LeBron was deemed a traitor to his hometown and disloyal to the franchise that drafted him in 2003.  Few people were willing to see him as a young man making a professional decision, doing what we often call on our young to do, leave home and see if you can succeed outside the bosom of your hometown.

Given the shellacking that LeBron took a year ago, it seems odd that there hasn’t been a national outcry for a beheading of Lakers’ executive Jim Buss.  Buss really made “the decision” to hire Mike Brown in lieu of Laker loyalist and Phil Jackson protege Brian Shaw.  Brown, a former NBA coach of the year, led the Cavaliers to the NBA championships in 2007 where they lost to the San Antonio Spurs.  Brown is a fine coach, but he’s also a bit of a punchline.  As the orchestrator of an offensive game plan that could best be summed up as “give the ball to LeBron and clear out,” it remains to be seen whether Brown is a gifted coach, or just someone who had the good fortune of coaching the league’s most dominant player.  In most instances Brown would have been a fine hire for the Lakers or any other organization.

Although since Buss had a perfectly good in-house coaching prospect, a supposed “coach in waiting” it seems odd that he wouldn’t have just promoted Brian Shaw instead of penning Brown to a lucrative 4-year contract.

And it’s not as if Shaw was just a pedestrian former player turned assistant.  A three-time NBA champion with the Lakers, a buffer and respected mentor to both Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal, a California native, Shaw worked his way up from being a Bay Area scout for the Lakers to Phil Jackson’s lead assistant.

By promoting Shaw, Buss would’ve showed the league that the Lakers not only respected loyalty, but also a player willing to work his way up the coaching ladder.

Buss would’ve been doing the right thing because Shaw comported himself the right way as a Laker.

However, Buss did not hire Shaw and loyalty was again not rewarded in an NBA executive suite.

Sure, Buss has received some criticism for how he handled the situation, but nothing approaching what LeBron received last year when he made his decision.  Yes, Jim Buss is not one of the most marketable players in the league–but he is the chief executive of arguably the league’s most bankable franchise.  By promoting Shaw Buss would have proven himself to be the anti-LeBron to all the LeBron haters.  He would’ve come across as an owner who appreciates player loyalty and rewards those who have served the franchise well.

Instead, he made a business decision.  It’s Buss’ team, so he can run it however he wants.  But the next time a free-agent bolts their team, I don’t want to hear any sob stories from NBA execs and their allies in the media about player loyalty.

go-spurs-go

5 Myths About NBA Small Market Teams

With the Western Conference Finals drawing to a close analysts are beginning to heighten their speculation about the future of Oklahoma City point guard Russell Westbrook. This morning on ESPN Chris Broussard mentioned the possibility of New Orleans or New Jersey possibly swapping their all-star point guards for Westbrook if it looks like either team will be unable to retain Chris Paul and Deron Williams respectively. I’ve engaged in similar chatter on twitter so the intent here not to criticize the inevitable. Instead I will take this opportunity to counter 5 of the prevailing myths about small market teams in the NBA

1) Players don’t like playing in small markets:
Players don’t like losing. Players may prefer in some cities over others, usually because of proximity to their hometowns (see point 2 ), but what they hate is losing. If a player is winning and competing for a championship then most concerns about a team’s location tend to fade away.

2) There’s nothing for young, rich black guys to do in _____
This argument is often used against teams such as Utah, Minnesota and Indiana. Well, I can think of one thing for young rich black guys can do in these cities: collect a check. Sure, no one is going to conflate Salt Lake City with Atlanta anytime soon, but it’s also stupid to think that all black people like Atlanta. More often than not, I think the issue is here that many fail to acknowledge that playing basketball is a job for these athletes, therefore they’re going to take the same things into account when deciding where to play as anyone else would do in accepting a job. And as we all know, one of things that matters most to job seekers is proximity to friends and family.

3) It’s hard to get endorsements in small markets:
No it’s harder to get endorsements when your teams suck and you don’t have much of a personality. Patrick Ewing was a star in New York, but he wasn’t flooded with endorsements because fans didn’t relate to him as much as they did Michael Jordan, nor did he have the rings that helped propel Hakeem Olajuwon’s endorsement deals. Paul Pierce has had a better career than Antoine Walker, but during their time together on the Celtics Walker was by far the more recognizable and marketable player. Lebron James and Dwight Howard can currently teach a master-class on securing endorsements because of their success in Cleveland and Orlando respectively.

4) It’s harder to keep players once they become stars
This is an extension of point one, but the real reason is that being in a small market won’t elicit any sympathy from other owners. When Mitch Kupchak was fleecing Memphis in the Pau Gasol deal he surely wasn’t thinking, “geez, Memphis is a small market deal, I really should make them a better offer.” Kupchak’s job is to help L.A. win titles. Every other GM and front office staff has the same goal for their teams, so small markets shouldn’t expect handouts because if they have inept front offices. So when the Pacers and Blazers were forced to trade very talented players for P.R. reasons, it was incumbent upon the other teams in those trades to give the Pacers 50-70 cents on the dollar for those players because their jobs was to protect the interest of their teams. And if all you needed was to be in a big market to attract players, then the Knicks and Clippers would be churning out all-star rosters every year.

5) Small Market teams aren’t profitable
If they’re not then Utah and Sacramento never got the memo.Both franchises have been among the best run and most profitable in the league for years now. They’ve been successful because they developed a core group of players who can compete every year, drafted very well from late positions in the draft and even did even better when they were in the lottery. San Antonio are simply doing what teams like LA, Boston and Chicago have done for years, playing to their strengths and build off winning teams.

Oklahoma City Thunder v Denver Nuggets

How Marketable is Kevin Durant?

Darren Rovell’s recent column on Kevin Durant’s marketability revealed this surprising nugget:

[A Kevin Durant] endorsement means more to fans than anyone in the NBA, except for Shaquille O’Neal, Dwyane Wade and Dwight Howard.

Shaq, Wade and Howard are all more better known than Durant so it’s not a complete surprise that their endorsements mean more to fans than his, but it does come as a bit of a shock that Durant polled better than a number of other NBA players.  Lebron and Kobe are two names that quickly come to mind, but the market is over-saturated with Kobe and Lebron commercials, therefore it makes sense that fans see Durant as more earnest than these two global icons.

Two names that I thought would rank among the top of this list are Phoenux Suns teammates Steve Nash and Grant Hill.  Shaq’s presence indicates that age can not be a discriminating factor and both have had better seasons that Shaq over the past three years.  Furthermore Nash has Durant’s everyman qualities, maybe even more so because of his height and build.  And with two league MVP’s under his belt Nash is as recognizable as any player in the league.

Injuries may have robbed Hill of some of his best playing years, but he remains one of the league’s best ambassadors.  Given the range of products and services advertised during NBA games Hill would make as trustworthy of a endorser for a financial service on insurance firm as any player in the league.

Returning to Durant, as Rovell notes a trip to the Western Conference Finals will only increase Durant’s marketability.  The trick from that point on however is for him to work to ensure that he doesn’t lose what has made him such an endearing figure.  That said, Nike shouldn’t expect this Durant booster to be plopping down any cash for a Kevin Durant backpack anytime soon.

rudygay

Grizzlies Reaffirm Committment to Keep Rudy Gay

Memphis Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley recently made it clear to Memphis Commercial Appeal writer Geoff Calkins that Memphis has no intention of trading Rudy Gay. According to Heisley:

“No disrespect to Oklahoma City, but if we had had Rudy Gay, we would have won the bleepity-bleep series going away. I really believe that.”

 

This may all very well be true, Memphis might have beaten Oklahoma City with Gay in the lineup, and the team likely does not intend to trade Rudy Gay.

However, intent is a very funny thing in business and the NBA.  Teams intend on doing the best by their fans and players but as we all know things do not always work out that way.  Moreover, when an owner makes such a strong statement as Heisley does in professing his commitment to keeping Gay, it may be less a matter of Gay or a similar player’s value to their particular team, but more about their value around the league.  And at this point few players are as hard to assess as Gay.  He’s a young talented scorer entering his prime who defends and who’s growing as a leader.  On the other hand, he’s a max contract player whose team almost made it to the conference finals without him playing.  Given this conundrum Heisley has no other option but to say he won’t trade Gay because there’s no other way of raising his trade value around the league, especially since under the best of circumstances Memphis would be hard pressed to get equal value back for Gay in any trade.

If you do a brief review of the Grizzlies’ options you’d quickly find there’s not a single player who’d make sense in a straight up trade (a reasonable trade, I’m not talking about Lebron for Gay), nor are there any teams that could offer a good package of players in return. It wouldn’t make sense for Memphis to trade Ga for the variety of swingmen with similar contracts, a list that includes: Andre Iguodala, Brandon Roy or Danny Granger.  Given that they re-signed Mike Conley Jr. earlier this year, a player such as Golden State’s Monta Ellis is no longer a viable option, and Gay is just flat out better than the likes of the Magic’s Gilbert Arenas or the Wizards’ Nick Young.

One possible trade that would work involves moving Gay to the Magic for a package built around a re-signed Jason Richardson, and either J.J. Redick and Martin Gortat’s trade exception, or Richardson and the trade exceptions Orlando received for both Gortat and Rashard Lewis.  Were Memphis to sign Richardson to a 3-year deal at 9-mil per they’d be getting a reasonable player at reasonable rate, and the trade exceptions would give them financial leverage to rebound from over-paying Randolph and Conley. And if Redick is included instead of both trade exceptions, his Duke roots will give Grizzlies another player with southeast roots.

While Heisley’s bout of loyalty is noble, it’s not necessarily the right approach to making sure Memphis stays competitive and financially stable.

I Need Some Dead Presidents to Represent Me

Why The Nets Will Never Win a Title

Maybe the title of this post should actually be, “Why Billy King Shouldn’t be a GM,” because I find it preposterous that he’s actually consulting Jay-Z on roster moves. 95% of a GM’s job isn’t about luring big name stars like Lebron or Carmelo so it seems bizarre that King and Jay-Z would have an ongoing correspondence about the Nets roster.  Unless Jay-Z has been spending his time scouting college games, it would seem t make more sense to for the marketing director to be in regular correspondence with him than King.

“I send him emails, or relate, ‘What about this guy?’” King said. “But he is fully invested. Not just financially, but from the heart.”

via Jay-Z is no Nelly: He’s “passionate” about the Nets, says GM | New York Daily News.