Making a trade in the NBA is not so simple as one GM calling up another and saying, “let’s swap Player X for Player Y.” It’s a long slog of conversations between assistant GMs about various players, then conversations between GMs and coaches, agents and other teams.
Lon Babby, the Phoenix Suns President of Basketball Operations, gave a glimpse of how it’s done in an interesting discussion with Dave King at the Bright Side of the Sun blog. Most of the article focuses on the new power structure in Phoenix, but then there is the interesting trade tidbit.
He used the Eric Bledsoe trade as the example. Remember that was a three team deal where the Clippers ended up with Jared Dudley from Phoenix and free agent shooting guard J.J. Redick in a sign-and-trade; the Suns got Bledsoe and Caron Butler; while the Bucks got two second-round picks (they were going to let Redick go for nothing, so still a win).
New Assistant GM Trevor Buckstein – who has been with the Suns for years but was promoted this summer – found a way under the cap to get J.J. Redick to the Clippers without them using their MLE, while Babby called Redick’s agent and (new Suns GM Ryan) McDonough called Doc Rivers.
“But that trade doesn’t get done if Ryan didn’t think Eric [Bledsoe] was the right player,” he said. “I wasn’t making those judgments and I shouldn’t be. He’s very definitive, he’s very strong in what he wants to do.”
The Suns assistant GM was looking for a way to get the Clippers a guy they wanted so they could get a guy out of Los Angeles that they wanted (Bledsoe). It’s chess, it’s thinking a few moves ahead.
The Suns front office has not functioned smoothly the last few years, there was no seeming grand plan between Babby and former GM Lance Banks. We’ll see if there is one now with McDonough, but there at least appears to be. They are getting worse to get better, like a number of other teams, but this is a good year to take that gamble.
While the rampant speculation continues about whether the Celtics may or may not trade for a superstar, Danny Ainge is filling out his roster with veterans. Sean Deveney of the Sporting News reports that they’ve agreed to a one-year minimum deal with guard Gerald Green:
Green was originally drafted by the Celtics in 2005 at No. 18 overall, and after bouncing around different teams and overseas in the first few years of his career, he’s carved out a nice niche for himself in the NBA as a scoring guard off the bench. He played 69 games for the Heat last season after two solid years in Phoenix.
The NBA has unveiled its top 100 plays of the 2015-16 season, and there’s no mystery as to what were the top two.
No. 2: Stephen Curry‘s halfcourt buzzer-beater in overtime against the Thunder in Oklahoma City during the season.
No. 1: “The Block” by LeBron James on Andre Iguodala in the final stretch of Game 7 of the Finals.
There’s plenty more, too, and if you have 25 minutes to kill, you can and should watch all of them above.
Tyler Zeller is one of the few restricted free agents left on the market who could make an actual impact next season, and on Saturday morning, he’s come off the board. Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald reports that the fourth-year big man has agreed to a deal to stay with the Celtics. It’s for two years and $16 million, with the second season being a team option.
Zeller isn’t a starter, but he’s a nice rotation big man, especially at that price. He can play minutes off the bench for Boston, and his contract is also very movable with the second season being unguaranteed. He played just 11.8 minutes per game last season, but averaged 18.5 points and 9 rebounds per 36 minutes.
The Toronto Raptors were good last season, second best team in the East. That means the guys on Inside the NBA on TNT had to talk about them.
Which means Charles Barkley had to say “Jonas Valanciunas” a lot. Which is high comedy. While a lot of people struggle to say his name the guy is a solid NBA center who, with a little practice, you can say (and spell) his name pretty easily.
This comes from a YouTube user, via Reddit, with a hat tip to Eye on Basketball.