Here’s another thing you can blame on the condensed NBA schedule.
We are just about a month out from the NBA trading deadline (March 15) and now is when you start to hear the buzz of moves bubble up and soon a few minor trades go down as we get closer.
But maybe not this year.
Jerry West, former Lakers and Grizzlies GM and now consultant to the Warriors, told Sam Amick of Sports Illustrated that we many not see moves until close to the deadline.
I think you’re probably going to see very little player movement for a while, right until the trade deadline. Because the way the season has been condensed, I think people in the front office are really at a disadvantage when you’re trying to add players of caliber who can make a significant difference in your team.
Less practice time will make integration of players harder, and anything that messes with team chemistry can make GMs gun-shy.
So are the Warriors going to make a move? Watch West tap dance with the best of them.
“We need to have — every year going into training camp — seven players that you feel pretty assured that the coach is going to play on a nightly basis. That’s where we need to get. Does it come through trades? Does it come through free agency? I don’t really know, because I’m not involved in the day-to-day operations in terms of talking to other teams and finding out what’s available, but that will be a focus going forward for Larry (Riley, GM) and Bob (Meyers, assistant GM).”
By the way, just like the rest of us, West thinks the Bulls, Heat and Thunder are very good. Read the rest of the article to find out more.
Last season it was Carmelo Anthony. This season it’s Dwight Howard. Players who hold the threat of walking as a free agent over a team to force a trade to a destination they prefer.
Jerry West wants none of it. He says teams should call the player’s bluff — make him leave the money on the table to walk away.
The legendary player and long-time league GM of the Lakers and Grizzlies (and current Golden State minority owner and team consultant) was asked in interviews on ESPN Radio in Los Angeles how he would handle such a situation if it were his team.
“I honestly think I’d call their bluff,” West said in an interview on 710 ESPN’s Mason and Ireland show Thursday, not mentioning Howard specifically. “I really would, because I don’t think any agent or player is going to leave $30 million on the table. I just don’t believe that’s going to happen….”
“If I were an executive on a team where a player says he’s going to leave, let him leave,” West said on 710 ESPN’s Max and Marcellus show earlier Thursday. “It would be better than saddling yourself with a bunch of players that are not going to fit in to what you’re trying to do — high-salaried players, in many cases overpaid players by today’s standards, that would burden you going forward.
“I’d almost rather start over again myself. You’re not going to replace that player, but there’s an enormous penalty there and it looks like to me like the inmates are running the asylum if you let that happen.”
Jerry West just became very popular in Orlando.
West has always been a risk taker and his strategy comes with one big risk — that the player isn’t bluffing and would leave. Meaning the franchise gets nothing. Maybe West would rather just start over, but if you hold out like Denver did (and find an owner like James Dolan who caves to work with) you can get a fair amount of talent back.
But in the case of Orlando, do you think Howard is willing to leave the guaranteed year and larger raises on the table just to get out of town? Is getting Brook Lopez or Andrew Bynum back worth it for the Magic?
Or do you call Howard’s bluff?
More and more bits from Jerry West’s autobiography are leaking out (here’s a good roundup via KD). With each one, I can’t wait to read the book more and more.
While a lot of the anecdotes tie to his time as a player and GM with the Lakers, the Commercial Appeal found some stuff about his time with the Grizzlies.
What it shows is that West is like you and me — he didn’t like Mike Fratello’s offense, either.
“The problem I had with Mike Fratello had to do with the type of offense he wanted the team to run — a very slow, controlled game — and I tried to tell him that he needed to reconsider this,” West wrote. “I warned him, ‘Everyone is killing me, Mike. The agents with players’ complaints, the fans, the press. This is not what we should be doing.’ But Mike was very stubborn; he was convinced that his approach was correct.”
He also reveals that he had two stalkers while in Memphis, one who went so far as to buy a wedding dress and that forced him to hire a security guard as well.
West was able to build the Grizzlies into a three-time playoff team while he was GM, the Grizzlies were no longer a laughing stock. But he admits he made mistakes (drafting Drew Gooden over Amare Stoudemire is the biggie). What he really was unable to do was to bring in the superstars — Magic, Worthy, Kobe, Shaq — that he was able to find and draw in Los Angeles. And I’m not sure even West could have pulled that off.