Thursday, July 18, 2013

Bill fixes the Lakers, tests my patience (part 3)

To briefly recap, step 1 to saving the Lakers is to be bad next season, win the draft lottery and get Andrew Wiggins.  Step 2 is to clear cap space and sign LeBron.  Are you with Bill so far?  It's a bit complicated (only an NBA NERD with SOPHISTICATED KNOWLEDGE of the salary cap and which players are good and which players are not could possibly have hatched this plan) so he'll excuse you if you're a little behind.

3. Trade Steve Nash to Toronto.


Steve Nash turns 40 in February.  He's perhaps the worst defensive player in the league at this point.  He just came off a season in which he only played 50 games and showed heavy statistical regression.  Meanwhile, the Raptors sort of kind of showed some life late throughout the spring and maybe kind of contended for a playoff spot for the first time in five years.  They would have been trounced by the Heat in the first round had they made it, but hey, the point is, they're on the upswing, trying to build around a respectable young core.  They already have the "Hey, he's somewhat competent" Kyle Lowry manning the point.  There is zero reason for them to do the Lakers the favor of taking Nash's crappy contract.

Admittedly, Nash doesn't have much market value right now. He's 39 years old, his body is breaking down in a variety of ways, he seemed a step and a half slow last season, he's a turnstile defensively, and he's making $9.3 million in 2014 and $9.7 million in 2015. Other than that, he's pretty enticing. 

Careful, NERD ALERT ahead.

But you know where he's still a hero? CANADA! What would be better than Nash finishing his career on Canada's only NBA team?

You know what would be better for Toronto's coaching staff and front office?  Not bringing on a sentimental favorite who can barely play anymore, solely for the sake of helping the second most hated team in the NBA clear cap space for a run at LeBron.

Now here's where you say, Wait a second, the Raptors just hired Masai Ujiri from Denver. 

/Nuggets fan Larry B grinds teeth

That dude is a shrewd mf'er — he'd never trade for Nash. Au contraire! Thanks to Rudy Gay's onerously onerous deal, DeMar DeRozan's extension, the cap-clogging quartet of Landry Fields, Marcus Camby, Tyler Hansbrough and Steve Novak (nearly $20 million combined in 2014-15) and a few other commitments, Toronto can't become a free-agent player until the summer of 2015 ... right as Nash's deal is expiring. So why not bring him aboard as their feel-good Canadian basketball ambassador?

Hey, fuck it, the guy basically has no knees left, he just registered his worst season in ten years, he can't play defense... but the Raptors aren't going to go after free agents during the summer of 2014, SO WHY NOT PAY HIM $10 MILLION A YEAR TO PROBABLY CONTRIBUTE NEXT TO NOTHING?  WHO SAYS NO?????

Do you realize trading for Nash would immediately become one of Canada's five greatest NBA moments ever? 


Since Toronto and Vancouver were added as expansion teams in 1995, here's that list right now:

Highlight No. 1: Vince Carter wins the 2000 Slam Dunk Contest.

Highlight No. 2: The Raptors come within a missed Vince jumper of advancing to the 2001 Eastern finals.

Highlight No. 3: Kobe scores 81 points against the Raptors. Hey, at least they were part of history.

Highlight No. 4: The Grizzlies move to Memphis (so Vancouver doesn't have to watch them anymore).

That would have been a sweet joke in 2004.

Highlight No. 5: Actually, we're done. You want to know what the greatest running Canadian NBA moment is? Every time Vince comes back to Toronto, they boo him lustily for four quarters. It's the only real Canadian basketball tradition they have. I'd say they need to rent a basketball ambassador. Call me crazy.

You're not crazy, you're just stupid, unfunny, a bad writer, and maybe 1/4th as smart as you think you are.

Anyway, here's my offer: Nash for Linas Kleiza's expiring contract and Aaron Gray's expiring contract. I can't do better than that. I'M GIVING YOU CANADIAN BASKETBALL HERO STEVE NASH FOR TWO SCRUBS!!!!!! Take him! I'm putting a ribbon on him, including a Labatt hat and everything! Just call this trade into the commissioner's office already.

(By the way, I just downgraded the Lakers' 2014-15 salary cap to $0.00.)

If he were more self-aware and less prone to being a self-important little shit, I would think he meant the tone there to be jokingly cocky.  Like if you do something totally trivial, like successfully shoot a balled up piece of paper into a trash can from ten feet away, and then shout "I AM THE GREATEST ATHLETE OF ALL TIME."  But no, I'm pretty sure he's being actually, legitimately, cocky there; sincerely celebrating the nonsensical trade he negotiated against himself.  In case you weren't aware, Bill Simmons is a piece of shit.

4. Trade Pau Gasol.

You know who's not helping us Riggin' for Wiggins? A future Hall of Famer playing for a new contract. I don't need Pau dropping 23 and 11 every night. No thanks. That leaves two possible trade destinations for him.

To the extent we're taking this seriously (and that extent should be: not at all, not even one little bit, but let's do it just this one time for just this one little part of the article), if they traded Nash and Gasol, Kobe would demand to be traded and threaten to retire if they didn't do so.  And while I said a couple posts ago that Laker fans could get over the idea of not getting LeBron (if the team makes some moves this offseason to improve their chances in 2014 while also ruining their cap room), I can promise you they would never, ever, ever, ever, ever get over Kobe leaving the team on bad terms and finishing his career in a different jersey.  And thus, those trades would happen: never.  To be honest, I am a little surprised at how well Kobe took the amnestying of MWP.  But I would imagine that if they go any further in cutting salary/scuttling next year's team, they're going to have one irate Kobe on their hands.

Whew.  My head hurts.

• Destination No. 1: Hey, Cleveland, why roll the dice on Andrew Bynum's fusilli knee ligaments when you can rent Pau in a contract year? You know he'll be motivated. You know he's one of the league's best 25 players when healthy — a superior low-post player, a proven playoff guy and a perennial staple on the NBA's "Most Fun Guys to Play Basketball With" All-Stars. 

And on the "Guys Who Play for the Lakers but Who Boston Fans Would Allow to Date Their Sistahs" All-Stars.

Why not use your excess cap space to upgrade from Anderson Varejao ($9.8 million expiring) to Gasol ($19.3 million) and flip the Lakers your 2014 no. 1 pick for their trouble? The Lakers save $30 million in luxury tax money, add a first-rounder and willingly worsen their team. Cleveland becomes a pseudo-contender while preserving their cap space to get their hearts broken by LeBron again next summer. Everyone wins!

Clearly the Lakers would not do this.  It's too bad Varejao is made out of glass, because if he were a good bet to play 70+ games next year, I could argue that the Cavs wouldn't do it either.  A healthy Varejao is one of the best rebounders and defenders in the NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION.  He also runs the pick and roll just fine (Gasol may be better, but whatever), meaning he's not exactly dragging their offense down.  I don't think they'd give up their first in a loaded draft to get the offensive upgrade and defensive downgrade Gasol would represent.

Even better — this trade gives the Lakers a low-post combo of Chris Kaman (always gets hurt) and Varejao (always gets hurt). They could be the Twin Owww-ers. (Sorry, I couldn't resist.)

Better than your Thanksgiving dinner of bad basketball joke from last post.

You're not getting more than 75 games combined from Kaman and Varejao next season unless they're borrowing copious amounts of PEDs from the Seattle Seahawks defense. 

A cross-sport reference!  What happened to the Real World/Road Rules Challenge reference I requested?  Is he saving it for later?

And even then, you're probably not getting there. Who's ready for a little Robert Sacre next season! Check that — who's ready for A LOT OF ROBERT SACRE next season!

Probably not your franchise cornerstone/most popular player.  You know what, fuck it, I need to stop taking his analysis seriously like I promised I would.

• Destination No. 2: Flip Gasol's expiring contract to Chicago for Luol Deng's and Kirk Hinrich's expiring contracts. Just a fascinating trade. 

"I'm so glad I thought of it, aren't you?"

The Bulls know Jimmy Butler can replace Deng's minutes, and that a crunch-time five of Gasol, Joakim Noah, Derrick Rose, Butler and Mike Dunleavy Jr. (to spread the floor) would be more potent than Noah, Carlos Boozer, Deng, Butler and Rose. They'd have to say yes.


For the Lakers, they'd keep Deng for a couple of months before rerouting him to a contender for expiring deals and a pick. (You don't need Deng in a contract year making you slightly better than you need to be.) But here's the crucial part …


The Lakers can't sign LeBron after he wins his third straight NBA title for the simple reason that, in the history of basketball, the best player on a championship team has NEVER subsequently ditched that team. Shit, even Wilt wouldn't have done that. LeBron would get crucified for turning his back on a chance to win four straight.

Good point!  He would never do something like that!  When has LeBron ever made a decision that involved turning his back on something, and then gotten crucified for it, and come out ahead in the long run?

No competitive person would ever, in a million years, do something like that. 

Unless a certain VP of NERDERY on their new team talked them into it!

That's why the Lakers need to improve the Bulls — they can't get LeBron unless Chicago, Houston, Oklahoma City, Indiana or Golden State beats the Heat. And Chicago's the best bet of them all.

(Wolf Pope Simmons's recommendation: Make the Deng-Gasol trade.)

Larry B's recommendation: stop reading this blog, and any other blog or website that might bring you into contact with Bill's writing.  You're getting stupider every time his ideas enter your brain.


Anonymous said...

Simmons has been trumpeting the "Lebron won't leave if they win" angle for a few months now and the counter made by Larry B citing the decision is a good one but I also take issue with the fact that Simmons says that a competitive person would never leave a championship team. You know what else a competitive player would never do? Willingly play on a team that doesn't have a great shot at a title just because they won the year before. If Wade is a shell and Bosh is only slightly better than mediocre and they don't make any big moves and they barely win the title and LeBron has a shot to play with some younger guys (not rookies like Wiggins but let's say someone like Kevin Love) who present him a better shot at a title, why wouldn't he leave?

I guess I'm just saying that yes he may be (actually will be) crucified for leaving if the chance for four straight is there, but what if it isn't a real chance? I know it has never happened before but it's definitely a unique situation but Simmons is dead set on him not leaving if they win.

tony harding said...

This is the biggest problem I had with his whole article. I mean, how could he forget that the greatest player in the history of basketball quit ditched his team after they won 3 straight titles? And he did it twice? TWICE! Granted Krause/Reisdorf were blowing up the team after 1998, but it was only since Jordan and Jackson pulled the pin out of the grenade. Seriously, though, how can a self-proclaimed basketball VP of douchery not remember this? That's not a little error, either. I love how he capitalizes NEVER to emphasize his point, too. That's the icing on the cake.

As always, Bill Simmons is the largest fucktard on the face of the earth. I'm sincerely curious how he manages to live on a day-to-day basis.

Larry B said...

Anonymous--with you. Wade was awesome this year but he's got to fall apart soon, right? I'm not sure "10 months from now" isn't a little on the aggressive side in terms of assuming when it will happen, but it's not out of the realm of possibilities.

tony--I considered destroying him for that, but decided to give him the benefit of the doubt and grant that he meant ditch via free agency to another team, rather than ditch and go play baseball or retire. Then again, I just said that this blog is not in the business of giving him the benefit of the doubt, so I really shouldn't have done that. We are all pretty much in agreement that if he doesn't leave to play baseball, the Bulls win eight straight, I assume?

tony harding said...

That probably is what he meant, but he's written a lot of other idiotic things, especially recently. I don't think he understands anything about sports anymore.

I think so, although, those would have been 2 fun series to watch against Houston. You can even take it a step further and say that they probably get 9 if it weren't for the lockout and management deciding to break them up. The Spurs were great that year, but nobody on their roster would have been able to stop Jordan or Pippen.

waffleboy said...

So Bill Simmons took 5,000 words to essentially say all the Lakers need to win is the magic ping pong ball in the draft, and for LeBron to really, REALLY want to be a two plane ride from Cabo? Jesus, you know now I'm glad Wilbon treats him like a shit sandwich on TV

Adam said...

The whole angle of Steve Nash would want to play in Toronto and the Raptors would really want him just because he's from Canada is a bunch of patronizing bullshit.

He's saying that stuff like Canada is some third world country that is even lucky to know what basketball is. It's not like Canadians follow the NBA or anything and *gasp* have their own league.

It's a lazy narrative too. Bill's not the only one. Phil Rogers wrote something that it was INEVITABLE that the Blue Jays would trade for Joey Votto because HE'S FROM CANADA, BLUE JAYS ARE IN CANADA, HERP DERP

On another note, why the fuck would the Cavs trade a first round pick for a chance to MAYBE be a 7 or 8 seed next year? They might do that trade straight up but really a first round pick too Bill?

ivn said...

I love how Simmons is under the impression that the Bulls "can't say no" to that trade.

assuming they did it, they would be in a situation where their five best players would presumably be Rose, Gasol, Noah, Boozer, and Butler. there would be no way they could play those five at the same time, and Simmons even all but says it. his idea for a perfect trade for the Bulls is one that would mean Mike Dunleavy playing in crunch time. they'd HAVE to say yes!