NBA PM: Deadline Shows Double Standard
After LeBron James decided to take his talents to South Beach, the basketball world vilified him. When Carmelo Anthony realized that the grass is greener in New York, he was criticized.
But when the Utah Jazz blindsided Deron Williams with a trade to the New Jersey Nets, they were praised for handling the situation correctly and acquiring young talent and picks in the process.
Players are often blasted when they decide to leave a team, but franchises are rarely lambasted when they are the ones who choose to end the marriage between the two sides. In the past 24 hours, we’ve witnessed three different examples of teams trading a player that never saw a deal coming.
When the Jazz traded Williams, the entire league was shocked. Many teams didn’t realize he was available and Utah’s decision to move their franchise player before he had leverage was very bold. But rival general managers weren’t the only ones surprised by the deal. Williams himself had no idea that the Jazz wanted to trade him, and the superstar didn’t learn about the deal until he saw it announced on SportsCenter.
Kendrick Perkins couldn’t imagine a scenario in which the Boston Celtics would trade him before yesterday’s deadline. He was healthy and thought that the two sides would resume negotiations on an extension as the season progressed. When the team informed Perkins of the deal, the center broke down and cried. As he told teammates goodbye, Perkins was an emotional wreck and still couldn’t fathom that he had played his last game as a member of the Celtics.
Aaron Brooks had heard his name in trade rumors for several weeks leading up to the trade deadline, but didn’t listen to the murmurs because the Houston Rockets’ front office had made it clear that he wasn’t going to be dealt. When reports surfaced that Brooks could be headed to Minnesota for Jonny Flynn, the point guard and his camp reiterated that he wasn’t going to be traded. But several minutes before the deadline, Brooks was informed that he had been dealt to the Phoenix Suns despite the assurances from the Rockets. They felt they had to make a move and the deal with Phoenix was the most attractive.
Ninety-nine players have been traded since July, which is nearly one quarter of the league. Superstars that leave bad situations are no worse than the teams that trade or release players who can no longer help them win games. With all of the movement that has occured this season, it’s no wonder that players want to control their own destiny instead of leaving it up to a front office that is only as good as their last move. Players have received the bulk of the criticism in the past, but the NBA is a business and both sides make decisions with their best interest in mind.
"It’s a tough situation, it’s a tough business, but you saw how the business works all in one week," Paul Pierce told Julian Benbow of The Boston Globe. "Everybody complains and talks about how ‘Melo dictated what was going on in his situation. Where in another situation, a guy can’t control what goes on. So it’s both sides to the business. You can’t be mad at either one of them. Just understand that that’s the nature of the beast."
"Everybody thought LeBron James was cold for leaving Cleveland the way he did," Pierce continued. "This is an example of how it happens on the management end. You can’t get mad at the players because it could happen to them unexpectedly just like a player can go anywhere he wants. That’s just what it is. It’s the nature of the beast."
Matt Barnes, a player that has been traded and waived multiple times throughout his career, believes there is a double standard when it comes to teams and players. He doesn’t understand why teams can abruptly end a relationship, but when players do it, they’re hated.
"If it’s true that Deron Williams didn’t find out he was traded until he saw it on TV, how can people be mad at Carmelo and LeBron when they take control of their future?" Barnes ranted on Twitter. "The days of loyalty are gone. This is a business, you have to do what’s best for you and your family. Now that some players are taking their future into their own hands, they’re looked down upon. But since the beginning, sports teams have been cutting, releasing and trading players whenever they feel like and players just have to deal with it. So now that the shoe is on the other foot, the players are the bad guys?"
"This is a business," he continued. "As a player, if you have ‘power’ use it! That’s just a little real talk for ya’ll. Letting you see the other side because the media and teams want the players to be the bad guys, but that’s not always the case. Think about that before you want to hate because your favorite player shakes the spot."
Whenever a player changes scenery, whether through a trade or signing, we’re often reminded that the NBA is a business. But if franchises are able send away players that are no longer of value to them, players should be able to leave on their own without facing negative repercussions.
Karl Calls Out Anthony: Last night, the Denver Nuggets played their first game since ending the Carmelo Anthony era. The Boston Celtics were in town to take on the Nuggets and the game was televised nationally on TNT.
Because this was Denver’s first game since the Anthony circus came to an end, head coach George Karl was interviewed and asked about the process and the superstar’s stint with the team.
"Defense is commitment. I’ve got young guys and if they don’t give me the commitment, I’ve got other guys who will give me the commitment. The system sometimes ties you up from getting the commitment. You have to handle what Melo gives you. I’m not knocking Melo, he is a great offensive player. Melo is the best offensive player I’ve ever coached, but his defensive focus, his demand of himself is what frustrated us more than anything," Karl said.
Almost immediately after Karl made these comments, Anthony took to Twitter to respond to his former coach.
"Damn, are u serious. Some people never seize to amaze me. Unbelievable. WHEN THE GRASS IS CUT THE SNAKES WILL SHOW," he tweeted.
Today, when asked about the comments following Knicks’ shootaround, Anthony still wasn’t why Karl made the comments.
"That’s him," Anthony told Frank Isola of the New York Daily News. "That’s George Karl so I don’t really try to pay too much attention to that. I know what I’ve done there in the seven and a half years I’ve been there; going to the Western Conference Finals. Last year, we were top five in a lot of categories. All that stuff, I don’t know where it’s coming from. I try not to pay too much attention to it."
Since trading their superstar last week, the Nuggets have praised Chauncey Billups and sent subtle shots at Anthony. This will likely continue and Carmelo should just do as Karl says, and not get defensive.
Players Protest in Detroit: It’s safe to say that the Detroit Pistons didn’t have a very productive shootaround this morning. After all, when only six players show up and participate, it’s very difficult to focus and prepare for that night’s game.
Seven Pistons players – Tayshuan Prince, Richard Hamilton, Tracy McGrady, Chris Wilcox, Austin Daye, Rodney Stuckey and Ben Wallace – missed the team’s bus from their hotel to shootaround in what team sources referred to as a "player protest," according to Vincent Goodwill of The Detroit News.
Prince, Hamilton, McGrady, Wilcox and Wallace each had different "illnesses" or excuse for their absence.
"According to team spokesman Cletus Lewis, McGrady was out with a headache, Prince had the stomach flu, while Wilcox and Hamilton apparently missed the bus without a reason," Goodwill wrote.
Daye and Stuckey wondered into the facility after shootaround when the media was allowed entrance.
"Players just aren’t happy with the coaching staff, in particular the older vets," texted one source close to the situation. "Change is needed."
Charlie Villanueva, Jason Maxiell, Will Bynum, Ben Gordon, Greg Monroe and DaJuan Summers appeared on time and fully participated in the morning workout. The absences left Kuester with some decisions to make heading into tonight’s game against the Philadelphia 76ers.
"We have some things … some excuses, not excuses, absences because of headaches and stuff like that," Kuester said. "We’ll go with this group right now."
The rift between the Pistons and their head coach have been well documented this season, but today’s protest shows just how bad the situation has gotten in Detroit.
HOOPSWORLD Chats: There is one chat remaining on today’s schedule. Yannis Koutroupis will hold his weekly NBA chat at 8 p.m. EST. Yannis covers the San Antonio Spurs and the Western Conference for HOOPSWORLD. Susan Bible will host her weekly NBA Chat tomorrow at 11 a.m., if you want to get an early start. You can always find the next chat here: Upcoming NBA Chats.