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Why Franchise Players Stayed with Original Team

20 Dec

I reviewed a couple of recent situations when top NBA stars left team which had drafted them so it was a natural follow-up to take a look at the other side of this coin: what GMs had to do to keep their franchise players?
Rules are the same as in previous post so I won’t repeat them.

Let’s start with probably the most popular and the most often cited case…

Move, Decision, Trade Verdict Predictable? Notes
Tim Duncan re-signed for 7-year max - - -
Robert Horry signed for 2 yrs WIN YES Productive and cheap
Hedo Turkoglu acquired for Danny Ferry WIN YES Got better player
Beno Udrih drafted at #28 WASH NO Future rotation player late in draft [win] but on a different team for nothing [fail]
Bruce Bowen resigned for 4yrs WIN NO Productivity close to his salary
Brent Barry resigned for 4yrs Huge WIN YES Above average advanced stats on avg salary
Manu Ginobili resigned for 6yrs Huge WIN YES All-Star for less than 10M$/y, stayed on a team which drafted him
Tony Parker resigned for 6yrs Huge WIN YES All-Star for 11M$/y, stayed on a team which drafted him
Nazr Mohammed acquired for Malik Rose, pick #30 & #29 Huge WIN YES Got better player with shorter contract for weak draft picks
Ian Mahinmi drafted at #28 WASH NO Productive but in very limited minutes, now on a different team but still in the NBA
Robert Horry resigned for 3 yrs WASH MAYBE Old and slipped in production but cheap
Fabricio Oberto signed for 3 yrs WIN MAYBE Solid rotation player and cheap one
Matt Bonner, Eric Williams acquired for Rasho Nesterovic WIN YES Got better & cheaper player
Jackie Butler signed for 3 yrs Huge FAIL NO Promising debiut in Knicks, failed miserably with Spurs wasting 7M$
Francisco Elson signed for 2 yrs Huge FAIL YES Solid stats before, wasted Spurs’ 6M$
Melvin Ely acquired for Eric Williams, 2nd round pick WASH YES Swap of unproductive role-players
Tiago Splitter drafted at #28 WIN MAYBE Good & cheap backup
Matt Bonner resigned for 3 yrs WIN YES Above average advanced stats for 3M$/y
rights to Spanoulis, 2nd rounder acquired for Jackie Butler, rights to Luis Scola Huge FAIL YES Luis Scola was good, AFAIR luxury tax issues played a role
Fabricio Oberto resigned for 3 yrs FAIL MAYBE Still cheap but productivity slipped
Bruce Bowen resigned for 2 yrs FAIL MAYBE Still cheap but old & productivity slipped
Tim Duncan re-signed for 2yrs - - -
Kurt Thomas acquired for Brent Barry, Francisco Elson, #25 WASH YES Swap of old but productive role-players for a need
George Hill drafted at #26 WIN NO Good & cheap backup
Goran Dragic drafted at #45 WASH NO Future rotation player late in draft [win] but on a different team for some cash [fail]
Michael Finley resigned for 2 yrs FAIL MAYBE Cheap but old & productivity slipped
Richard Jefferson acquired for Bruce Bowen, Kurt Thomas, Fabricio Oberto WASH YES Got better player but also more expensive
DeJuan Blair drafted at #37 & signed to a 4-year, minimum contract Huge WIN YES Good & cheap backup
Antonio McDyess signed for 3 yrs FAIL YES Below avg stats for above avg salary
Manu Ginobili re-signed for 3 yrs WIN YES All-Star for 13M$/y, stayed on a team which drafted him
James Anderson drafted at #20 FAIL* MAYBE * so far
Matt Bonner re-signed for 4 yrs WASH* MAYBE * so far, still productive but over 30 and at 4M$/y
Richard Jefferson re-signed for 4 yrs Huge FAIL YES I still don’t understand that extension…
Gary Neal signed for 3 yrs WIN NO Good & cheap backup
Tony Parker re-signed for 4 yrs WIN YES All-Star for 12,5M$/y, stayed on a team which drafted him
rights to Kawhi Leonard acquired for George Hill Huge WIN* YES* * pure speculation on my part, Kawhi cheap & looks promising while Hill will get paid
Tim Duncan is still under contract with Spurs & will probably finish his career there - - -

I was aware of Spurs’ front office excellence… but that review made me realize I actually underrated them!
In the last 8 years they signed only TWO really bad contracts [for a total of 13M$!] and they made TWO really bad decisions [trading Scola, Jefferson's extension and both of them happened at least partially because of the luxury tax].

On the other hand note how many quality players they drafted at lower slots or signed for cheap and more importantly how they handled contracts for role-players… Man, it was really refreshing to review GM who actually knew what he was doing…

Overall batting average for their decisions was around 0.500 so twice as high as teams which lost their franchise players and even their mistakes were way smaller in impact on payroll.

Another case is about ex-Spurs’ employee…

Move, Decision, Trade Verdict Predictable? Notes
Kevin Durant drafted at #2 - - -
W.Szczerbiak, Delonte West, rights to Jeff Green acquired for Ray Allen, rights to Glen Davis FAIL MAYBE Ray Allen was expensive & old but still best asset in a trade, Green disappointed but still headlined a trade for Perkins
picks, $9M trade exception acquired for Rashard Lewis Huge WIN YES Got solid assets for rights to overpay their player
Kurt Thomas, #24, #26 acquired for #57, $9M trade exception Huge WIN YES Salary dump for other team netted them two draft picks for one season of Kurt!
Brent Barry, Francisco Elson, #25 acquired for Kurt Thomas WIN YES Swap of old but productive role-players, got draft pick for it
Ira Newble, Donyell Marshall, Adrian Griffin acquired for Wally Szczerbiak, Delonte West WASH YES Fail in terms of talent, win in terms of long-term payroll
Russell Westbrook drafted at #4 Huge WIN NO All-Star and this move didn’t receive good grades around draft
Serge Ibaka drafted at #24 Huge WIN NO Starter big man at #24? Seriously!
Joe Smith, Desmond Mason acquired for Luke Ridnour, Adrian Griffin WASH YES Fail in terms of talent, win in terms of long-term payroll
Nenad Krstic signed for 3 yrs Huge FAIL YES Way worse than his salary though they needed a center
Thabo Sefolosha acquired for #26 WIN YES Good & cheap backup
Malik Rose, cash acquired for Chris Wilcox FAIL YES Got worse and not cheaper player though some cash was included so maybe it was a wash
James Harden drafted at #3 WIN MAYBE Good & cheap starter
Etan Thomas, #32, #51 acquired for Chucky Atkins, Damien Wilkins WASH YES Got picks and better player but also more expensive
Thabo Sefolosha re-signed for 4 yrs WIN YES Good & cheap backup
Matt Harpring, Eric Maynor acquired for rights to Peter Fehse WIN YES Salary dump for other team netted them good & cheap backup
Daequan Cook, #18 acquired for #32 WIN YES Salary dump for other team netted them good & cheap backup plus pick
2012 1st rnd pick protected top 10 in 2012-15 acquired for rights to Eric Bledsoe WASH NO Looked like a win before trade of Chris Paul, now just a delay for pick
Kevin Durant re-signed for 5yrs - - -

We have to acknowledge that Presti had some luck with Durant [it was Blazers' choice] and we have to monitor his future moves because it will get harder from now due to expectations and max extensions but you can’t write a better story about rebuilding, preserving cap space and acquiring assets than Thunder’s recent history.

Seriously, I’m still in awe about triple-combo move
“Leaving Rashard Lewis -> few months of Kurt Thomas -> 3 draft picks”.
I mean that kind of steals are hard to pull off even in a virtual games let alone in the real world.

Also note that this list doesn’t include “much needed good center for their two biggest mistakes” trade which happened after Durant signed an extension but it ultimately may become the most spectacular Presti’s move of them all… and even without it in that period he had a batting average around 0.58!

Those were guides what to do in a small-market to keep franchise players but fortunately recent history provided another blueprint: for big spenders…

Move, Decision, Trade Verdict Predictable? Notes
Kobe Bryant re-signed for 7-years - - -
Vlade Divac signed for 2 yrs FAIL NO Old and fell off a cliff but he was productive in previous season
Stanislav Medvedenko resigned for 2 yrs FAIL YES Cheap but unproductive and played little
Chris Mihm, Chucky Atkins, Jumaine Jones acquired for Gary Payton, Rick Fox, #21, $2M WASH YES Got better players but worse contracts
Andrew Bynum drafted at #10 Huge WIN NO Not a popular choice at the time
Ronny Turiaf drafted at #37 WIN NO Solid & cheap backup
Kwame Brown, Laron Profit acquired for Caron Butler, Chucky Atkins FAIL YES Caron was a better player than Kwame
Aaron McKie signed for 2yrs Huge FAIL YES Cheap but old and unproductive
Jordan Farmar drafted at #26 WIN NO Solid & cheap backup
Vladimir Radmanovic signed for 5 yrs Huge FAIL YES Curse of MLE, 5 yrs?!
Marc Gasol drafted at #48 Huge WIN NO Became better played than expected but Lakers took a chance on him
Luke Walton signed for 6 yrs FAIL NO Had productive past, career derailed by injuries, 6 yrs?!
Derek Fisher signed for 3 yrs WASH YES Slipped but productivity close to his salary, outside factors involved
Trevor Ariza acquired for Brian Cook, Maurice Evans Huge WIN YES Productivity way above his salary, dumped worse players in the process
Pau Gasol acquired for Kwame Brown, Crittenton, Aaron McKie, rights to Marc Gasol, picks Huge WIN YES Much disputed at the time but wasn’t as one-sided as expected
Sasha Vujacic re-signed for 3 yrs FAIL YES Rewarded for a career year, never above avg after that
Andrew Bynum re-signed for 4-years WIN YES Very productive but injuries limited benefits
Adam Morrison, Shannon Brown acquired for Vladimir Radmanovic WIN YES Throw-in turned out to be the best asset in this salary dump
Ron Artest / Metta World Peace signed for 5yrs WASH* YES * so far though has a huge downside and will probably end up as a fail
Shannon Brown re-signed for 2yrs WIN YES Solid & cheap backup
Lamar Odom re-signed for 4-years Huge WIN YES Productivity better than his salary, allegedly wanted to stay in LA
Pau Gasol re-signed for 3-years WIN YES Expensive but top-notch big man
Kobe Bryant re-signed for 3-years - - -

Overall batting average of 0.523 is not too shabby but I think there’s a devil in the details because Lakers made the same mistakes as Raptors, Magic, Cavs, TWolves & Hornets with overpaying role-players… but they found more value with low-end draft picks to counter wasted money and more importantly their trades weren’t just to rearrange chairs, they made a HUGE difference.

Finally, a look at hands of the most interesting owner in the NBA…

Move, Decision, Trade Verdict Predictable? Notes
Dirk Nowitzki re-signed for 6-years - - -
Nick Van Exel, Raef LaFrentz, Avery Johnson acquired for Juwan Howard, Donnell Harvey, Tim Hardaway, #25, cash Huge WIN YES Two avg starters for washed up guys, they took on some salaries
Raef LaFrentz re-signed for 7-years FAIL MAYBE Signed at 26, previously had many above avg seasons, health became an issue, deal just too long by 2-3 yrs
Eduardo Najera re-signed for 6-years WASH YES Signed at 26, missed some games & had 2 weak seasons but productive overall, fell off a cliff after this contract
Josh Howard drafted at #29 Huge WIN NO Good starter late in the 1st round!
Antawn Jamison, Danny Forston, Chris Mills acquired for Nick Van Exel, Avery Johnson, WIN YES Two good starters for washed up guys though they absorbed big salaries so that’s not a Huge WIN
Antoine Walker, Tony Delk acquired for Raef LaFrentz, Jiri Welsch, Chris Mills, #24 WASH YES Walker worse than LaFrentz but it was an effective salary dump
Jerry Stackhouse, Christian Laettner, rights to Devin Harris acquired for Antawn Jamison, cash WASH NO Stackhouse worse than Jamison but Harris provided value to counter that
Marquis Daniels re-signed for 6-years Huge FAIL YES Promising start to his career but fizzled, 6 yrs?!
Jason Terry, Alan Henderson acquired for Antoine Walker, Tony Delk Huge WIN YES Terry way better than Walker in the past and in the future
Erick Dampier acquired for Christian Laettner, Eduardo Najera, #30 & signed for 6 yrs + TO WASH YES Big & long contract but productive and above avg center
Keith Van Horn acquired for Alan Henderson, Calvin Booth FAIL YES Keith not much if any better but more expensive
Doug Christie signed for 3-years Huge FAIL YES Over 34 when signed, washed up
DeSagana Diop signed for 3-years WIN NO Good & cheap backup center
Austin Croshere acquired for Marquis Daniels WIN YES Swap of unproductive role-players but a nice salary dump
Greg Buckner signed for 3-years Huge FAIL YES Over 30 when signed, fell off a cliff
Jason Terry re-signed for 6-years WIN YES Borderline All-Star SG for less than 10M$/y, aged well
Dirk Nowitzki re-signed for 3-years - - -
Josh Howard re-signed for 4-years WIN YES Borderline All-Star SF for 10M$/y, injuries derailed last season so if deal was any longer…
Jerry Stackhouse signed for 3yrs Huge FAIL YES Over 32 when signed, fell off a cliff
Brandon Bass signed unrestricted free agent to a 2-year minimum contract WIN NO Good & cheap backup
Devin Harris re-signed for 5-years WASH NO Borderline All-Star when signed though injuries slowed down his career
Jason Kidd, Malik Allen, Antoine Wright acquired for Devin Harris, DeSagana Diop, Trenton Hassell, Maurice Ager, Keith Van Horn, #21, #27, cash Huge WIN MAYBE Got the best player, looked way worse at the time
Jose Juan Barea re-signed for 3-years WIN NO Good & cheap backup
DeSagana Diop signed for 5-years Huge FAIL YES Almost instantly became payroll’s dead weight
Matt Carroll, Ryan Hollins acquired for DeSagana Diop WIN YES Very effective salary dump
Jason Kidd re-signed for 3-years WIN MAYBE Very old when signed but productive and team-friendly contract
Shawn Marion, Greg Buckner, Kris Humphries acquired for Jerry Stackhouse, Devean George, Antoine Wright, cash Huge WIN YES Two avg starters for washed up guys, they took on some salaries
Eduardo Najera acquired for Kris Humphries, Shawne Williams Huge FAIL MAYBE Najera was washed up yr earlier, Kris became an asset
Caron Butler, Brendan Haywood, DeShawn Stevenson, cash acquired for Josh Howard, Drew Gooden, James Singleton, Quinton Ross WIN YES Two avg starters for expiring contracts, they took on some salaries
Brendan Haywood re-signed for 6-years Huge FAIL YES They needed a center but 6 yrs for 31 yr old… I’ve seen that story before
Tyson Chandler acquired for Erick Dampier, Matt Carroll, Eduardo Najera, cash Huge WIN YES Very good center for expiring contracts
Dirk Nowitzki re-signed for 4-years - - -

Again overall batting average around 0.533 is great but doesn’t tell the whole story.
Mavs were very unique in one way: they made a lot of typical mistakes… but they very quickly realised it and traded them to unsuspected bottom-feeder… That part is actually amazing, for example in the last 2 years cash-strapped Bobcats bailed out rich Mavs TWICE!
Also in contrast to teams which lost their franchise players Mavs find a lot of value late in the draft and thanks to bargain shopping which is a nice segue to summary…

To sum up this topic, here’s a guide how to keep your franchise player:

1) Always try to find cheap and solid players. I mean non-stop – late in the draft, undrafted players, in bargain bin of free agency etc. It not only shows you know what are you doing to your star but more importantly it makes your team better and leaves cap space and money for other moves,

2) It’s OK to acquire more salaries in trades as long as you can bet your job that you got significantly better players in return,

3) Take full advantage of teams with poor GMs and don’t be afraid to offer them ridiculously lopsided offers, once in a couple of years they will accept it

Simple, right? And to answer the most fundamental question…

TO KEEP YOUR FRANCHISE PLAYER MAKE GOOD DECISIONS!

Would you prefer to work in a place where your boss knows what he is doing or in a place where he doesn’t and you would have to cover all his mistakes?

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5 Comments

Posted by on December 20, 2011 in Unanswered Questions

 

Tags: , , , ,

5 responses to “Why Franchise Players Stayed with Original Team

  1. Crow

    December 24, 2011 at 01:22

    Good summaries.

     

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