Who knew that Presidents’ Day weekend was such a mecca of sporting events? All weekend I was treated to the Winter Olympics, where I got to see speedskaters Chad Hedrick and Shani Davis bicker like school boys over Davis’ decision not to compete in a team pursuit race that supposedly cost Hedrick (I mean America) a medal. Only to have them both come up short on Tuesday to an Italian, Enrico Fabris, in the 1500m.
There was the NBA All-Star Weekend, where I had the good fortune of watching team basketball at its finest. By team basketball I mean of course failed alley-opps and endless 1-on-1 isolation plays.
There was even the Daytona 500, where Tony Stewart raced like a true politician, predicting before the race that someone could get killed if NASCAR didn’t regulate aggressive driving at Daytona, then being penalized for aggressive driving during the actual race. No word yet from Tony on whether a lead foot actually tastes better in your mouth.
With all of these major events going on in the world of sports, I was having a tough time deciding on which deserved the most of my critic- I mean, attention.
However, lucky for those mentioned above, a stumbled upon one of the greatest inventions to ever grace the internet: The Trade Machine. While browsing through espn.com, I came across this tool that allows you to be a virtual general manager and make trades between your favorite NBA teams. Potential trades are always floating around in the wrinkles of my rattled brain, and The Trade Machine finally gave me an outlet. Excited would not begin to describe my level of enthusiasm upon discovery of this magical tool.
Instantly apparent are the factors every GM must consider: individual salaries, contract length, trade restrictions, and the overall salary cap for each team. You find that in almost all trades, the actual basketball talent of the players becomes secondary. As a GM you have to settle for equal value, not equal talent (taking into consideration the financial obligations each deal brings or releases you from).
To test out the system, I began making ludicrous trades, just to see if they were “technically possible.” My proudest moment as a virtual GM came when I managed to put Kobe Bryant, Stephon Maubury, Allen Iverson, and Steve Francis all on the Lakers while still keeping them under the cap (even if it did require dealing the 9 highest paid players on the Lakers besides Kobe Bryant). The point was that my dream of seeing all of them on the same team and fighting over the basketball for 40 minutes (off the charts comedy for fans) could be realized if a GM was crazy (check that ” brilliant) enough.
Once I was comfortable with the system, I took on my greatest challenge, making the Golden State Warriors competitive. Being from the Bay Area, I still hold a soft spot in my heat for the team from Oakland. I have fond memories of riding BART to games crammed between a white collar worker who looks like he’s Michael Douglas about ready to reenact the movie Falling Down, and a sweaty dude with his fold up bike making strange noises as his spandex rubs against the seat. Then after watching the Warriors lose, dodging the various DVD vendors (“One for $6 two for $10!”) only to have the BART door shut in my face. Ah yes, good times.
But back to my original purpose: after frustrating myself with endless scenarios and attempting blockbuster, 4 team deals, I finally gave up. Their mediocre players that could possibly be used as trade bait are all signed to long-term, expensive contracts. The simple fact of the matter was that the Warriors have nothing any rational NBA GM would want. Which is precisely the moment I realized the only hope for the Warriors: a trade with the New York Knicks.
Only the greatly loved Isiah Thomas (loved, that is, by the teams he trades with) would have the managerial, um, “insight” to accept a deal with the Warriors. I devised a deal that sent Mike Dunleavy, Troy Murphy, and Baron Davis to New York in exchange for Channing Frye, Anfernee (Penny) Hardaway, and Jamal Crawford.
The Knicks roster is saturated with long-term deals just like the Warriors (only even more expensive and even longer). Isiah would be looking to dump the $15+ million contract of Hardaway, who is a shell of his former self, and in exchange would be willing to take Baron Davis’ $13+ million dollar contract. Isiah Thomas could be convinced that Mike Dunleavy and Troy Murphy are the two stereotypical white “energy guys/role players” that could push his team over the top. Never mind the fact that they both have 5 years left on their contracts and are ridiculously overpaid (never bothered Isiah before).
Channing Frye and Jamal Crawford (14 and 13 points per game respectively) would instantly boost the Warriors inside and perimeter presence (Crawford might not be so quick to shoot when he doesn’t have Stephon Maubury monopolizing the basketball) at a reasonable price for their talents. The absence of Dunleavy’s and Murphy’s contracts would free up room to sign free agents this off-season, and getting rid of Davis’ bloated contract and ball hogging tendencies would free up Jason Richardson to do more for the Warriors. I see this instantly making the Warriors a contender and crippling the New York Knicks for at least 5 years.
I encourage all of you to fulfill your inner business man or your inner sports fan and try out The Trade Machine for yourself, even if you don’t know the first thing about running an NBA basketball team. If Isiah Thomas can do it, so can you.
Bradford Applin is a sophomore aerospace engineer. Any NBA owners looking for a new GM (he hears New York is lovely this time of year) can reach him at email@example.com