Friday, December 9, 2011

no dan, you're the travesty

About seven years ago, in my main fantasy football league, a proposal was made (and sadly approved) to allow the commissioner to have the power to review and, if he deemed it proper, to reject proposed trades made between two teams.

To say this proposal drew my full fledged ire and anger, is an understatement.

I HATE the idea of trade protests, let alone handing someone permission to veto a trade. It's insane. The commissioner doesn't own my team. He didn't pay my entry fee. He doesn't have final say over my roster. He doesn't draft my team. I do all that. I own my team. I pay my entry fee. I have total and complete final say over the roster I field every week. (Cue every other owner in the 2 Legit 2 Colquitt League wildly applauding that last sentence.)

And yet, because of trade protests and trade vetoes, I don't have total and complete control over my team. It infuriates me to this day, even if the commish (in this league, that's "The Voice of Reason") has never once exercised his veto power as commissioner.

(Yet another reason why he's designated as "The Voice of Reason" -- he gets it. It's my team, not his. If I want to screw myself, just stay out of the way and let it happen).

Let me toss out a "case in point" here, of a trade that was protested six years ago, and that set off a string of obscene, hate-filled emails that amazingly didn't get me banned from the league by my fellow owners.

I made a trade with my most hated rival, Sebree, after week four of the 2005 season. I was sitting at 1-3, in desperate need of a jumpstart to the season. Sebree was at 3-1, and ironically enough, we were facing each other that week. I sent Sebree RB Cadillac Williams from the Bucs, for essentially the Chiefs backup running back at that point, Larry Johnson. There were a few other peripheral players thrown in, but in essense, we were swapping running backs. And immediately, the peanut gallery owners began protesting.

"Steve's tanking his season!" OK, first of all, anyone who knows me knows that I don't believe in tanking, whether that be in real life sporting situations, or fantasy football. You play to win. Especially in WEEK FOUR!

"Steve's lost his mind, trading a Pro Bowler for a backup!" I had my reasons for making this deal, and they were three fold:

1. I had to shake up my roster. 1-3 and facing the division leader is not a recipe for success.
2. Johnson had become the Chiefs go-to guy at the goalline. Plus, I (sadly) was wagering on Priest Holmes, the starter for the Chiefs back then, getting hurt at some point, and Johnson taking over the featured role.
3. Cadillac Williams had a long injury history. The odds of him staying healthy were slim and none, and I was wagering on none.

"Steve's handing the division to Sebree with this trade!" I mean, sweet Jesus, of ALL the reasons for filing a protest, this one made the least amount of sense. Sebree and I's rivalry isn't confined to the fantasy football field -- we legitimately despise each other in real life as well. There are people in my league that I'd have no issues with seeing win ahead of me, if my team couldn't come out on top. Sebree is most assuredly NOT one of those people.

So what happened? The commish (correctly) ignored the protests and allowed the trade to go through. (Note: I might have tossed in some financial considerations to the commish to make this happen. I might not have. I genuinely don't remember if I bribed him or not. If I had to guess? I'd bet on at least a $20 and a six pack of something changing hands. But that's just speculation and rumor.)

And EVERY damned reason that I made the trade, proved to be valid. team tito version 1.0 went out and won that week against Sebree. Cadillac Williams? Blew out his knee that very week, and has never recovered from that injury. Priest Holmes? Suffered essentially a career-ending injury two weeks later. Larry Johnson? Went on to post the most epic 25 week run at the position the Chiefs have ever seen. And team tito version 1.0? Closed 7-3 with Johnson as my franchise player, to win the division ... and then the following season posted the best record in the league at 12-2, with Larry Johnson posting 25 point games every week.

A trade that was ripped by nearly every other owner, that nearly every other owner demanded be vetoed, forever changed the course of team tito version 1.0's franchise history. Prior to that trade, I had made the playoffs exactly once in eight seasons of play. In the six seasons since that trade? I've made it to the playoffs five times, won four division titles, and now in season seven, I am still somehow mathematically alive for the playoffs at 6-7 despite having the second lowest scoring roster in the league. (It's a long shot to make it, I basically need about four other teams to lose ... but still. Mathematically alive, after starting 1-5.)

(Oh, and against Sebree? 2-0! F*ck you dude.)

I make this long winded point, for two reasons.

1. I HATE trade protests, trade vetoes, basically any outside interference in how I run my team. Its insanity at its finest. The idea that a grown adult is too stupid to manage a freaking fantasy team, and needs some caretaker to oversee him, is insulting. And

2. Its even more insulting in real life.

Last night, the Lakers, Rockets, and Hornets completed a three team trade that would have sent Chris Paul to the Lakers, Pau Gasol to the Rockets, and Lamar Odom and Kevin Martin to the Hornets, along with various other considerations, such as draft picks and cash. I use the words "would have", because a few whiny, bitchy, malcontent owners complained to Commissioner Stern that (waa!) the Lakers were adding a superstar, so (waa!) he should overturn the trade.

Incredibly enough ... he did.

It's the highest level of insult imaginable. Not just to the people who run the Lakers, Rockets, and Hornets (all of whom are competent, capable GMs), not just to the players involved in the transaction, but most of all, to me, and people like me -- the FANS of this sport.

I don't give a damn about the Rockets at all. I had a roommate for one semester in college who was from Houston and a huge Rockets fan. Other than that semester? Haven't thought about the Rockets in fifteen years. I don't give a damn about the Hornets, outside of the hope that they'll move to Kansas City next summer. And even then, I don't really care all that much -- I'd settle for the Kings, the Bobcats, or an expansion team, I just want a NBA team calling the Sprint Centre home come September 2012.

And as for the Lakers? I despise them. They're the tim tebows of the basketball world to me -- they disgust me, they make me want to hurl empty beer cans at the TV ... but I can't turn away, because they're so damned entertaining to watch. And adding Chris Paul? Would have made them that much more enjoyable to watch.

(To say nothing of the wasted opportunity of having a Kardashian sister living in the French Quarter! Oh sweet Jesus, what a wasted opportunity! Can you imagine the bead earning potential come Fat Tuesday for that train wreck of a family?)

Last night, the reason for the veto was leaked, and not surprisingly, the lead owner in protesting this trade was the biggest ass walking the planet, Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert. Below is the text of his email to Commissioner Stern, as reported by Yahoo! sports, and honestly? This thing is so outrageous, I'm breaking it down Steve-style. (For those unfamiliar with Steve-style breakdowns, I put the original text in italics, and my response appears in normal font.)

(OK, fine, Pete King of Sports Illustrated is the biggest ass walking the planet. But Dan Gilbert's a damned close second.)

Commissioner,

sk: classy opening there Danny boy. Can't even say Dave's name.

It would be a travesty to allow the Lakers to acquire Chris Paul in the apparent trade being discussed.

sk: how? How was the proposed trade a travesty? Furthermore, while certainly you are entitled to an opinion, who the hell are you, Dan Gilbert, owner of a team so sh*tty last year that it owned the number one pick in the draft, who the hell are you to comment on what transactions count as a "travesty"? You traded for Baron Davis for Christ's sake. THAT was a travesty.

This trade should go to a vote of the 29 owners of the Hornets.

sk: and if it did, any sane owner would vote "yes" on the deal. I'm guessing Ol' Danny Boy is the only retard in the room who'd vote no. Well, scratch that -- anytime Don Sterling is in the room, the retard quotient doubles.

Over the next three seasons, this deal would save the Lakers approximately $20 million in salaries and approximately $21 million in luxury taxes.

sk: and your point is? What, jealous that another franchise is making smart moves, as opposed to trading for Baron Davis, Danny Boy? I mean, sweet Jesus, how can any Cavs fan be anything but abjectly embarrassed by their owner?

That $21 million goes to non-tax paying teams and to fund revenue sharing.

sk: aha, now we get to why Ol' Danny Boy opposes this deal. He's going to lose a couple million over the next three years of the LAKERS money rolling into his checking account. What a cunt.

I cannot remember ever seeing a trade where a team got by far the best player in the trade and saved over $40 million in the process.

sk: whoa, back the Brinks truck up, Danny Boy. First of all, I'd rather have Pau Gasol than Chris Paul. I might be in the minority, but I'd MUCH rather have Gasol. You can always find a serviceable point guard who can post 10 assists a night and have a 2:1 assist to turnover ratio. (Well, unless you're KU and you start Tyshawn Taylor, then you can ignore that thought.) The odds of you finding a seven footer who shoots 55 percent from the floor, and has 25 foot range? You can count on about three fingers the number of guys who can do that right now, and two of those fingers are owned by guys named Gasol. (I'd also lump Paul Pierce into that grouping). To claim that the Lakers got "by far" the best player, wow. No wonder the Cavs suck balls.

And again, he's upset at the Lakers saving money! Here's a thought Danny Boy -- do you REALLY think the Lakers are trading for Chris Paul unless they plan to sign him to an extension? Do you really think they're trading one of the 12-15 best players in the world to rent Chris Paul for 66 games? Come on. Not even I'm this stupid. I guaran-damn-tee you a 5 year, $100 million max-contract extension would have been signed come 1pm CT today if this trade had gone through. And Danny Boy? That's the $20 million per year the Lakers just "saved" on Gasol's salary, PLUS they're right back into paying the $21 million in luxury taxes. Oy, let's move on before I start bashing my head against the wall.

And it doesn't appear they would give up any draft picks, which might allow them to later make a trade for Dwight Howard.

sk: my God, what an outrage! A team making itself better by dealing draft picks and players for better players! Christ, that never happens! I mean, Danny Boy, your team never dealt draft picks for Antawn Jamison, Mo Williams, and other assorted flotsam and jetsom in an attempt to field a championship team around LeBron James, did you? What's that, you did? Oh, my bad. I swear, I don't know Dan Gilbert from a corpse, and I'm really growing to HATE this deuschebag.

They would also get a large trade exemption that would help them improve their team and/or eventually trade for Howard.

sk: what, like the "large trade exemption" YOU got when losing LeBron last summer? A trade exemption YOU are free to use at any time, you know, if you weren't such a tight ass sadist and actually gave a damn about improving your team, as opposed to being the Frank McCourt of the NBA, and bilking every cent out of your team that you can?

Furthermore, who the hell is Dan Gilbert to tell the Lakers what they can and cannot do? Danny Boy, step back for a minute and view this logically, which granted is something you are completely incapable of doing, but work with me here. Let's say the Lakers add both Chris Paul and Dwight Howard. Let's say the Knicks add Deron Williams, let's say the Celtics keep the Core Four together, let's say the Spurs, Mavs, and Heat remain championship contenders. Let me ask you this Danny Boy -- is ABC / ESPN, TNT, and FOX Sports going to pay MORE ... or LESS ... for the privilege of broadcasting 8-10 loaded championship contenders? And if the answer is "MORE" (which it is), are you going to get MORE or LESS money from those contracts and the revenue sharing plan enacted in this new CBA? And if the answer to that is "MORE" (which it is), then (stevo screaming voice) WHY THE HELL ARE YOU BITCHING ABOUT THIS PROPOSED TRADE, AND ABOUT A TRADE THAT NOBODY THINKS IS GOING TO HAPPEN BECAUSE DWIGHT HOWARD WANTS TO GO TO NEW JERSEY!?!?!?!?!?!

My God, anyone who says owners are the smartest people in the room at a negotiating session, obviously has never met, read, or otherwise interacted with Danny Boy Gilbert.

When the Lakers got Pau Gasol (at the time considered a lopsided trade), they took on tens of millions in additional salary and luxury tax and they gave up a number of prospects (one in Marc Gasol who may become a max player).

sk: again, with the "luxury tax". Dan Gilbert is a piece of shit who is only in this for the cash. Which is fine -- the world needs greedy pieces of shit for the global economy to properly function. But the sports world sure as all hell doesn't need them.

And also, as Danny Boy himself writes -- the Gasol trade was considered lopsided at the time. NOBODY is saying it is lopsided today. NOBODY. Go back to how I opened this rapidly disintegrating post, how you can't judge a trade the day its made, you have to judge it with the benefit of hindsight, and give the trade participants the benefit of the doubt.

I just don't see how we can allow this trade to happen.

sk: I just don't see how you were successful enough in life to purchase a NBA franchise. Thank GOD I'm not a Cavs fan. I'd light my hoodie on fire if I was.

I know the vast majority of owners feel the same way I do.

sk: how? How do you know that, Danny Boy? You wanted to take a vote of the 29 owners. That vote didn't occur. How do you know they oppose this trade? Furthermore, the owners approved the CBA yesterday 24-5 (25-5 counting the Hornets "vote"). CLEARLY, ownership doesn't have a problem with super-teams being created, as the new CBA specifically allows it to happen in the first two years of said CBA. A couple more sentences, and Ol' Pete King might be off the hook as the biggest ass walking the planet.

When will we just change the name of 25 of the 30 teams to the Washington Generals?

sk: when are you going to stop being a clueless asshat who seeks to interfere with other teams' business? When are you going to spend some of this luxury tax money you're pocketing and actually use it to improve your roster? When are you going to get over the fact that LeBron James looked at how cluelessly you run your team, and said "hell no" to sticking around? We all get jilted by someone in life at some point in time, Danny Boy. GET. OVER. IT.

Please advise, Dan G.

sk: yes, please advise Dan. Please advise your fans when you intend to upgrade the roster, when you plan to use that max trade exemption you're sitting on to bring in someone with talent, when you plan on spending the luxury tax money you're stealing. When you plan on getting a f*cking clue and doing what any person with an ounce of common sense that owns a team does -- hire a rock solid GM, give him money to spend, and then get the hell out of the way.

If the NBA doesn't allow this trade to go through, it's a TRAVESTY, to use Danny Boy's own words. My team might not be the biggest spender in the market -- its far from it. I'm planning to head up to Milwaukee in a few weeks to watch the Bucks play, either January 28th against the Lakers, or February 11th against the Magic. The Bucks will be underdogs both nights (provided Dwight Howard is still in a Magic uniform). And you know what? They absolutely can beat both of those teams. Because while Brandon Jennings might not be Chris Paul, and Andrew Bogut might not be Pau Gasol, and yes, the thought of cheering for a Dunleavy scares the shit out of me, the NBA is fun. It's funner when you have a villian to root against.

There's a reason why baseball's ratings are as high as they've ever been. Love them or hate them, everyone in the sport benefits when the Yankees and Red Sox are good. There's a reason why football's ratings are as high as they've ever been. Love them or hate them, everyone in the sport benefits when the Steelers and Packers are good. And there's a reason why the NBA's ratings achieved record highs last spring. Because love them or hate them, the Heat reaching the Finals benefits the entire sport. The Lakers posting the best regular season record? Benefits the entire sport.

That's what short-looking folks like Dan Gilbert don't get. It's what the NBA owners didn't get until it was nearly too late. If you want to grow the sport? Give the casual fan a reason to tune in. My dad is your definition of a "casual fan". Actually scrap that -- my dad hates the NBA. He likes college ball, but hates the NBA. Guess who watched every second of the Finals last June? My dad. Because he wanted to see what all the hate about the Heat was about. Many other people were the same way.

Fans like me? Tune in for every second of 40 Days in 40 Nights, we order the League Pass, and schedule a Tuesday evening around whatever the Fan Vote Game is on NBA TV. Its not fans like me this trade screws. Its the fans who the sport drug in last spring during the incredible postseason. If owners like Dan Gilbert get their way, and this trade doesn't get completed? Kiss those fans goodbye. Kiss the added revenue those fans attending a game or three might bring in. Kiss the added revenue increased TV ratings would bring in.

All because Danny Boy, and a few others like him, are upset that the Lakers are making a smart trade -- acquiring a good player, shedding salary, getting below the luxury tax threshold. Upset that the Rockets are making a great trade, adding a top 15 player that immediately makes them a sleeper threat to roll through the Western bracket come May, ala the Mavs last year. Upset that the Hornets got 80 cents on the dollar for a player leaving in 66 games.

I HATE trade protests. The proposed Chris Paul deal? Is EXACTLY why I hate them. Right down to a whiny bitch of an owner thinking he knows better than the parties involved how to run THEIR team, while his own team is so poorly run that it can't even win 22% of the games it played last year ...

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