Tag:franchise tag
Posted on: April 20, 2011 2:28 pm

Magic fans launch StayDwight.com

Magic fans launch Dwight.com to try and keep All-Star in Orlando after free agency in 2012. 
Posted by Matt Moore

You have to give it to Orlando fans. They are getting a big head start on putting an effort forth to keep Dwight Howard that will only compound their disappointment and heartbreak when he abandons them for somewhere he can star in even more commercials (he will then comprise 80 percent of all television programming). 

Magic fans have started StayDwight.com, "the campaign site to keep Dwight in Orlando where he belongs." The site is well constructed, features a lot of social media integration, encourages fan submissions for photos and videos to give their opinions. It's working in conjunction with an ad agency that donated a billboard to talk to Dwight and urge him to say when he becomes a free agent in 2012. It's a genuinely cool effort from a group of fans that have already seen what it's like to lose the franchise center to a bigger market. You have to pull for him.

The standard formula here is I'm supposed to crack jokes about how it doesn't matter. And trust me, Dwight's provided more than enough fodder for us to be cynical. He keeps talking about winning a championship without taking that responsibility upon himself. He does seem focused on his business and celebrity interests, with his movie in China, the aforementioned endorsement barrage, and kid-like demeanor which seems more and more "look at me" as he gets older and we become tired of the performance (even though he's not really doing anything different). 

But the reality is we don't know what Dwight Howard's going to do. We don't know if the pleas of friends in the area will get to him. We don't know what impact his faith will have on him. His faith has always been something of crucial importance to him personally, regardless of my or your opinion of his behavior relative to its tenets.  Abandoning a small market community that has embraced him as the favorite son in favor for a land filled with opulence certainly doesn't speak to those values, even if from a business perspective, the decision is clear. It's Howard's decision, not ours in the media's, nor the fans in Orlando's. He has to search through all of that experience to decide what is best for him. But an effort like this from the fans can't hurt. 

But if those fans really want to be effective? They'd be better served launching "CreateAFranchiseTagDavid.com."
Posted on: February 16, 2011 1:20 pm
Edited on: February 16, 2011 3:55 pm

Trade Deadline: Shootout at the Ujiri Corral

With the Nuggets, Knicks, and Anthony facing off in a trade standoff, we breakdown who's got leverage and how. 
Posted by Matt moore

CBSSports.com's Ken Berger today reports on the Knicks' ability to stand fast through this Melo panic inspired by the media and what is probably some manipulation out of the Mile High City. But who exactly has leverage in this situation? Let's try to break it down. 

What we've got here is a good ol' fashioned standoff. It's a three-way staredown between Donnie Walsh, Masai Ujiri, and Carmelo Anthony. But as this thing heads towards it (please, God, we beg you) ending in the next week and a day, who actually has the leverage here? Because everyone seems to know for sure who's in control of the situation. Let's break down our duelers while the tumbleweeds fly by.

Masai Ujiri 

Have you noticed how in the last two weeks there's been a flood of columns, posts, and tweets saying how Denver is willing to not trade Anthony should they fail to get the ridiculously massive set of assets they're looking for? That's because someone or someones in Denver has been pushing this angle like their life depended on it. Denver is really trying to set the narrative publicly that they are not afraid to just wait and roll the dice with getting an extension done with Anthony, possibly leading to losing him with nothing in return. The reason they've been pushing that narrative so hard?

It's their lat bullet in the gun.  The phrase "they keep moving the goalposts" is repeatedly used in relation to Ujiri, who has continually pushed trade partners past the point of reason now three separate times. It's been his insistence with trying to get just a little bit more out of every deal that's seemingly done that has led to two deals with New Jersey falling through, and a third with New York on the brink. Ujiri wants to get the most he can out of the most important deal of his young GM career. That's fine. But at some point he's killing off teams' willingness to deal with him, over Melo or his other players, because he's simply too much of a hassle. Ujir knows he's against a wall, with Melo having played the cool, calm, and collected trade target, even pushing a public image of being the victim in all this, and having the ability to simply walk away this summer. Ujiri knows that should Melo simply leave what he's staring at. Aaron Afflalo and Ty Lawson are nice young pieces, and Nene is a quality veteran center in this league. Guess what? Ramon Sessions and J.J. Hickson are nice young pieces, and Antawn Jamison is a quality veteran forward in this league. And you see what has become of the palace that now lies in ruins where once King James held court in Cleveland. That's a ridiculously overdramatic piece of prose, but you get what I'm saying. You can have nice pieces, cap flexibility (like the Nuggets will have), and a veteran to build around. But if you lose your star, your superstar, your All-Star? You're taking a monumental step backwards and if you get nothing in return you're looking at the worst of all scenarios, NBA purgatory. Purgatory where you're filling in over-priced veteran free agents trying to squeeze together a playoff team around a support structure without a star. 

Ujiri is determined to play this to the bone, and he's definitely done that so far. But we've seen his prospective return value drop, and then drop again.  He went from three firsts, Devin Harris, and Derrick Favors, to now trying to weasel out a pick from where there is none to pull. Were this a simple trade situation for a star on a long-term contract, he wouldn't have this problem. A trade with Houston, with young players, talented veterans, expiring contracts, and multiple picks, including the Knicks' in 2012. A trade with Golden State, or Dallas. But those options don't exist, because at the end of the day, Anthony has played this well, and shown that he's perfectly willing to lose money to avoid playing somewhere he doesn't want to be. Luckily for Ujiri, part of him is still okay with the idea of signing with Denver.  But if they keep playing hardball, how long's that going to last? 

Ujiri is shaking his gun and making threats all over this faceoff. The problem is, the other participants know that gun's almost empty.

Donnie Walsh

So what of Walsh? Why isn't he scrambling for trade partners, mortgaging the future, trying to rip his own nails out to get Carmelo Anthony? As Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reports Wednesday: he doesn't have to.  Walsh is well aware that he's the only one negotiating with Denver, that the odds of Mikhail Prokhorov entering the fray at the last minute while swallowing his considerable pride are pretty low. Walsh knows that in free agency, he'll have more than enough to cover Anthony regardless of how the CBA works out (as a source told Berger, "I don’t care what the cap comes in at, they can get the guy. I've done the math a million times.") Walsh isn't scrambling because he doesn't have to. He'll sit back, offer reasonable packages for Melo based off of what the Knicks can offer without sacrificing too much, and sit back. If Denver decides to call the bluff and not trade Melo before the deadline, and Anthony responds by running scared to the sure money, how will Walsh respond?

He'll just go back to work. If Walsh misses out on Melo, he'll work to build depth with his newfound cap space following Eddy Curry's contract expiring, then wait for 2012. You know, 2012, when Chris Paul, Deron Williams, and Dwight Howard could conceivably be free agents. Carmelo Anthony is not the only All-Star fish in the sea. Walsh has been around a while. He's not going to overreact or over-extend a franchise that habitually over-extended itself for years, causing the whol mess in the first place. He'll be patient, while opportunistic. There's this feeling that the Knicks are a failure because they're not ready to compete for a championship. But this Knicks team wasn't assembled around a 2-3 year window. It was built for long-term sustainability. The cost of that is patience and a deliberate approach. Not selling the barn to get the cow. 

This is a no-lose for the Knicks, no matter how Denver is trying to spin it, or how the New York media is freaking out for it. Get Melo, add a superstar, advance the process. Don't get Melo, add more support, focus on 2012. The Knicks have the money, the market, and the minds. As long as Dolan doesn't oo off half-Zeked, they're set no matter what. 

Carmelo Anthony

Oh, Melo. It sounded like such a good idea back in the summer, didn't it? Get traded to a a big market contender, have the life your friends in Miami are enjoying, get the extension for long-term financial stability, go back to playing ball only in a bigger spotlight. Must have seemed like such an easy dream to pursue. Unfortunately for you, the Nuggets have at once played this brilliantly and terribly and the result is the pressure being back on you. 

The new angle is "Oh, Melo better sign the extension because he could be financially ruined if you don't!" Except that Melo is still making tens of millions of dollars no matter what. Year in, and year out.  Melo did recently say "If I sit here and tell you I'm willing to lose $15 to $20 million, then I'd be lying to you."  But that ignores a number of factors. Like the amount of money he'd make from non-basketball ventures in New York compared to Denver. This isn't a knock on Denver. It's a major market. It's just not New York. The money is simply better there. It's the same principle as to why the Lakers got billions for their TV deal. It's just market economics. Furthermore, everyone seems to be still glossing over the fact that if Anthony signs the extension, it could get rolled back. Then he'd be making the same money he would have been in New York, only for a team he doesn't want to play for in a market his wife's not big on on a team that's not contending for a title. 

Good times!

Anthony has played this as cool as a cucumber so far. He hasn't exposed himself as being desperate to be traded or to get the extension signed. Hes' been very reasonable and cool with his approach. Anthony doesn't in fact know what's going to happen. That's why his situation differs so greatly from LeBron James' and Chris Bosh's this summer. Those guys knew what the variables were for their entrance into the free market. Melo has too many variables to count. The CBA could impact his current contract, his future contract, the cap space for free agent suitors, the Nuggets, the contract length, and all of this is before we approach the possibility that if he doesn't get moved, the Nuggets could slap a franchise tag on him if that gets implemented. 

Melo has control over this situation, but if he cracks just a bit, it could be the kind of mistake that haunts him for the rest of his career. There's no easy answer here.
Posted on: February 11, 2011 3:57 pm
Edited on: February 11, 2011 3:58 pm

Friday Roundtable: Death of the local hero

With accusations flying about Deron Williams' alleged and denied involvement in the resignation of Jerry Sloan, how much pressure is on Wiliams to stay in Utah? And is the prospect of his free agency depature the kind of thing driving the talk of a franchise tag? We discuss in this week's Eye on Basketball Friday Roundtable. 
Posted by Matt Moore

Matt Moore: Okay, so the big debate today is whether Deron Williams was the one who sunk Jerry Sloan. Some are saying it's absolutely the case, some are hardcore defending the Jazz' point guard, including Kobe. So I guess the question I'd start with is this...

Coach-Killer or not, does this put more pressure on Deron Williams to extend with the Jazz? To even be tangentially related to the departure of the longest tenured coach in the NBA and then ditch the squad? That's like LeBron to the fifth power. 

Royce Young: That's the catch in this thing that's messing with me. Yeah, maybe Deron Williams forced out Jerry Sloan. And if he was, he got his way. It seems like that would make this really hard to re-sign with them, you know, since he pushed out Jerry Sloan, the guy who'd been there as head coach for 23 seasons. 

At the same time, like you said Matt, if he doesn't, then he pushed out Sloan for no reason. He helped get rid of a Jazz legend and then said peace out a year later. Ouch. 

Fans forgive though, especially if you win. So if the Jazz win and Williams remains at a high level, they'll forgive and forget in the end. It's a players league and Williams is a franchise player. I would bet if you polled the fanbase and said, "Jerry Sloan re-signs, but Utah signs Williams to a three-year extension" the fans would take Williams.

But all of this only forgiven if he stays. And at this point, I'm wondering how happy he really is, especially if he feels like the villain in town. 

MM: What's it going to take for these guys, though? At what point do they realize that there aren't enough L.A.s and Bostons for all of them? I get the frustration with trying to build a winner in a small market. And I understand the drive to win a championship. But you'd think they'd want to win it the right way at some point. 

Additionally, am I the only one who feels like this bolsters the Owners' case for a franchise tag? If star players are going to try and run organizations and get what they want, then bolt, the owners have to have a mechanism to protect their investments, don't they?

Ben Golliver: The instant scapegoating of Deron Williams was a bit too lazy and forced yesterday. Given that both he and Sloan admitted there was a confrontation yesterday, confirming multiple reports from multiple sources, something went down and surely words were exchanged. Sloan is obviously a principled man and something was different this time around that forced him to take a stand and make a very, very difficult, life-changing decision. Do I think it was anything specific Williams said, or how he said it, or how he's been acting was the critical difference in leading to this decision by Sloan? No way. This guy's NBA career stretches six decades, he's seen every type of player, coach, writer that has ever come through this league, versions of guys that are extinct. He's had every player/coach fight you can have 100 times over. 

Saying Williams was the reason Sloan left is a discredit to the coach and to the man. That any player or person could get him to do what he didn't want to do seems like a slight and a slap in the face. If we know one thing about Sloan it's that he was an "I did it my way" guy. He's not going out any other way. 

Looking at Williams, it's big time trouble in the Salt Lake paradise. Sloan was the best thing the franchise had going for it, along with its high character standard and ethics. SLC is a small-market, out-of-the-way place that has avoided a lot of issues that cripple small-market teams thanks to the efficiency and productivity of Sloan's system and his unique ability to turn role players into solid pieces and to turn potential starts into All-Stars and Hall of Famers. With that gone, what's Williams' motivation for staying? He already knows his team cannot compete financially and keep the players he wants. LeBron James and company are proving that the grass really is greener. There is certainly room for him on another super-team. 

If and when he does leave, I think it will be worse than Sloan's resignation for him. I also think that the two situations will become conflated again when that happens, pushing him into Chris Bosh territory.

MM: Was Tim Duncan the last small-market-loyal superstar?

BG: Probably too early to answer that question, but it's a good question. The franchise tag issue will ultimately be the decider on that, I think. Loyalty isn't totally dead in the NBA -- look at Steve Nash in Phoenix, among others -- but think about how difficult the proposition of signing a franchise-changing player to two consecutive extensions really is for small-market teams. You've got to have a business model in place off the court, a deep roster of players on the court, the timing has to be exactly right with the other contracts to ensure he can develop chemistry, you have to have the right personality as both coach and GM, you have to take risks to support the player's whims in free agency occasionally and then you've got to pray all of that mattered to the guy, who is capable of walking across the street and getting significantly more famous and rich simply by virtue of his zip code and the state's tax code. That's a nightmare. 

When you think of it like that, a franchise tag makes a lot more sense, doesn't it?
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com