The title of this post relates to nearly everyone in the Association. Teams up and down the standings decided to stand pat during the 3 pm trade deadline for all sorts of reasons but one major underlying one: The new CBA.
It used to go that teams would trade players to get, well, more players, and hopefully better ones. Rather the CBA and its new tax rules create incentives for those looking to gain assets as opposed to surefire ballers. Assets, meaning cheap pieces to the long-term puzzle, rev the engines towards a long winding road that is a steadier, stronger future. Since many teams under the new CBA are balanced enough — and able to pay their players healthily — they have no reason to sniff out a big deal to land a specific-need player. Instead they can just go out, try to spend one asset to acquire two pieces instead.
The problem is that it takes two to tango, as the saying goes, and many don’t feel the need to play that game when they could very well be on the losing end.
Take the Timberwolves for instance. They stand pat with a losing record and a growingly bleak chance at the playoffs. But one card they still hold is a roster full of blossoming young guns on rookie and/or reasonable deals. They could’ve just easily unloaded the cannons and shipped off any one of those guys on a whim. Derrick, you looked at me funny today. You’re off to Los Angeles.
Instead the Wolves didn’t see any necessary means to make such a move. There could’ve been a good return on a player like Williams. Rumor has it that — and judging by the current deal that went down — the Wolves could’ve easily gotten their grimy hands on free-agent-to-be JJ Redick. A combination of Williams and the Memphis pick surely would’ve sealed the deal. But the Wolves understand that that kind of move would’ve been judged as premature. Push Williams’ budding game aside and just weigh the two players right now: Redick is a shooter ready to help a team push to the playoffs for one season and likely leave the next for copious amounts of money. Williams is an underutilized, underperforming tweener forward that still has potential to fill in his shoes.
The asset in this scenario, Williams, far outweighs the prospect of a beneficial player such as Redick. And, as mentioned earlier, the Magic were the team looking to add assets as opposed to true-blue players that are ready to move the team forward immediately. Don’t try to tell me that Tobias Harris and Doron Lamb are difference makers in Orlando’s playoff hopes.
As much as everyone wants to see their team make a blockbuster move at the trade deadline, it continues to prove to me that the ones who stay relatively quiet are the real winners. The deadline is a race you don’t necessarily want to win. There are only a handful of trade deadline deals in history that have changed the makeup of a team for the better that season. Rasheed Wallace to Detroit in 2004 comes to mind, as he helped them win a title that season out of nowhere essentially. But my case rests. The deadline is a fickle beast that only ought to be messed with once every now and then. Poke it too often, it will certainly bite back.
For that reason alone, I’m more than satisfied with management’s decision to stay quiet today. There was little urgency for a move, especially one that didn’t have the short-term and long-term in mind, such as the Paul Millsap rumor. As a matter of fact, the Wolves’ personnel problems stem internally; bringing more players in would only complicate the looming situation coming this summer. Nikola Pekovic needs money, and so does Chase Budinger. Those two alone will put Glen Taylor up to his neck in bills and will scratch the surface of the salary cap and beyond. (Gasp) Not the luxury tax!!
But for those of you that are still feeling disappointed and thwarted, don’t fret. At least we get to watch a team that has won six games since the new year. Wait, I guess that’s not a positive. Well, be thankful we held onto our asses. I mean, assets.