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Sunday, July 26, 2009

5 Stages Of NBA Relationships

People always say that basketball is a business. True. It's also a relationship between team and player. And with any relationship, there are ups and downs, highs and lows that both parties go through together, learning and adapting. Like marriage, it can be a difficult process but ultimately the bond is strengthened. Or broken.

Using this article as a template, I break down the 5 Stages Of NBA Relationships:

Stage 1- Romance
The GM is drooling over his prized new draft pick. The player is excited about playing professionally and making a name for himself. Both people are convinced that the player will be the Next Jordan and help the team win 2 titles a year for the ensuing decade. Pure fantasy. A honeymoon phase where endorphins are running high.

Stage 2- Disillusionment
GM realizes that player is not the Next Jordan, or even the Next Harpring. Player pouts when fans and media turn on him. Everyone starts pointing fingers. Trade talk comes from both sides. In a healthy relationship, this is where candid and honest communication is required to resolve conflict. In a league resplendent with egomaniacal douchebags, this rarely happens.

*NOTE: Portland and Bayless are absolutely buried in this stage right now.

Stage 3- Power Struggle
If the player hasn't been traded by this point, it probably means he's actually pretty good. Being pretty good means having some leverage. This is where borderline stars ask for outlandish amounts of money at the end of their rookie contracts. GMs hate this stage because fans and media are up their ass on a daily basis, pressuring them to break the bank for a relatively still-unproven talent (David Lee, anyone?). Skeevy agents usually add more fuel to the fire, saying things like "My guy is the Next Jordan." They're never right about this.

Stage 4- Stability
The deal gets done- the player's locked up long term. Player, agent, fans and media are happy. The GM's pissed that he overspent but what the fuck else could he do? Now the real danger sets in. The fat and happy player has nothing left to prove and absolutely no reason to stay in shape, listen to the coach, go to practice, learn plays, etc. However, if the player has good character (hah!) and appreciates everything the team has done for him, this can lead to the most wonderful phase of all.

Stage 5- Commitment
This is true love. Acceptance. They're best friends. In it together. The player will retire with that team because there's just no fucking way anything else could possibly happen. It's extremely rare that any player/team reach this phase. Bird/Celtics, Magic/Lakers, Dumars/Pistons, Reggie/Pacers, Duncan/ get the point. And most of these examples are prior to the Free Agency boom. Still, there's no question that long term commitment greatly enhances the reputation of player and organization alike. It's a win/win.

But, as I said at the top, the priority is always getting paid. To quote Method Man, "Dollar dollar bill, y'all."

Pictured: Laker love connection


Sports Tsar said...

"The Next Matt Harpring" reminds me of my own unnecessary baseball comparison: "Dallas McPherson is the Next Russ Branyan"

KneeJerkNBA said...

Last time I followed baseball closely, Clemens was 'roiding out on Piazza in the Subway Series.

I actually had to Google McPherson and Branyan just to know who they were.

National Pastime FAIL.

Vittorio De Zen said...

I'd like to see an article on the Bulls/Ben Gordon relationship. That was a rough marriage and a messy divorce.

KneeJerkNBA said...

Gordon's about to go from the frying pan to the fire. He and Rip play the same position AND both make 10 mil plus a year. Add a rookie coach to the mix and you've got a classic clusterfuck. Really don't see what Dumars is trying to do there.

And 11 mil for Villanueva? Idiocy.

Walton's Wisdom said...

stage 6: denial. Where player thinks he is still in his prime and team doesn't have the heart to tell him otherwise.

Charlie @11 mil? Classic example of overpaying for what you imagine a player can be vs what he actually is. Playing in obscure markets actually helped his value. I think that 50 point aberration in his rookie year gave joe d a 3 year wet dream.

Anonymous said...

Villanueva got 5-yr./$40 mil. I don't know what kind of twisted math you're doing, but that's not $11 mil. That's the contract to which BG was inked.

Walton's Wisdom said...

must have read it wrong... 8 mil is more reasonable, especially with all the pub detroit will get from cv's in-game tweeting...

KneeJerkNBA said...

My bad. 11 mil for Gordon? Idiocy.

KneeJerkNBA said...
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