The Biggest Blundering Of a Deal In Recent NBA History

By Opinionated Reezy (Ronald Stovall Jr)

Anthony Davis to the Los Angeles Lakers!! Stop the presses there is collusion, LeBron is tampering, OMG!!! He needs to be stopped!!

S L O W D O W N!

Let’s be clear, I am a LeBron James fan, often called Reezy Sharpe, a play on Shannon Sharpe, LeBron’s starch defender, but I am aware of business and I do think there is fishy business here, but not where we think it might be. Strap in and let’s walk through the real problems with this deal.

Where did this start?

This is the question and shout out to deadspin.com for helping with the answer. On a December interview on ESPN Woj said the following:

“They’re not going to give away picks and their top young players in some deal that makes them incrementally better this season because they’ve got to save all those assets for Anthony Davis, a big trade this summer pre- or post-free agency. That’s why they’ve looked at players who are on one-year deals who don’t have money going forward.”

That is very specific. Why would Woj say that? We all know he is reliable, but by all accounts, this is the moment that world knew what the Lakers intentions were. This is the problematic moment.

From that LeBron James said the following to Dave McMenamin during pre-game activities regarding Anthony Davis possibly coming to the Lakers that same evening:

“That would be amazing, that would be amazing, like, duh. That would be incredible.”

Why did he say that? Was he asked either directly about Anthony Davis being traded or about Woj’s interview? Did he find Dave McMenamin to issue an unprovoked statement? The ESPN articles are interestingly vague on the matter, but the intended response was not.

Instant “Outrage” for $200 Alex

Media ran with the juicy take and let it flow out to the world, On cue General Managers are accusing Lebron of tampering and prohibiting the smaller markets from keeping talent. Charles Barkley has requested that Adam Silver intervene and veto any deal. All of the attention is set on this deal which makes any negotiation that much more complicated. That is rather intriguing to me, so I ask why?

Sometimes where this smoke, there is simply smoke.

The Lakers have been fined for tampering before, so they deserve a scrutiny in the eye of the public as it is public record that the Lakers are looking to add talent to their roster but is this collusion. The very short answer is no, the longer answer is its complicated. Let’s break it down.

Did LeBron James signal the Lakers to do something? No, Absolutely not! According to Woj, Anthony Davis was already on the Lakers list, which would imply that the Lakers were already planning something. With LeBron James locked into a 4-year deal and no signs of requesting to be traded himself (Twitter would have exploded if he did), at best LeBron James is being coy about not knowing it was in the plans, at worst he is merely reacting to what he heard.

Did the Lakers signal LeBron to say something? Possibly, but it depends on a lot of things happening. Woj would have needed to have been fed information that he would of course report on, which would have aired at the time LeBron was set to play, which in turn would require ESPN to give LeBron the opportunity to say what he said. In other words, ESPN would either be the co-conspirator or the unwitting pawn.

What about Rich Paul? Complicated as hell but let’s navigate through it. Antony Davis did sign with Rich Paul over the summer who is also LeBron James’ agent along with numerous other players. If LeBron James had ownership in Klutch Sports we can then talk about conflict of interest, and higher degrees of ethical violations, but he does not, so LeBron is merely a client and advocate. Yes! LeBron and Rich Paul are friends, but there are no legal implications about clients being friends with each other or their agents.

But LeBron James went to dinner with Anthony Davis? They also played together on the Olympics, which the NBA sanctioned. Im sure they established a friendship. Here is where the gray area comes in. Could Lebron James be coaching Anthony Davis? I have absolutely no clue and will not speculate. If LeBron James provided information to Anthony Davis that would indicate the opportune time to make a move, that would be where the fire is! There are no reports about that happening so we shouldn’t feed the flames with fake information.

In short, I have never been a fan of business seeping into the game of the NBA during the season, but that is the reality as we have seen it with the Pistons, regarding Coach Larry Brown, the Cavaliers on multiple occasions regarding LeBron and Kyrie, Carmelo Anthony during whatever year pops in your head, Kyrie with Boston, etc, etc. If I put my tin foil hat on, I suspect that there is a push to repopulate the superstar map to normalize and rebalance the team structure and this is the first attempt. There is a high chance that this deal won’t happen as everyone is on high alert and to be clear on where the fault lies, I would list in order:

ESPN – Notorious for mishandling information, this one is completely botched by them. It is their norm to attempt to own both sides of the argument and they are not disappointing here. The entire preface of this situation feels orchestrated

LA Lakers – You simply cannot be fined for tampering and then allow information to leak that you are seeking specific talent. Poor management here! You must have multiple strategies in place and the front office is single minded right now. They must do better.

LeBron James – His reputation for understanding the business and being steadfast in doing it his way will always precede him. Because he has and uses his influence folks are apprehensive of all actions surrounding him.

Stats vs. Effect: The Best Debate With the Poorest Examples (Part 1)

By: Opinionated Reezy (Ronald Stovall Jr.)

Before we begin, I know when people say effect, they mean impact, but for the purpose of the conversation I am going to stick with effect.

So the emerging debate in the basketball world is stats versus effect and I understand why that is, but we are using extremely poor examples on either side. I’ve seen posts on YouTube attacking NBA FG% Twitter, which I completely agree with, but when I saw my favorite station, ESPN, weigh in on the argument I couldn’t take it anymore. Here they go again trying to own both sides of the argument.

ESPN is notorious for using stats like crystal balls, which has diluted the impact of its usefulness and in turn most people rely on effect as a mystical means of determining success. Here is the reality:

Stats can not and will never be a sole predictor of future wins or success.

Effect does not always transfer between games and in all scenarios, it is a predictor of behavior and response.

Here is the secret – You can use stats to measure effect, but you must use the right ones and frame the narrative you are trying to tell.

Why are we getting this argument wrong?

We have been conditioned to see the game as efforts of individuals who all just happen to be on a team.

We have been conditioned to look at basic stats and not the full picture.

We haven’t been told what the stats are used for or how to properly use them.

We sensationalize certain player types and only look at one side of the ball.

We have been conditioned to believe that if our superstars did more, the results would be different.

We have been conditioned to only look at key aspects of a game and not the entire game.

How should we use stats?

If you are using stats it must be framed properly to explain a specific situation. Here is a bad example using the most improperly used stat ever the +/- rating.

What is the stat telling us? +/- rating tells us the point differential in the game while a player is on the court. That stat is useless in the moment as there are so many variables as to why a team is scoring or not scoring.

There was a segment on Undisputed where Skip Bayless was concluding that LeBron James just wasn’t good enough because his +/- rating was negative for a stretch of games. That is an empty narrative because it does not take into account what is happening on the floor.

The +/- rating is better used over a large segment of games, i.e. season or possessions to gain an understanding of tempo and scoring flow. It, however, cannot tell you if a team will be successful.

The next stat is P.E.R, Player efficiency Rating.

What is the stat telling us? P.E.R is an attempt at measuring a player’s efficiency on the court. That is it. John Hollinger even says so himself:

“Bear in mind that PER is not the final, once-and-for-all evaluation of a player’s accomplishments during the season”

I think we all know the infamous segment on first take where Skip Bayless tried to infer that Kobe Bryant wasn’t the Black Mamba because his P.E.R rating was in the 90’s and then Stephen A. went off. Stephen A. was 100% correct although he was arguing the point from an effect standpoint, a statistician will tell you:

You haven’t factored in the number of games Kobe played (or didn’t play) in comparison to everyone else on the list.

You haven’t factored in the number of shots Kobe took or overall production Kobe needed to create for the same level of success.

You haven’t factored in the previous success of the team Kobe is on.

In other words, P.E.R can absolutely tell you that Kobe Bryant at that time was less efficient than others, but P.E.R can not tell you that Kobe Bryant was less effective than others.

This is definitely a multi-part topic and both areas of discussion are absolutely valid, but years of poor use of stats has eroded its usefulness.

I’ll conclude part one with this – I said effect or effectiveness can be measured. Here is how:

Set the frame of reference for which you are making your statement, i.e. number of games, seasons, shots, possessions, etc.

Establish the direct statement you are looking at. Words like ‘better’ or ‘worse’ are relative so those are no good, efficient, effective, productive are better words.

Never use basic stats as the foundation of your argument and while you can speculate wins, stats, especially individual stats, are not to be used.

Taking everything into account. Using the stats of players this year between Golden State, Houston, and the Lakers who have taken more than 15 shot attempts per game here are your effective players in order

Steph Curry – by far

LeBron James

Kevin Durrant

James Harden – tie

Klay Thompson – tie

Kyle Kuzma

If I tighten my statement to include that the players must have played at least 80% (41) of games this year. I take LeBron James off the list. Prove me wrong.

The Writing’s On the Wall

By: Opinionated MJ (Michael Tolliver Jr)

You have got to know when it’s time. It’s definitely time. After watching the first half of Lakers game, I couldn’t bare to watch the rest. In the aftermath, memes galore. Memes that represented the state of the team. It’s deep to see what it looks like from the outside looking in. It’s deeper to know what it feels like for someone to consider you expendable.

This leads me to this…
Magic, you must make this deal by any means. You’ve already alienated the players that have been carrying that Lakers logo on their jerseys for years. It’s time to move into build mode. Not a rebuild, but building around LeBron. Period. He always demands certain types around him. I wish he never got injured, this wouldn’t have happened.. Or would it? This isn’t foreign. This is the norm. It just isn’t the norm for these Laker kids. So now, you have to do what you must got AD, cut your losses, and build on that foundation. No looking back, no going forward on what you have. It’s been destroyed from within. Imploded.

LeBron doesn’t look like he wants to play with these players. I speculated that he sat longer in order to come back with new teammates. Didn’t happen. So now you’re faced with damage control. No way to fix this. These Lakers were already fatigued with the idea of this happening A WHOLE YEAR AGO! Guess you thought it was all about what you wanted Magic. Now it’s time to do what must be done to move forward.

Trade everybody, the entire core, minus the veterans, for Anthony Davis, and build around LeBron and Davis. You already acquired Reggie Bullock from my Pistons. A move that hurts me but it’s business, right? So business as usual, do what you gotta do now. Don’t hesitate, don’t be greedy, don’t be selfish, do what must be done in order to progress or risk wasting the fact that LeBron signed here in order to win, cause honestly, I prefer he’d still be in Cleveland at this point. Take that how you want.

Make the deal Magic. The Lakers future depends on it.