Monday, 11 June 2012

On the move: predicting trades

For the armchair GMs among us, the new CBA was a blessing in disguise. A bevy of changes such as the harsher luxury tax, raising of the salary floor and easing of restrictions on salaries being matched in trades all offer compelling reasons for front offices getting to know their contemporaries around the league. And if not them, then we'll gladly contribute via the blogosphere!

Before I get into things, I'll offer a brief explanation of why the above changes matter.

1. Harsher lux-tax: In the pre-lockout era, many teams chose not to spend over the luxury tax threshold. In many cases, it's understandable - the old lux-tax meant a team at the threshold looking to sign a player with their MLE might have signed a decent role player to a $5 million/year contract... but the tax meant that player really cost $10 million. Harsh. Now it's harsher. Need me to go on?

2. Higher salary floor: Now, there's almost no such thing as a contract that can't be traded. A team like the Hawks are probably interested in shedding Joe Johnson's behemoth of a contract, and a team like Charlotte might be interested in acquiring it. Why? Because teams have to spend a certain amount - 85% of the cap next season, 90% for the seasons after that. And, if a team is spending a large portion of its cap on one player then there's more room for young, cheap players - usually guys on their rookie scale contracts.

3. Pre-lockout, player salaries in trades had to match within 125% - now it's 150%. That's pretty significant - it's now perfectly legal according to the CBA to trade John Salmons for Marc Gasol (doesn't mean such a trade wouldn't be criminal!). Basically, there are many more possible trade scenarios (not necessarily probable or plausible) than there once was. Unfortunately, teams over the lux-tax still suffer the 125% rule. Otherwise, the Heat could trade Dwyane Wade for DeAndre Jordan! At least, the numbers would work if both teams weren't tax payers...

So, with that in mind, there are a number of teams that will be seeking trades for financial reasons. Obviously, in some cases on-court reasons apply, too.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

An NBA Mock Draft - Based On Team Needs

In the basketball blogging world, there are a handful of things absolutely everyone does, or wants to do. Among them are power rankings, season/playoff/trade/free agent predictions and, at this time of year - mock drafts.

Annoyingly, in most of these things you won't find much variety - that's why I've started moving away from the ESPNs and NBA.coms of the world, gravitating more toward places that I can find qualified information and qualified comment, sites like RealGM and the various SB Nation blogs.

Though it might not always show, I try to model this blog around that particular style - objectivity, research, making sure whatever I say has some sort of foundation. Every now and then I'll tap into a topic like Linsanity that might get me more clicks than my usual Suns-centric posts would, but if I do that, you'll notice it's never a rehash of the same argument somebody else has already made. This is an important skill in journalism, something I learned right near the start of my study, and something I try to abide by at all times.

So why is all of the above important? Because in doing this, a mock draft - especially at this time of year, I want to make a point of the fact that I'm not just taking Draft Express's rankings and changing the comments. This mock is based on two things - snippets of information I've picked up from RealGM and others sites (usually front office comments) and TEAM NEED. In order to make this mock different to all the others, I've decided to throw the "best player available" theory out the window - in a draft like this, with depth at most positions, I don't think it really applies. Without further ado, my 2012 NBA mock draft!

Hit the jump to see it!