5.04.2005

If you enjoy FreeDarko

It's because we're in a contract year.

I know that many people think NBA players are lazy, greedy, unmotivated ne'er do-wells, who come out of the womb able to play the game at a world-class level. These same people believe that, any time there's any marked improvement in a player's performance, be it for a single game or over the course of a year, it's solely motivated by their looming free agency. As idiotic as this whole Jerome James saga was, at least it gave the media something to ascribe his first-round dominance to BESIDES his contract year.

Then today on ESPN radio, a reporter from Sacramento says their series was "Ray Allen's coming out party. . .for his contract year." I appreciate that he was trying to dig his way out of a semantic hole, having just accidentally called a perennial All-Star unknown. But to say that Allen is playing for a contract is absoolutely insane. Anyone who needs to be informed of Ray Allen's ability has no business spending a dime for a professional sports franchise, and the notion that Allen would think he had something to prove smacks of opportunism. Like no matter how good he's been all these years, he's really been saving it for the home stretch of his contract year. It's an intriguing strategy, especially if you try to apply it to politics (I seem to remember a rumor that Rove was trying to work something like this last year). In sports, though. . . really, how mercenary could NBA players really be? They have so little competitive spirit that they can hold back for years, hurting their team, just to boost their free agency stock with some last minute, blindsiding fireworks?

Larry Hughes: anyone who follows the NBA knew it was just a matter of time.

Whether players go to shit after they sign their deals is another matter altogether; personally, I think guaranteed, lifelong contracts are a cancer unto the league. Definitely guys fall off and never come back; yes, some of them have benefitted from sudden improvements in a contract year. But that doesn't mean that anyone has to cynically suppose that it's the only motivation players have to step their game up, or that there's no such thing as a natural arc of a good career, money or no money. That can be sabotaged by a contract, but the good part would probably happen anyway.

7 Comments:

At 5/04/2005 1:54 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

and this is hughes's third contract--WHY DIDN'T HE BLOSSOM EARLIER? WHY?!?!?!?!?!

 
At 5/04/2005 3:41 PM, Anonymous Gorilla Jones said...

Is Chad Ford in a contract year? Because they're posting his trip overseas "to find the next Andrei Kirilenko" (a 17 year old from Turkey) on ESPN.com and it's not an Insider feature. He doesn't even manage to watch the guy play in today's article, but I'm thinking Chad wants to be your pass-first point guard this summer and take everyone on FreeDarko.com to max contract heaven.

(Chad Ford : FreeDarko's draft coverage :: Steve Nash : Suns)

 
At 5/04/2005 5:49 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

some of chad ford's pet prospects need to produce in this league before i'll trust him to get me a max contract

 
At 5/04/2005 5:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Like Kwame?

Oy.

The man-child hast been proven a child.

 
At 5/05/2005 2:07 AM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

against my better judgment, i am going to reveal to the world that i am a huge kwame brown fan, feel a tremendous amount of sympathy for him, believe he will be an all-star someday, and think that he is a totally tragic figure.

 
At 5/05/2005 8:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Through the warm cloak of anonymity, I can also admit to being a Kwame Brown fan -- hell, I've got a damn bobblehead of the poor kid.

This was our one hope as Washington fans to really and truly FINALLY get a Tim Duncan or a Kevin Garnett -- a power player known as the best in the league. Instead we get a guy whose closest career comparisons at this point are to Zeljko Rebraca. It kills me that if he's going to have any success, it's going to be in another jersey.

I think the amount of places he can go and succeed are fairly small, so it'll be interesting to see where he gets moved in the offseason.

 
At 5/05/2005 12:24 PM, Anonymous Gorilla Jones said...

I wasn't suggesting that Chad Ford's accuracy is what anyone values him for. If his pet prospects ever panned out, this blog wouldn't be called FreeDarko. (Or if it was, it wouldn't make very much sense.)

 

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