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The Art of the Trade

Trades don't materialize out of nowhere. They are carefully cultivated by professionals. The best trades involve professionals that respect each other, and want the best for each other. This may seem a touch Pollyanna, but a trade is not a hit and run, it's a chance for adversaries to help one another meet their respective goals.

For example, this week Golden State was willing to improve their bottom line to the tune of $1,000,000.00, by trading 2d round picks with PDX. The Warriors get their fair share of 2d round talent out of the D-League, and the cash money helps them do whatever it is they do down there. 

What they don't do is win, but that was not what this trade was about. KP was able to improve his chances of once again striking gold w/ a value prospect, while the Californians were seeking more immediate gratification. It's what they wanted, and they got it.

Personally, I think solid talent assessment should prevail, and in Portland's case; it probably will. The Blazers staff is second to none, and nothing illustrates this fact better than the offer of the 4th pick in this year's draft for Nic Batum. They're not going to do the deal, but the fact that it was offered shows that Portland knows how to find value assets, groom them, and then parlay them into potentially even better assets. 

In 2008, Portland traded the 27th and 33rd picks to Houston for the 25th pick, which became Batum. Were they to accept the offer for the 4th pick, one could graph the success Blazer management could rightfully claim.

Of course, this post is not about superiority, but rather a tip of the cap to the work that goes into a successful trade event. I'm sure you've noticed that certain teams tend to deal w/ certain teams. It is also true that certain teams never cooperate. This is true in all sports. The Red Sox and the Yankees haven't done a deal since 1919, and the Sox only did that one out of fiscal desperation. And they called it The Curse. 

True, rivalries tend to minimize trade opportunities, but relationships play the largest of all roles. As I said before, trades are cultivated, and they are done so through interaction: phone calls, conferences, golf, lunch, basic business activities. In the NBA, where the names tend to remain the same, former teammates, budies, clicks, these relationships persist right into the boardrooms.

You call, keep in touch, share stories, old and new, and suddenly McHale is sending KG to Boston. Jerry West's former employer sending Pau Gasol to the Lakers.

The truth is though, these weren't buddy deals. These were trade events, made by professionals that understood what the adversary was seeking. They understood their trade partner’s motivations. What do they wanted, whether it was prospects, cap space, or financial relief. They took the time to understand their positions of need. Why would they let a star get away. There was a complete knowledge of the direction their trade partner was heading.

And they had to cooperate in what was essentially a legal agreement.

If NO was actually ready part w/ CP3, for example, one could somewhat safely deduce that they were going young; they were going to rebuild.  Or perhaps that their back-up PG, Darren Collison, was ready to start.  If that's it, Miller's of no interest to them. Maybe it's about money, and if it is, that means LMA would likely not be a target for them. His base year contract would only count for about 9 mill in the trade, yet they'd still be on the hook for his actual salary, and for 5 years. Yes, they'd want Batum; everyone wants Batum, but that's a long way from the 15 mill in assets required to get the trade done.

The bottom line is that KP and NO GM, Jeff Bower, are not strangers. They've been linked on several occasions, regarding several trade discussions, and they no doubt had conversations regarding NO's hiring of Monte Williams. It would be hard to successfully recommend Williams if KP had no idea as to the direction the NO franchise was heading. The two talk, and they probably confer on all sorts of topics.

No, the Blazers probably won't land CP3, but there's good sense in trying. If however, there is a deal, you can bet that KP will find himself obligated to help NO reach it's goals. That is if you have to do to get a deal done. After all, he’s not Chris Washburn. He’s Chris Paul.

When KP gets off the phone w/ Jeff, R.C. Buford is on line 2.


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