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Quick Guide to Being a Fan GM

We all have our ideas about the direction of our favorite sports teams. We watch the games and debate the make up of the team incessantly. I will never tell anyone that they are dumb for having their opinion (so shut up!), but if you make a declaration about a trade that should be made, you should be prepared to explain your position.

Along those lines, here is a quick guide to being a respectable fan GM.

Being a GM is full of nuances that most of us don't, and never will understand. It is a chess match that must be played very carefully as there is potentially millions of dollars on the line and the decisions can impact an organization for years to come (I'm looking at you Zeke). Below are some questions that should be applied to any proposed trade to see if its really something you want to have out in the interwebs. Your GM rep is on the line.

-Does it help the team?

-How does it help the team?

-Does it fill one need, only to create another?

-Does it work financially?

-Does it fill a need of the other team?

-How will it affect the future?


-How many good years does the new player(s) have left?

-Am I overvaluing the player(s) I am looking to trade?

-Am I overvaluing the player(s) I am getting in return?

-By making this trade am I giving the final piece they need to make them so dominate that I negate the improvement of my own team?

This last question is an important one, yet it is always overlooked. It simply does not make sense to make a trade that creates a team that is so good, you cancel out your own improvement. This is why the Pau Gasol trade was difficult for everyone to swallow. Yes, the Grizzlies came out in good shape in the long run, but look what it created: a Lakers team that, over a 4 year period, went 236-92 for a winning percentage of .719 (they won 72% of their games) and collected two more Championships. The moral of the story is: sometimes its better to play the hand you're dealt.

If you can answer all of these questions fairly and honestly, then you probably have an idea worth discussing. If you want to trade three current Jazz players for one superstar and an add on player or bad contract, you have to think that the opposing GM is asking himself, "Those three didn't work together in Utah, why would it work out here?". The more thorough you are, the less opportunity there is to question your logic.

That doesn't mean simply plugging a bunch of players into the ESPN Trade Machine. That program, while entertaining, has some glaring holes regarding contracts, such as player/team options, opt-out clauses, no trade clauses, etc.

Some good places to look for this info are:

Sham Sport's Salary Index (my favorite)

Hoops Hype's Salary Section

Hoops World Salaries

And last, but probably most important, is the new rules for transactions as set forth by the new CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement). (You know, that thing that cost us a whole lot of basketball games, a training camp, and a summer league.) However, this is easier said than done. I haven't been able to dig up the official agreement, but a good place to start is Larry Coon's CBA FAQ. Now, this is for the 2005 CBA, but if you take it in conjunction with this article, in which Mr. Coon breaks down the changes between the 2005 version and the one ratified in 2011, you should be on solid ground.

If I missed anything, please share the details in the comments.