Sunday, October 30, 2005

More thoughts on the Mason trade

Desmond MasonI'm sure you are all sick and tired of my complaining about this trade and I am too but I just can't seem to let it go right now, and neither can the media, specifically the Milwaukee paper. Today they ran two columns on the trade by Michael Hunt and some other guy. Hunt esentially said that, yes Harris is a snake but that's the nature of the game and the trade should not be judged on the way it went down but by its long-term success. I agree. I've already acknowledged that Magloire is a good player, possibly better than Mason. The price of Mase and an unprotected first-rounder was probably too high for a guy who had an awful, injury-plagued season last year and who's "all-star" title is very dubious given the quality of the competiton at the center spot in the East when he was selected. However, the way the trade happened is what I take issue with, and it was a very similar situation to what happened in Seattle with Mase. Mason understood that the Bucks appeared to be headed in a different direction with the signing of Bobby Simmons, a more pure small forward and a better defender, asked to be traded, and then was turned down. Not only that, but he was forced to suffer through this whole charade throughout training camp that the Bucks were going to play small ball and go with him Bobby, and Redd in the starting lineup at the same time. Michael Hunt acknowledges that Larry Harris is an "unabashed self-promoter," and rather unclassy, much unlike his father's reign in Milwaukee, and with that I could not agree more. Hunt says the trade should be measured in wins and losses, but I think there is also room for personal criticism of Harris here considering the way he handled Terry Porter's firing.

The other guy who wrote a column on the trade takes a much harsher view towards Mason, saying that since a similar thing happened to Mase before, he shouldn't have been surprised. Well, there is certainly reason to be surprised when the owner, coach, and GM of the team tells you there is no way you're going to be traded, treats you like a starter throughout camp, and then decides to trade you based on an internet rumor Harris saw at Hoopshype.com. He also says, essentially, that all GMs are the same; if Harris is a snake, all GMs are, if Harris is a liar, than all GMs are. How the hell does this excuse what happened here? I think we can all agree that there are some significant ethics issues is Washington D.C. right now, but that doesn't mean that gives everyone a free pass to start taking bribes. This is known as the extremely childish argument "But everyone else is doing it!" Then he repeats the cliche I hate most about basketball: it's a business. This argument also came up with the case of the newly implemented dress-code. Enron was a business, and so was TYCO and every other major corporate scandalized Wall street company. Call me a starry-eyed idealist, but I think businesses should have at least a basic code of ethics, and as it applies to basketball, having the common decency not to lie to someone's face about the prospects of being traded and at least being able to say "I don't know what your future is with this organization."

Bottom line, of course we should judge this trade on its merits on the basketball court, but that doesn't excuse snakish behavior. I really hope this is the last time I have to talk about this but I doubt it.