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Trading Asik: Good Lessons from Bad Movies


I'm a bit of sports movie nut. Case in point, I've read several books on sports movies! A particularly terrible movie is "Little Big League", which centers on the premise of a twelve year old getting ownership of the Minnesota Twins. He then appoints himself as the manager and proceeds to prove to everyone that a kid can manage a baseball team. Or something; the plot gets much more convoluted, but there's this random scene in the movie that sums up my feelings on Asik:

After hearing a child will be their manager, a few players are displeased, including Mike McGrevey. The following dialogue ensues:

Mac: You're a frickin' primadonna, McGreavy. You don't deserve to wear that uniform.

Mike McGrevey: You know, you're right, Mac. I'm a disgrace to the Twins. I think you should trade me.

Mac: As soon as we find someone dumb enough to take you, that's EXACTLY what we're gonna do.

Billy Heywood: No we're not. We're not trading you.

Mike McGrevey: So what are you going to do, bench me?

Billy Heywood: Nope, play you. When it's your turn to pitch, you pitch. Nothing changes.

Mike McGrevey: You know, I don't think that's such a good idea. I have a feeling my concentration's not going to be that good out there. I might tend to forget some of those scouting reports.

Billy Heywood: Well, that's up to you, you're the free agent. Hey Mac, what's the going rate for an absent-minded pitcher who can't get anybody out?

Billy the kid has it right! A good player doesn't actually have the leverage they think they do. Their contracts are held by the team. What's more, if they don't play, or play poorly, they hurt their market value. It's remarkable how often teams seem to forget this. If a few more had watched some bad sports movies, maybe we'd see fewer good players forcing their ways off of teams.

To be fair, the key difference in the already absurd world of Little Big League is that the Twins have a good player and intend to play him. That's something the Rockets could learn from. Regardless, trading away a good player is rarely a wise move, and the Rockets should only trade Asik if it improves the team (Arturo suggested making a play for Faried. In fact, thanks to Andre Iguodala's departure, the Nuggets have a trade exception, so such a trade could work "straight up").

While I may be skeptical of McHale's coaching as of late, I have been quite happy in regards to the Rockets' front office. They haven't been trading away assets for below market value. So, unlike most NBA teams, I don't think the front office requires advice from a bad movie. However, I am curious to see how the Asik situation will play out. For now, I'll side with optimism. But that could change if he doesn't get minutes or the team trades him away for nothing.