Summer Free Agency Thoughts


I’m adulting today in the most expensive way possible. I’m essentially trapped at the car dealership getting problems diagnosed and (hopefully) fixed. The price we pay for peace of mind, right?

Kind of reminds me of NBA free agency, and maybe I didn’t fully understand these GM’s paying out the ace for players. You and I know damn well Mike Conley, Jr. shouldn’t have the highest single-season salary in NBA history. You and I watched Timofey Mozgov play sparingly in the NBA Finals and know he’s not worth $64 million over four years. Honestly, half of that number is asking a lot for a guy who couldn’t crack the Cleveland Cavaliers’ rotation when it mattered most.

Just like I know I’m overpaying for the stuff the mechanics are in the process of doing to my car: I don’t like it, but what’s the alternative? The money it will cost to fix the car is a fraction of what a brand new one will cost. In the Memphis Grizzlies’ case, letting Conley walk when there’s no one on the open market that can replicate his production is a bad business decision.

And with Mozgov? Yeah, he barely played in this year’s finals, but he was probably the Cavs’ third best player in last year’s finals, and even though the game is CLEARLY going away from big guys, I can’t name ten centers I would rather have, honestly. In essence, the Los Angeles Lakers paid him like a top ten guy at his position.

We live in a society where people leverage their talents to get what they feel is their true market value. Me personally, I’ve been on both ends of that. I won’t name companies because frankly you can Facebook my work history, but at my first home improvement job, I was slightly underpaid. At my second home improvement job, I parlayed my strong interpersonal skills and education (while simultaneously downplaying my lack of experience) into becoming vastly OVERPAID (not rich, but definitely overpaid based upon conversations I’ve had with others in the industry). After leaving the industry altogether and coming back earlier this year, I took a severe paycut… like HALF of what I made previously. And then finally, I just stumbled into a situation completely outside of home improvement — yesterday, in fact — where I now feel like I’m adequately paid.

I think I just told Jeremy Lin’s story. He went from being at the NBA minimum… to cashing in huge on Linsanity… to taking a paycut to prove himself… to now being paid about what he’s worth as a mid-level starter/really good bench sparkplug.

Meanwhile, J.R. Smith, probably the best unsigned guy left unless I’m missing something, is still trying to determine where he fits in admist this free agency madness. Is he worth the $15 million a year he’s asking for? You can say no… but without Smith’s big-time fourth quarter threes in Game 7, does LeBron James have a ring to shut down the haters? If you let him walk, how do you replace him? How many guards in the league can go on scoring sprees like him? If you can’t answer those questions, then, in my best Teddy KGB voice, you gotta pay dat man his money, right?

Which is why you really can’t be mad at NBA free agency, or the GM’s that are seemingly spending “dumb” money. Just like I can’t be mad at the mechanic who just told me how much it will cost to fix everything. Yes, I feel like I’m lighting money on fire, but at the end of the day, I get to drive out of here with peace of mind. I guess that’s worth every penny.

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