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26 February 2005

More Thoughts on the Malik Rose Trade

First off, I want to correct some salary errors in my last post. I get all my salary information from the wonderful HoopsHype. As far as I know, it is the only site that provides tabulated salary data.

From reading numerous articles regarding the trade I have determined that the salary data posted is missing the last year of Malik Rose's contract. Apparently Malik had a player option which he exercised a while back. The option, worth about $7.7 million, included a $3 million trade kicker which the Spurs paid upon trading Malik.

So the Spurs saved $14.2 + $7.7 - $3 = $18.9 million, and Malik will be 34 when the contract runs out. This, of course, makes the trade even better from the Spurs prospective.

But I am not going to rehash all that. All day Thursday I read people bemoaning this trade on spurstalk.com, and yesterday afternoon I watched a clip of Malik saying goodbye to San Antonio, the Spurs and his teammates. The only thing that prevented me from crying was the fact that Malik rarely looked into the camera. I liked Malik (who didn't?), and I'm going to miss him. The trade has me happy and sad at the same time. "I am large and contain multitudes."

I have never doubted Malik's work ethic, attitude or desire to win. From all accounts he's a good teammate, a good presence in the locker room and a willing and generous participant in the San Antonio community.

But none of that changes the fact that Malik's on the court contributions do not match his salary; and the discrepancy will most likely grow as het gets older (and his contract gets bigger). None of the above changes that the Spurs now have much more financial flexibility. No, the Spurs will not be under the salary cap in the forseaable future, which is $43.87 million this year. However, moving Malik's salary will help the team avoid the dollar for dollar luxury tax. And don't forget, teams can exceed the salary cap to sign its own players. That $7 million designated for Malik can now go to someone the Spurs need.

Despite my desire to see Malik stay a Spur, I can still see past that and realize the very obvious benefits of this trade. To effectively evaluate the ramifications of any set of events one must be able to discount irrelevant emotion. Some people call this "thinking rationally" or "being logical." To me, it's simply "not being stupid."

Call me crazy, but I love the team more than any individual player. I prefer team success over individual success.

If you want to bemoan the trade because Malik is your favorite player, that's fine. Maybe you dislike this trade because you're afraid Malik will move his restaurants out of San Antonio. Maybe you're stalking the unmarried Malik Rose and this will make things more difficult. I understand all that. That's your prerogative.

But don't try to justify those emotions with baseless claims; don't try to tell me that this is somehow a bad trade, or that the Spurs are somehow now less likely to win the title. Don't give me this crap that Malik is a better player than Nazr (or Rasho, or Horry or...). Don't fucking tell me the sky is green. It makes you look like a damned fool.

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All content copyright Matthew Powell 2005.