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The Trade Deadline: The Dichotomy Between Reality and Fantasy


This week has been pretty hectic for me.  With Spring Break just around the corner, classes are starting to pile on the work and midterms are pushing students to the brink.  But to add to the mess, my fantasy league’s trade deadline was this past Wednesday, forcing me to put down the textbooks so I could put on my GM hat and position myself for a playoff run.

With the actual NBA trade deadline passing us without any huge noise, my fantasy league proved to be the opposite as big names got moved and tempers flared.  And lucky for you, dear readers, you will get to relive the drama with me that the real NBA couldn’t provide.

As consistent in most fantasy leagues, there are owners that infuriate the league, commissioners making shady deals, and a few hardcore fans that whine about the previous two points.  I find myself in the last category and the trade deadline saw all of these players enter the equation.  There were three trades accepted at the deadline, with my team being involved in two of them.  After missing the draft and being stuck with a bunch of scrubs (minus Durant with the overall first pick).

After piecing a team together while carefully watching the waiver wire (picking up Carlos Boozer among others) and making a few trades (Andrei Kirilenko for Evan Turner), I find myself now at 6-11.  This is a huge victory in a league that weights rebounds more than any other stat and my team featuring DeMarcus Cousins as my primary rebounder.  I needed some help.

The first trade of the week set off a domino of trades and angry sputtering.  The commissioner of our league approached the owner in last place, who hasn’t checked his team or set his lineup in months, and managed to get him to trade Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka for J.R. Smith and Kenneth Faried.  I will pause while you pick you jaws off the floor.

Assuming the Ibaka/Faried pair cancels out, the commissioner basically traded J.R. Smith, a bench player who had a great start to the year and fizzled for Russell Westbrook, who is one of the top 5 point guards in the league.  The league’s outcry was deafening.  It was one veto away from not going through, and that is because two guys don’t check their teams, and one of them was involved in the trade.

I got a text later in the day and low and behold it was the commissioner.  He wants a trade.  He offers me Deron Williams.  Now at this point, I have Kyrie Irving and had no intentions of picking up another guard in a league that values its big men.  But I reach out to the friend I made the AK47/Turner swap with.  He’s interested in an Irving/Omer Asik swap.

Now if you’re thinking this is a stupid trade, hold that thought.  I get back to the commissioner and offer him Ryan Anderson for Deron Williams, another trade that in real life would be highly frowned upon.  He looks it over and after a little bit of fudging Anderson’s stats, he agrees.  I quickly put the Asik/Irving trade through and the deadline passes.

Now looking at these trades, you might think that our league is full of insane people.  Irving for Asik?  On what planet would that work?  Well, in our league, rebounds are worth a lot and you get points for double doubles.  Asik averages a double double and gets almost 12 boards a night.  Irving, while scoring at a high clip, doesn’t get as many double doubles, doesn’t rebound as much, and has a little history of getting hurt.  My chances with Asik are better, giving me a solid center, and makes Cousins my second best rebounder at 10 a game.  If you have two 10 rebounders a night, you are sitting pretty.

And on top of that, I knew I was going to get back Deron Williams.  Anderson is really only good for three pointers.  He’s the sixth man on a bad team, doesn’t play a lot of minutes, and doesn’t benefit me rebounding the ball.  Deron Williams gives me a number one point guard again, even if I don’t have the scoring that Irving gives me.  He’s finally healthy and will make a serious push for a playoff spot.  A motivating Williams may weigh out more than Irving.

My team got marginally better at the deadline, which is what I wanted and I’m pretty much a lock to make the playoffs now.  In fantasy, these types of trades make sense, even if in the NBA these things would never happen.  You don’t have to make salaries work, you don’t have to factor in draft picks, and most importantly, you don’t have to worry about factoring team chemistry because it’s so individually based.  It’s beautiful.  My GM skills worked out for the best, and I made a trade deadline exciting when the NBA’s deadline was far from momentous.

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