Tuesday, April 19

Talking Jibba-Jabba & Laying Down The Monster

 Mike McD doesn’t feel good about Ray Allen’s looming contract status & neither should we </
Mike McD doesn’t feel good about Ray Allen’s looming contract status & neither should we

I’ve caught the numerous heated debates on this one. Here’s my thought on the whole thing. Comments both agreeing and criticizing my opinions are wholeheartedly welcomed, and eagerly anticipated. And if you’d like to have me sit in on your home table to take me down, I’m in.

Points to clarify before I go on:

-Ray Allen, at this point, is a top 15 to 30 player in the league. I wish I had a more firm position for you to agree/disagree with, but to be honest, I haven’t compiled enough data yet to form one. A list could be forthcoming.

-Ray Allen, right now, is a legit superstar of the league, deserving of his due credit.

-Ray Allen, along with Rashard, formed the backbone of the Sonics 2004-05 team and they should be given their due credit to the surprising success achieved this season. Who deserves more of the credit is also still undecided, but methinks the pendulum is in the midst of a swing to the other side…

-Removing Ray Allen and inserting Ronald Murray will NOT result in a wash. While I may verbally applaud the play and contribution of A.D, Radman, Nick, Reggie, & Danny far more than him, Ray Allen is undoubtedly a far superior player to any of them. I ain’t no fool spouting nonsense jibba-jabba.

If the last few years’ NBA signings are good indications (and with the new CBA looming, they may not be) I believe the following situation will unfold:

Ray Allen is going to get several 4 year offers, a couple of 5 year offers, and the Sonics, in a decision come upon through a combination of player evaluation, organizational need, and media and local pressure, will offer Allen a 5yr contract in the range of 70-75M. Unfortunately, some team other than the Sonics is gonna throw the gauntlet down and, as KGB would so eloquently put it, pay that man his money: 5years at a whopping 80-90M.

Now, let’s put on our Sonics’s GM cap for a sec. (I believe there may be one available hanging on the bedpost of Calvin Booth’s boudoir, left there by Wally.)

You’ve got position at the final table of a winner take all tournament. The button is sitting in front of you. Action starts with a bullet, with Dead Money beginning the hand by throwing free money into the pot, Ray Allen. Everyone else in front of you bows out. You’ve got a respectable hand; say a pair of Jacks, and you feel good about your chances heads up against the loose player. But you’ve got the small and big blinds still to deal with; them, anticipating your move, you, anticipating theirs. You make the smart, yet tentative decision; merely play in terms of pot odds, and just call the bet. Then the dreaded response: low blind calls, followed by the big blind calling as well. Flop comes J-8-9, all diamonds. You’ve caught your set, but the flush and straight draw scare the bejeezus out of you, so you once again check. The nightmare sequence happens: Low blind goes all in, Big blind calls. The amateur bows out, but RayRay’s still sitting in that pot, waiting for the winner to claim him.

So what’s the proper action?* Forget the Oreos folks, they’re not necessary. You know it, I know it, and Mike McD knows it: Stare Teddy straight in the face and say with conviction: “I’m laying this set down. It’s a monster hand & I’m gonna lay it down. I’m not going to draw against a made hand.” For the most part you played the hand as well as you could have, and you simply have to move on, with all thoughts set on the real goal: winning it all.

Ray Allen is sitting at the apex of his career right now, or maybe more appropriate a plateau; he’s got 2-3 years left to wander up there and enjoy the view, but make no mistake, he will soon reenter the stratosphere of star to mediocre star status. Look at Reggie,Ray, and plan your future accordingly.

 Miller Time is fast approaching for Ray Allen </
Miller Time is fast approaching for Ray Allen

If the Sonics are smart they will too. “The 2004 Sonics aren’t coming through that door folks!” “Charles isn’t walking through it either!”

We’re going to have to accept that inevitability, we simply can’t afford not to. The price is too high, and the product falls too short of the goal. But fear not, we will build him to be stronger, faster….

So, if you’re so damn smart what the hell do you propose, you ask? Ehhhh…. Pass? Kidding, offseason recommendations to come… in the offseason.

By the way,

Regarding superstar professional athletes and egregious amounts of cash being thrown their way? I hold absolutely no ill judgment for them for obtaining or trying to obtain the highest sum possible. While I may mourn their loss, I do not consider leaving a team for another a form of personal or organizational betrayal.

It’s a bit of a stretch, but I like to think of their situation in relation to the situation of most people living in corporate America. Imagine a scenario of you working for a company, being bound to that company by a previously agreed on contract, which was of a lower value to one you could now obtain elsewhere, regardless of being over or under paid/rated. Then you’re day comes and company A offers (insert salary here), a comparable salary to other peers you know, and company B (and C, and D…) offered you salary A*(enter insane multiple here). So, wtf would you do? “Aw shucks, well if I were happy at my old company, I’d stay there. Hell they’ve been loyal to me for all these years; it’s darn time I repaid the favor. The grass will always appear greener on the other side, yuk, yuk, yuk.” If you believe you’d say something along this line, my congratulations to you on a great attitude and superior morals… and for making me throw up in my mouth.

I will NEVER blame Arod for a payroll greater than this country’s GDP ,
Jim McIlvaine signing for 35M over 5 years, Calvin Booth for signing for 34M over 6, or Ray Allen for whatever sum he is able to extract this summer. Blame Tom Hicks, blame the unholy Wally Walker, and blame Dan Gilbert & Usher .

The term really doesn’t do it justice but, simply put, don’t hate the playa, hate the game. These folks deserve none of your derision for doing the same thing that 99% of America would do in the same situation, and are entitled to in this great country. I mean c’mon!! I thought this was America! Huh?! Isn't this America!? I'm sorry, I thought this was America!

(Now officially off the soapbox, chopping it to pieces, pouring kerosene on it, lighting it up, and jumping in. I disgust myself sometimes.)

*Note: After going over this crap, I came to the conclusion that my call wasn’t quite right. I had initially thought that the only outs would be to get the 4 of a kind, which is actually not the case. Against the likely straight or flush possibilities, a full house would work just as well. So, let me see, say the game was six handed, 12 cards off the deck, assume nothing good comes on 4th street, 4 cards off the deck, with let’s see 1 J, and 3x3=9 possibilities to pair the board, that’s 10 outs/(52-12-4=36cards) and a 27.8% chance, approximately 1:3.5 pot odds. The right play in all likelihood would be to call. For the assumption that a 4 of a kind was needed, it would have been 1/36: a 2.8% chance, and unless the pot was that big and my stack that small, not the right move. My apologies for not being The Master .

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