Tuesday, October 29th, 2013 at 2:10 pm  |  36 responses

Anonymous NBA GM Admits His Team is Tanking

Everyone knows that NBA teams tank to set themselves up for the future through the Draft. Most League insiders steadfastly deny that this practice exists, of course. Until now. An anonymous NBA general manager talks to ESPN about his franchise’s tanking plan for this season: “Our team isn’t good enough to win and we know it. So this season we want to develop and evaluate our young players, let them learn from their mistakes — and get us in position to grab a great player. The best way for us to do that is to lose a lot of games. This draft is loaded. There are potential All-Stars at the top, maybe even franchise changers. Sometimes my job is to understand the value of losing. I know that sounds crazy, but if you’re an NBA general manager like me, the last place you want to be is in the middle. There are only two outcomes there: Either make the playoffs and be first-round fodder for one of the premier teams or miss the playoffs and pick somewhere around 11th to 14th in the draft. Either way, the odds are that you stay in that middle range. It’s a recipe for disaster. You need superstars to compete in this league, and the playing field for those guys is tilted toward a few big-market teams. They are demanding trades and getting together and deciding where they want to go in free agency. It’s tough for us to compete with that. So a high lottery pick is all we have. How do you pull it off? First, you talk it over with ownership. I analyzed the team and told them what I wanted to do, the guys I wanted to get rid of and the guys with future value whom we wanted to keep. We obviously traded away some of our veteran guys who gave us a better chance of winning right now for future draft picks and young players. The owners didn’t want to tread water any more than I did. They’d rather go down to the bottom with the hope of coming up, so they signed off on it. It wasn’t a fight at all. In a different season, it might not make sense, but this draft certainly makes it more appealing. Our coach understands that too. It’s no secret what we’re trying to do, and you can’t lie to him anyway or you’ll lose all trust. We never really had to tell him, because the handwriting is on the wall. He knows exactly what’s going on, and he’s good with it. What’s hard is keeping it from the players.”

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  • protonjon

    Lakers right?

  • Fat Lever

    Stern’s Hulk Smash in 3,2,1…..

  • Harvey

    Sixers, Celtics, Bobcats, Suns…

  • the rain

    I hate Danny Ainge so much. Just leave Boston already, you’ve done us so much harm.

  • spit hot fiyah

    shout out to sam hinkie

  • bike

    “What’s hard is keeping it from the players”. So, the assumption is that the players are too stupid to recognize management moves that guarantee max amount of losses despite the “It’s no secret what we’re trying to do”.
    Intentional tanking should be extremely illegal.

  • troop

    this is a non story. we all have eyes.

  • shockexchange

    It worked for Popovich and San Antonio. How else could a perennial playoff team led by David Robinson get Tim Duncan with the 1st overall pick? ____riding Popovich as a great coach – that should be “extremely illegal.”

  • LakeShow

    Are you serious right now?

    The guy that brought KG, and Ray Ray to the Celtics has done so much harm?

  • Max

    The Bobcats aren’t doing it on purpose tho.

  • Robby

    you do know Robinson was hurt all but 6 games of the season the previous year (hurt his back in the preseason, came back in Dec then broke his foot). As was Sean Elliot who missed half that season

  • shockexchange

    You do know Robinson missed all but 6 games of the season the previous year, but he wasn’t hurt the entire time. In the Shock Exchange’s opinion, that’s why it’s called “tanking.”

  • the rain

    very serious. He trades everyone, then signs lames. This is him admitting tanking, too.

  • http://www.offthebackboard.wordpress.com/ Off The Backboard

    This sounds an awful lot like Danny Ainge….its either him or the Phoenix GM.

  • LakeShow

    You’re calling KG, and Ray Allen “lames”?
    So you have nothing to say about him bringing a championship to your team?

  • the rain

    reading comprehension.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    tanking is how he got the title last time……you realize that? you know, all the success that just ended, was the result of tanking.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    a championship and another finals appearance. the dpoy, 3pt champion, and Rajon Rondo are all a product of tanking….

  • the rain

    thats quite a reach isnt it

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    nope. watch,
    - 5th pick in 2007 NBA Draft
    traded for Ray Allen
    - Al Jefferson, Ryan Gomes, Sebastian Telfair, Gerald Green, Theo Ratliff, cash considerations, Boston’s 2009 first-round draft pick (top 3 protected), and the 2009 first-round pick which Minnesota had traded to Boston in the Ricky Davis-Wally Szczerbiak trade of 2006.
    traded for Kevin Garnett
    - Boston Had Cash (from not signing good players) which along with a 2007 first round pick from Cleveland (bad pick)
    traded for Rajon Rondo

  • LakeShow

    I just feel you don’t understand what’s happening here, or you aren’t giving credit to Danny.

  • LakeShow

    It’s strange he doesn’t comprehend what’s going on here, and why he should like it.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    yeah, he’s probably a casual fan who doesn’t really look at it as a long term business. just year to year emotions.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Robinson was reportedly healthy by the end of February. So, he sat out for 2 extra months.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    it takes a certain level of irrational confidence to be an NBA player in the first place. And they are paid to perform, if they want to continue to get a paycheck, whether management is tanking or not, should not affect a given players effort. if it did? then that player is doing damage to his own career.
    there is really no rational reason to “outlaw” tanking. it isn’t shown to cost the league any money. it isn’t shown to actually hurt anything in the grand scheme of things.

  • LakeShow

    I know how he feels, but with your big three all over 35 years of age…

    It’s time.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    idk what happened to my comment, but this is probably Utah or Philadelphia. Those are really the only 2 teams that are tanking and trying to evaluate their talent. Phoenix technically is doing that i guess, but only 3 players are really being evaluated as part of the long term plan (Bledsoe/Len/Goodwin).

  • melvo

    Maybe it was the GM who traded their top-tier PG for an injured rookie project…

  • swill

    jesus, knock off the 3rd person sh-t already.

  • the rain

    he doesnt need any credit, he signed some players that could have signed anyway just to be with Doc. F him

  • ET

    I thought it was Ainge too.

  • Drig

    Robinson was healthy. He didn’t play. The Spurs did tank.

  • Drig

    That was well-done lol.

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  • OlaCambada

    Is this legit right from Aing’es mouth? If so, I will never support the NBA, Celtics Owners or Ainge ever again.

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