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Phil Jackson plays the pot calling kettle black

Feb 27, 2010, 4:59 PM EST

In 2008, the Los Angeles Lakers completed one of the most one-sided trades in the history of the league, sending Kwame Brown and what was, at that point, complete unknown Marc Gasol to the Memphis Grizzlies (along with Javaris Crittenton…yeah) for franchise player Pau Gasol. Coaches and league personnel were flabbergasted at the questionable nature of the trade between the Lakers and the team formerly managed by Jerry West, who you may recall was a Lakers’ great (there is no known connection with West in the deal, but it’s interesting nonetheless).

But in a league with the cap structure the NBA has, you’re going to see moves which are financially motivated in which the players the worse team receives are completely irrelevant. It would appear, though, that the Lakers’ head coach isn’t a big fan when it isn’t his team that gets a game-changing component.

In an interview with FanHouse’s Chris Tommasson, Phil Jackson called the “loophole” which is allowing Zydrunas Ilgauskas to re-sign with the team he’s been with his entire career a ‘sham’ and ‘charades.’

“It’s a sham of sorts to make that kind of trade. You’re not really
trading a player. You’re just trading a money situation. It’s a sham,
and I think it’s a disrespect for the league and the players to be
involved in this type of a thing.”

Okay, Phil. Got it. It’s totally fine for your team to take advantage of teams needing to clear cap space, but not anyone else. Got it.

It’s still difficult to see what the problem is with this setup. Ilgauskas has been with Cleveland his whole career, and gets to return. We have a contender that got stronger. The Wizards saved a ton of money and have the ability to restart their franchise and maybe build towards contention. This trade was not bad for the league. It was only bad for those who are competing with Cleveland for a championship. And they’re not really in a position to be objective, just as Greg Popovich wasn’t with the Gasol trade.

Maybe Jackson should focus more on pulling the lifeless corpse of Derek Fisher into something resembling a point guard in time for the playoffs.

UPDATE: Apparently I did a piss poor job of explaining things, so let’s take another crack at this. The Gasol trade and the Ilgauskas trade were quite clearly different because Ilgauskas came back to the Cavs, whereas Kwame Brown, vital component that he is, did not. The difference there is assumed.

But what Jackson is complaining about is not the loophole. He’s complaining about “just trading a money situation.” Which is precisely why the Memphis trade went through. At the time, Marc Gasol was nothing more than a throw-in. The major component was cap space for the Grizzlies. And further more, if it benefited the Lakers to do a trade of this type, they would do it, just the same as Doc Rivers, Greg Popovich, or any team in the league would.

The point is not that the trades were identical in function, but in formula.

  1. j. d. hastings - Feb 27, 2010 at 5:52 PM

    That is, literally, the game, yo.

  2. Ron - Feb 27, 2010 at 6:52 PM

    Wow. The tenor of the whole article above is “Laker hater.” Amazing. Maybe Matt Moore needs to step away from the typewriter when the Laker bogeyman starts infecting his brain.
    Let’s address each of these points, shall we? The Gasol trade eventually benefited both teams. If you haven’t noticed, Memphis is a lot stronger these days then it was just two years ago, when they dumped Gasol’s huge contract. It was actually a shrewd move on Memphis’ part, as they got Marc Gasol, who is 14/9 this year and getting better every day. He will be a force in this league, sooner rather than later.
    Meanwhile, if you look at what happened to the future moves for the players involved in the original trade, Memphis has stockpiled a bunch of draft picks to position themselves for a very bright future. Players like O.J. Mayo, Darrell Arthur, DeMarre Carroll and Hamed Haddadi are all arguably end-products of the original trade and can have a significant impact on this team eventually. That is definitely what Memphis is aiming for.
    “Okay, Phil. Got it. It’s totally fine for your team to take advantage of teams needing to clear cap space, but not anyone else. Got it.”
    Apples and oranges, Matt. No one saw the Gasol trade coming, but everyone has known about the Ilguaskas trade for months. Everyone knew of the scam/sham months before it happened, and still it happened anyway. Basically, you have Cleveland taking the loophole and making it a manhole. What a joke. They got Jameson for only money. That hasn’t happened in the NBA in 40 years…oh, excuse me, it just happened. “Yeah.”
    Oh, and what a cheap shop at Fisher. Totally uncalled for. You are not a journalist who properly does his research, you are nothing more than a paid blog poster who has the same emotional level of most of the respondents.
    Step away from the keyboard, Matt. Especially when you feel the inexplicable anger rise within your fingers.

  3. Dano - Feb 27, 2010 at 7:28 PM

    The Lakers should never complain about others teams trades, NEVER. Most of their titles are the result of weird trades.

  4. asdf - Feb 27, 2010 at 7:51 PM

    Nowhere in that interview does Phil Jackson express that he has a problem with trades where a team is trying to clear cap space.
    The “loophole” that Phil is talking about that he thinks is a “sham” is the part of a trade where a team sends a player to the other team for the sake of matching salaries only to have that player return to the original team after having been bought out — basically nullifying the fact that the player was traded to begin with.
    Neither Phil Jackson or the Lakers’ organization has ever benefited from this kind of loophole.
    That cheap shot you wrote at the end might have had some merit if you hadn’t actually written this entire post based on such an inaccurate premise.

  5. Bizzle - Feb 27, 2010 at 8:00 PM

    Matt Moore hating on the Lakers? I’m flabbergasted.
    Leave the Laker talke to Kurt. It’d be better if you kept your incredible bias out of Laker related articles.
    You, sir, are Bill Simmons without the entertainment factor.

  6. Jason - Feb 27, 2010 at 8:02 PM

    Let me get this straight, Matt Moore make the comparison of a Z for Jamison swap, only for Z to rejoin the Cavs and the Lakers swap of 3 NBA one-time or current starters and Pau Gasol? Last I checked the Lakers didn’t resign Critterton, Marc or Kwame.
    Poor Matt Moore – a pathetic piece of nonsense.

  7. Paul - Feb 27, 2010 at 8:10 PM

    I received the link to Pro Basketball talk from MSBNBC. I know they have cut their editorial and journalism budget so in place of this we have nothing but a Tirade against the Lakers. Who cares what Phil Jackson says? More importantly is that someone from MSNBC is actually paying Matt Moore for what is an extremely poor journalism. Did you interview Phil? Who did you interview? Its as if I get paid just to shoot my mouth off. Do I care what Cleveland does? Its legal, its ok. Phil doesn’t like it, who cares?
    I have done this before, sent a scathing letter to MSNBC to stop paying people to just give opinions instead of facts! In Pro Basketball, we have too much opinions especially from those with specious credentials.

  8. Paul - Feb 27, 2010 at 8:11 PM

    I received the link to Pro Basketball talk from MSBNBC. I know they have cut their editorial and journalism budget so in place of this we have nothing but a Tirade against the Lakers. Who cares what Phil Jackson says? More importantly is that someone from MSNBC is actually paying Matt Moore for what is an extremely poor journalism. Did you interview Phil? Who did you interview? Its as if I get paid just to shoot my mouth off. Do I care what Cleveland does? Its legal, its ok. Phil doesn’t like it, who cares?
    I have done this before, sent a scathing letter to MSNBC to stop paying people to just give opinions instead of facts! In Pro Basketball, we have too much opinions especially from those with specious credentials.

  9. Elgatogrande - Feb 27, 2010 at 9:10 PM

    Is this guy for real?

  10. lal - Feb 27, 2010 at 11:03 PM

    Lakers fans can just suck it up…..The CAVS have every right to do what they did to get Jamison….You are all just worried that the CAVS just have 2 much for you now and will kick ass in the finals…..

  11. zepdawg - Feb 27, 2010 at 11:48 PM

    Actually the trade was for not only Z but also a first round draft pick. So, you if you think it’s a complete sham to trade a first round draft pick (albeit a low first rounder), then complain away. But get your facts straight.

  12. Birdman - Feb 28, 2010 at 12:16 AM

    If you watched the Lakers play without Kobe, they looked more like a team. Unselfish, passing, more assists and everyone off the bench looking relaxed and confident.
    Kobe is the biggest cry baby in the league. Always crying to the refs after every possession and timeouts. I wish it was like baseball and you get tossed out for complaining too much.
    Phil Jack loved the Lakers when Kobe was out, but can’t tell him to pass more and shoot less.
    Lakers should have traded Kobe to the Knicks for young talent and draft picks. They would be better off now and in the future.

  13. DA fan - Feb 28, 2010 at 12:43 AM

    if you still don’t get i read what Ron wrote again. Throwing Jerry West name in there was a sign of ignorance. You really wanna talk stupid. Talk to Mchale about why he thought it was better for Garnett to go to the Celtics then the Lakers or the Suns who both offered better deals then the Celtics. Don’t hate the Lakers because they are good.

  14. Cinamon - Feb 28, 2010 at 1:20 AM

    NO MATTER WHAT/WHO CLEVELAND HAS ACQUIRE, THEY STILL WILL NO DO TOO MUCH DAMAGE WHEN IT’S ALL SAID AND DONE GO LAKERS.

  15. Cinamon - Feb 28, 2010 at 1:27 AM

    NO MATTER WHAT/WHO CLEVELAND HAS ACQUIRE, THEY STILL WILL NOT DO TOO MUCH DAMAGE WHEN IT’S ALL SAID AND DONE GO LAKERS.I KNOW HOW TO CORRECT MYSELF I LOVE LA

  16. kinewords - Feb 28, 2010 at 1:41 AM

    It is what it is…the Cavs need help to compete with the West Conf team. And when you’re desperate, all etiquette is out the window. Nice work, Cavs. You certainly need all the help you can get.

  17. Ron - Feb 28, 2010 at 2:07 AM

    DA fan, you are right…I forgot to add that point…guess there was too much to pick from and I got lost in the forest for the trees.
    Matt is pathetic. To accuse Jerry West of wrongdoing without a shred of evidence should get the guy fired in and of itself. In all the chortling over the Gasol trade, I never heard anyone actually bring this up…as though it was food for thought.
    Before you accuse a great human being of wrongdoing, you should really do your research Matt. This is quite possibly the worst piece of “journalism” I have ever read, and I am over 50 years old.
    Just unbelievable.

  18. Ron - Feb 28, 2010 at 2:16 AM

    Just read Matt’s update.
    I agree that any team would take advantage of the loophole. There are no saints here.
    I don’t agree that Marc Gasol was just a throw-in. The Lakers had to know that the fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree. He will something special in this league, just like his brother.
    It bothers me that the update didn’t include apologies to Logo and Fish. A cheap shot is still a cheap shot. And even though you put a disclaimer in parenthesis for Logo, it would have been better left unwritten.

  19. davidly - Feb 28, 2010 at 8:50 AM

    Despite your attempt at a revision, the reality here is: Cleveland bought a player with money, the Lakers bought a player with players.
    The Fisher comment just further illustrates that you are a typical sports’ journalist; thence springs the archetype for the modern-day troll.

  20. Jen - Feb 28, 2010 at 9:56 AM

    That is exactly what the trade was to clear cap space!!

  21. rinde - Feb 28, 2010 at 10:47 AM

    Phil is a doosh bag, first phil whining and then L.A times make fake stories, whats next?

  22. Bill - Feb 28, 2010 at 10:56 AM

    Please help me remember if the Lakers gave up equal value for the following players, or were just smart enough to use their situation to their advantage:
    Shaq
    Kobe
    P Gasol
    Glad some writer called out guru/hypocrite Jackson. Over Ilgauskas no less

  23. Wade - Feb 28, 2010 at 11:18 AM

    Typical Laker hater.

  24. Bob in TX - Feb 28, 2010 at 11:40 AM

    The Lakers got an All-Star (Pau Gasol) and a second-round draft pick from the Grizzlies (an early second round at that), for an at the time overweight rookie with an unknown upside (Mark Gasol), a bust (Kwame Brown), filler (Jarvis Crittendon), and A PART-TIME COACH FROM ANOTHER TEAM (Aaron McKie) that they had to sign to make the trade work.
    No one can seriously argue that the Lakers were not widely seen as the overwhelming winners in this trade at the time. The fact that Mark Gasol has lost weight and improved into a serviceable NBA player is probably more upside that Memphis could have reasonably expected.

  25. Birch - Feb 28, 2010 at 11:48 AM

    All you Crying Laker fans are pathetic and scared. Journalism doesnt have to be about facts you moron. Journalism includes opinions. If you dont like Matt’s writing, then dont read the damn piece. All he was comparing was two lopsided salary dumping trades and how one team got the quick help with talent and the other with money. It’s funny to hear Laker fans, who usually are saying, Cavs bigs cant match up with our bigs..they have no chance…but when this trade went down, and Z comes back to the only city he ever truly knew(basketball wise), you know want to criticize the deal knowing that our “big” is coming back. He must put a little scare into Lakers fans, b/c if he didnt you wouldnt be complaining . Get over it and enjoy the hell hole of LA. i would much rather live in Ohio.

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