Ryan Anderson will reportedly be sent to New Orleans in a sign-and-trade after inking a 4-year, $36-million dollar contract. A number of "experts" have been outspoken in their surprise that Anderson is getting $9 million dollars a year. I propose that Ryan Anderson is an absolute steal at $9 million per year, and I am coining a new term: when a person refers to a very good contract as a bad contract, that person has committed 'the Ryan Anderson Fallacy' (the 'Landry Fields' and 'Andre Iguodala' Fallacy were close runners-up).
This article by Zach Lowe makes some good points:
Regardless, the Hornets have signed Anderson to the precise sort of contract (a deal in the $6 million to $10 million range for a non-star) that a growing number of NBA geeks would recommend avoiding. The Spurs, for instance, have signed one such contract by my count — the Richard Jefferson deal, later dumped on the Warriors — since the institution of an annual luxury tax in 2005.
The thing is, though, one of the reasons that they call us geeks is because we tend to disagree with the pundits (whom I will call 'jocks' just to set up the animosity that's implied) about what "stars" and "non-stars" are. Remember 2 years ago when I called Kevin Love a "star"? I got a lot of "Lol WTF you are an idiot" comments from the jocks that made me feel like I was back in high school. Anyway, most of us "geeks" actually sort of think that...
Ryan Anderson is a "star". He is:
- Very tall. Tall people are in short supply.
- A great 3-point shooter. 3-point shots are among the most efficient shots you can take.
- A great offensive rebounder. Offensive Rebounds are great because they essentially get you "extra" possesions.
- A great free-throw shooter. This is pretty important because it sucks to have to take your starting power forward out of a close game because he's being hacked a lot.
- Very steady with the ball -- he very rarely turns it over. This is really important because it keeps the other team from getting "extra" possesions.
- A solid if not gread defender. He collects about 25% fewer personal fouls than the average power forward. This is good because it avoids giving the opponent free points.
- Just 24 years old.
Ok, that last one doesn't make him a star in itself, but it does mean that at $9 million per year, Ryan Anderson is a steal. I'll present the following list of guys who as recently as last year were given $8-$10 million per:
Yeah. One of these things is not like the other. And that list does not even include Jeff Green, who's never come close to average and is going to collect $40 million over four years from the Celtics. Now that is a bad contract.
Other bad contracts include every deal ever for ancient bench players. Reports say that the Lakers might sign Raja Bell. Does anyone, anywhere, believe that Bell will have any influence whatsoever on the win-loss column? He's not good enough to be the difference in winning any games, but he won't play enough minutes to cost LA any wins either. And did I mention that LA is steep in luxury tax territory, so you can basically triple his salary to get his real cost? And one cannot justify that they need his "locker-room presence" either. Personally, I believe that's worthless even on young teams, but here I could argue that the Lakers have Kobe, Nash and Pau. Veteran leadership? I think they can check that box.
When teams are filling out spots 9-15 on your roster, the players should be about 20-22 years old and should be earning the NBA minimum, and they should be on 2-year deals with additional team options (to avoid having to pay Lavoy Allen $6 million, or having to let Laundry Fields go to Toronto for $21 million instead of keeping him for $2 million). Teams should be taking lots of flyers on guys like Will Barton, Jae Crowder, etc. They might become stars, in which case you option them, but if they bust, you just say goodbye and yell "NEXT!". Washed-up older players who are at best average (and are usually well below it) aren't just worthless; worse, they actually have negative effects on your bottom line in the form of opportunity costs (the Bartons, Lins, and Crowders you will not be discovering) and Luxury tax payments. When Micky Arrison complains about how the Heat lost money last year despite winning a title, I'm basically thinking "You paid Eddy Curry and Juwan Howard last season. Did you really need the corpses on the end of the bench? If you hate money that much, just send it to me instead."