Tuesday , Feb , 17 , 2009 Christopher Sells

Must be the Money

Tyson Chandler has just been traded to Oklahoma City for Joe Smith and Chris Wilcox. Hopefully, there were also magic beans included. Otherwise, the Thunder got a steal.

Must be the MoneyTimes are hard.

We read in the paper every day about jobs that have been eliminated and bailout plans and all of the different cost-cutting measures that have been implemented by different companies. Even many of you reading probably have had to to some things a bit differently than you normally might and tightened your grip on your wallet.

It’s probably a fair assumption to say that the economic conditions have affected all of us in one way or another, though some are feeling it more than others. Maybe you’re not struggling financially, but you’re trying to prepare yourself in case you are in the future. Perhaps your ends are not currently meeting. Or maybe it’s just difficult right now for reasons that aren’t so easily explained.

The effects of the recession start high, usually, work their way down the ladder to us consumers, then work backwards by affected the big guys again. For example, many people are broke or less financially well off because of something that happened with our job. This means that we don’t spend money in the ways that we have been. Things like food, shelter and clothing are necessities. Attendance at professional sports events, in many cases, is an unnecessary extravagance that goes by the wayside.

This has many pro sports franchises trying to find ways to pinch pennies. Sure, they could let some of their lower level employees go– and some have– but there is more money to be saved if the salaries of some of their richly paid athletes are reduced. So some teams haven’t re-signed key pieces because they want to stay in the black. Some teams that are one player away from contention don’t want to pull the trigger on a trade because of the salaries that they would have to take back. And some trades are made based purely on fiduciary logic.

This is rampant in the NBA. With the trade deadline looming, teams are working the phones trying to find a deal that fits their team. It would seem that even more deals are being discussed than usual, many of them making little sense on the basketball court. But expiring and soon-to-be-expiring contracts make moves that would ordinarily be viewed as inane seem appealing.

This is the state of the NBA today. This is why the Hornets gave Tyson Chandler to the Thunder for Joe Smith and Chris Wilcox, whose contract will expire at season’s end. There’s no other way to explain it. Little basketball sense, but a financially sound decision that will save them around $12 million.

Chandler’s production this year is not what it was last year. This can be attributed to injuries and the additional attention that the young center has been receiving. But you can’t teach height and athleticism, and if you’re going to give it away, it had better be for a good reason. Was saving money a good enough reason for a New Orleans franchise that isn’t going to pull in the same dollars as a  team in a larger market?

Hey, times are hard.