At the Milwaukee Bucks’ recent town hall in the Deer District–a pox upon you for making me type that nearly meaningless phrase, Bucks Marketing–General Manager Jon Horst casually responded to a casual question from a casual fan.
Super cas, no big deal. The announcement was treated as a non-story by the media, other than as a jumping off point to discuss the NBA’s new favorite narrative (which I refuse to dedicate anymore bandwidth to). That should’ve been the end of it, Horst simply verbalized what literally everyone already knew.
But that wasn’t the end of it. Instead, Adam Silver walked into the room, passing out 50K fines (this is to be sung, for some reason, to the opening lines to this Big and Rich classic). Generally speaking, I’m an Adam Silver mark; I think he’s an intelligent guy and has this absolutely singular ability to at least seem like a decent human being while still being a commissioner of a major league sport. Perhaps most shockingly, he’s probably the best freestyle rapper in the NBA.
But this fine?
The whistle doesn’t blow every time there’s a foul and I’m even not talking about the sometimes game-defining errors acknowledged by the NBA. I’m talking about the myriad missteps throughout any game that should TECHNICALLY be fouls but are purposely allowed to slide by the referees. The ones we all agree are fine to ignore. We don’t want every single touch or bump called and neither does the NBA. The idea is that the whistle isn’t going to blow if there is NO ADVANTAGE GAINED.
The same thing should’ve been applied here, Silverado. Horst gained nothing with this announcement. It applied only to a player already on his team that everyone–literally everyone!–already knows would be offered a supermax contract. I know this a new point of emphasis as teams have been laying accusations at the feet of other GMs but this ain’t that. This is NO ADVANTAGE GAINED.
It irks me that a small market team looking to keep the MVP it drafted–basically the only way a non-destination franchise can become truly competitive–is being punished by rules that were put in place to curb the machinations of franchise-hopping stars (LBJ, KD, Kawhi) scheming their way to super teams in destination cities (Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco).
But it’s fine. Write that $50,000 check with a smile, Bucks, because scared money don’t make no money. Count it as a downpayment on a player with the actual stones to stay and win one for the city that drafted him, that has believed in him, that has welcomed him with open arms. The rest of the league can move into Tamper Bay, I know where Giannis is staying.