At some point in most people’s lives, they reach a point where they have to recognize that their current way of doing things isn’t working. For me, one such moment came about twenty years ago, when I realized that my love of chicken wings was affecting my vision — as in, I couldn’t see my feet. I believe that recent events might cause you to have such a talk with yourself, and I hope you come to the realization that your thought process regarding general managers isn’t working.
Maybe you thought Chauncey Billups would work for less money than a second round draft pick. Apparently not. The good news is that, if this is just about money, it’s easy to fix because you certainly aren’t lacking in that department. All you have to do is call Mr. Billups and say that he heard you wrong, that the eight million you offered him was not the total contract for five years, it was the yearly salary. If you’re not comfortable making that call to Chauncey Billups, make it to David Griffin, although he might have your number blocked. Hell, give it to Koby Altman, the guy you aren’t paying to do the job if you think he can do it. Just give the money to somebody, so the world knows that somebody is running this team.
It’s not the money, you see. Billups has plenty of money. It’s that the money shows how much you trust the guy you’re hiring. It’s that you’ll be less likely to fire the guy after two years if you still owe him fifteen million or so than if you owe him five million. It’s that you acknowledge, to the guy you’re hiring and the world at large, that you think a general manager is more important than one of those abandoned buildings you bought in Detroit.
Some people learn their life lessons more easily than others. If I’d waited ten more years to have my chicken wing revelation, I might have had it in an ambulance, while a paramedic was pounding my chest and yelling “CLEAR.” You might be lucky, too. We’ll never know if not having a GM played a role in failing to acquire Paul George, so we’ll give you the benefit of the doubt, in which case the only damage that’s been done is that most of the world thinks you’re a dick (showing up at the White House in the middle of the Cubs celebration wasn’t helpful in that regard, by the way). That’s easy to fix. Rich guys like you fix their images all the time. Just go pay for a hospital somewhere, or hang out in a third-world country for a while. Or admit that you were wrong about the general manager thing.
I know that you own lots of stuff, and I just own a Mazda and a condo. So maybe you figure you’ve got all the answers and don’t need to listen to anyone. So, if you don’t want to figure this out now, you can figure it out in a year, after LeBron leaves, Kyrie demands a trade, and Kevin Love becomes a fulltime runway model for Banana Republic. Or you can and figure it out next week, after you’ve traded Love for Carmelo Anthony and then figure out that Love is younger, makes less money, and is better at rebounding, defense, and shooting. Or you can figure it out after you sign a 36-year-old guy who hasn’t guarded anyone since 2013 and make him your backup point guard.
Oh, you already did that?