Finally, an NBA general manager has copped to—gasp—tanking.
One anonymous GM reportedly told ESPN The Magazine's Jeff Goodman that his team will actively try to avoid winning this season in an effort to expedite its rebuilding process:
Our team isn't good enough to win and we know it. So this season we want to develop and evaluate our young players, let them learn from their mistakes—and get us in position to grab a great player. The best way for us to do that is to lose a lot of games.
I know what you're thinking: Sam Hinkie, is that you? It's not. Well, probably not.
The general manager in question points to the Philadelphia 76ers as an example of a franchise purposely bombing. Though that could all be part of a clever ruse—no better way to hide than in plain sight—I'm going to assume Philly's GM wasn't the undisclosed source.
While our friend incognito never revealed his identity, he did go on to describe the benefits of tanking, the challenges teams in transition face and how exactly one goes about fielding a horrific product:
You need superstars to compete in this league, and the playing field for those guys is tilted toward a few big-market teams. They are demanding trades and getting together and deciding where they want to go in free agency. It's tough for us to compete with that. So a high lottery pick is all we have.
We obviously traded away some of our veteran guys who gave us a better chance of winning right now for future draft picks and young players. ... In a different season, it might not make sense, but this draft certainly makes it more appealing.
Ryan McDonough, is that you? It's possible. The Phoenix Suns general manager has spent his short time at the helm wheeling and dealing, ridding the team of players like Jared Dudley, Caron Butler and Marcin Gortat, all of whom would've helped win extra games.
Let's not rule out the Boston Celtics' Danny Ainge, either. Previously, he said the Celtics aren't tanking. He also blasted the 2014 draft class to Sports Illustrated's Ian Thomsen, claiming there was no player available who would "change your franchise forever."
The rant on big markets also doesn't sound like Ainge, as Boston isn't a city or an organization oppressed by financial limitations or market appeal. But if any front-office suit was sly enough and skilled in the art of deflection, it's Ainge. We cannot count him out entirely.
Never mind the identity of one honest general manager, though. Tanking is out there. It's happening right now. Teams are deliberately trying to lose. We already knew that, but it's eerie hearing a tanker admit to his wrongdoing.
"I know that sounds crazy, but if you're an NBA general manager like me, the last place you want to be is in the middle," the source told Goodman.
For your bravery and refreshing transparency, GM I do not know, I wish you and your team nothing but heaps of draft picks and an excess of losing this coming season.
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