Popovich, Spurs Front Office Moves Have Been Atrocious Last Few Years

Spurs have made terrible moves

If Uncle Dennis and Kawhi Leonard wanted to exit gracefully, with Kawhi’s lovable robot reputation intact, they could have done so.

Who could have blamed The Klaw for wanting to leave a franchise that continually makes all the wrong moves?

In the summer of 2017, all the Spurs had to do was not sign anyone and they would have had acres of cap room.

Patty & Pau

Instead, they blew all their money on Patty Mills (4 years, $48 million) and Pau Gasol (3 years, $48 million with last year guaranteed for $6.7 million).

Patty Mills is a top 3-point shooter in the league but he’s a role player who needs stars to open up the floor for him. He’s only 6′ tall and while his position is point guard, he can’t play it: He can’t dribble, he can’t handle defensive pressure, his court vision is horrible, and his defense is of the traffic cone variety.

With Leonard out last season and the Spurs looking to extract their pennies out of Mills, Patty was moved to starting point guard and it was a disaster.

Still Mills is somewhat excusable: He can shoot threes in an era where you must be able to. Not only that but he’s given a lot of value to the Spurs in previous years.

Gasol’s contract is an abomination. The backstory here is the Spurs asked Pau to opt out of the remaining $16m on the last year of his contract (player option) so they could have a shot at signing Chris Paul to a max deal.

Obviously the Spurs had to sweeten the deal to make it worth his while but they went overboard giving him another year at $16m and then a final year partially guaranteed at $6.7m to boot. Pau cashed in and the Spurs got left holding an empty bag – all for a guy (CP3) who wouldn’t have put them past the Warriors and would have crippled the franchise financially in the future.

This is all on top of the fact that Gasol is a worthless player. He’s way, way past his prime and can’t rebound or move his feet. His best attributes are his length and passing ability but the center era is dead in today’s NBA. When you add everything up, Gasol was a liability on the Spurs balance sheet WHEN he signed his contract.

Jonathan Simmons

But it wasn’t just who the Spurs blew millions on, it was who they didn’t pay up for. One player that was very notably not signed was Jonathan Simmons.

Simmons is an ultra athletic, 6’6 wing player who can defend, slash to the bucket, shoot a little bit, and stepped up and played huge against Golden State after Zaza Pachulia undercut Kawhi.

Simmons isn’t a star player in the NBA but he is a guy that can play big minutes, make big plays, and isn’t afraid of the pressure. (Think of Trevor Ariza’s role on the Rockets.)

Also, he was Kawhi’s one real friend on the Spurs (see the tweet below, posted on July 12, 2018). And Pop gladly kicked him to the curb; it doesn’t even look like the Spurs made him an offer.

Pathetically, the Spurs lost Simmons to the Orlando Magic. J-Simms got a 3 year, $20m deal with the last year only guaranteed for $1m. Simmons’ on the court value easily exceeded that contract – I would have been happy if the Spurs locked him up for 3 years, $30m fully guaranteed.

But if you tack on the Kawhi-relationship value that Simmons offered, it made it all the easier to sign him to a slightly above market value contract.

And here’s another wrinkle that isn’t talked about: Given how close the two were, it’s reasonable to expect part of Kawhi’s departure could be from Kawhi requesting the Spurs keep Simmons and Pop figuratively spitting in his face, insisting that he calls the shots.

Even if Leonard said nothing, as an executive you need to read between the lines. Kawhi isn’t a guy that makes a lot of friends – he was never close to any of the other Spurs. Clearly he was with Simmons. You might want to keep him just to give your mega star someone to talk to and keep him happy. If you take his one friend away, how much incentive does he have to stay beyond money?

I’d call this an oversight but the Spurs knew exactly what the situation was. Pop just doesn’t care. He sees the Spurs as an organization where he calls all the shots and you deal with it as a subordinate.

Problem is he was left groveling in a San Diego restaurant even as chief commander.

LaMarcus Aldridge

Another summer special: Crybaby LaMarcus Aldridge “LA” had problems with the Spurs offense and wanted to be traded so what did Pop do?

Changed his offensive philosophy, forcing a 90s style post up game into the Spurs once feared motion offense and then, in October, extended Aldridge’s contract with LA having no leverage and his market value at an all-time low.

LA had a player option for $21.4m left on his contract for 2018. The extension was for 3 years/$72.3m with the final year partially guaranteed for $7m.

Again, the Spurs didn’t need to commit this money. If nothing else, they could have waited until after the season to resign him.

The Spurs should have moved away from Aldridge anyways. Iso post ups are a losing proposition in today’s NBA and LA had done nothing to disprove that during his stint before the extension.

2018-2019

The only actually good thing San Antonio has done this summer is to let Kyle Anderson become a Memphis Grizzly (Memphis will regret this one later, Kyle has potential to be good but he refuses to cash in on it and his downside will begin to shine through).

Other than that, the Spurs have signed Marco Belinelli for 2 years, $12 million, Bryn Forbes for 2 years, $5 million, Davis Bertans for 2 years, $15 million, and Rudy Gay for 1 year, $10m.

The only one of those that makes any sense is Gay.

Otherwise, why are you signing all of these role players for two years?

Also, Bryn Forbes isn’t an NBA caliber player. Why are you signing him at all?

If the Jazz really wanted Bertans for $7m/year, let them have him.

And Belinelli for the 2nd year at $6m — WHY???

On top of all of these signings, they let franchise legend Tony Parker walk out the back door for 2 years/$10m to the Bobcats (PS Tony is currently better than Dejounte Murray as is).

What the hell is going on in San Antonio?

If Gregg Popovich’s name wasn’t on the nameplate, people would be trashing this storied franchise left and right. The truth is they’ve played everything horribly. The Kawhi Leonard situation is helping to mask it but it’s not like the national media would ever call out the Spurs anyways.

Before this offseason’s debacle, I had a theory that the Pau & Patty abomination’s were the work of one RC Buford, that Pop had finally bestowed true GM power and he had royally screwed everything up and wrecked the car as soon his dad handed him the keys.

But no, it looks like Pop is still in control and has fallen off the deep end; it looks like he’s lost it.

The Demar Derozan Trade

For some reason Pop has always wanted to move Danny Green. I don’t know why but Pop has looked for every which way to get rid of him and Green always ends up in trade rumors. When Danny’s free agency came up, the Spurs lowballed him to the tune of $20m less than the open market and he still choose the Silver & Black.

Danny Green was one of my favorite Spurs.

But he got shipped away with Kawhi as an expiring contract.

And the Spurs didn’t get the quiet prize of the deal: OG Anunoby.

I think Derozan will do well for San Antonio but I also think this deal falls short for SA.

Toronto gets a ton of upside and complete optionality because they too can deal Kawhi later on in 2019. They also shed a huge contract and clear enormous cap space at the end of the year. This is important to remember when you think that this team really wasn’t going anywhere with Demar.

On the other side, the Spurs did get a 65% return on Kawhi but for what purpose?

A core of Derozan and Aldridge is at best a 5th seed and second round and out in the West.

This team is going nowhere and the future is bleak because outside of Lonnie Walker, there’s nothing in the way of prospects and draft picks. This is where Pop and maybe RC really screwed up: they didn’t capture any upside in the deal.

What’s worse is they very likely could have waited and got the same package (the Raptors really wanted out of Demar’s contract) while keeping their options open.

The end game for the Spurs proved to be staying a middling good but not very good team in the West, keeping their playoff streak alive, and not much else.

The Uncle Dennis Robertson-Everyone Loses Effect

I’d call Kawhi’s “group” or “”agency”” amateur hour but to do so would be to harshly condemn amateurs. Kawhi’s uncle accomplished none of their objectives while tarnishing the superstar’s reputation, and costing him tens of millions of dollars.

Kawhi’s career will never recover from this debacle and, what was likely lost in the shuffle, is the Spurs were tailor made specifically for him to be a superstar. He will not be as good on any other team.

This is what happens when you throw in a supercharged net negative into center of something: everyone involved loses.

A small secret is Kawhi has a much greater chance of being a Laker or Clipper right now if Uncle Dennis doesn’t leak every thought in his head to the media.

Chris Paul Isn’t Getting Supermax from Rockets, Tilman Fertitta

rockets owner tilman

Here’s what I can’t find: How much will Chris Paul make if he signs a non-supermax as a free agent with another team? I’m guessing $150-$165/4 years but I can’t find any article talking about it. But let’s just say it’s $160/4.

It’s now been leaked that Chris isn’t taking less than the supermax from the Rockets at $209/5 — remember he planned this a long time ago when he basically created the new CBA so that he’d get in one last max before he turned 38.

The way CP3 worked it, he’d get to keep his last year of the Clippers deal ($25-30m if I remember right) rather than opting out and then sign a super max this year with a different team, maximizing his money and getting his desired destination.

The problem is now the wink-wink deal he had with Daryl Morey is looking horrendous from the Rocket’s side and Houston wants no part of giving a chubby, oft-injured and past his prime point guard a fully loaded max deal that has him receiving $40m a year past his mid 30s.

Were he dealing with a dumb money owner, it might happen. But something black swanish happened: the Rockets changed owners.

The new owner is Tilman Fertitta and first of all, if you’ve ever seen his Billion Dollar Buyer show on CNBC, he doesn’t just hand out cash. He rakes entrepreneurs over the coals to get the best deal possible out of them, many times forcing them into Costco “volume” type deals where their margins are diminished.

Second of all, Tilman is broke. No, for real. You might see him as a Forbes estimated $3.1 – $4.4 billion networth but he’s very much cash poor. Check out these numbers from the Rockets owner:

From Law360: “Casino and hotel operator Golden Nugget Inc. announced Wednesday that it had priced a $1.415 billion notes offering and that it will combine its casino operations with those of restaurant chain operator Landry’s Inc., joining the two companies, which are both owned by a Texas billionaire.”

From PRNewswire: “The Senior Notes will be issued under the indenture, pursuant to which Landry’s initially issued $600 million in aggregate principal amount of its 6.750% senior notes due 2024 on October 4, 2016.”

Along with the selling of bonds, Fertitta PERSONALLY borrowed $275 from previous owner Les Alexander. On top of that, I read Tilman has $175m of assumed debt.

Here are the full financial details of the bulk of the cash raising: http://www.ifre.com/billionaire-seeks-slam-dunk-money-for-rockets-buy/21307331.fullarticle

In other words, this guy is cash poor. He might have a lot of assets but you can’t buy stuff with assets.

Also, take notice of the 6.75% rate on those bonds! That’s very high! The higher the rate on the bond, the riskier they are deemed to be which means the less money people have :/ which means the Rockets aren’t going into the luxury tax, at least not very far.

Dear Chris Paul,

You might have weaseled your way into crafting the perfect financial fairy tale scenario under the new CBA but you’re about to get crushed to the tune of hmmmm about $50m.

Signed,

Kris

PS You have no leverage because no other team will come close to paying you the supermax (nor can they if you become a free agent) so you can say you won’t take less but you absolutely will.

Also, let’s not forget that CP3 took a knee on what was for all practical purposes, the NBA Finals. For the last 2 games of the WCF (the Finals), Paul sat out with a hamstring pull. Seeing as how the Rockets didn’t need you in the next round and the championship was on the line, probably should have at least hobbled out their for at least morale.

This contract situation is probably karma for all the BS fouls Chris Paul has drawn over the years.

Web 20 Ranker Review: Do Their White Label SEO Services Work?

web20ranker.com review, do they work

I’ve placed $5,633.90 worth of links from Web20Ranker.com over 7 orders. Two of those orders were bulk purchases (press releases and niche placements links) that I’ve yet to use even half of.

So what gives, have my sites flown to the top of Google?

The short answer is no but before you write off Web 2.0 Ranker, read the rest of my review.

my link building orders with web 20

I first came to know of Web 20 through The Lab (SEO and marketing education) Facebook group. Mark Luckenbaugh of Local Client Takeover is one of the partners for The Lab and is an owner or at least part owner of Web 20. I met Mark in Las Vegas at his LCT conference – genuinely great guy.

As this site was backed by Mark and endorsed by Matt Diggity, it was a no-brainer to buy links from. When you go through the site, you’ll see Chaz Edwards looks to be in charge of the operations.

The service has its great side and its bad side.

First the bad: They rarely answer their live chat inside 15 minutes of you pressing enter. This is despite the fact that it constantly interrupts you while you’re trying to navigate the site. If you ping them within business hours, they’ll (usually) eventually reply but it can take a while – like 30 minutes a while.

The good: They will get back to you via email and they’ll actually answer your questions (no vague BS answers that don’t help you).

The also good: They’ve been very responsive to me and favorable in granting my requests. For instance, they ran a 25% off sitewide flash sale and I made a purchase before the deadline but decided to make one more only to realize the deadline had past (it was a time zone thing and really my fault because I had waited until the last minute). Still, I emailed support and asked if they would honor the discount and they did.

They very much didn’t have to do this so it was quite the pleasant surprise.

they took care of me

How are the links?

The most disappointed I’ve been with Web 20 is with the brand links. I placed a $485 order and basically got 40 links from sites that allow you to have profiles. The profiles came with horribly spun content (Chaz claims itis decent content in the explainer YouTube video) and image media insertions — this was a part of the “social power up”. Of course, an excel spreadsheet report came alongside it.

I have since outsourced the link creation side of this for $50 and I know I can get it done cheaper than that. Obviously there was a bad value proposition here.

The rest of my orders are so recent, I can’t speak to a rankings increase yet. Also, even if more time had lapsed after my orders, I’m trying to mostly rank social profiles and that might not be fair to judge since RankBrain might be artificially holding them back and the keyword difficulty to get on the first page (which only has 6-7 organic spots btw) is on the higher end.

The press releases were rock solid and a very good value in comparison to any other vendor.

I can’t be of more help here…yet but I will update this post when I have a better and bigger sample size.

How fast are they?

On the slow side actually. I’m sure they’ve got a backlog but the brand links order with 40 links was placed on May 1st and I got my completion report on May 17.

My PBN order was placed on May 25 and I received a report on that on June 13.

Conclusion

I think their links are quality. So far I haven’t seen the rankings increase but, again, I mostly haven’t been trying to rank traditional websites and, again, most of my orders haven’t been fulfilled yet.

Their customer service response time (for at least live chat) needs to be improved. The actual support I have received has been rock solid but the timeliness is another matter. Also, I wish they were quicker on the turnaround times for orders. 19 days for a PBN order is definitely stretching it.

The value proposition is hit and miss. I’ll order all my press releases from them but never again will I touch their brand links. Ultimately, you’ve just got to pick and choose what packages you order.

So far, I give them a B.

I will continue to order from them so that says a lot. I place a lot of trust in Luckenbaugh. A few months from now, I’ll update this review.

Do you have an experience good or bad? Leave a comment below.