Monday, February 15, 2010

Fantasy Basketball Dispute No. 5551-T: Court Rejects Trade of C. Billups for M. Ginobili & B. Haywood


Index No. 5551 - T
Date Rendered: Feb. 2010
Date Issued: Feb. 2010
Authoring Judge: MARC EDELMAN


The Court of Fantasy Basketball has rejected the trade of Brendan Haywood (C, Dallas Mavericks) and Manu Ginobili (SG, San Antonio Spurts) from Walking Wounded to Overhand Express for Chauncey Billups (PG, Denver Nuggets).

The trade has been rejected because it raised the following red flags for collusion: (1) uneven number of players traded per team; (2) highest ranking player moving from a team relatively out of prize contention to a team in prize contention; and (3) team trading the higher-ranking player is not returning to the league next year. Stated otherwise, this trade does not have a reasonable likelihood of benefiting Walking Wounded.


Opinion No. 5551-T (Basketball), by Hon. Marc Edelman, Founder & CEO:

The general rule of the Court of Fantasy Football is to uphold any trade that could reasonably benefit both teams. See Big Red Rockers v. Big City Bombers, Index No. 101 (August 14, 2004).

In examining whether a team derives some benefit from a trade, the standard requires the Court to consider not only the quality of the players involved, but also the context of the trade. See generally Team Anadrol v. Vegas Baby & Flathead Yankees, Index No. 955-C (Nov. 4, 2007).

The reason for this standard is not to take away team’s rights to make independent decisions, but rather to ensure the sanctity of the game itself. See Commissioner v. Parkstarz & Fuall, Index No. 5287-T (Nov, 13, 2009).

Here, the league’s second place team, Walking Wounded (77 points, 2 points out of 1st) has proposed trading Brendan Haywood (Yahoo! Rank 78, 9.8 points, 10.2 rebounds, 2.1 blocks) and Manu Ginobili (Yahoo! Rank 44, 13.8 points, 4.6 assists, 1.5 steals) to the league’s seventh place team Overhand Express (51.5 points, 27.5 points out of first, 11.5 points out of prize money) for Chauncey Billups (Yahoo! Rank 8, 19.8 points, 2.3 3’s/game, 6.1 assists) ).

For Walking Wounded, this trade makes perfect sense both for this season and beyond:

  • For this season, Walking Wounded gets a gigantic upgrade at the guard position by swapping Ginobili for Billups. Meanwhile, the loss of Haywood is largely irrelevant given Walking Wounded has several reserve centers of nearly equal ability to Haywood, including Elton Brand and Channing Frye.

  • For the future, Walking Wounded gets a much needed second keeper to go along with Dwayne Wade. Without this trade, Walking Wounded would not have any other bona-fide Top 24 player to maintain for next year.

For Overhand Express, the trade makes very little sense:

  • For this season, Overhand Express is unlikely to gain any points from this trade. While Haywood is a known asset in both the rebounds and blocks category, his addition to Overhand Express’s roster will mean a nearly equal caliber player will need to be moved to the bench, thus minimizing any gain. In addition, Overhand Express is so far behind most of the league’s other teams in blocks that even adding Haywood is unlikely to make a dent into that category.

  • For the future, Overhand Express has traded away the team’s clearly best keeper, without receiving a keeper in return.

While this court attempts to afford teams broad latitude to make their own decisions, this trade seems highly questionable because the same team (Overhand Express) seems to obtain the overwhelming benefit of this deal both for 2010 and future seasons. Further, this trade presents three red flags that collusion here was likely:

  • There was an uneven number of players traded per team (which is often used as a way to move a top player to a different team in disguise);

  • The highest ranking player in this trade is moving from a team relatively out of prize contention to a team in prize contention (something one would not expect to find in a keeper league where each team can keep any two players without salary values being considered); and

  • The team trading the higher-ranking player is not returning to the league next year (making it almost certain that owner is unconcerned with the long-term prospects of this trade.

For each of the foregoing reasons, this proposed trade is REJECTED.

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