Bucks Diary

Monday, July 02, 2007

How the Cuban Missle Crisis applies to the Yi situation


A commenter on this blog pointed out that I may have lost my mind over this Yi thing. That's because I said I would rather eat the rights to the Chinese forward than see Larry Harris trade him off for another prospect with a gun to his head. The commenter wrote, correctly, that similar trades are made all the time. He pointed out the Ray Allen-Stephon Marbury and the Nowitzki-Traylor deals as past precedent.

The difference is this, however. Those deals were prearranged and done, at least in the initial drafting party's mind, to advantage. The Mavericks always wanted Nowitzki, and the Bucks always wanted Ray Allen. They realized that teams below them (the Bucks and the Timberwolves) coveted a different prospect who was still on the board, and they further realized that they could draft the other prospect and still get the pick they wanted plus some extra goodies thrown in (in each case the "extra goodies" turned out not to have been worth the effort -- I believe the Bucks got Andrew Lang from Minnesota, and the Mavericks got Pat Garrity from the Bucks, both marginal players at best).

However, in this case, the Bucks want Yi. They value him above any other prospect. If they didn't, they would have arranged a deal such as the one the commenter suggests at the time of the draft. They didn't. So if they were to now trade him, you can presume it would only be because the Yi camp forced the move. That is totally unacceptable. It would set a dangerous precedent for the team. Besides, history shows that in such situations, you never get value-for-value.

"Never fear to negotiate, but never negotiate out of fear." That was a maxim set forth by President Kennedy during the Cuban Missle Crisis, and its one that applies to every negotiating situation. You can never let others believe that you can be made to act at the barrel end of a shotgun. If you do, you will soon find the tactic used against you again and again. That's why I'm begging Larry Harris to stay strong and not bend to the Yi camps demands under any circumstances.

"I am prepared to wait... until hell freezes over, if that's what it takes." At the height of the crisis, that's the tactic Adlai Stevenson took with the stunned Soviet Ambassador at the United Nations, and that's the one Larry Harris has to take with the Yi camp. He has to make them believe that he is just crazy enough to sit on Yi's rights rather than trade them off as Yi's camp wants. Time is the big trump card in this game of chicken. Whichever side shows that they are not afraid of time will win the Mexican standoff. If the Bucks make it plain to the Yi camp that they are willing to wait until hell freezes over for him to sign with them, they will win. Granted, it will take a tremendous amount of nerve on Harris' part to pull this negotiating ploy off. If Yi seems on the verge of going back to China, the public pressure to get something for him will be tremendous (the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel has already deemed such a result "a debacle" for the Bucks). But if Harris keeps his backbone strong, he will eventually get his man. The question is, in his contract year, will he find that strength?

4 Comments:

At July 2, 2007 at 1:28 PM, Anonymous moin said...

First thing first, Yi won't go back to China. It'll cause too much losing of face on everyone involved if he does.

To be honest, the Asian population (or lack thereof) argument made by th Yi camp against Milwaukee never makes sense. It doesn't matter which US city he plays in, Yi has a built-in market of the entire Chinese population who will loyally follow him anywhere he goes. It's all about the money going to his handlers, in my opinion.

I do totally understand your argument. It's not just about Yi and this pick. But like you said, at some point, once summer leagues and training camps comes, someone has to blink and it would be a horrible injustice if the Bucks doesn't get value for their pick. But at the same time, the Bucks were fully aware of this risk when they picked Yi and if they get fair value for Yi (whoever that might involve).

The best way for this to end is if Yi asserts himself and tell his handlers to just buzz off. But I'm not sure if he can do that.

 
At July 2, 2007 at 1:28 PM, Anonymous moin said...

First thing first, Yi won't go back to China. It'll cause too much losing of face on everyone involved if he does.

To be honest, the Asian population (or lack thereof) argument made by th Yi camp against Milwaukee never makes sense. It doesn't matter which US city he plays in, Yi has a built-in market of the entire Chinese population who will loyally follow him anywhere he goes. It's all about the money going to his handlers, in my opinion.

I do totally understand your argument. It's not just about Yi and this pick. But like you said, at some point, once summer leagues and training camps comes, someone has to blink and it would be a horrible injustice if the Bucks doesn't get value for their pick. But at the same time, the Bucks were fully aware of this risk when they picked Yi and if they get fair value for Yi (whoever that might involve).

The best way for this to end is if Yi asserts himself and tell his handlers to just buzz off. But I'm not sure if he can do that.

 
At July 2, 2007 at 1:28 PM, Anonymous moin said...

Oops, sorry for the double post.

 
At July 2, 2007 at 9:19 PM, Anonymous paulpressey25 said...

If I understand the contract situation, Yi would have to tell his Chinese team to release him today, and not play any pro basketball for a full year.

That means that next July, he'd be eligible to go into the draft for 2009! So he'd lose TWO years in the NBA.

Someone can clarify for me if I'm not correct on that. But I think that is the case. Yi's out of the NBA for two-years if he holds out. And only then does he go back into the draft, to an uncertain future once again.

 

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home