Bucks Diary

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Sportingnews clarifies some Yi issues

My dark theories have been confirmed. In an article on sportingnews.com, NBA expert Sean Deveney basically solidified all of my conspiratorial notions about the whole Bucks/Yi draft controversy, and added some more of his own. To wit:

1. Deveney agrees Yi is a puppet. I've been saying for weeks I didn't think Yi was calling the shots, and that the Senator was being naive by thinking that personal appeals to Yi about Wisconsin would sway the matter in the Bucks direction. Deveney agrees, and he goes further. Deveney says his sources told him Yi did not even have a say in who his agent would be. That's incredible.

2. Deveney thinks the "Milwaukee is not Chinese enough" argument is bunk. I said early on I thought the whole Chinese population issue was a big red herring. Deveney agrees. As I've been asking people around town who bought into that canard: Why would Yi care how big the Chinese population is in Milwaukee? Is he coming here to network, or play basketball? And what, was he planning on joining the Milwaukee Chinese-American Society and volunteering at their Pancake and Porky Breakfasts? Come on. And why would his handlers just assume that these American citizens who happen to be of Chinese descent would relate to or like Yi any more or less than anyone else in Milwaukee of any other descent would relate to him? The whole thing was so stupid and contrived right from the beginning.

3. Deveney thinks the Bucks will ultimately prevail. Deveney agrees with me that the Milwaukee Bucks will prevail in this standoff if they take a hardline approach and stick to it. He echoes what I stated early on in this matter, that in order to get out from under the Bucks exclusive rights Yi will have to sacrifice a year of his professional career. He will effectively have to go into mothballs, losing the millions he would get in NBA salary and severely damaging his marketability in the process. I, and Deveney, cannot fathom how Yi's handlers would find this option palatable. Deveney adds another point in the Bucks favor that I did not consider: If Yi sits out a year now, he will be stale going into the 2008 Olympics, something the Chinese obviously would not want.

4. Deveney thinks Fegan has boxed himself in. I heard Deveney on a local radio program yesterday say that he thinks what is happening is that Yi's American agent, Dan Fegan, made certain promises to Yi's team regarding where Yi would end up, and that he is now in danger of not delivering on those promises. Deveney believes that, in order to land the Yi account, Fegan promised Yi's Chinese handlers that he would deliver Yi to a large market, and now he's in a contractual bind because he didn't make it happen.

If this is true, its unbelievable. How could Fegan, who I assume has a legal background, promise something that he did not have the power to deliver? That's a violation of basic contract law principles. Moreover, if the promise was made in an effort to maximize Yi's marketing revenue potential, as it surely must have been, then it shows that Fegan and the Chinese officials are clinging to an incredibly outdated understanding of how contemporary sports marketing works in this country.

In the age of ESPN and the Internet, marketability is no longer contingent on where a player plays. If a player has the "It Factor", national exposure and marketing dollars will find him, whether he plays in New York City or Fairbanks, Alaska. Sure, back in the day location mattered to an athlete because you generally never saw him play unless you lived in his television market, so the larger the team's television market, the more marketable he became. But that paradigm simply no longer holds.


At July 12, 2007 at 1:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey, just curious. I like this guy ramon sessions, u think he could start at the point if mo goes to miami. KNOCK ON WOOD KNOCK ON WOOD KNOCK ON WOOD.

At July 12, 2007 at 3:10 PM, Blogger Blogmaster said...

I don't think he can start right away, but I kind of like what I've heard of him too. I can't remember where I read it, but one of those online NBA Draft sites said he made a huge mistake entering the draft and that he would have been better off staying in school for another year. Does that mean the Bucks got a future bargain? I don't know. But he does have solid skills, I just think its a bit much to ask of him to start right out of the chute.

Thanks for the question.

At July 12, 2007 at 6:30 PM, Anonymous jr said...

Blogmaster, I was curious if you'd seen this from part of an NBADraft.net daily breakdown of Summer League games;

"spoke with Yi's agent Dan Fegan again who cleared up his stance with Yi and the Bucks. He told me that the big misconception about going to Milwaukee is that it's about marketing. I mentioned the fact that a lot of the marketing was happening in China, so I questioned whether it was really that important that Yi be in a major US city. He agreed, saying that the biggest reason for their holdout from Milwaukee was the current team and the lack of an immediate opportunity for Yi. With Bogut, Villanueva, Simmons and Gadzuric all under contract, they are forced to play those guys. And the idea that Yi gets off on the wrong foot could have lasting affects on his career. The stance at this point is hard line and they are threatening to go back to China and re-enter next year's draft where they feel Yi can be a top 3 pick. According to Fegan, as long as Yi isn't being paid by a team, he can re-enter the draft next year, so he would play for the Chinese National Team and not for the Guongdong Tigers."

The writer who then goes on to add that the scouts he talked to had differing thoughts, including;
-that it has to do with Yi's Nike contract, b/c he can get more shoe $ in a larger market
-one scout said he thought the Bucks could retain his rights no matter what Yi does by tendering a contract to him (clearly this seems to be something that no one, not even scouts or NBA people, is 100% sure about)
-that Yi would probably suit up b/c China doesn't want to send the wrong message about their players (and though it wasn't mentioned, the '08 Olympics are of course looming ominously)

Of course, Yi has been godawful the last 2 games but Team China has been pretty awful in general. My overall Summer League impression of him is a guy with nice physical potential who needs to get stronger/tougher and a bunch of intriguing, yet unpolished skills. Pretty much what everyone suspected-I'm about 90% he'll be playing for the Bucks unless some team foolishly offers to pay too much for him, but even more so than the average draft pick we won't know about Yi as a player for at least 2 season and possibly more.

At July 12, 2007 at 11:18 PM, Blogger Blogmaster said...

Thanks for that piece of information Jr.

How stupid do I look with my over the top evaluation of Yi a few posts ago? I should know better.

Yi is beginning to scare me and here's why. He has all the talent that everyone proclaimed, but he lacks a crucial ingredient necessary for success: grit.

Without going into a bunch of psychobabble, grit is defined as persistence and passion. Successful people have it. Mediocrities do not. And if you don't have it, its hard to obtain.

Yi doesn't seem to have it. Do you notice that whenever he is faced with adversity he sort of folds? And whenever an opponent meets him with a high level of intensity, like Renaldo Balkman (sp?) did the other day, he backs down rather than matching it?

Those are horrible signs in my mind.

At July 13, 2007 at 7:37 AM, Blogger Diesel said...

This Yi situation has the potential to do more damage to the franchise than good. If Yi and his camp continue their antics, it will not look good to other NBA players. Believe it or not, I would bet that other NBA players are watching this situation. If they see Yi diss MKE and force a trade, their level of respect for the Brew City will go down. It is certainly starting to look like another bone head move by this franchise.

I thought Orlando had the worst management in the game but I am starting to change my opinion. At least they are working to improve their squad with players interested in Orlando. This Yi fiasco is really, really unnecessary if you ask me. The Bucks could have had Brewer signed, sealed and delivered by now.

At July 13, 2007 at 11:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

BLOGMASTER!! We need another post, im lost on the whole situation. Wondering what Mo is thinking and when he's gonna sign with someone. Wondering who will start for us if he leaves (Travis Deiner, Brevin Knight, Lynn Greer??????). Anyways i love the blog read it every daqy keep up the good work ;-).

At July 13, 2007 at 4:53 PM, Blogger Blogmaster said...

Hey, thank you. I have been getting lazy the last few days, I admit, but I feel like I've beaten the whole Yi controversy into the earth. But I'll come back with something in the next day or so.

Meanwhile, the Diesel's coming strong with his takes on the Lounge Lizard. And he's starting to sway me to his side.

At July 13, 2007 at 5:00 PM, Blogger Blogmaster said...

Btw, I'm also inclined toward the Diesel's opinion that Yi may not have been worth all this rigamarole he's put the franchise through. We may have been better off selecting a solid prospect like Brewer or even this Al Thornton, who seems to have much more game than the pre-draft blogs were giving him credit for.

My whole insistence on not trading Yi was based on the unproven assumption that he was the best player on the board. If he you make that assumption, I was trying to argue, then you can't trade him just because he insists on it. It would set a bad premise.

However, if that assumption doesn't hold, and it looks pretty shaky at the moment, then trade him.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, don't trade him under threat, but if you genuinely feel like you made a mistake drafting him, or that his talent isn't great enough to warrant his Divaish behavior, and there's someone better on offer, then go ahead and make a move.

At July 13, 2007 at 5:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree. I was high on him, but would now trade him if a good offer comes along. He's not worth the headaches.

At July 13, 2007 at 5:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also wanted to say nice job with the blog, very well done.

At July 13, 2007 at 11:12 PM, Anonymous paulpressey25 said...

I think the Yi pick was ok...it was the best player available IMO.

But I do agree with you on the mental side of Yi maybe being a big red flag.

This guy seems to be a mental wuss who would rather ride around with Turtle from Entourage in an Escalade on the the Pacific Coast Highway than put in the work to establish himself as a true NBA star. This is a bit scary.

A guy with a Jordan type mentality, or even an old school communist block background would be all out to prove his superiority in the NBA, regardless of where he was drafted.

We may have selected "Calliou", but I'll still support the pick as BPA.

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