The fantasy basketball season has officially begun, which means the trade winds in your league should be swirling. Trade partners are beginning to appear with varying personalities, and we’re going to take a moment to analyze them.
You’ve likely grown familiar with such owners over the years, and you’re probably one of them. These are stereotypes you can find in most leagues, and I’ve even included some advice in dealing with such characters. Let’s bring these figures to the table.
1. Hyper Trade Dude: This is the guy who’s constantly looking to swing a deal. He’s like that annoying dog who continuously barks, often for no apparent reason. He seems to have a decent roster, but he takes joy in coming up with fresh proposals on a daily basis. He’s never content to stick with his roster as constructed. He sees no fun in that. So Hyper Trade Dude floods your email regularly with blockbuster proposals. An example would be Anthony Davis and Jeff Teague for James Harden and Nerlens Noel. His offers are typically fair enough that you have to consider them, and he may even leave three paragraphs in the comment section justifying the deal. While Hyper Trade Dude can be a pest, he can actually be a useful resource. Advice: Don’t ignore Hyper Trade Dude entirely, but just be cautious to fall in love with him because then he’ll never stop bothering you. And don’t become him, because every league should just have one Hyper Trade Dude or else things get out of hand.
2. Mr. Smartypants: This is that obnoxious owner who annoyingly overestimates the value of all of his players. He proposes a deal such as Victor Oladipo and John Henson for Stephen Curry. Upon you countering with something sensible, he mocks you. Mr. Smartypants is also known to drastically overrate his waiver additions. He adds Gerald Green, who instantly goes off for 25 points including five threes and Mr. Smartypants thinks he’s found the next Tracy McGrady. Green doesn’t score 20 again for another month, but Mr. Smartypants remains sold on Green’s “potential” as he continues to laugh at your trade offers. His team typically can’t escape mediocrity, but he conveniently finds excuses for his shortcomings. His best excuse is blaming an injury on an average player. “If George Hill would’ve stayed healthy, I would’ve easily made the playoffs.” Advice: Don’t waste your time negotiating with Mr. Smartypants, and please don’t become like him.
3. The Innocent Puppy: The Innocent Puppy is the fantasy novice or maybe just that really nice guy who tends to get abused in trades. He bites at any argument you make towards fairness. “Dude, I honestly think you don’t even need Chris Paul this year. I mean, you already you have Jose Calderon.” The Innocent Puppy responds, “That’s a good point.” He then agrees to deal Paul for DeMar Derozan and Enes Kanter. The rest of the league is irate, but somehow The Innocent Puppy stands by the deal. Truthfully, pursuing The Innocent Puppy for a trade can present ethical issues, because you know you can take advantage of him. Advice: Don’t commit fantasy crime and rob The Innocent Puppy. It threatens the sanctity of the league. And more importantly, the Commissioner needs to establish rules where members can vote against an outlandish trade with The Innocent Puppy. He may even have to make the tough call to remove The Innocent Puppy from the league if he can’t run with the big dogs.
4. Panic Button Steve: This is the owner who panics over every little miscue and injury. You get a text, “Well, Jameer Nelson’s done for the year. There went my season.” He overreacts continuously, and he’s always worried his team is in shambles and in need of an upgrade. Panic Button Steve doesn’t realize this, but he’s handing you all the leverage in a trade. He appears desperate, which presents you with a ripe opportunity to dangle an offer. Panic Button Steve actually knows and understands player value, unlike The Innocent Puppy, but his pessimistic outlook clouds his vision. Advice: Be discerning with Panic Button Steve. Wait until he hits the panic button (which you know is just a matter of time), and then ramp up the trade discussions.
5. The 3-for-1 Jaw-Dropper!: This misguided owner doesn’t see the flaws in a potential 3-for-1 trade. He simply reasons that because he’s getting three players, it has to be something he should consider! He has Russell Westbrook and he gets an offer of Isaiah Thomas, Taj Gibson and Rodney Stuckey. Gibson and Stuckey were just picked up off waivers, but he somehow overlooks that and can’t believe the jaw-dropping 3-for-1 offer! He even combines the three players’ statistics together and reasons that the totals of the three equal far more than than Westbrook’s individual totals. He also completely overlooks that he could just pick up two different players off waivers, and he’d easily trump the totals of Thomas, Gibson and Stuckey. Advice: Don’t be this guy! Any 3-for-1 deal for a top-tier player like Westbrook should feature three top 50 players going in return. If this isn’t the case, it’s most likely a lopsided deal. And be careful to not take advantage of this guy like he’s The Innocent Puppy. A sketchy 3-for-1 deal can also detract from the league’s sanctity.
6. Fantasy Larry Bird: This stud is so savvy in decision-making. He doesn’t overreact to his team’s successes or failures. He doesn’t fall too in love with his players, and he’s always willing to strike deals that could bolster one of his weaknesses. He’s also willing to be patient with his team when he senses performance could soon trend upward. He’s Fantasy Larry Bird in the sense that his combination of work ethic (time spent scouting), intellect (his ability to know when a player is about to explode) and drive (he’s extremely competitive) help him establish a model of sustained success. He also tends to hold leverage in trades because he has a balanced team and never needs to panic. Advice: You obviously want to be this guy, but it’s not as easy as you’d think. You have to put in the homework, and you also have to be willing to shed the goggles that cause you to see things through a narrow lens. Be open-minded. Be sensible. Even be willing to make mistakes. Lastly, go ahead and pursue Fantasy Larry Bird for a trade, but know you’re not going to play him and a deal will only be struck if it’s fair in his estimation.