Author Topic: Blazers player secures $500,000 bonus by not taking 3-pointer in final game  (Read 1201 times)

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Offline Boris Badenov

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The Blazers offered him the incentive - and we're supposed to criticize him for responding to it? That just doesn't make sense.

The whole point of incentives is that they change behavior. If the Blazers didn't want that to happen, and/or didn't understand that nearly any incentive contract might create a conflict of interest between the two parties, they shouldn't have offered the deal.

Not that they should be upset. He shot 18% and 28% on 3s in the previous two years, on lower volume. It looks like the deal achieved what they wanted, in terms of overall performance for the year.

And as SL points out, if he was in a slump he *shouldn't* have been taking those shots, even from the team's perspective.

There's an implicit responsibility to help your team to the best of your ability.

Let's say IT had a clause in his contract rewarding him for 90% FT%. He's at 90.1% with 5 games left.

Are you cool with him refusing to drive to the basket, and immediately getting rid of the ball in end of game intentional foul situations?

If he'd been shooting 65% from the line in his last 10 games? I don't think I could reasonably criticize him.

If his decisions had no material impact on the outcome of the game? Same.

If he did do this in a meaningful situation, then IT himself would suffer consequences, both in reputation and future contract dollars. I suspect those considerations would be dispositive - IT simply would not do what you're suggesting, for all kinds of reasons.

And, it appears, neither did Harkless. His coach and GM know about the contract. If he'd done something truly adverse from a team perspective, he'd suffer the consequences either now or in the future.

Players face conflicts between individual goals and winning all the time. But we recognize that. We didn't criticize Bird's teammates feeding him the ball to get 60, because it probably didn't MATTER (though even there, that game wasn't a blowout). And until I hear something more conclusive about what Harkless did, I'm reserving judgment, because on the face of it this falls into the same category.

Offline action781

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Moe didn't attempt a trey in the last 4 games of the season (although he sat one of those games). 

The best case scenario would be for the agent to contact the team after that 4th to last game (first of zero attempts) and say, "Hey, my guy is at 35.1% on the season with 3 games left.  Can we agree right now to get that money?  Or should I advise him to stop shooting 3's over the next few games?"  Or can we settle on $400k right now regardless of his end %?

In which case, I think it's the team's responsibility to say "Yeah, you basically held up your end of the agreement, so let's just pay you for the benefit of the team since we are fighting for a playoff birth if we can mutually agree to not discuss this publicly."
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Offline Boris Badenov

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Moe didn't attempt a trey in the last 4 games of the season (although he sat one of those games). 

The best case scenario would be for the agent to contact the team after that 4th to last game (first of zero attempts) and say, "Hey, my guy is at 35.1% on the season with 3 games left.  Can we agree right now to get that money?  Or should I advise him to stop shooting 3's over the next few games?"  Or can we settle on $400k right now regardless of his end %?

In which case, I think it's the team's responsibility to say "Yeah, you basically held up your end of the agreement, so let's just pay you for the benefit of the team since we are fighting for a playoff birth if we can mutually agree to not discuss this publicly."

Agreed. It would surprise me if a conversation like this did not take place, if not between the agent and team, then at least between the player and coach or GM.

I mean, if he ended up at 34.7% because he was trying to get the Blazers into the playoffs, and they didn't pay up, they'd lose more than the value of the bonus in damaged relationships.

Also, in the last two games of the season the Blazers rested their best players.


Offline Moranis

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The Blazers offered him the incentive - and we're supposed to criticize him for responding to it? That just doesn't make sense.

The whole point of incentives is that they change behavior. If the Blazers didn't want that to happen, and/or didn't understand that nearly any incentive contract might create a conflict of interest between the two parties, they shouldn't have offered the deal.

Not that they should be upset. He shot 18% and 28% on 3s in the previous two years, on lower volume. It looks like the deal achieved what they wanted, in terms of overall performance for the year.

And as SL points out, if he was in a slump he *shouldn't* have been taking those shots, even from the team's perspective.

There's an implicit responsibility to help your team to the best of your ability.

Let's say IT had a clause in his contract rewarding him for 90% FT%. He's at 90.1% with 5 games left.

Are you cool with him refusing to drive to the basket, and immediately getting rid of the ball in end of game intentional foul situations?
easy way to fix that is just give the guy a contract rider granting him the bonus with 5 games left no matter what happens in the final 5 games.
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Online saltlover

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The Blazers offered him the incentive - and we're supposed to criticize him for responding to it? That just doesn't make sense.

The whole point of incentives is that they change behavior. If the Blazers didn't want that to happen, and/or didn't understand that nearly any incentive contract might create a conflict of interest between the two parties, they shouldn't have offered the deal.

Not that they should be upset. He shot 18% and 28% on 3s in the previous two years, on lower volume. It looks like the deal achieved what they wanted, in terms of overall performance for the year.

And as SL points out, if he was in a slump he *shouldn't* have been taking those shots, even from the team's perspective.

There's an implicit responsibility to help your team to the best of your ability.

Let's say IT had a clause in his contract rewarding him for 90% FT%. He's at 90.1% with 5 games left.

Are you cool with him refusing to drive to the basket, and immediately getting rid of the ball in end of game intentional foul situations?
easy way to fix that is just give the guy a contract rider granting him the bonus with 5 games left no matter what happens in the final 5 games.

In a world that doesn't have a CBA which has specific rules about renegotiations, it is.  But that's not the world that Harkless and Portland found themselves in.

The better way to structure a contract is to just key the incentive to the percentage after X amount of attempts.  For example: Shoot 35% in your first 150 attempts, congrats! Anything you do afterwards, positive or negative, doesn't matter.  That way you don't have players choosing between individual and team goals at the end of the season.

Offline Boris Badenov

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The Blazers offered him the incentive - and we're supposed to criticize him for responding to it? That just doesn't make sense.

The whole point of incentives is that they change behavior. If the Blazers didn't want that to happen, and/or didn't understand that nearly any incentive contract might create a conflict of interest between the two parties, they shouldn't have offered the deal.

Not that they should be upset. He shot 18% and 28% on 3s in the previous two years, on lower volume. It looks like the deal achieved what they wanted, in terms of overall performance for the year.

And as SL points out, if he was in a slump he *shouldn't* have been taking those shots, even from the team's perspective.

There's an implicit responsibility to help your team to the best of your ability.

Let's say IT had a clause in his contract rewarding him for 90% FT%. He's at 90.1% with 5 games left.

Are you cool with him refusing to drive to the basket, and immediately getting rid of the ball in end of game intentional foul situations?
easy way to fix that is just give the guy a contract rider granting him the bonus with 5 games left no matter what happens in the final 5 games.

You'd still have the incentive in those games, you've just pushed it back. (And the Blazers' games before were more important than the last 5, since after game 80 they'd clinched and the last two didn't matter).

Action781's thoughts above are the most reasonable IMO. If the team sees a possible issue, they offer to make good even if he ends up at 34%+ somewhere reasonably close. They look good, and there's no distortion in Harkless's decisions.

I can't recall specifics, but I think Belichick has done things to make good on incentive clauses for guys who are close, at least occasionally. Incentive clauses are much more common in the NFL.

Offline radiohead

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Can you imagine him passing up on an open three with the game on the line? Or the coach using Dame and CJ as decoys in order to free him up for a game winning three? Would he even shoot it?