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by Jon Loomer

League Office | Next Vote Begins January 29! | Public View

Back in the saddle, and this saddle creates sores. In case you missed it, I took over the PFC Lakers last week. I had a challenge in front of me, but my prospects looked better for this 31-46-3 team than they did when Matt Wurst ran the Knicks into the ground. Playoffs won't be easy, but the first place Kings are only a shade over .500, so anything's possible.

Of course, in order to catch those Kings, the Lakers will have to begin winning games. So far, not so good. The week of my inheritance, the Lakers went down at the hands of the Timberwolves, 6-2. This week, it doesn't get any easier as we face off against the Trailblazers, one of the league's elite. I essentially conceded before this match-up even started. I don't have a chance. My only hope is to win the FG% and FT% categories.

Being owner to Michael Redd, David West and Brevin Knight, injuries were my immediate concern. As we've learned, you can have the greatest team on paper, but unless your stars play that paper isn't worth a thing. From the minute I took over, I began chucking out trade offers to unload this dead weight, in addition to pressing decline on numerous low-ball offers.

Trading when everyone in the league knows you need to swing a deal isn't easy. It also isn't easy in a league that allows a bench of two players, making the value of health that much greater. I searched for teams that needed particular categories. I tried those that needed a SG, PG or PF. I targeted teams on the cusp that would be willing to take a gamble. Finally, I found my suitor.

The Memphis Grizzlies were willing to part with Pau Gasol. Now, Gasol was not in my strategy (and no, I won't outline what that is here), but swinging a deal for Gasol means that I suddenly own something of value that can in turn be traded for what I need. This is what I hope. We shall see.

At the time of the trade, there were basically two players I was trying to acquire from Memphis: Gasol and Morris Peterson. Otherwise, I was targeting LaMarcus Aldridge on waivers, but my predecessor only left me with $16 of waiver money -- an amount I knew would not be enough. And so, part of the deal was that Memphis would put $25 down on Aldridge. If he was unsuccessful, he'd also put down $7 on Marcus Williams. Worst case, I get Rodney Carney.

Unfortunately, I didn't get Aldridge (he went to the Hornets for $34), but I did manage to pick up Williams. I won't lie, this is a major disappointment, but I like the potential of Marcus Williams should time open up.

The final deal terms look like this:

Lakers send M. Redd, David West, Brevin Knight and E. Dampier to Grizzlies
Grizzlies send P. Gasol, Mo. Peterson, R. Nesterovic and Ma. Williams to Lakers

In order to swing the deal, Memphis GM Daniel Kos didn't want the trade to be executed until after rosters locked this week. I didn't have a big problem with this since 1) I won't beat Portland this week regardless of my roster, and 2) I didn't expect to get a player of Gasol's value in the first place, so I'll do whatever I need to do to make it happen.

I was able to get Daniel to make a minor compromise by executing the Marcus Williams/David West portion of the deal early so that I have Williams active this week. And the fact that David West's prognosis steadily improved from the minute that trade negotiations began to today doesn't sit easily with me. The fact remained, however, that making this deal is better for the team than not making it. If I had another option, I would have considered it. Just wasn't there.

No matter what I do here, it's a gamble. By conceding defeat, I could hold onto West and Knight, waiting for their return to health. Will West return soon as expected? Will he stay healthy? When the injury prone Knight return at full strength? And now that Raymond Felton has kicked it into second gear, will Knight resume his role? I wasn't willing to wait and find these things out. I needed Gasol.

Up Against the Wall

One last vote off remains. Will it be the team with the worst record for the month? The worst record for the season? Or, will the voters throw us a twist, electing to vote off the team with the best overall record (but under .500 for the month), looking to give an underdog new GM a legitimate shot at the championship? Brief history tells us the public looks at record for the month, but it's a small data pool to pull from.

Several GM's are sweating. Luckily, I am not one of those teams. My record stinks, but I gave myself immunity when I took over last week. I can do that. I make the rules.

Following are the teams that have struggled for the entirety of this competition. Not only do they have a losing record overall, but they have failed to turn things around this month and are on path to face the public once again:

Current YTD
Team W L T W L T
New Orleans/OK Hornets* 0 8 0 31 56 1
Golden State Warriors 5 11 0 34 51 3
Sacramento Kings 5 10 1 40 45 3
Chicago Bulls 6 10 0 30 55 3
New York Knicks 6 9 1 24 61 3
Los Angeles Lakers** 7 9 0 33 52 3
Memphis Grizzlies 7 9 0 40 47 1
* Week 1 of period doesn't count against Hornets since team was inherited mid-week.
**LA Lakers are immune from vote

Of course, a winning record the first two months doesn't protect you from the public. This is a "what have you done for me lately" world we live in, so you need to win this month as well. Following are the teams with winning overall records but losing records so far this month. Some surprising teams here, including a couple of the finest PFC teams (Detroit and Portland).

Current YTD
Team W L T W L T
Cleveland Cavaliers 3 13 0 46 40 2
Boston Celtics 6 10 0 43 42 3
Charlotte Bobcats 6 9 1 45 41 2
Houston Rockets 6 9 1 45 41 2
Detroit Pistons 7 9 0 54 31 3
San Antonio Spurs 7 9 0 43 42 3
Portland Trailblazers 7 8 1 59 27 2

It's still early, but several teams are finally getting a taste of victory. The vast majority are on the lip of Losersville, but they won't complain if they avoid the final vote with a .500 record. Here are the teams with an overall losing record, but with at least a .500 record so far this period.

Current YTD
Team W L T W L T
Los Angeles Clippers 8 8 0 34 51 3
Indiana Pacers 8 8 0 41 44 3
New Jersey Nets 8 8 0 37 46 5
Phoenix Suns 9 6 1 39 47 2
Seattle SuperSonics 9 6 1 34 52 2
Toronto Raptors 10 6 0 43 44 1

League Moves

As difficult as it should be to make a trade or to find good value on the waiver wire, this league is incredibly active. It is a reflection of the deep knowledge the participants in this league have of NBA players. Following are the waiver moves that were processed this past Saturday.

The Boston Celtics add Steve Blake for $9 and drop Marquis Daniels
Waiver Wire Money Remaining: $39

Quite the bargain considering the 25 points that Blake scored while in the Nuggets starting lineup on Sunday (although, not in the Celtics lineup at that point). Blake is unlikely to approach those numbers again, but he's worth the $9.

The Dallas Mavericks add Derek Anderson for $7 and drop Kendrick Perkins
Waiver Wire Money Remaining: $68

Interesting seeing Kendrick Perkins dropped in a league this deep, but the emergence of Al Jefferson deflates Perkins' value. Although Derek Anderson's curious emergence at the age of 32 is unlikely to continue, you have to make use of whatever hot streaks you can get. The 29 points that he scored on the 12th can't be ignored in a league this size. The Mavs have money to spend, so why not?

The Indiana Pacers add Bostjan Nachbar for $8 and drop Renaldo Balkman
Waiver Wire Money Remaining: $87

Center eligible players have value in this league. Unfortunately, Nachbar's playing time dipped to 15 minutes per game following this acquisition. Even though Mikki Moore is clearly the man in Jersey, this is still a decent move here. Would have preferred seeing them drop some coin on Aldridge given the $95 they had to work with. Conservative move.

The Memphis Grizzlies add Marcus Williams for $7 and drop Rodney Carney
Waiver Wire Money Remaining: $63

As discussed earlier, this is a small part of the trade with the Lakers. Initial bid was for Aldridge, but that bid failed, and Williams was sent to LA for David West. Not a bad game for Williams Monday, and his value could spike if injuries continue to haunt the Nets backcourt.

The Milwaukee Bucks add Keyon Dooling for $3 and drop Ronald Murray
Waiver Wire Money Remaining: $79

I see what the Bucks are doing, dumping Murray since Billups is coming back. However, Flip has proved to be productive in the fill-in role, so cutting ties before Billups returns might not be a great idea.

The Minnesota Timberwolves add Tony Battie for $5 and drop Daniel Gibson
Waiver Wire Money Remaining: $66

Sure, why not. Gibson is hardly getting a sniff these days.

The New Jersey Nets add Willie Green for $21 and drop Steve Francis
Waiver Wire Money Remaining: $22

Can't blame the Nets for dumping Francis, and Green is a nice upgrade. Well done, and good value at $21.

The New Orleans/OK Hornets add LaMarcus Aldridge for $34 and drop Steven Hunter
Waiver Wire Money Remaining: $59

Impossible for me to criticize this move other than to curse him for taking the player I wanted. No one likes NOK.

The Sacramento Kings add Rajon Rondo for $21 and drop Tony Allen
The Sacramento Kings add James Jones for $4 and drop Jared Jeffries
Waiver Wire Money Remaining: $36

Logical move for the Kings, dropping Allen. Huge loss, but hopefully Rondo will fulfill some of his potential with increased court time. Early returns are all positive for Sacramento here. James Jones, Jared Jeffries. Jones will be dropped eventually. It may have been a need fill, but otherwise it's a quiet move.

The Toronto Raptors add Eric Snow for $1 and drop Eddie Jones
Waiver Wire Money Remaining: $14

Eddie Jones has scored in double figures twice this season. Even on the up-tempo Grizz, his value is close to nothing. Logical move, then, to drop him for Eric Snow. Tough getting assists, but Snow provides it at a very cheap price tag.

Outside of my deal with Memphis, there have been a few other trades in the PFC during the past week:

Golden State sends Josh Childress to the New Jersey Nets for Jamal Crawford

I like this deal for New Jersey, although Crawford has played well lately. Full schedule for Atlanta and Childress prior to the playoffs. If you even assume these players are equals, the edge goes to New Jersey and Childress for schedule alone.

Detroit sends Raja Bell and Chauncey Billups to the San Antonio Spurs for Luke Ridnour and Antawn Jamison

Assuming Billups gets healthy quickly, it's a great bargain for the Spurs. Injuries are a major obstacle in this league, so that is the main motivation for unloading Billups while he has value. The deal will likely work in San Antonio's favor, although it depends entirely on the health of Billups.

Josh Childress moved to the PFC Nets this week.
(Scott Cunningham/NBAE/Getty Images)

PFC Quick Facts
The PFC is a global fantasy basketball competition with 30 of the world's best players vying for the title.
More than 9,000 people worldwide applied for the opportunity to compete.
Each participant is the fantasy general manager for an NBA team. Each GM picked a franchise player from their assigned team and built their roster - with players from any other NBA team - from there.
Every general manager has selected eight players for their fantasy squad.
Participants run the risk of losing their spot in the competition should they underperform. The public votes who will lose their job, and another top applicant will take over as a new GM.
For more in-depth information on the PFC, read here.

Overall Records

Eastern Conference

Detroit Pistons 54 31 3
Milwaukee Bucks 49 38 1
Cleveland Cavaliers 46 40 2
Indiana Pacers 41 44 3
Chicago Bulls 30 55 3

Philadelphia 76ers 43 42 3
Boston Celtics 43 42 3
Toronto Raptors 43 44 1
New Jersey Nets 37 46 5
New York Knicks 24 61 3

Miami Heat 60 26 2
Atlanta Hawks 51 36 1
Washington Wizards 51 37 0
Charlotte Bobcats 45 41 2
Orlando Magic 44 41 3

Western Conference

Portland Trailblazers 59 27 2
Utah Jazz 48 39 1
Denver Nuggets 47 38 3
Minnesota Timberwolves 43 43 2
Seattle SuperSonics 34 52 2

Sacramento Kings 40 45 3
Phoenix Suns 39 47 2
Los Angeles Clippers 34 51 3
Golden State Warriors 34 51 3
Los Angeles Lakers 33 52 3

Dallas Mavericks 55 31 2
Houston Rockets 45 41 2
San Antonio Spurs 43 42 3
Memphis Grizzlies 40 47 1
New Orleans/OK Hornets 31 56 1