Mookie Betts for Trae Young? Cities Should Be Able To Trade Players Across Sports
Trades are fun. Kevin Durant is finally back in Phoenix. He’s been travelling there for work a couple of times a year for a while now, but this time feels different. You get a sense it’s a bit more permanent.
But, really, who knows. That’s what make trades fun. One fanbase suddenly realising they are title favourites. Another realising their $US100 jerseys are now irrevocably timestamped. All of us being reminded that you can’t really put your faith in anything or anyone anymore as it can all change in an instant and perhaps that flows on to other aspects of your life and the only person you can really count on is yourself which is why you probably need to check the bunker’s stock of tinned beef casserole.
Yes, trades are fun. But some franchises are on the outside looking in. They don’t have enough assets to trade for a Durant, or a Curry (well maybe one Curry). The Los Angeles Lakers, for example, need a third star to pair with Lebron James and Anthony Davis. But there’s two problems. First, the Lakers don’t have any trade assets. Second, adding a third person to two other people isn’t really ‘pairing’. One of these problems is an insolvable confluence of grammar and mathematics. The other, we can fix. Because, the Los Angeles Dodgers have a bunch of trade assets. Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman. Some others I’ll google and insert later if I get around to it.
Some analytically minded readers will say ‘Hold on, the Los Angeles Lakers are a group of athletes who play basketball in perpetual tribute to the lakes of Minneapolis. How can a baseball team be of any relevance?’
Well, yes, one team may be running around in shorts, the other ambling in sort of tights with a belt, but fundamentally, they both play for the glory of Los Angeles.
So why can’t Los Angeles trade Mookie Betts to, say, Atlanta for Trae Young? It’s a loss for the Hawks, but a huge win for the Braves. The Lakers get the extra scorer they need, the Braves get one of the best players in baseball, and sports media gets approximately 1300 hours of podcast content. Win-win-win.
As Martin Luther King almost said, can’t we dream of a North American professional sports market where people are judged not the sport they play, but instead by the arbitrary geographic boundary we’ve drawn around the franchise they play for?
Wouldn’t it be fantastic if the Toronto Maple Leaves, looking to improve their team, were able to explore the potential across the Raptors and the Blue Jays? Fanbases, realising they can cannibalise one team to help another, will enter into rational clear-headed discussions about balancing trade-offs for the good of the community.
By this stage the analytically minded readers will say ‘Okay, I’m totally convinced but actually wait. What about the salary cap?’. Good point. We do need to work through that. One option is to just ignore it and see if it resolves itself? Just spit-balling here.
But imagine how fun sports would be if the next trade rumour was Giannis Antetokounmpo for Patrick Mahomes? Especially as Kansas City doesn’t have an NBA team. Now that would get the fans talking.
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