Rockets: How the Tom Thibodeau rumors show game of poker

Tom Thibodeau (Photo by Zhong Zhi/Getty Images)
Tom Thibodeau (Photo by Zhong Zhi/Getty Images) /
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Houston Rockets
Tom Thibodeau (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /

Exploring the business side of things

If you know anything about the business side of sports then you know the extent of which agents try to alter outcomes and best position their clients. This is especially the case in free agency, as players/coaches have all of the leverage, and they can choose to go wherever they desire to land. This is much different than how trades are facilitated, as those require teams to agree to terms on a deal because the player/coach is technically under contract, meaning the teams have all the negotiating power.

This was evident during the Paul George sweepstakes in 2017, as PG-13 made it known that he planned to leave the Indiana Pacers, and it was reported that he wanted to go to the Los Angeles Lakers. The Pacers obviously wanted to do what was best for them and get the best possible package in return, which resulted in a trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder that landed them Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis.

The Lakers were also on the wrong end of trade negotiations during their pursuit of Anthony Davis during the 2018-19 season, in which the New Orleans Pelicans left them hanging at the altar. This had an enormous effect on the Lake Show, as many of their top players were younger players who didn’t necessarily know how to handle the rumors and speculation of being on the trade block.

Free agency is much different, as agents stand to gain from leaking reports that their client is being courted by as many teams as possible, because it creates a scenario/situation that forces a team’s hand if they feel they aren’t the top choice for said player or coach.  In Thibodeau’s case, he’s considered the belle of the ball and potentially the top candidate on the coaching market, so it would be a smart tactic for the agent to “create a market” for his client, by stating a list of teams that may be interested, to get the top teams to compete for Thibs.

Next: Creating a market