• The Sunk Cost Fallacy is a powerful thing. It explains that people have their present judgment clouded by past decisions, accounting for resources already spent.

    Think of it as getting a ticket to see The Angry Birds Movie, but deciding you’d rather not sit through a bad film. Odds are that most people will still go and suffer, citing the fact that they already paid for the ticket and ‘might as well not waste it.’

    Really, whether or not you sit through garbage is independent from the ticket purchase at that point. Your $12 are gone whether you see the movie or not and if you’d prefer to not watch Angry Birds, it stands to reason that you should just not go.

    Let’s move off of ragging on Angry Birds — how many of you ever have walked out of a theater? Even if you have, how many other bad movies did you sit and finish watching because you’d already paid? I saw The Love Guru in theaters. I saw Green Lantern. I saw The Bounty Hunter. That one I saw for free, but the opportunity cost of doing something else with my time was still there.

    Much of that has to do with loss aversion. It’s the human propensity to err on the side of caution when it comes to decision making, even in the face of potential, and perhaps even more probable, gains. It’s the little tick in your mind that makes the safe play seem proper; it’s what makes ‘playing not to lose’ such a common occurrence. It’s ‘taking the points’ in football and kicking a field goal on fourth and goal.

    It also covers the endowment effect, which dictates that people (as well as other species) place a higher value on things they already own or are familiar with, even when given equally valuable or superior alternatives. In general, people like the status quo. It feels right, and unless something awful is going down, there’s little reason to exchange one thing for another.

    Point being, your prior use of resources should have no effect on your future decisions in a perfectly rational world. In reality, it’s hard to abandon something you’ve invested in. So seeing as how this is a basketball blog (the behavioral economics and consumer behavior stuff is free of charge), how does this all fit in?

    Enter Kevin Love.

    Let me preface the following by saying a few things. Firstly, I do not believe that Kevin Love’s absence was the reason Cleveland wiped the floor with the Warriors in Game 3.

    Secondly, I do not think that Cleveland is a better team without Love. The people saying he shouldn’t see the floor are wrong. I also don’t mean to marginalize Kevin Love and his abilities. I don’t think it’s an insult to say he isn’t capable of performing to his standards against the Warriors, because few people on the planet can claim to do so. Kevin Love was facing an uphill battle in this matchup; one that he was never going to win.

    Love, to me, is a pretty good but not great player who just doesn’t fit well in this series. He’s a valuable floor spacer and can be a wonderful secondary, or even primary, scorer. His defensive shortcomings have been discussed at length in every nook and cranny of the basketball world, and the Love-Kyrie Irving defensive combo is a raw steak to a hungry pitbull.

    The pair were relentlessly attacked by the unimaginative Raptors, and Golden State is running offense in a whole other universe compared to Toronto. Having them share the floor, particularly against Golden State’s starting group, is a massive tactical blunder.

    Love lacks the lateral quickness and footspeed to recover on a rim runner and quite simply can’t do enough to make up for Irving’s defensive shortcomings when the two engage in pick and roll defense. The Cavaliers need a five man defensive effort to keep up with the Warriors, and having two bad defenders share the floor like Love and Irving have is a good way to dig a deep hole.

    Injuries are brutal, and the NBA deserves to be questioned for bungling its own concussion protocol, seeing how Love wasn’t removed until the game was out of reach in the third quarter. In a vacuum, losing one of your star players is a brutal blow at any time, let alone the Finals.

    On the other hand, when Love absorbed an errant Harrison Barnes elbow in the second quarter of Game 2, it may have opened up a window that had previously been sealed shut by a fat check.

    It’s foolish to assume that Cleveland was happy to proceed without Love. He’s a $113 million dollar man for a reason, even if he didn’t fare too well in the first two games of the series. He’s a key cog in the machine that manhandled the Eastern Conference without breaking more than a light sweat.

    Moreover, it’s tough to imagine that Tyronn Lue would want to rock the boat that had only lost two games in the postseason. But maybe the boat needed to be rocked for the Cavs to stand a chance.

    The devil’s advocate argument is that Love’s concussion gave Cleveland a convenient reason to keep him out of the mix and get some fresh faces in with the starters without bruising the ego of an expensive star.

    If Cleveland had the guts and was free of the specter of Love’s big contract, they could have made the move themselves. Neither as a permanent solution nor an indictment of Love as a player, but just to see what might happen.

Fantasy News

  • Russell Westbrook
    PG, Houston Rockets

    The Rockets and Thunder officially completed their blockbuster trade of Chris Paul, first round picks in 2024 and 2026, and pick swaps in 2021 and 2025 for Russell Westbrook on Tuesday.

    Westbrook and Harden and now officially reunited and will be performing massive pre-game routines at the Toyota Center. Meanwhile, the Thunder officially have Chris Paul on the roster and are free to move him if they choose. Watching how Sam Presti begins this rebuild process will be interesting, to say the least.

    Source: Royce Young on Twitter

  • Jarrell Brantley
    PF, Utah Jazz

    The Jazz have signed rookies Jarrell Brantley and Justin Wright-Foreman to two-way contracts.

    Brantley was selected 50th overall in this June's draft after putting up big numbers in four seasons at the College of Charleston. He averaged 4.0 points and 5.0 rebounds in two games at Summer League, though he also missed time with right hamstring soreness. Wright-Foreman, the 53rd pick out of Hofstra, fared a little better with 10.5 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.5 steals, though he also battled right knee/hamstring issues and left the team for personal reasons at the end of their Vegas run. There's not much fantasy impact here.

    Source: Utah Jazz

  • Lonzo Ball
    PG, New Orleans Pelicans

    Speaking to the media on Tuesday, Lonzo Ball (left ankle) said he'll be ready to go in "a week or two."

    Ball missed the final 35 games of the season because of a Grade 3 left ankle sprain and bone bruise that he suffered in January. Last season also started off slowly as a preseason groin injury cost him a chance to open the year as a starter, and he was forced into sharing point guard work with Rajon Rondo and LeBron James when healthy. A fresh start in New Orleans, where Ball can play an up-tempo game as a franchise building block, should do him wonders. There's some injury risk here considering he's logged only 99 games through two seasons, but Ball's stat set — even with the poor efficiency — could support middle-round numbers. It sounds as though he'll be good to go for training camp.

    Source: Andrew Lopez on Twitter

  • Brandon Ingram
    SF, New Orleans Pelicans

    Brandon Ingram (right arm DVT) said that he's "really close" to resuming normal workouts.

    Ingram underwent surgery on March 16 and the Pelicans have been consistent in saying they have no long-term concerns about Ingram's health. We're fully expecting him to be ready for training camp, though you'll want to keep an eye out for further updates as camp approaches. Ingram's stat set has the same holes as always, but it's possible that this season he'll become a featured player and bludgeon his way to enough volume to make up for his weak spots. His outlook improves on what it would've been with the Lakers, but Ingram still looks like a player that will be overdrafted.

    Source: Andrew Lopez on Twitter

  • Richaun Holmes
    PF, Sacramento Kings

    The Kings have announced the signing of Richaun Holmes.

    Holmes is set to make $10 million over the next two seasons. He'll push for minutes in a crowded frontcourt, but if it's a true meritocracy then he should quickly rise to the front of the pack. Last season he was able to deliver standard-league value in only 16.9 mpg, so he's someone to target late in drafts on the expectation that he gets more burn in Sacramento. It's a potentially messy situation but we have faith that Holmes will make the most of it for fantasy purposes. For the Kings, it's a straight up steal.

    Source: Sacramento Kings

  • Marcus Morris
    PF, New York Knicks

    The Knicks have announced the signings of Marcus Morris and Reggie Bullock.

    Morris is on a one-year, $15 million deal while Bullock is coming in on a two-year deal worth less than $4.7 million annually, with a second season that isn't fully guaranteed. While both players began the offseason as potential standard-league targets, there's not much to see given the sudden depth of the Knicks roster. Morris will be one of five players who should mostly be playing power forward, while Bullock will slot into a busy backcourt and is already expected to miss at least a month of the season. New York's rotations are going to be a mess and we'd steer clear.

    Source: New York Knicks

  • Reggie Bullock
    SG-SF, New York Knicks

    Reggie Bullock is expected to miss at least one month of the regular season, per SNY's Ian Begley.

    Bullock, who initially agreed to a two-year deal worth $21 million, re-worked his contract to clock in at two years (with a second year that isn't fully guaranteed) for under the $4.7 million exception. There's no word on what exactly Bullock is dealing with, though he suffered from neck stiffness and plantar fasciitis in his right foot late last season. There's no need to monitor Bullock in standard leagues to open the year.

    Source: Ian Begley on Twitter

  • Markelle Fultz
    PG, Orlando Magic

    Speaking to Sirius XM, Steve Clifford said that although there remains no timetable for Markelle Fultz (shoulder), he is making good progress.

    Clifford said, "You know, right now we don't have a timetable for when he'll be back, but he's really doing a great job." Fultz simply wasn't ready to suit up, and even though we haven't really had any concrete updates on him since his last game on November 18, we're still expecting him to be ready to start the season. Fultz will make for a late-round flier on the chance that he finally gets healthy and puts it all together.

    Source: Sirius XM NBA Radio on Twitter

  • Blake Griffin
    PF, Detroit Pistons

    Blake Griffin (left knee) has been cleared to start light basketball activities after undergoing arthroscopic surgery in late April.

    Griffin dealt with left knee soreness in the season's final games and missed the first two games of the playoffs. His issues were dealt with quickly after the season ended and he should be ready for the start of the season. Look for Griffin to come off draft boards in the early-middle rounds after he put up a career season last year, though there might not be much profit margin at that price. There's a definite 8-cat lean as well.

    Source: Rod Beard on Twitter

  • Nicolo Melli
    PF, New Orleans Pelicans

    Pelicans forward Nicolo Melli underwent knee surgery and will not participate in Italy’s training camp at the end of July, ahead of the FIBA World Tournament.

    This comes out of nowhere and the only relative information we have is that Melli will be re-evaluated on a week-to-week basis. The Italian big should be fine for the Pelicans training camp where he will compete for the backup power forward minutes as long as the surgery is not anything too serious.

    Source: Sportando