“Munsdays”: A JBL GM Diary
- By Jeremy Munson, Day 1, 2025
Welcome to what I hope to be a new regular series (every Monday, of course) based on my thoughts on being a new guy joining the good ole JBL. My focus will be on seeing the league through “my eyes” and adding in some commentary for any other new guys who are joining the league.
Joining The LeagueTo start, I feel like I have been hearing about the JBL for over a year now. Comey (KC) hit me up and tried to get me to join about a year ago, and I couldn’t, and then both he and Mike (Vegas) hit me up about a month ago seeing if I was interested, and unfortunately, the previous GM of Dallas beat me to it by an hour or two. Thankfully, the Commissioner kept me in mind, and when the Dallas GM left after having a hot cup of coffee in the league, I was able to slide right in. I joined right at the beginning of the 2025 free agency period, right after the draft.
Day OneMy first day here I thought, “Holy cow, this is right up my alley.” I have never experienced the level of activity and depth in an online sim. My first thought and then the first thing I did was read the rules (link), and the FAQ (link). All good things for a new guy to start with. I know, I know captain obvious, but we all need to start somewhere.
After doing that, my second thought was, “Ohhh shit, what did I get myself into.” Again, if you are new and reading this, take a deep breath brother. You are in good company feeling overwhelmed and not sure what to do next. After having conversations with some other guys around the league, it’s a pretty normal feeling, so you are fine and in good company.
If you haven’t already, hop on the Slack channel as you should have already gotten an invite from the commish in your email. I can tell you from my personal experience, that while I came into the league knowing a few guys already, the amount of friendly private messages I received welcoming me to the league, and then letting me know I can ask questions or bounce ideas off of was great. I gotta give a shout out to Jron (LA) and Phayd (Stars) for the warm welcome and being some great ambassadors to and for the league from the second I logged on.
Slack is your friend, and make sure you integrate yourself. JBL is definitely a league in where what you put into it, you will get out of it. If you are active, it will be more fun and enjoyable. If you aren’t, it might not be as enjoyable, and that is not what anybody wants. This morning I was just having a conversation with one of the more experienced guys in the league (he initiated the private message) and we were talking about the league in general, and he said: “We’re competitive, but we’re generally not dicks.” That is a very accurate assessment of how I view the league a week in, and that is what you should want in an online league in general, well at least I do anyway.
Alright, so you have read the rules and the FAQ, and are on slack, now what?
Head on over to your My Team are. The first thing I recommend you do, once you are on the roster page is go up to the top and look at your head coach, and your two assistant coaches. Their names will be in blue and click on them. There you will see your coaching staff’s strengths and weaknesses. Pay particular attention to your head coach’s ratings in judging ability, judging potential, and judging personality. These matter for what I am gonna tell you to do next. Head back to your roster page, and next to each players name is an “I” button. Click on that, and you will get a scouting report from your coaching team. This is an integrated rating between your head coaches and your assistants. Based on the ratings you see, and from what is said you can get a feel for who on your squad is good, who needs improvement, and who you might be looking to move. The next thing I want you to do is head to the statistics page and take a look at what they are either doing this season (or if you’re in the offseason, what they did from last season). Hopefully, you are familiar with some basketball stats (otherwise, I doubt you would be here), but take a careful look at your team’s stats. That will obviously, give you a decent idea of what you have, combined with your scouting reports.
When I joined the league, free agency had just started so I had to make some choices about my roster real quick. Below you will see two players. Weekes is a 6’10 28-year old, and Farrior is a 6’11 22-year old. The first table is regular stats, the 2nd table is per 36 mins, and the 3rd table is advanced stats.
From this table above which is the regular stats, I can see that Farrior, the younger player, has a bit of an edge in FG%, FT% assists, steals and fouls a bit less. Weekes, the older player, rebounds a bit better and blocks shots a little bit better.
For this table the per 36 mins- you can see who would be better stats wise if they both were to be given 36 mins of basketball playing time. The clear winner in my mind is Jackson Farrior. He shoots better, is a bit worse at rebounding, dishes out more assists, is a bit worse blocking shots, but does scores more.
The table above is advanced stats. Some of them are pretty explanatory, so I won’t define all of them, but if you have questions just post the question in slack and someone will surely answer you. Let’s define some of these below.
Key Advanced StatisticsPER – Player Efficiency Rating. The rating is normalized to a league average of 15.0 PER (meaning players above 15.0 are above average and players below are below average).
EWA - Estimated Wins Added. Derived from PER. EWA does not correlate well to wins at the team level.
OWS - Offensive Win Shares
DWS - Defensive Win Shares
WS - Win Shares. Estimate of a number of wins contributed by a player.
WS/48 - Win Shares per 48 mins
BPM - Box Plus/Minus- This evaluates the players quality and contribution to the team. This relies on a player's box score information and the team's overall performance to estimate a player's performance relative to league average. BPM is a rate state and does not take into account playing time.
VORP – Value Over Replacement Player. Measures the number of points a player produces per 100 possessions over a replacement player. A replacement level is -2.0 VORP.
ORTG - Offensive Rating. Points produced per 100 possessions.
DRTG - Defensive Rating. Points allowed per 100 possessions the player faced while on the court.
TS% - True Shooting Percentage. A measure of shooting efficiency that takes into account field goals, three point field goals and free throws.
3PAr - The percentage of field goal attempts from 3-point range
FTR - Free throw rate is the ratio of free throws attempted per field goal attempted
USG% - Usage percentage is an estimate of the percentage of team plays used by a player while he was on the floor.
Plus-Minus - The +/- reflects points scored by the team while that player is on the court. If a player has a +5 PM, it means his team outscored the opponent by 5 points while he was on the court. If he has a -3, then the opposing team outscored his team by 3 points while he was on the court. This should be used sparingly as it completely depends on the game situation (such as a player playing against bench players in garbage time).
So, in looking at the differences between Farrior and Weekes, it is relatively obvious that Farrior is better statistically speaking. Since I have taken over a franchise that has never won more than 25 games, one of my issues with the former GM is simply why are you playing a guy that’s older (Weekes) at the expense of developing Farrior? It makes no sense, especially when you aren’t very good. So, that would be a decent example on how and why you should be looking at the stats to help you make some more informed choices about who should be playing and how much they should be playing. The stats should also help you determine who you might want to be targeting in potential trades and who might be worthwhile for you to pursue in the free agent market.
Speaking of the market, I joined right when free agency started and once again, it felt daunting. After renouncing (giving up the right to exceed the cap to re-sign them, and freeing up my cap space) five guys which honestly felt like easy decisions to make, I wasn’t sure what to expect when free agency opened. We had the most useable cap space in the league, but I felt that we had a good core of young guys. I didn’t just want to go spending all willie nilly just to spend and possibly mess up the direction the club seemed to be heading in. So, I decided that I was going to be conservative.
New GM Tip: This is a good time to plug the JBL podcasts. There is a ton of information in there that a new guy could learn from just be listening to some vets talk about the league. I highly encourage everybody to check them out when you have a few couple of mins. The podcasts are generally released every week. Link here.
Free AgencyWell, the first day of free agency came and went, and the only move I made was to try to extend Dakarai Savage. Savage is interesting to me. He is young, has good height and length and has played in a few games the past 3 years averaging 15 mins a game last season. My coaching staff thinks he has some talent but needs to develop. Again, since we aren’t good, trying to lock up a guy that has the potential to develop into something seemed like the right thing to do. We did after all just renounce Kellen Chambers (our starting SF), and drafted Nicolas Acosta with the 5th pick, so there will be some mins at SF to be had.
Day TwoI waited as long as I could before trying to hand out offers to anymore. My goal in waiting was to see what money was out there and to get a feel for how things were going to work. My plan was going to be conservative, and that was the plan I was going to stick with. My first move was to offer center Isaiah Foreman a deal for 14 million. I needed a Center, as the goal was to move C/PF Deandre Stackhouse to PF for the upcoming season. I also knew that I needed a backup point guard. I identified Christian Vickery as a vet that had mentoring skills that I thought I would be able to snag. He could still play a little bit, has good leadership skills, and more importantly, could mentor some of the young guards I have on the roster. Mentoring is something I identified as one of the more important things I needed to do. I also identified C- Marcus Enright as a vet with mentoring skills that would be valuable for my real young bigs. He also brought strong leadership qualities to the table, and again for a young team that stinks, I thought that seemed to be a reasonable and valuable thing to do. I made a min offer knowing that I would up it if I needed to.
At that point, I said I am done bidding, and wanted to see where things ended up for the day.
New GM Tip: Make sure you do your research before going into free agency. I copied a lot of the things down from the website into excel and highlighted guys that I identified as someone that I might be interested in. Personally, I don’t recommend flying blind or by the seat of your pants when going into free agency. You can ask the Commissioner for the latest Free Agency primer which has a good overview of the free agency rules. In particular, you should be aware of how the rules work with cap holds, exceptions (like the Mid-Level Exception) and going after other team’s free agents.
Day ThreeBids go up for both Foreman and Vickery, and I believe it was around 24-26 mil total that I had tied up into them.
New GM Tip: Make sure you understand that when you bid on players that you cannot rescind the bid. You can increase your offer, but you cannot pull it back. Until the players rejects the bid, you lose the ability to play with that money or use it to sign someone else. You get locked in, so it is essential to do your homework and have a game plan.
It was at this point when I realized PF Wesley Sherman was out there and seemed like he was being undervalued. I put in a bid that was one million more than the current bid, and I think it was something like 11-12 million. Now, most of my money was tied up into 5 players, and I had 8 or 9 million left in what I call cushion space so that I could up offers if I needed to.
Day FourMost of the players turned down my offers. It was at this point when I realized I just totally messed this all up. I was way too conservative with my bids, and I now understand it will be tough to recover from it. Disappointed was an understatement. There is no way to get a re-do so it’s all about taking my medicine and learning and growing from it.
However, if there is a silver lining with me not going hard enough for players I wanted, it’s that all I did was get my money back. Yes, they were targets that would have helped me in some sort of way, but let’s be honest, I am not winning a championship anytime soon. I didn’t do anything foolish and just swung and missed.
New GM Tip: It’s ok to swing and miss – you will be just fine. Don’t have the gambler mentality though. Don’t go chasing or fishing just to chase or fish. Be vigilant with the number of contract years offered. Definitely go hard early if you want a player, but be aware that a long term contract can come back to bite you.
I should also probably note that if you are new that you need to pay attention to what the free agent tells you when you are looking to bid/negotiate with them. If you are like me and are running a squad that hasn’t won, well, in forever, having players tell you they want to be on a winning team matters and puts you behind the 8 ball. If you really want them though, money talks and you need to be a bit more adventurous with your opening round of bids. That was a GIANT part of my problem and something that I did not fully realize when I was offering up my bids.
Day FiveAfter five days of free agency, players can formally sign their contracts. I am still just sitting here shaking my head. It was really a sinking feeling knowing I had the most money to spend in the entire league and I wasn’t going to be able to grab any of the bigger targets that I had identified. At that point, I decided to put a bid back on my old friend SF - Kellen Chambers, even though I had already renounced him. I don’t remember exactly what the bid was, but he was only going for like 5 million, so I put in an offer of like 7 million to see if I could pick him up cheap. I really don’t want him, but at this point, I thought screw it, maybe I can flip him at the trade deadline and currently something is better than nothing.
New GM Tip: You can’t trade a signed free agent until Day 42 of the regular season. The trade deadline is Day 120, when the All-Star break is.
Days Six, Seven, EightAll these days run together for me. Everybody is rejecting my bids at this point except for my own guy Savage, and Enright. Enright got bid up by 500K I believe, so I just went up by 500K on that bid to become the leader on him again.
New GM Tip: When looking at guys to bid on try to identify that owners cap room space and what kind of mode they are in. Are they in win now? Rebuild mode? If a team is way above the cap and in win mode, they should not be willing to spend money on mentor type players that won’t give them on the court production that upcoming season. That would be your opportunity to snag them with a minor up bid and find yourself some guys that would be great mentors for your ball club.
This was also around the time when I started to become more active on the general Slack channel. As a new guy, I am keenly aware that I don’t know 90% of the league, and I have no idea who talks to who, who is rivals with who, and how cutthroat things are. I have been conservative on the general Slack channel up until this point as well because I just don’t know what I don’t know and have found in life that when you step into a new situation its better to observe, keep the yap shut, and keep the head down.
All that being said, I was given some free advice that I didn’t ask for, nor did it seem consistent with how I have viewed everybody in the league up until this point. In fact, I was surprised at the opinion, and how it was relayed to me.
To put more context on this, in regards to Restricted Free Agents, you have to consider and weigh the fact that once you offer an RFA your money is tied up on that player AND then the team that still has the players rights can match said offer. So, in essence, you need to determine if tying up your money and trying for a guy is worth the amount of time it might take for the guy to sign. Like everything else, depending on who you talk to you might get a few different opinions. In my mind, some of the top talent in this FA class were RFA’s and because I didn’t think my money being tied up in them was a good investment (I thought that they would just get matched) I didn’t bid on them.
When I said that I didn’t bid on a few of the marquee RFA’s in the general public slack, I was told I should have taken a crack at them. There wasn’t anything ridiculous about the comment, and everybody is allowed to have an opinion, but it rubbed me the wrong way, and it was what it was.
So I shrugged it off and ended up offering deals to both Jarvis McSwine and JaMarcus Thybulle. At that point in time, I didn’t have anything to lose as the other marquise guys I was looking at have all signed. From my perspective, it didn’t matter if I took a shot now.
I also offered PG -Jamar Strickland. While he doesn’t have the mentor trait that Christian Vickery has, I think he can play a bit better. He will be a nice back up on an 8 mil deal if it sticks. I also throw an offer out to C Ivan Vujosevic. While Ivan doesn’t currently have the best skill set at the moment, he is young enough to improve, and I need some post players. I offer him a 3 mil 2-year deal.
Day NineI signed my SF Dakarai Savage to a 3 million 2-year +1 team option deal. It doesn’t break the bank, and as I have already said the coaches think he has potential, it’s a win in my book.
Both McSwine and Thybulle reject deals including a max to McSwine. Playing in Dallas doesn’t appeal to either of them as they liked the offers they already had on the books better. I was expecting as much, and it really didn’t matter, as I figured both would get matched anyway.
At this point, all I can do is take a run at Sprinkle and “take a shot,” so that’s exactly what I do. 2 years at 20 mil is what I do. At best a division rival lets him walk, and I land a developing center on a 2-year max salary deal. I need a center, and have no real prospects in line due to my messing up the beginning of this free agency. On top of that I have the money to be able to afford the gamble so why not?. I am not in my win “window” yet, so it makes perfect sense to me. At worst, I just made a division rival have to match a 20-mil contract with a bloating payroll and if you are paying attention has some other consequences to it. Win-Win for us.
I am also starting to have some real good convos with some vets in the league. I can confidently say that nobody has offered any kind of crazy deals that seemed one-sided, and that they were productive talks. All excellent things for someone like me to experience as there wasn’t anybody trying to “fleece” the new guy. Take that for what it is worth, but that might be the first time I have experienced that in a league as well. Usually, the new guy is the prime target to take advantage of, but not here, at least not yet.
New GM Tip: All trades at the beginning of your GM experience in the JBL have to go through the Commissioner. The Commissioner doesn’t have a team and is impartial, so he can ensure that any offer you get is at least fair and reasonable.
I haven’t told anybody about Sprinkle and I’m waiting to see what the potential reaction will be. I am sure it will be mixed, but it has been fun to actually do something that might matter league wise.
I have also decided on putting on offer in for Devante Parker. With his traits, I can’t let him go to someone for a min deal. I throw out a 3.5 mil 2 year offer and hope he bites. Would love his mentor skill set for my young guards. If I can get him cheap enough, this might work out well for me.
New GM Tip: A player doesn’t need to have the mentor trait to actually mentor players. In the Locker Room in your My Team Area, you can assign players to mentor one another.
So that changes the direction I was going within free agency as well. I throw out a 1 year 6 mil offer for Sf- Jordan Carstensen. Pairing him up with first-round draft choice Acosta makes sense to me. He was on my list I was watching, but I wasn’t onboard with offering him a contract since he didn’t have the mentor trait. Now that I know that doesn’t necessarily matter, he now seems like a fit. Not sure my offer will land him, but it should at least knock out the leaning status and give me some time to wait on the sprinkle deal come home to roost, one way or the other.
New GM Tip: Regarding player statuses. During free agency, a free agency day is simulated every 12 or so hours. All league events in general take place at around 7pm ET, but as the sim also gets run from Australia, the early morning free agency sims can be hard (I thought that I was gonna need to wake my butt up at 4:00am here so that I didn’t get swiped on some of my FA targets). However, you don’t have to worry about that, as the player waits a sim or two so that everybody gets the chance to see where the target is contract wise and is given an opportunity to bid. A player “leans” towards a free agency offer before signing. If they get an additional offer during that time, they go back to considering offers, giving you another chance.
Day TenI sign PG- Jamar Strickland for 8 mil over 2 years, and I’m not gonna lie, popping my cherry on my first free agent feels nice! I also sign C-Marcus Enright to a 2.5 mil 1-year deal. I am pumped about this one as well, as he has some nice mentor traits for my young post guys. That leaves me with 4 offers still out there in Jordan Carstensen, Jamaya Sprinkle, Ivan Vujosevic and Devante Parker. Everybody sans Sprinke should be getable. The main issue that I am facing is Sprinkle. With 20 mil being tied up, I am still worried about hitting the salary floor if he gets matched. I up my offer to Carstenson to 9.5 mil for a year. It looks like someone else is jumping their offer on him as well, and someone else is doing the same with Parker. If we keep going back and forth, I am good with that, as the Sprinkle situation will become clear here shortly and I can really make a choice about how hard I need to go after those two while also keeping my eye on the salary floor minimum.
Day ElevenSprinkle has a new offer of 20 mil over 1 year. Either way, I am calling it a win and a victory no matter what happens. I am just assuming of course that Phoenix is the team that has offered him the 20 for 1 deal. Parker has also received a substantial increase in his bid. He is up to 8 mil, and honestly, I don’t want to pay that. I got Strickland for that. My attention now turns entirely to SF Jordan Carstensen. I only up his offer by 500K. Again, trying to buy time until I can get this Sprinkle thing to be done with. I lead on him for 10.5 over a year. Way more than he is worth, but for someone to mentor Acosta, its probably worth it at this late stage in free agency.
Day TwelveBam! And just like that Jamaya Sprinkle signs with us, and we force the choice we were hoping to force. As I said earlier, this like a win for us no matter what happens now. If he stays, I think we become better, but I still don’t think we have enough to be good. This is just a gamble because I could at this point. With the core of the team still younger and not ready, a gamble I don’t mind taking. If he stays, the hope is to move Stackhouse over to PF. That still may happen anyway, but that will be a conversation for a different day.
As good as the Sprinkle signing feels, we take a blow that I wasn’t expecting. SF Jordan Carstensen tells us that he isn’t interested in us anymore as he wants a contender. Alas, we just can’t get away from that label or stigma just quite yet, and I was surprised the vet wasn’t interested in the 10.5 mil offer. To each their own. We now aren’t quite sure what to do. Do we offer a crazy salary for a year, or do we reopen our pursuit of Devante Parker? He would be cheaper, but Carstensen would have played for us. I don’t see Parker playing. Sprinkle is also in the mix here, as if he gets matched I need to find a way to hit the salary floor, and I would rather pay Carstensen more to get some usage out of him vs. some scrub ill find on the FA wire currently.
I decide to offer Carstensen a 1 year 13 million contract. This is beyond an over pay, but again, could use the mentor for Acosta, and I am backing off Parker. Hoping the raise will get him to rethink about playing for a contender.