“Munsdays”: A JBL GM Diary: Week 2

  • By Jeremy Munson, Day 1, 2025

To recap, the last article ended on Day Twelve, and we were right smack in the middle of some drama for a young center named Jamaya Sprinkle. As we start with the second entry in the series, we pick up right where we left off with Day thirteen.

Day Thirteen

Well, today is Deadline Day in Dallas or DDD for short baby! (Actually, that might not be a bad T-shirt slogan if Sprinkle doesn’t get matched: “DDD - The Start” or more likely, DDD - What Might Have Been.” Something like that to work into future articles. Will have to play around with that some more.)

It will be interesting to see what the Vultures GM does here. I clearly put him in a tough spot with my offer of $20m/2 on Sprinkle, and frankly, one I wouldn’t want to be in, so either way no gloating over here from me. At the end of the day, it will be nice to have some clarity on what I need to do though. Not being “in control” over your own situation isn’t fun, and trying to figure out possible scenario’s one way or the other with my cap situation sucks as well. I, however, would be lying if I said I didn’t want him to stay. I think pairing Sprinkle up with Stackhouse might be an interesting young tandem that I would like to play around with and try to make work for a few seasons.

New GM Tip: This of course is the danger of offering a deal to a Restricted Free Agent. If the 'mother' team plays hardball, your cap space is tied up for three free agency days.

As far as the cap goes, if Sprinkle stays, meeting the cap minimum is easy. But if he gets matched and leaves, trying to find guys in free agency that will work for either the rotation or mentors just isn’t happening. In the end, I might have to go after some scrub for hella money that doesn’t deserve it.

Yep, I will be that guy. I guess them’s the breaks when you mess up the beginning of the free agency period being ultra-conservative, and it’s my own fault for being in this position.

There is some good news to report though, as small forward Jordan Carstensen is back to learning towards my offer of 1 year for 13 million. This is kind of a hedge play here. I probably should have offered 11m or even 11.5m, but I needed him to take me seriously, and the 13m offer did just that. If Sprinkle leaves, giving Carstensen 13 million helps get me closer to the salary floor. If Sprinkle stays, Carstensen puts me over the floor with ease, and I can stop worrying about that. So, the 13 million offer is good in the sense that he is back to considering us, but at that salary, he is probably an overpay. The good thing it is an expiring contract, and that should make things easier if I am gonna deal him by the deadline. So, the offer is good to help get me to the cap if Sprinkle leaves, and bad simply because he might not be worth 13 million. You can’t win them all, and the ball doesn’t always bounce the way you want it to or necessarily in your favor, so just gotta get comfortable making uncomfortable decisions.

On another note, the first article for this “Munsday” series also got released today. I want to thank everybody for the love in the Slack channel, and for the amount of PM’s I got. It certainly has been fun starting to get to know people and to chat about the league in general. The support has been fantastic, and you all certainly know how to welcome a new guy into the fold, so thank you to all who have done so.

New GM Tip: The best way to really get immersed in the general goings-on of the league is to write press releases and articles and read other GMs press releases and articles. You are required to do press releases on transactions that your team has made on players and the coaching staff, but in general, the league is much more enjoyable when everybody overall is active. Reading everybody’s press releases and articles gives you an understanding of what is going on in the league, who the players are (literally and figuratively), and just might give you some insights on how some of your fellow GM’s operate. In addition, the league gives you bonus scouting cash if you write articles (like this one).

Day Fourteen

Well, it ended up being “DDD - What Might Have Been”. The Vultures match my offer for Sprinkle at 2 years and 20 million. At first, when this started to play itself out, I didn’t think we had a chance. I thought it would be a quick match, and that was that. However, as this dragged out over three sims, I started to believe that Sik was going to let him go and my hopes began to rise a bit. This isn’t however, a giant kick to the nuts, and I am going to be alright here, but I am disappointed. Dallas as a franchise is weak in the post, but again I shot my shot, and all we did was get our money back.

In my opinion, I think the Vultures made the right call. He has some parts to move around if he doesn’t want to lose his first-round draft pick, and that should be doable in the time from that he has to have that done by. (One thing to note however: because the Vultures matched Sprinkle, he can't trade him for this season, which locks them in somewhat to their precious salary cap position).

New GM Tip: On day 42 of the Regular Season, the following occurs:
* Players traded to a team before the season can now be traded, including back to the team they were traded from.
* Picks traded from a team can now be traded back to that team.
* Recently signed free agents (i.e. during the offseason) can now be traded, except for matched free agents.
* Rookies drafted this year can now be traded.

So, all this ended up being was a little bit of drama for the league at the tail end of free agency, and I provided some fodder for the talking heads in the channel. Happy we were able to contribute something at least. Not feeling all that great about it, but it was a fun learning experience, and I get the feeling it won’t be my last.

The good news is that we did sign Jordan Carstensen for a 1 year 13m deal which gets me to 55.4m on the cap. Still a bit short and I would have loved for the Sprinkle match to have come 12 hours earlier, so I could have paid Carstensen more, but it is what it is.

I decided to throw a 1 year 9 million offer on power forward Isiah Harris. Harris is the best PF out there currently, but that isn’t saying much this late in free agency. He is 23, so he has some time to develop, but I just need a decent body at this point, and he can at a minimum, provide that. I don’t want to offer him a 2-year deal. I want that money back and don’t want to get tied up into him. He currently has a 2 year 8.5 million offer.

New GM Tip: When evaluating players who already have contract offers, understand that players look at the total value of the contract. So, in my example with Harris, he could see his 8.5 two-year deal as a better offer than my 9- and 1-year deal, especially for players that value security.

I knew when I offered it that it was a crap bid, but it was a long day at work, and throwing out a crap bid seemed ok at the time.

Day Fifteen

Harris obviously didn’t like my offer and is leaning toward his 8.5 two-year deal. So, I currently have 55.4 million on my cap and need to add 8.6 million in salary to reach the salary floor. I now have a dilemma on my hands and a decision to make. I also have 14 guys on the roster and can I add another player to get to 15.

Decision time:
I could stay put, and wait this thing out until the trade deadline, and then hope to add some contracts to put me at the cap floor. In doing that, I would hopefully be picking up some draft picks, but I could get saddled with some bad contract that has more years on it than I would probably like.
I could offer Harris a 16-17 million 1-year deal in the hope that he bites, and hit the floor now. In doing that, I wouldn’t be forced to take any deal just thrown at me at the deadline which would probably be a bad contract with a few years attached to it that I wouldn’t want. I could be more selective about any deal thrown my way because I wouldn’t be forced into it. I mean, if I wanted to take a crap deal I could, but there wouldn’t be any pressure to do so.
I could offer up a scrub that would make 10 million on a 1-year deal, knowing it could open the door to a trade at the deadline.

At this point in time, I feel more comfortable knowing what I know now, rather than taking a bit of a risk and having to work something out at the deadline to avoid the floor cap penalty. Now it’s just a matter of do I want to offer Harris a crazy 16-17 million-dollar 1-year deal or find a scrub for a 10 million 1-year deal.

New GM Tip: When signing players to contracts, keep in mind the 50% trade rule and the Player for Picks rules.
(1) A player can be traded for a pick or picks that would otherwise breach the 50% Rule if the following applies:
(a) The trade must feature only 1 player (total).
(b) The team accepting the player must be able to fit the player under the hard trade line ($95m).
(c) The pick must be commensurate with the player's current salary:
(i) Player earns between $0m - $10m = Minimum 2nd round draft pick;
(ii) Player earns over $10m = Minimum 1st round draft pick or two 2nd round picks.
Accordingly, it's sometimes useful to have a player around $10m because he can be traded for a $20m player. However, if a player is at $9m, you would have to throw something else in to the deal to get the salary higher so that you could trade for a $20m player.

I decide to offer Harris a 1 year 17 million contract and would expect him to jump at that bad boy. Huge overpay, but at this point, it really doesn’t matter.

Day Sixteen

As expected, Harris is leaning towards the offer, and I would expect him to sign the contract tomorrow barring any other up bids.

Day Seventeen

Well now, I certainly did not see that happening. Harris has been bid up to a 12.5 million 2 years plus 1 year team option contract. From my perspective and for Dallas, Harris isn’t worth that, and we are not going to pay him that over two years. His 16 points per game is intriguing, but he doesn’t seem like he plays a ton of defense, and if I am going to spend that kind of money, I want a guy that is more rounded. So, we decide to pass in favor of finding a rookie to give a 1 year 10 million contract to get us to the cap floor.

We narrow the search down to two players. One is an undrafted rookie, and the other is C-Von Ukawuba. Von looks like he played 2 games for the Vipers last year, so there isn’t a ton of stats out there on him. He didn’t play a ton for Ohio State either in college, and only started 2 games. However, my scouts seem to think he has some potential, and he has some ok ratings for a young big, plus some decent strengths. Von will make 10 mil to play in the J-League. Sad, but it is what it is, and we are doing what we think we have to do

New GM Tip: At this point, I can’t stress it enough, be active somewhere! I haven’t been all that talkative in the general Slack channel chiming in here and there, but because of this article series, I have had a ton of conversations the past few days through private messages. The number of guys that are reaching out and offering suggestions, or help/bouncing ideas around has been awesome and really says a lot about the league, and the characters that make it up (Yes, we have more than a few characters). Sometimes, you just have to ease into things gently, just like a frog in boiling water 😊

Day Eighteen

We sign center Von Ukawuba for a 1 year 10 million deal, which ends my first free agency. Up next is Training Camp.

Overall Thoughts on Free Agency

At the end of the day, I am calling this a success. I didn’t add anything crazy in terms of salary or length of contract, but I picked up 2 key mentors, and someone who I think can be a factor for us in Strickland. I mean we are only 2 seasons removed from him averaging 20 points and 8 assists per game. If you would have told me before free agency started that I could pick up a guy like that for under 10 million, I wouldn’t have believed you. I don’t think Strick is near being done, and I am hoping he can revive his career here and become a nice asset for us or at least a nice asset for a contender in a potential deal.

Granted, I didn’t land a big-time free agent, despite having the most cap space available, but I am gonna have a huge chunk of that back for this upcoming offseason. With a full game year under my belt, and having learned some lessons in this free agency period, I think we are going to be ok. Sometimes not screwing it up can be a win by itself or at least that is what I am going to continue to tell myself.

Training Camp

So a few things to note here. If you have some guys that are going to be mentors (and you should) you need to set them before Training Camp runs. Head on over to the “locker room” and there is where you can find and set the mentors. However, you will only see the effects of mentorship from the previous season, so it's a bit early to see the results.

In my situation, I brought in two guys in free agency to specifically be a mentor in center Marcus Enright and Jordan Carstensen. Enright will mentor C/PF DeAndre Stackhouse, and Carstensen will mentor our new first-round draft choice, small forwardNicolas Acosta.

Next thing I do is head on over to the “strategy” section, and there you will find your depth chart, your offensive, and defensive settings.

For offensive philosophy, you need to select one from the list of eight. They are Balanced, Pace and Space, Grit and Grind, Perimeter Centric, Post Centric, Seven Seconds, Triangle and Morey Ball. For the most part, some of these are fairly obvious. The two that do not stand out for me are Grit and Grind, and Morey ball. I google Grit and Grind, and find all the articles about the Memphis Grizzlies in real life, and do the same about Morey ball which features Houston Rockets articles.

New GM Tip: Check the FAQ which lists all the Offensive Philosophies. The FAQ includes the highest/lowest percentage of plays, the pace and the player focus of each philosophy.

I decide on a balanced approach and think that is the way to start based on what I think my teams’ strengths and weakness are, and the fact that I haven’t “played” a game in the league yet. Again, probably a hedge play, but I’ll get more of a feel for things when they start up.

Make sure you go through each one of your team’s abilities and ratings to try to find something that you think fits for a good offensive approach.

Next head on over to “Training Camp” and there for each of your players, you will get to select a primary focus and a secondary focus for that player. Again, just like you did with your offensive philosophy, take a look at your players card (scouting) and look at his strengths/weaknesses and also his ratings. From there, you can make an informed choice on what you want that player to focus on in training camp.

New GM Tip: Likewise, in the FAQ you will find what defines each category in training camp which can be helpful when deciding on what to focus on.

So, I have set my training camp up, and now all I need to do is sit back and pray that nobody takes a huge dive, and that my main guys improve tremendously.

I also listened to the latest podcast, and I will once again give another shutout to RKG, Bed and the Commish. It was fun trying to navigate around looking up the players to try to get to know the league. It just adds that much more to the league in my opinion so, thanks for doing the extra work for the rest of us.

New GM Tip: If you are ever listening to the cast and trying to follow along with finding the players, there is a search bar at the top of the main menu. It will help you find things much quicker than randomly clicking around the site like I was.

Training Camp Completed

Training camp for us I would describe as a pretty big success. We had five of our players “improve significantly overall,” and those five guys are the core of the team. That is pretty exciting as we continue to grow, and hopefully, continue to grow together. While three of my vets that I signed in the offseason regressed, I was darn excited about Jordan Carstensen. He shot up an entire letter grade shooting wise, and I think that is a considerable gain not only for him scoring, but will make him that much more marketable when it comes time to start making decisions on who goes and who might stay at the trade deadline.

As we start to get closer to the season starting, we are just going to continue to observe who gets released, and monitor who is looking to make deals to get down to the roster limit. I don’t think we will be active until the trade deadline approaches. I want to see what I have and evaluate before moving on from someone that I might regret moving on from later. Again, being ultra conservative, but it hasn’t really burned me yet, so might as well continue the approach until I fully understand what goes on game wise.

[Read - Munsday Week 1]