Intangibles – Fantasy Experts on the ‘Right Reasons’ to Veto a Trade

Beyond basketball and beyond statistics. In real basketball, underrated plays like boxing out and tipping passes are instrumental to the win but don’t reflect in the box score or the highlight reel. In the ‘Intangibles’ series, I explore these underemphasized aspects in fantasy basketball that will lead your team to the coveted championship.

Unsurprisingly, there are often disagreements and frustrations when it comes to what the right reasons to veto are, especially considering that in most leagues it only takes 1/3 of the league members to cancel a trade.

The ‘unwritten rule’ that “collusion is the only reason to veto” is not as prevalent as one may expect. I’ve encountered, both in Q&As and in my own leagues, trades that would be vetoed for the craziest of motives.

I wish to end this debate now. In this article, I poll noteworthy fantasy experts -- such as Steve Alexander from Rotoworld, Josh Lloyd from Rotowire/RRFB, and Bogman & The Welsh from ITL -- to give us their authoritative views on what the legitimate reasons are to veto a trade. This article also serves as a valid source to settle league veto issues, so I strongly suggest linking this article to your league if you have problems with vetoing.


The Experts Poll

Through Twitter, I was able to gather responses from 17 fantasy writers and podcasters across different websites. In this poll, some fantasy experts gave more than one answer if they wish, which would explain the tally count. Here’s the tally of their opinions:

ReasonTally
Collusion16*
Taking advantage of a first-timer4
Extremely one-sided trade3
League-unanimous veto1
No clear answer1

*Out of the 16 who answered collusion, 10 provided no other answer.

The notable observation in this table is that collusion as a legitimate reason to veto a trade garnered 16 out of 17 total fantasy experts. Jeff Stotts, the only expert who did not vote for collusion, explained that there is no clear answer in determining the right reason to veto. The rest of the experts thought that collusion was the main reason to veto a trade.

Furthermore, the most important number here is that a majority 10 out of 17 experts believed that collusion is the only reason to veto a trade. According to them, all kinds of trades that are made in good faith must be allowed. Here are some of their answers:


A fewer number of experts cited reasons to veto in addition to collusion, but all of these instances are extreme cases. Two experts, the ITL brothers, considered that situations where rookies being ripped off by vets may also be vetoed. One expert suggested that outside of collusion, a trade wherein 100% of the league members agree is ridiculous (beyond the typical league veto quota of 1/3 of members) must be vetoed as well.



Three experts, all from the Fantasy Hoops Insider, discussed in their podcast that outside of collusion, extremely one-sided trades should also be vetoed. Matt Smith clarifies that trades like Chris Paul for Elfrid Payton must be vetoed, but needs-based (not necessarily ranking-based) trades like Chris Paul for Korver or Matthews is passable if one needs assists and the other needs threes in a roto league.

Generally, these three highly recommend that a good experienced commissioner is essential to determine the fairness of these trades.


Three Takeaways

There are three points to summarize all that has been said above:

  1. The only consensus legitimate reason for vetoing is collusion.
  2. All other reasons for vetoing are minority opinions; these reasons for vetoing are applicable only in extreme cases but are mostly discouraged and debatable at best.
  3. Giving the veto power to a good, trustworthy, and experienced commissioner is much preferred over league veto.

If you are playing in a league that you are taking seriously, especially if it is a competitive league or a money league, then it is important that you and your league are on the same page when it comes to (not) vetoing trades. Trade vetoing may significantly alter the results of the league; thus there is value in having a league-wide agreement on what the grounds for vetoing trades are.

Based on this survey of experts, I strongly suggest that collusion is made the only legitimate reason for vetoing trades. As I also said above, I also recommend presenting this article to your league to help you reach an agreement.

Good luck this trade deadline folks!

If you have any further questions feel free to Tweet me at @MarkFantasyNBA (Yup, that’s me).


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