The other day I tried to rebuild the Raptors (of all teams, I know) in the NBA 2K11 franchise mode. I tried to do it as realistically as possible and failed misserably. It got me thinking about the state of the league and the current lock out. I decided to make a fanpost out of it, so here it is.
To me, the league has two major problems right now:
- Teams are losing money
Several (small market) teams are losing money despite revenue being at an alltime high. The league wants to cut costs by lowering player salaries and while the players are willing to cooperate they are not willing to agree with the owners' current proposal. At this point, as we all know, it looks like the parties are not very close to a deal to say the least.
- Competative Balance
Only a few teams are considered to be legitimate contenders. We have seen players taking matters in their own hands through free agency by forming a super team in Miami. Sure, Boston did it in 2007, but that was through trades and sure Shaq has changed teams as did Rodman back in the mid 90’s to team up with MJ and Pippen but never before have three of the most coveted free agents teamed up to form a super team together. The fact that Melo then forced a trade to his team of choice ánd got it makes people scared of what DHoward and CP3 will do in the near future. And don’t you think that our own John Wall and his former teammate Demarcus Cousins havent talked about teaming up when their rookie deals are up? Players want to play on competative teams and have a shot at winning a ring.
Meanwhile frontoffices are fighting the same problem. Though one could say that it’s the GM’s own fault to give a player a huge deal that doesn’t pay off, I for one think in most cases they have no choice if they want to win. Look at the Hawks last summer. Should they not have payed Joe Johnson? If they didn’t, some other team would have and then what? Suck for a years, loose their best players (Josh Smith and Jamal Crawford) through free agency and hope someone like Al Hoford wouldn’t demand a trade? Hope that fans would still come out and buy a ticket in a market that is already labeled to be a quistionable one? Yeah right. They had no choice. Now, if such a deal doesn't work out you're stuck with it for ever.. We as Bullets fans have seen first hand how hard it is to erase mistakes and how hard it is to suck for several years while knowing its gonna take some more sucking until we get good again. Its to damn hard to rebuild and become competative again.
Now, as the title of this post suggets I feel that contraction, along with some additional adjustments, is the solution to all these problems.
In an recent ESPN podcast, mister Stern used the ‘C’ word. He said that "certain teams have dipped into the revenue-sharing pool constantly over the years and owners have mentioned that it would be more efficient to just buy them in".
First of all contraction would mean spreading the wealth between viewer teams. Along with lowering salaries by a reasonable amount (much less and in a totally different way than the owners are currently proposing) this would go a long way in making the NBA a financially healthy league imho.
Furthermore, reducing the number of franchises would mean a deeper talent pool for the remaining teams. Several all stars per team would be possible for everyone. Say we reduce the number of teams to twenty four, twelve per conference and while we’re at it, lets get rid of the divisions as well. Now only four teams won’t be active in the postseason while the other eight have a shot at the finals! Of course their will still be wins and losses and therefore teams that succeed and teams who suck, but by having a deeper talent pool ánd making additional changes teams should be able to turn things around more quickly and be competitive again the next year.
What are those additional changes? A hard cap and more room to work around mistakes. For example, shorter contracts would mean less pain from a mistake for the front office ánd it would mean more freedom of movement for the players. Further more I think there should be a possibility to exclude two contracts per season. In this way a team can work around a mistakes without maxing out their cap space. They could trade the player or agree to a buy-out witch makes the said player an unrestricted free agent. Finally, I think it should be easier to trade players all together. Just get rid of the ‘matching salaries’ requirement. If you want to rebuild for example, you should be able to just trade a veteran for draft picks and / or young prospects as long as you don't exceed the maximum number of roster players.
Now, if the league should decide to contract, the question of course is, which parameters should determine witch teams should be contracted? I think that's something for the comments as I have no clear answer to that.