Union decertification, the players' hammer

Until reading this article from Larry Coon, I hadn't realized the players hold a real hammer in negotiations:

The real trump card in the players' hands might be union
decertification. Many of the league's practices, such as the salary cap
and draft, may violate antitrust laws, had they not been agreed to via
collective bargaining. These practices are exempt from the antitrust
laws only so long as they are part of the CBA. This exemption continues
even after the CBA expires, as long as a "labor relationship" continues
to exist. But this relationship would end if the union were decertified,
because the players would be abandoning their collective bargaining
rights and turning the players union into a non-union trade association.

Decertification would quickly be followed by an antitrust suit against
the league, challenging its restraints against player movement and
salaries. The salary cap, luxury tax, maximum salaries, limits on free
agency, age limits and draft would all be under attack. Even the
league's ability to stage a lockout would be challenged, and existing
player contracts would likely become enforceable. "The league does not
have a weapon in its arsenal that matches the potential threat of
decertification and an antitrust suit," Feldman said.

Interestingly enough, if the players decertified the union and went to individual contracts and won the anti-trust law suit (which they almost certainly would), then the top line players would make an utter crapload more money.

Throw out the salary cap, the max contract, the luxury tax, the trading rules, the draft, how much money do the Knicks offer LeBron James this summer?    On the other hand, the league would absolutely be destroyed.   The Knicks and Lakers would spend 150 million a season on salary and unlike MLB, if you get the top 2-3 players in the league, you're typically going to win.

It would create a system with only 4-5 teams having any shot at the title.   Ever.   Seriously, if your team wasn't able to spend over 100 million it would never win the title.   There is no team who's got  a brilliant enough farm system or scouting department to win without simply outspending if there is no salary cap. 

Ultimately, such a system would be the death of the NBA as there would be zero incentive to ever go see a game in 20+ NBA cities which would never have a chance to win under that system.

The owners can use a lockout as a nuclear war card.   A huge amount of NBA players live paycheck to paycheck, and within 5 years of retirement 65% are bankrupt.   The reasons are plentiful (depreciating assets, child support, hangers on, keeping up with the LeBrons, etc.. ), but the reality is that many players will feel a financial pinch in a lockout fairly quickly.   None of the owners will feel the financial pinch, and several of them will actually be saving money in a lockout.

Given those circumstances, I thought the players would fold like a cheap suit.   However, I didn't know the union had nuclear options as well, and if they play theirs then it's game over for everyone.   The league would be (or at least should be) begging for the union to reform so they could end the anti-trust suit and get a CBA back.

With the players having more power than I originally expected, I don't know how this negotiation is going to shape up.   I've written about it several times, but here's what I think would be good for the league.

What do the owners get?

Hard salary cap
The salary cap is a hard cap, and it's set at whatever estimates of it's
use come closest to the projected BRI the players get.    Whether the
cap is hard or soft is irrelevant now because the players as a whole are
guaranteed the same X amount of money.   What a hard cap will do is
force all teams to spend closer to the same X and thus create a more
competitive league.   Under a hard cap, salary matching in trades also goes away, as there's
no need since teams can't exceed the cap.  The only rule on trades is
everyone has to be under the cap when it's over.

For teams presently over the cap, they don't need to cut players, but they will operate in a limited fashion.  They can only sign players to the minimum salary or the rookie salary until they are under the cap and can't extend their own FAs to more than the minimum salary.   When trading they must have the same or less salary than prior to the trade on the books in both present and all future years.  Under this plan, it would not take long for all teams over the cap to go under it again.

Contracts now have a non-guaranteed percentage on them
First year: 100%, Second: 75%, Third: 50%, Fourth 25%.   If a player signs with his own team, he can add a 5th year on at 100% guaranteed rate to the front of the deal.  Players do get paid 100% if they're waived while not medically cleared to play by a league and NBPA certified third party medical group (only for injuries that happen on the court).   In the event a player is waived (while cleared or not) the team gets back the cap space of the scale.   The players are now protected in the event of major injury on their contract, but they aren't protected for going out and sucking.   The league needs the non-guaranteed contracts in order to play under a hard cap which then helps competitive balance.

The NBA draft has an increased year of eligibility
I know it's
unfair to the kids in school, but none of them are at the negotiating
table, and the rule makes sense for everyone else who is.   Owners get a
more certain draft, and they are less likely to pay worthless projects
and pick complete busts who've only had two years of experience. 

Existing
veterans won't have their jobs pushed out for worthless projects either
and will be able to stay in the league an extra year.   It's a win/win
for current players and team owners with the only losers being the guys
who have to wait another year.

What do the Players get?

Players get X percentage of BRI
I'm not sure where X is, but probably fairly similar to where it is
now.  Guarantee the players an exact split of the revenue based on
BRI.   If BRI is unexpectedly high then everyone gets a raise.   If it's
low then everyone gets a paycut.   The advantage of this plan is that
once the players, as a whole, have the same total pool to work with, how
you divy up that pool should be less of an important factor.

Give players better pension benefits
It's a relatively low cost for the league, but so many players end
up bankrupt, and their pension are generally protected in bankruptcy
court.   This is the one lifeline to keep players from experiencing
incredibly difficult times in the future.   It's the one card that could
really protect a lot of players from themselves.

The end of the maximum salary
With a hard cap in place, there's no need to limit the maximum salary.  If the cap is 70 million and someone wants to pay LeBron 50 million then let them.   Not only will this create a far more fair pay scale for everyone, but it will also create a far more competitive league as teams with superstars will have a harder time putting together casts, and teams with lots of depth will have a fair shot at them.

Restricted free agency is weakened
Teams now only have 1 day to match a restricted free agents offer.  Also, they can't use exceptions to go over the cap to do so.  In this case, player movement out of rookie deals will become much easier for players as teams will no longer be scared to make a tender offer and lock up their money, and they can make offers the original team can't match if they are close to the cap.   At the same time, the original team still has the extra fully guaranteed year to entice FAs, and they still do have some basic matching capability.

Overall
The primary goal is to create a system where all teams can compete.  The hard salary cap does that.  The total amount of money going to players remaining flat no matter what means that players always get a fair piece of the pie, but doing so with non guaranteed contracts means that pie is always more fairly distributed than it is now.   There's easier player movement and better benefits for the players who need to file for bankruptcy later which are big gains for the players as well.

The owners get cost certainty and lower market teams will no longer have to worry about spending 90-100 million in salary to win a title, and teams can more easily recover from mistakes allowing them to always have something to sell their fans on.  This is particularly important for teams in smaller markets which will really languish when their franchise is two or three years away from even making the playoffs.

Obviously, I doubt an agreement this sensible will be made.  Players will fight the hard cap and non guaranteed deals to the death even if the total amount of money going to players is guaranteed to be the same.  Meanwhile, owners will balk at removing the maximum salary and weakening restricted free agency in a fear of stars all fleeing the small market teams even though these things combined with the first two will keep all teams competitive.

I expect the new agreement to be strikingly similar to the old agreement, we'll have to wait and see, but the owners are going to have a hard time claiming poor after this summer, and the interest in the NBA is off the charts right now due to the 2010 summer madness.  Neither side should want to play the nuclear option right now.  Not when business is good in a bad economy.

Comments

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  • Like most unions, the NBA has just a very small percentage of elite workers. The vast majority of workers are average with others who are below average. The average workers are enriched because they band together.
    In the case of the NBA, where some degree of skills are required to survive, I just cant see the majority of players agreeing to put their pay days at risk just so that a very small percentage can make $50 million rather than $20 million

  • In reply to bulls6:

    I am not sure how this will work. I don't know if the LeBrons and the Kobes care about a DJ Mbenga or a Brian Scalabrine.
    If they think these guys are kind of brothers(with some of them coming up through tough childhoods)...then they might take less money or the scenario you envision.
    But...if they are like a CEO of some corporations and have big egos(which they do)...they probably will take every last penny possible while thinking these scrubs, lower level players are like Chinese Factory workers(just a body which can be replaced at any moment).

  • In reply to bulls6:

    NFLPA has been going to each team asking for votes to decertify their union if they get locked out. So far, the players have been unanimous in favor of doing so.

  • In reply to bulls6:

    Why would the players agree to a hard cap? You think they are more worried about parody in the league over the total amount of cash going to players annually? Here's a list of all the NBA teams currently over the cap along with their corresponding salary totals.

    1. Los Angeles Lakers $94,745,383
    2. Orlando Magic $89,855,582
    3. Dallas Mavericks $85,761,280
    4. Boston Celtics $83,317,155
    5. Denver Nuggets $83,020,059
    6. Houston Rockets $72,674,506
    7. Utah Jazz $71,082,496
    8. Philadelphia 76ers $69,360,246
    9. Atlanta Hawks $69,145,985
    10. New Orleans Hornets $67,868,149
    11. Milwaukee Bucks $67,654,539
    12. Portland Trail Blazers $67,546,038
    13. San Antonio Spurs $64,913,339
    14. Detroit Pistons $64,682,022
    15. Indiana Pacers $64,368,421
    16. Golden State Warriors $62,410,696
    17. Charlotte Bobcats $61,145,085
    18. New Jersey Nets $56,973,703

    The current soft cap is at 56.1 Million. I'll spare you the arithmetic, the total cash loss for players if all those top 18 salaries are brought down to a 56.1 Million hard cap?

    $218,856,535 annual loss.

    With the ability to dominate the owners in court, I just don't see the players waving goodbye to that much money for a few benefits and parody in the league. We're talking 487K lost per player per year. (218.8M)/(30teams*15players).

    Look I agree with Doug's points for the most part, and you know things need to change when Rashard Lewis is the 2nd highest paid player in the NBA(what a joke). But when someone lays down these numbers I just don't see the players, who hold the "nuclear weapon", just waiving goodbye to a quarter billion dollars annually.

  • A Hard Cap and "competitive balance" (I prefer "enforced mediocrity") is bad for the NBA as a whole. The NBA needs teams like the Lakers and Heat to appeal to casual fans. They draw more interest locally, nationally, and as visiting teams. Forcing teams to surround great players with crap rosters only wastes the greatest assets the league has.

  • The NFL is a different beast. First, the short season is a great benefit to the league in numerous ways. A) It provides a greater sense of parity as teams records often don't reflect true value. It's easy to look better/worse than you are thanks to a few lucky bounces (2001 Bears are a great example) over 16 games. B) Shorter season and only 1 game a week makes games much more of an event. Still, they have problems in some of their smaller markets (Jacksonville, Oakland, Buffalo, Detroit all expecting multiple black outs this season).

    Second, football is more popular than basketball in this country. The NBA is a niche league compared to NFL and even MLB. What once made the NBA popular? Great teams (80s Lakers and Celtics, 90s Bulls). With the Heat situation, an large uptick in NBA popularity should be expected. Conversely, when was the NBA at its most troubled? The late 70s when the best teams barely won 50. Yes, there were other reasons for league's struggles, but what really took them out was the dynamic shift from competitive balance to Laker and Celtic dominance.

  • In reply to snley:

    NBA is a more universal game than NFL, MLB. If you calculate the total number of fans for each sport, I would say NBA is probably the highest in the world. I am sure the business model is still a work in progress with the internet boom and rise in incomes in Asia. I have seen kids/adults buying lots of gear, calling their cable companies to broadcast Lakers, Bulls in India, Taiwan.
    You have lots of fans in Asia and Europe which the NFL doesn't have. MLB is also more of a universal sport too. Not many people outside US even understand the NFL game. What it has is a lot of diehard fans to keep the revenue going. But long term, I like the NBA/MLB better because of the concussion issues with NFL and the limited number of fans.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    I meant to add that the revenue from the people who attend the live game is going to become not a big issue in the future. It is more of a TV, internet, merchandise selling revenue which will drown the ticket sale revenue.

  • In reply to snley:

    This is just posturing. All of it. An antitrust suit will never fly because the NBA- as does the NHL, NFL and MLB- claim that they are not monopolies in the industry of 'entertainment'. Indeed, they may be right. Alternate leagues have tried to take off. They've failed because of a lack of well-located stadiums- and not because of any anticompetitive actions on the current leagues' part- but that's another story.

    As for them decertifying, it makes no sense. When faced with a monopoly (only the NBA can hire them and pay the right wage), the employee's best course is to also form a monopoly. If you want to hire me, you must follow our rules. Removing union certification will lead to an instant drop in wages. Guaranteed.

    Third, despite what you believe, most owners don't give a shit about competitive balance. That's why the luxury tax is in place. As a league, owners know that stars winning championships (LBJ in Miami, Kobe in LA, Tiger Woods in the PGA) leads to more fan interest and profits for everyone. The best way for the poorest teams to do well then is not to fight for 'competitive balance' but merely to step aside if you're not one of the chosen 5, and rely on handouts being paid by the chosen 5. Which, BTW, is why the Bulls refuses to go into luxury tax territory unless they're one of the chosen 5.

    Even among the chosen 5, there will be bigger gains for some- mainly correlated with the size of the media market and so advertising gains. So New York, Miami, LA, Boston, and once upon a time Chicago are natural choices to go after the championship. And surprise surprise, that's exactly what they do. When they win, they earn more profits than when someone else wins. So they're willing to go further into tax territory, knowing that they can just pay the other teams even more. The other teams, on their part, benefit from even more hand-outs.

    Everyone wins- this is called the Coase theory in Economics. It doesn't matter how you screw my chances. As long as you can more than adequately compensate me in return, I'm happy.

  • In reply to jelt2359:

    NY, LA and Chicago are the only big markets. Boston and Miami are small markets. Which is why we keep hearing about the Knicks night in and night out even though they have sucked for a decade and Boston has been a crappy team for 16 of the last 20 years.

    It's also why teams need to be able to hang onto their marquee talent, because small market teams will never get their shot at being in the chosen 5 if their players leave for big markets to make the same money playing, but 3x in endorsements.

  • In reply to bullshooter:

    Just look at the other pro sports teams. Boston and Miami/Florida in general seem to have some pretty good teams all around. There must be *something* these owners see in keeping up a good team. It's probably money.

    That aside, you've missed the point. Small market teams don't want to be in the chosen 5, because they'll earn less money as one of the chosen 5, than say a New York would. So instead they willingly surrender their talent to say New York, and tell New York, "all right, compensate me via the tax. You'll earn more money than I will, and you can compensate me so that I might earn even more money via the tax than if I was one of the chosen 5. Sounds good to me."

  • In reply to bullshooter:

    now what the bulls need to do is sign Sam Young to a max contract. look he had 21 points against some international team... anyone catch the sarcasm. i saw that mr happy didnt comment at all. prolly cause its a financial matter, might be over his head. so i thought id get some Sam Young in there just for good measure.

  • In reply to snley:

    I agree with you 100 % Mr. Snley.
    Parady is over-rated anyways. Look what the hard cap did to the Blackhawks. If a team puts a bunch of talent together, they should be allowed to keep that talent. The NBA cap is perfect the way it is.

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    amen

  • In reply to snley:

    "A huge amount of NBA players live paycheck to paycheck, and within 5 years of retirement 65% are bankrupt."

    Wow. I'm not sure what to say but that is an upsetting fact. Where's the stat from?

  • They also apply to the NHL, the worst sports league in the country.

  • Hey MW I love the NHL too. I'm a diehard Hawks fan. But look what the hard cap is doing to our current team. I love how the NBA is structured so you are both encouraged and given the right to resign your own players. The Hawks should have been able to resign their pick of players like Buff, Niemi, Eager, etc.

  • What's bad for the league is that there is a dearth of quality talent. This is evidenced by the fact that lottery picks aren't even getting their first option picked up. And this leads to teams tanking multiple years (NY, Miami, and event the bulls to a certain extent) for the chance of signing a marquee free agent. This then wrecks multiple franchises. The other problem is players severely underperforming big contracts (Baron Davis, Elton Brand, Vin Baker) that teams are stuck with.

    No, what the teams are going to shoot for is a system that restricts marquee FA movement. There will be a much bigger discrepancy between what a player can get as FA and what he can get resigning with his current team. Small market teams like SA can compete just fine if they can keep the good players they draft. Most sign and trades probably disappear, too. With the NBDL, the league can up the age of entry another year or two because young players can go and play professionally and still get to the nba. And contracts will have fewer guaranteed years.

    I'm not sure what they give up to the players to get this deal done, but that's what's going to shake out. And the union won't decertify because the owners will just walk away at that point. For the players it's a living, for the owners, it's a hobby. That's why they didn't decertify in '98. The players will lose 90% of what they could make if the nba goes away and they know that.

  • The Premier League in England (it's the world's top soccer league if you don't know) operates under no salary cap where only the top 4 teams are able to compete for the championship and the league still rakes in billions (and attendance is still high).

  • Was never saying one was better than the other, just pointing out that a league can thrive with that structure as well.

  • In reply to eamuscatuli72:

    Soccer in England has no competition at all. Without innovation and creativity as MW said, any corporation will die sometime or the other.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    Actually it has plenty of competition. You have to consider that England has population of around 50 million. One thing the Premier League has done rather well in the past 10 years is market itself abroad. It has competition from the Bundesliga in Germany, La Liga in Spain, and Serie A in Italy, and every other soccer league in the world. Its not just the top league in England, but the world. The audience for a top NFL regular season game pales in comparison to a top Premiership game when you consider a world wide audience.

    The fact that the NBA, NFL, and MLB cannot compete in England for viewership shows how much further behind these leagues are in marketing their product abroad, even though they are the top leagues in their respective sports.

  • In reply to eamuscatuli72:

    Agree...I meant the sport itself and not the league. American sports has not needed the world wide income until 10/15 years back. I guess they are running the NBA model of the Miami, Lakers, Celtics superstars. There is a certain level of obsession with celebrities in Europe which is a little less in the US. That helps too. NFL doesn't seem to care about other countries because they have are about getting each and every American to watch them first even though they try to get to Europe.
    In all, I think Basketball is the next most universal sport after Soccer and has a good chance of universal appeal. Thus, the NBA needs to look at future business models rather than go for old and outdated models.

  • In reply to eamuscatuli72:

    The NFL, NBA, and MLB not competing in England has nothing to do with being behind in marketing.. it has to do with the fact that we invented all three sports. The majority of die hard fans are former players. Lucky for England, soccer was brought over with immigration and has some minimal popularity in the US. People aren't immigrating to England bringing Football with them.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    There's actually more competition between pro soccer leagues than any other sport in the world.

  • EQUALIZED SALARIES = EQUALIZED REVENUE
    HARD SALARY CAP + 100% REVENUE SHARING

    If there was a hard cap to equalize team salaries regardless of their market size or team revenues, then there must also be a league-wide equalization of team revenues, i.e complete revenue sharing between all 30 teams in all market sizes.

    Otherwise the hard cap would be too low. It would be set low enough for the small market teams to survive and make money, while Knicks, Lakers, Bulls, etc. would be making obscenely HUGE PROFITS due to an artificially low hard cap on salaries.

    If your going to advocate socialism with a hard salary cap there should be socialism with team revenues. The owners can't have their cake and eat it too - which is what a hard cap without revenue sharing would be for the owners.

  • In reply to Edward:

    Or rich teams could lower ticket prices or pay for their own stadiums or increase their charitable contributions.

    You're never going to eliminate the financial advantage some teams have.

    MLB has revenue sharing and the Yankees give a lot of their money to teams like Pittsburgh. The Yankees are still good and Pittsburgh still sucks. In fact its more profitable for Pittsburgh to have a low salary and lose than it is for them to increase it and win. With revenue sharing in MLB there is less incentive to increase your payroll.

    The NFL has a salary cap and revenue sharing. The NY teams along with Dallas just built privately financed billion dollar stadiums, while teams like Jacksonville are struggling.

  • In reply to eamuscatuli72:

    Also, what about the NHL? They have a hard cap and revenue sharing? Did you like the Blackhawks winning the Cup? You better enjoy it, b/c its not happening a again for a while. The hard cap forced the front office to get rid of vital contributors. Is it really a good thing when Rocky Wirtz says that the team doesn't make any money going to the finals b/c it has to share its postseason revenue with the league? The team is still losing money. What's happening now? They're raising ticket prices in hope that they will be profitable in a couple years.

  • "Dynasties create periods of stagnation where competition is squelched and progress is limited"

    Wasn't the NBA thriving throughout the Bull's dynasty? The NFL throughout the patriots? Projected ratings for this coming NBA season are through the roof. Why? The Miami Heat. While in no way have they established anything(yet) congruent with the term dynasty their assembly has had the same effect. People are sitting on the edge of their seats waiting to see what will happen. Similar with the Bulls in the 90's. You're either dying to see them reach recurrent glory, or dying to see them lose.

  • So you are arguing the reason the NBA was better in the 90's was the level of talent? Interesting argument, which I might agree on.

    It is indeed apples to oranges. I don't think the NBA can or will ever reach the popularity of the NFL. Consider how many kids played football in highschool vs basketball. One effect that is overlooked as far as the NFL's success is the fact that the average high school has 15-22 starting players along with upwards of 50 on the roster. You just can't match those numbers, in any sport.

    As for the Bulls chances.. I think they are pretty good considering they ride on back of Derrick Rose. Are you counting them out this early in his career?

    Its not like I'm proposing there be no cap at all. I'm proposing the current salary restrictions seem to work well. If you refer to the list of the top 18 team salaries, there are both currently successful teams and failing teams. Obviously great management is still playing a large part. The Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder aren't even in the top 18.

  • Agreed, but that doesn't change the fact that there wasn't a hard cap in the glory days.

  • ahh I see I see. I thought you predicted that X money being closer to what the cap is now. Must have misunderstood you.

  • They made mistakes I admit but still.. they made it to, excuse me won the finals but LOST MONEY! They sold out every single game! All due to revenue sharing. The NHL went to this format because they were dying. Is the NBA dying? If anything the NBA's popularity is on the rise.

  • Interesting parallels showing up in this argument between whether one believes in Capitalism or Socialism. Don't hop on me about how that comparison is ridiculous. I'm not saying they are literally the same. Just an interesting way to look at it.

  • Is the NBA really lacking of any parity right now? I don't see it. Yea the Lakers have the leading NBA salary but that team was built through trades(while one of them was quite suspect) and the fact that they have the best player, remember the Lakers endured some hardships in getting to where they are today.

    What do you think about taking the current policy allowing you to go over the cap to resign your own players and altering so that you can only do so to resign players you drafted?

    Regardless of what your salary totals are you should be able to keep your draft picks by resigning them for what they are worth.

  • Gonna have to disagree on the hawks never being the best team during the regular season.. they were ranked 1st on ESPN's power rankings for multiple weeks..lol :)

  • Still multiple people have brought up the term socialism in their posts. I really didn't mean to infer that whether one was socialist or capitalist determined how they view this, but rather that the terms relate to a hard cap vs soft cap vs no cap.

  • I don't have the time to spenmd on here like i used to, and I can't look up all the info on this right now that I'd like to.

    Let me just say that hard cap sounds too socialist/fixed to me. I agree that teams in major markets like L.A. and N.Y do have an unfair advantage under the current system, but I more wonder how Phil Jackson ends up with Kobe after Michael in a "deal" and then Shaq? Things like that bug me a lot more then certain franchises spending more money. I do like the soft(salary) cap, and the luxury tax, and the shared BRI/split down the middle. I also like Doug's idea of sliding gaurunteed contracts 100%, 75, 50, 25.

    I doubt that this union decertification is as certain and powerful as it's initially being reported. These owners and congress i.e whitey can be pretty creative using the law to their advantage and interpretation. I just hope a competitive system with no lockout will prevail.

  • The NHL has 10 players making 8-10 million a year. And only one of those is making 10. How many NBA players are making over 8 million dollars?

    The highest paid NBA player makes 24M, NHL as mentioned is at 10M, NFL is 26M, MLB 20 some M. How is 10 M nearly as large yet half of 20M?

    As for your other arguments, I understand it can't hurt for money to stay in the league, but this is a business. Its not the owner's paramount interest that the League does well. Sure Rocky wants the NHL to grow in popularity and improve fiscally. But he's not going to put the league ahead of himself year after year. So give the team at least enough of the revenue to break even for gods sakes to at least keep him interested.

  • Interesting thoughts.

    Look, its tough from our position to form opinions on matters like these. Trying to think as a businessman while simultaneously fighting off our preexisting tendencies as fans.

    I can say one thing with confidence then turn around and argue against it. Its what makes this so tough. The only thing that I can say I strongly believe in is that you have to keep the draft relevant. Allow teams to resign the guys they've developed. It really takes away from a team's focus on coaching and player development if you don't have a fair shot to retain the guys you drafted. And to say a team should just prepare for paying draftees by being careful with who they get in FA is unfair. If you ask someone to predict how much a player they draft will be worth in 3 years, and make FA decisions based on that, then they will lose interest in developing that player to any level higher than the expected. What we have now is a league where it pays to develop a player beyond expectations, and I'd hate to see that lost. It's unique and of more value than people acknowledge.

  • In reply to jgingeri:

    And yes I'm discounting that you can develop a player for trade value, but its a much more healthy relationship between coach and player if the player knows the coach is developing him to be a part of the team that drafted him. If a player knows he's just being groomed so that the team can ship him off for the best price the whole thing becomes a negative experience for the player.

  • In reply to jgingeri:

    American Sports in general are more advanced than European sports not only in terms of the league but also in finance management and rules. I have observed both soccer and cricket ...the other two big sports financially in other countries. IMO, even though those sports are making money, they are still way behind the NBA, NFL, MLB in terms of creativity, competition, organization. Those sports are relying on the fans not having anything else at a high level not being available. The NBA has to look at long term viability and get away from the celebrity driven culture and big market only viable teams. Anyhow, most of the revenue in the future is from TV revenue and merchandise sales rather than tickets because of the world wide exposure.

  • In reply to jgingeri:

    I think your analysis of the salary cap-less world and only 5 teams having a chance misses something crucial. 20 of the last 31 titles have been won by 3 teams (Lakers, Bulls, Celtics). 27 have been won by 5 teams (the above three plus Spurs & Pistons).

    History suggests there's already a system where only 5 teams realistically have a chance of winning the championship. The NBA clearly doesn't need parity to be successful. It needs the illusion of parity to provide hope.

  • same to you.. good stuff

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