Stern to consider eliminating franchises from NBA

I’m going to point to the article on Slam, but it’s a topic gaining traction today in a variety of locations.

David Stern proposed a pair of controversial options yesterday when discussing the ongoing CBA negotiations.

Quoting from CBS:

“What we told our players initially is that we’d like to get profitable and we’d like to have a return on our investment,” Stern said. “And there’s a swing of somewhere in the neighborhood of between $750 [million] and $800 million that we would like to change. That’s our story and we’re sticking with it.”

Once you do a little math, this basically means that Stern is proposed a 33% reduction in player salaries under the new CBA.

So… that’ll be fun for the Player’s Association.

As a outsider, I can’t really decide if this is real (i.e. Stern and the league won’t sign a new CBA without this reduction), or if this is more of a posturing move on behalf of the league in an effort to lay down an expectation that the owners will want *some* reduction in player salaries.

Still, that’s not the big news. This also from CBS:

In another staggering development, CBSSports.com learned that salaries may not be the only area cut as the NBA tries to gets its financial books up to speed with the explosion in popularity the league will experience this season. A person with knowledge of the owners’ discussions said the league “will continue to be open to contraction” as a possible mechanism for restoring the league to profitability.

Ouch.

Here, too, I can’t really tell if this is real or not, but the prospect of eliminating franchises from the NBA in an effort to restore overall league profitability is really not something I’m a fan of.

It’s a controversial topic, to be sure, especially with the lens that there is a undercurrent of NBA critics who maintain that the league expanded too quickly over the past three decades, and that the overall quality of players in the league have suffered as a result.

Those critics have been proponents of contraction for several years as an effort to consolidate talent to a smaller number of teams and return to the kind of days when teams like the 85-86 Celtics and 86-87 Lakers featured multiple all-stars and/or Hall of Famers.

I disagree.

First off, I happen to think that the available player pool is in fact stronger than it was in the late 70s and 80s – a result of more players playing from an younger and the increased competitiveness of international talent – but beyond that, I don’t see how the elimination of teams changes the complexion the league to provide multiple All-Stars on every roster.

Let’s say that the NBA elects to eliminate even two teams from both conferences. In all likelihood, that probably winds up looking like the Toronto Raptors and Indiana Pacers (ugh) in the East and the the Sacramento Kings and either the Memphis Grizzles or (as ugly as it sounds) the New Orleans Hornets if Chris Paul leaves.

Here’s the list of meaningful players those cuts would put back into the pool:

  • Leandrinho Barbosa
  • Danny Granger
  • Tyreke Evans
  • Marc Gasol
  • Rudy Gay
  • Emeka Okafor

So, then let’s assume that the Lakers and Celtics use their expansion budgets to grab a player a piece – like they always do – that gives 1-2 teams per conference with one additional meaningful player on their rosters.

Contraction would provide a slightly larger cut of league revenue to their teams and it would provide a slight strengthening to a handful of other teams, but is that worth the elimination of franchises with the histories of teams like the Kings and… the Pacers?

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~ by djepperson on October 22, 2010.

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