Trade Rumors Make Me Wonder


The trade rumors already surfacing, less than a week after the announcement that a 66 game season would be salvaged, make me wonder if the small market teams really got what they wanted.  Chris Paul to New York?  Dwight Howard to New Jersey?  Those big market GMs don’t seem to be missing a beat, or getting the memo.  It’s not supposed to be like this anymore.  If players are willing to take less money to go to big markets – where their jerseys and shoes will sell more, where their brands will gain cache through massive TV exposure, where the talent is greater (and I do mean all kinds of talent) – then do small market teams really have a chance?  Or is this just a product of the last throws of the previous CBA playing out?

Are there too many small market teams in the NBA?  If you assume each NBA team has two stars recognizable to the general public, that puts the number at 60.  But that’s a generous number.  Most folks have never heard of the likes of Monta Ellis, Kevin Love, Zach Randolph, Al Horford, Nene, David West, Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap, Brandon Jennings, Andrew Bogut,  or LaMarcus Aldridge.  When you’re talking about truly marketable stars, it’s hard to count more than 10.  And as those stars more and more look for strength in numbers – wanting to recreate their own Showtime Lakers, Dynasty Bulls, or Legendary Celtics – there is less and less hope for teams that cannot scoff at the salary tax.

In a world where less profit is considered a five alarm fire for a business (think about that, not losses but less profit than the previous year), contracting locations is considered an unthinkable prospect.  It is viewed as a drastic measure, a sign of weakness that only the most desperate of business would dare engage in.  But I can’t help but wonder if fewer teams, and fewer games is exactly what the NBA needs.  Remove 10 of those teams, and suddenly every franchise can have three legitimate performers.  And fully half the league can have superstars, compared to the less than one-third now.  Start every season on Christmas, and play 41 games and suddenly each contest means more.  And the stars are more prepared and rested for the playoffs.

But that is a pipe dream.  There is only one direction the NBA can drive itself.  That is towards more.  More teams.  More games.  Europe.  China.  Anywhere.  Anytime.  In other words, the NBA is fully wrapped up in the completely unsustainable nature of modern western business culture.  Which makes me wonder what the next CBA will be like.  And the one after that.  At what point will the beast break its own back with its girth?  And how close did it just come to doing exactly that?

2 Responses to “Trade Rumors Make Me Wonder”

  1. jpalumbo Says:

    Every venture that leaps off a cliff thinks its flying, but most of them end in a splat.

    Contraction seems unlikely, but how about relocation? Seattle needs a team. Michael Jordan’s “Chicago Aires” could probably sell out the United Center fielding a team of junior high kids. Anaheim is ready. Las Vegas. Atlanta is a major Delta hub. They should get a team.

  2. pmadavi Says:

    Ouch! That one hit the Hawk fan right below his belt. Relocation to bigger markets is a pretty good idea. But like contraction, it’s not growth, so the NBA would not go for that a strategy. More likely, Vegas and Seattle would get teams 31 and 32.

    Would be nice to see the Seattle Supersonics back in the Association. What would the Vegas team be called?

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