Hey does it feel like there is a competitive balance issue in the NBA? Kinda sorta?
Well everyone plays by the same rules right?
Super teams are popping up here and there and for the most part, Small Market teams are left without true, franchise players.
So how can we fix this?
Essentially what has happened is that NBA players are overpaid, EXCEPT the superstars who are way underpaid! These are the franchise guys, the ones who drive success and are marketable. So how can we spread the wealth?
First: The cap makes sense, as does the new progressive tax penalties. Leave those in place with small increases every year or so.
Second: Eliminate MAX Contracts! What? That's right, teams should be able to pay a player anything they see fit; $100 million a year? Go for it!
The caveat is that the max duration of a contract should be 3 years, not four or five. More free agents, more turnovers, more opportunities for teams to get great players.
Keep the rookie scale, keep veteran minimums that are higher with more experience.
Bird rights? Don't need them. Every FA is open for bidding.
So essentially what we would end up with is every team getting close to their max cap with 1 or 2 great players and then paying average players way less. Guess what? This is how the world works. The CEO of Apple computer makes way more than the CEO of Apple's apple farm.
The better the player the more they make. Lebron and Roy Hibbert should never be making the same amount of money. (don't say blah blah blah endorsements. That’s above and beyond the main job function.) [also Hibbert is a great guy and player so no disrespect]
For a team of "Super Friends" to happen they would be taking MASSIVE pay cuts. Trust me that is not happening too often. Lebron passing on an extra $1million a year? Sure. Passing on $20 million more? good luck.
The 3 year contract protects the teams from getting locked into a bad contract for too long. (They will still do it though) Throw $100 million at an All – Star for 3 years? Great, much better than giving Joe Johnson $120 million for 7 above average seasons.
But what about the players you say? How will they have financial security if they only have 3 year deals?
Mandatory deferred compensation. Essentially they are required to save at least 25% of their pay in a NQDC plan. This is pre tax savings so that’s a benefit to them as well. (This should be happening anyway! The NBA isn't exactly filled with the brightest of the bright.)
But what if they only play a few years and never get a big contract?
Sorry but those guys shouldn't be really getting paid millions anyway.
Obviously there are many more details to something like this, but if it's competitive balance the league wants, then they can't limit the price of the best players. Just my thoughts.
Thanks for reading.