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View Full Version : Kravitz talks with Simon about small market teams & new CBA



Peck
02-28-2011, 04:15 AM
http://www.indystar.com/article/20110228/SPORTS15/102280328/1062/SPORTS04/NBA-s-next-contract-must-give-small-markets-chance

by
Bob Kravitz

Herb Simon looks at his Indiana Pacers, his small-market team with its small-market revenues, and wonders how he will compete in the years to come. He's not alone. Ownership all throughout the NBA, in places not named Miami, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, are asking how they are going to challenge the big-market hegemony when all the superstars are colluding to go to the Heat, Knicks, Lakers and others.

LeBron James and Chris Bosh to the Heat. Carmelo Anthony to the Knicks. Deron Williams to the New Jersey/Brooklyn Nets. Dwight Howard threatening to leave Orlando. Leaving Cleveland, Toronto, Denver, Utah and Orlando to wonder how they can compete -- much less survive -- in a league that gets top-heavier each passing month.

"I'm a little concerned about the gravitation away from the smaller teams,'' Simon said. "If Green Bay can win (an NFL) championship with 100,000 population, then we should be able to win a championship, too.''

I don't have an issue with the megastars who use their power to join other stars in the bigger markets. That's their right. They are simply taking full advantage of a system that gives them the opportunity to win titles and maximize their brands. What we're seeing is the AAU-izaton of the NBA, with the top players wanting to join other stars to form super-teams, just like they did throughout the summers of their youth.

But the NBA has to put a brake to this trend, before the league becomes a collection of four or five super teams and 25 others that have absolutely no hope to compete for titles.

"We need to even the playing field and do something about the disparity in revenues,'' Simon said. "It shouldn't be only the large markets who win championships. So I think the owners are very united on the tack we want to take to make the system fairer for everybody.''

It used to be that superstars tended to remain with their teams because of the Bird Exception, which gave the original team the opportunity to pay its player more money, with more years on the contract, than anybody else.

Now, though, the money is so huge everywhere, superstars are saying, "Look, I'm making more than I'll ever spend in six lifetimes. I'll take $8 million less to play in Miami and win championships.''

Again, I don't blame them. Didn't we always criticize them for being all about the money? Now they're showing they're all about the championships and the lifestyle.

But the system has to change with this upcoming collective bargaining agreement.

There needs to be more revenue sharing, to start.

There also needs to be either a hard salary cap -- right now it's softer than my midsection -- or the ability to apply an NFL-like franchise tag on top players.

A professional league is only as strong as its weakest members. The NBA is going to benefit wildly in the short term from this talent migration to the big markets; fans love super teams, and the league's ratings are showing that. But in time, you're going to end up with 20 teams or more struggling to compete, struggling to put fannies in the seats. At some point, the Heat, Knicks and Lakers have to play somebody.

One of the many reasons the NFL matters more than any other American professional sports league is that everybody has a reasonable chance to compete for a title. There are revenue disparities between teams, but generally, revenue-sharing and the salary cap give well-managed franchises a chance to win a Super Bowl. Like the Saints and Colts. Like the Packers and Steelers.

Now, there are exceptions to the rule in the NBA. The San Antonio Spurs play in a smaller market and currently have the league's best record. That's because they've drafted brilliantly -- not just Tim Duncan as the no-brainer No. 1 choice, but Tony Parker (28th pick, one pick after Jamaal Tinsley), Manu Ginobili (57th pick), DeJuan Blair (37th) and George Hill (26th). Brilliant management and talent evaluation can overcome a middling (13th) payroll.

There's the Oklahoma City Thunder, another small-market team. They've rebuilt by bottoming out, then striking gold in the draft with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.

It can be done. But it's becoming more and more unlikely.

The current salary cap is $58.04 million, and teams begin paying a dollar-for-dollar luxury tax when they exceed $70.307 million. Some teams paying the luxury tax (Lakers, Magic, Mavericks and Celtics) are among those expected to contend for a title.

The Pacers are 22nd in the league in payroll.

"Money still matters a great deal,'' Simon said. "That's why you see the people who can spend the most money have the most talent right now.''

Don't blame the superstars for exercising their rights. But if the NBA fails to forge a new agreement that gives the Pacers of the world a chance to compete, the league is in deeper trouble than it knows

spazzxb
02-28-2011, 04:21 AM
Hmm, Bob wrote this and I didn't hate it.

McKeyFan
02-28-2011, 07:45 AM
Wish he would have described some possible solutions.

HOOPFANATIC
02-28-2011, 09:00 AM
Superteams have ALWAYS dominated the NBA. There's just more than 2 now. Small market teams have always been and always will be able to compete for championships. They just have to be well run. San Antonio is a perfect example. Don't believe that it is an exception, they have a team of developed talent around their one superstar who they immediately partnered with and let make organization and lineup descisions. Miller did the same thing with Karl Malone and Stockton in Utah. The 90s Pacers did it as well to a lesser degree. Most NBA teams today, however, get a star player and immediately start
hunting for a better one. The goal should always be about putting a team together that has chemistry enough to excel together, not individually.

Unclebuck
02-28-2011, 09:41 AM
I think comparing the NBA to the NFL serves very little if any purpose. The busines models are so different, there aren't that many possibilities of differences in revenue in the NFL because they make most of their money on national TV. Local TV which is a huge difference maker in the NBA is a non-factor in the NFL

Pacerized
02-28-2011, 09:53 AM
Kravitz hit's it right on the head with this one. I think there's a lot of ways to address this and it may need to be addressed in more then one way. The new CBA needs to keep free agency but it needs to discourage superstars from piling up on one team. A hard cap, franchise tag, and limiting the # of max contract players on 1 team all might help.
Hoopfanatic: I disagree with you on several points.
First the trend we're seeing now is a lot different then anything we've seen before. Jordan didn't join with Hakeem while he was in his prime to win a title. Larry didn't go to LA to join with Magic. That's what we're seeing right now. It needs to be stopped or the nba is going to lose even more fans in all the small market teams once it's obvious that their teams don't stand of chance of ever competing for a title. San Antonio is the exception and while I'd love to see them win the title this year over L.A. Boston, or Miami it's not going to happen. And they are the lone exception for a small market team to win a title in recent history.
A complete lack of parity happened during the Lakers/Celtics title years of the 80's and look at how well that worked out for the Pacers.
I agree with putting together a good team and it needs chemistry but no team with a bunch or role players and one fringe star is ever going to beat what Miami and LA have going in a 7 game series. NY will be there is they're allowed to pick up one more star.

I like what I'm reading from Simon. I hope he's very outspoken with the other owners to try to focus on parity in the next cba.

travmil
02-28-2011, 11:11 AM
I think comparing the NBA to the NFL serves very little if any purpose. The busines models are so different, there aren't that many possibilities of differences in revenue in the NFL because they make most of their money on national TV. Local TV which is a huge difference maker in the NBA is a non-factor in the NFL

Right now, the NFL is the Gold Standard in the entire world for how a professional sports league should be grown and maintained. Saying you shouldn't compare the NBA to that is saying that you don't want the NBA to be that. What the NFL has done IS possible for the NBA, IF the NBA and their owners want it.

BillS
02-28-2011, 11:27 AM
I'm shocked, shocked I tell you, that I agree with a Kravitz column. It must be the Herb Simon factor.

Considering Herb has been one of the staunch supporters of Stern and the league leadership, this really plays into the idea that owners are starting to dissent from the "what's good for the Knicks is good for the league" perspective.

It may presage a longer lockout than many hoped, but it certainly means the owners have an understanding of what they need to come out with.

I just hope someone can get creative.

Jose Slaughter
02-28-2011, 12:51 PM
How about this....

The minimum salary for players is tied to the player with the top salary on that team.

example: The top player on a team makes $8,000,000. Lets say they put in a 20% rule, all other players on that roster must have a salary of at least 1.6.

I know you could still have guys taking less money to chase a ring but it might limit the number of large contracts that a team can carry.

Just a thought

BillS
02-28-2011, 01:19 PM
I know you could still have guys taking less money to chase a ring but it might limit the number of large contracts that a team can carry.

I think the idea of limiting large contracts was one of the targets of Kstat's proposal, and I think it is the only thing that might work. Taking a pay cut is one thing, taking a ridiculous pay cut is another.

Major Cold
02-28-2011, 01:24 PM
The issue is not that the players are willing to take less money to be in big market teams. The issue now is that they are demanding a trade with a sign and trade deal to get that cash and destination.

The players have too much control. It is time for a hard cap and signing bonuses (with waiver policies). It is time for pensions to be honored with long term players with the money saved on those waived contracts. Lets reward those who worked after they received the big pay day.

oxxo
02-28-2011, 01:33 PM
There NEEDS to be a hard cap, much fewer exceptions, and revenue sharing. Right now with all the exceptions the rich/big market teams get to spend so much more that it isn't even funny.

naptownmenace
02-28-2011, 01:57 PM
There NEEDS to be a hard cap, much fewer exceptions, and revenue sharing. Right now with all the exceptions the rich/big market teams get to spend so much more that it isn't even funny.

Agreed. The luxury tax didn't really work the way the current CBA intended. There needs to be a hard cap as well to help distribute some of the players and keep owners from loading up on multiple max salaried players.

Some of my suggestions are:

1. Set a limit of only 2 max-salary players per team.

2. Offer teams over the cap 2 mid-level exceptions per season or at least make it available for 2 players every other season.

3. Make one Franchise tag available per team. However, once a team has used it to re-sign their top free agent, you can no longer use it for as long as that player is under contract. The Franchise player also cannot be traded for at least 3 seasons or half of the term of the contract, whichever is shorter.

beast23
02-28-2011, 10:17 PM
I think comparing the NBA to the NFL serves very little if any purpose. The busines models are so different, there aren't that many possibilities of differences in revenue in the NFL because they make most of their money on national TV. Local TV which is a huge difference maker in the NBA is a non-factor in the NFLYou kind of surprised me with your post.

Although no agreement will ever be "perfect", the NFL CBA does as good a job as is possible at establishing parity among its teams.

As for the NBA, I think a hard cap and a franchise tag are absolutely essential. I also believe that revenue sharing of gate receipts, perhaps a 60-40 split would be helpful.

If the hard cap is set at the current LTE, then there might as well not be a hard cap at all... at 70M a large percentage of teams will still lose money. Set at the current salary cap (58M) or lower, it is much more likely that small market teams might make money and that limit would also prevent teams from stockpiling three or more superstars... unless one or more is willing to accept a very low salary.

Another thing that might prove useful would be to allow teams only 3-4 years to get below the hard cap. The penalty for being over should be much more severe... perhaps a 3-to-1 payment of salary dollars over the limit that is to be split ONLY among teams below the hard cap... as well as maybe a forfeiture of 1st round draft choices until the team is under the hard cap.

These are desperate times and it takes desperate measures to achieve parity and restore financial well-being for all franchises.

Trophy
02-28-2011, 10:26 PM
Simon is a good owner and has done well managing this team the past years.

I don't think there's too many top big market teams in the league.

The Lakers, Celtics, Knicks, and Bulls (who built up from the draft) are the ones that'll probably be the top.

Miami's market is average.

Down the road, I think the league is gonna have new contenders (hopefully us) with all the top veteran teams players retired or older and signed with different teams.

Richard_Skull
03-01-2011, 01:16 AM
I had a crazy idea the other day (and one that would probably never happen, but all so fun to think about IMO). How 'bout we increase the length of each quarter to 15:00 for a total of one hour of basketball. Theoretically, this would force teams to build solid 2nd units (the thinking is that the 2nd unit would get the majority of the extra minutes, and that teams wouldn't be crazy enough to actually make superstars play 50+minutes).

Imagine how good the pacers would be if other teams' 2nd units had to go against ours for another 10-12 minutes.

On a side note, think how much easier it would be to develop the young talent. It would be so easy to give the Lances and PGs of the NBA 20 mins a game. I also wonder how many of those Eurostars the NBA could get if they could promise them 20 minutes a night.

There would have to be some tweaking, such as larger active roster (say 15) and IR; a third draft round. Maybe an extra time-out. I would still leave 6 fouls and your out to help protect players from overplaying.

Like I said, it is just an interesting thought (to me anyway).

indygeezer
03-01-2011, 08:24 AM
I had a crazy idea the other day (and one that would probably never happen, but all so fun to think about IMO). How 'bout we increase the length of each quarter to 15:00 for a total of one hour of basketball. Theoretically, this would force teams to build solid 2nd units (the thinking is that the 2nd unit would get the majority of the extra minutes, and that teams wouldn't be crazy enough to actually make superstars play 50+minutes).

Imagine how good the pacers would be if other teams' 2nd units had to go against ours for another 10-12 minutes.

On a side note, think how much easier it would be to develop the young talent. It would be so easy to give the Lances and PGs of the NBA 20 mins a game. I also wonder how many of those Eurostars the NBA could get if they could promise them 20 minutes a night.

There would have to be some tweaking, such as larger active roster (say 15) and IR; a third draft round. Maybe an extra time-out. I would still leave 6 fouls and your out to help protect players from overplaying.

Like I said, it is just an interesting thought (to me anyway).

I like it.

BTW....does Florida still have 0 income tax? Is that fair to be allowed to spend the same amount and yet offer Florida amenities + no income tax?

KevinB
03-01-2011, 09:04 AM
I think the way to control the "Super Team" problem, is with a hard cap and no max salary per player. If say, the cap is 60 million, and some team is willing to give LeBron 40 million, let them do it. He would not be able to convince another superstar to join him for significantly less than he is getting. Max contracts, and the ability to handle 2 to 3 of them, is just inviting the idea of joining forces. If there is no max, then they could go to the highest bidder, and if everyone is working with the same hard cap, that would give the smaller markets a better chance to compete for the stars.

The Jackson shimmy
03-01-2011, 09:08 AM
San Antonio is indeed the exception. But let's remember something about
how they got to where they are. It wasn't just about being run very
well and brilliant draft choices.

A BIG part of it was nothing more than sheer luck. If Robinson hadn't
been injured and lost for the season way back when, they'd have never
had a shot at drafting Duncan. Without that injury, since they are run
so well, they'd probably have still been pretty good. But they would never
have had the level of success that makes them the 'exception' that they
are.

Pacerized
03-01-2011, 10:22 AM
I think the way to control the "Super Team" problem, is with a hard cap and no max salary per player. If say, the cap is 60 million, and some team is willing to give LeBron 40 million, let them do it. He would not be able to convince another superstar to join him for significantly less than he is getting. Max contracts, and the ability to handle 2 to 3 of them, is just inviting the idea of joining forces. If there is no max, then they could go to the highest bidder, and if everyone is working with the same hard cap, that would give the smaller markets a better chance to compete for the stars.

That's actually not a bad idea. Max contracts most likely came about to control spending but if they had a hard cap it may not be needed.

Hibbert
03-01-2011, 11:22 AM
I think its ridiculous that when a vetern player is traded to somewhere he doesnt want to play (losing record, small market team) that he can get bought out and than pick and choose where he wants to play, making the best teams even better and giving that team added depth. There has to be a fix to this and if a player is bought out he should than be placed on waivers and the team with the worst record should have first dibs on him and go from there.

MyFavMartin
03-01-2011, 11:28 AM
Weren't we paying the luxury tax in the late 90s?

pacer4ever
03-01-2011, 03:18 PM
Weren't we paying the luxury tax in the late 90s?

yes and we will do it again if we are winning and contending for titles. But we didnt get many FA's we got our players via draft and trades.

BillS
03-01-2011, 03:44 PM
Weren't we paying the luxury tax in the late 90s?

yes and we will do it again if we are winning and contending for titles. But we didnt get many FA's we got our players via draft and trades.

:confused:

The luxury tax didn't come into being until after the 1999 lockout, as far as I know, and also was only enforced based on the whole total income/escrow provisions (I think if player income ended up greater than the appropriate percentage). The "hard" luxury tax (where a team over a specified limit paid LT no matter what) didn't come into effect until 2005.

BobbyMac
03-01-2011, 03:45 PM
Kravitz could not have written this, he didn't stab anyone in the back. Must have been by an intern and then Kraptiz published it under his name.

shags
03-01-2011, 09:48 PM
I think its ridiculous that when a vetern player is traded to somewhere he doesnt want to play (losing record, small market team) that he can get bought out and than pick and choose where he wants to play, making the best teams even better and giving that team added depth. There has to be a fix to this and if a player is bought out he should than be placed on waivers and the team with the worst record should have first dibs on him and go from there.

That IS how it works. That's the system the NBA has now. If Sacramento wanted to claim Mike Bibby, they could have. Hell, if the Pacers had waived T.J. Ford and claimed Derrick Brown, they would have got him over the Knicks.

Pacerized
03-01-2011, 10:20 PM
That IS how it works. That's the system the NBA has now. If Sacramento wanted to claim Mike Bibby, they could have. Hell, if the Pacers had waived T.J. Ford and claimed Derrick Brown, they would have got him over the Knicks.

I don't think that's how it works. Players like Murphy get to choose which team they want to sign with. Thus the article of Murphy choosing the Celtics over Miami. I think it would be better to have the players go into a pool that gives first dibs to the teams with the lowest records as suggested.

shags
03-01-2011, 10:46 PM
I don't think that's how it works. Players like Murphy get to choose which team they want to sign with. Thus the article of Murphy choosing the Celtics over Miami. I think it would be better to have the players go into a pool that gives first dibs to the teams with the lowest records as suggested.

That's absolutely how it works. If a team has an exception to claim a waived player (either cap space, disabled player exception, or a trade exception greater than that player's salary) or if the player makes the minimum salary (signed for 1 or 2 years), then they can claim him. That team becomes responsible for the entire salary.

See http://members.cox.net/lmcoon/salarycap.htm#Q56.

Guess what? The Pacers could claim Al Thornton if they wanted. All they have to do is cut T.J. Ford, and hope none of the other teams below them in the standings claim him.

Hicks
03-01-2011, 11:39 PM
That's how waivers work, but is that still the case for players who are bought out?

beast23
03-02-2011, 12:39 AM
That's how waivers work, but is that still the case for players who are bought out?I'm pretty sure you are correct in trying to imply a distinction.

The player who is bought out becomes an immediate free agent and is free to negotiate with any team.

A player who is waived must first clear waivers before he becomes a free agent. For a player waived during the season, the waiver period is 7 days. If two or more teams want the player, the team with the worst record "claims" him, as long as they either have room under the salary cap to do so, or they have an available exception to assist them in acquiring the salary.

If the player is not claimed within the waiver period, the player becomes an immediate free agent and can negotiate with any team.

wintermute
03-02-2011, 07:33 AM
shags is correct. This how the system works. Lowest teams by record get first dibs at waived players. That's why "clearing waivers" takes 2-3 days. Every team gets a chance to say no.

That works for buyouts as well. Technically, a player gets waived AND bought out. Teams have the right to unilaterally waive players, but this puts on them on the hook for any remaining salary. The buyout is an agreement with the player for the team to give less than the full remaining salary in exchange for the player getting waived.

In Murphy's case, the reason no one picked him off waivers (including Boston and Miami) is because those teams would then be on the hook for the remaining pro rated part of Murphy's $12m salary. Not only is that expensive, but it would be impossible for either Boston or Miami since they lack cap space/exceptions.

I don't mind the practice at all. It's a fair tradeoff I think - player gets freedom, team gets discount. When everyone is offering the same money (e.g. vet min), then obviously the player would choose to go to a contender. It's the same reason why contenders could always get veterans to sign on for less money.

wintermute
03-02-2011, 07:37 AM
I'm pretty sure you are correct in trying to imply a distinction.

The player who is bought out becomes an immediate free agent and is free to negotiate with any team.



That's not right. Bought out players go through the waiver process.

From Larry Coon's FAQ



62. What is a contract buy-out?

Sometimes players and teams decide to divorce each other. They do this by mutually agreeing that:

* The team will waive the player;
* If the player clears waivers, the compensation protection for lack of skill (see question number 94) will be reduced or eliminated;
* Optionally the payment schedule for the remaining salary may be shortened or lengthened.
* Optionally the team's set-off rights (see question number 57) may be waived.



Players like Murphy or Bibby appear to have more freedom because of their prohibitive contracts. But really they go through the same process.

NuffSaid
03-02-2011, 04:54 PM
One way the Pacers can improve their local/regional brand is to start drafting players who are well known from Indiana and are rising stars in the NBA. As I look around the league or even read periodicals on IndyStar.com, I see alot of former IU, Purdue or Notre Dame players who play for other teams, not the Pacers.

Greg Oden, Eric Gordon, Gordon Hayward, George Hill and a few others. Even Tyler Hansborough's younger brother, Ben, who now plays for Notre Dame. If Indiana's suppose to be this basketball mecca, why aren't the Pacers going after more of the local/regional talent? I mean, just look at how many fans came out to see Gordon Hayward play? Look at how many fans still pack the Fieldhouse when Zach Randolph comes to visit. It just makes sense to me to "recruit from within"...sorta. Many of the former Indiana college basketball players have recited on a number of occasion how they grew up watching the Pacers (and Reggie Miller) play the game and have long dreamed of playing at the Fieldhouse (or old MSA before the Pacers made the transition to the Fieldhouse). To me, it just makes sense for the Pacers to start drafting more of their own homegrown talent.

I'm not saying they should have a team full of college players from Indiana, just that they should give more consideration towards bring in some of the local/regional talent. People love watching a familiar face on their local pro team representing. TPTB need to tap into that homegrown magic.

pacer4ever
03-02-2011, 05:05 PM
One way the Pacers can improve their local/regional brand is to start drafting players who are well known from Indiana and are rising stars in the NBA. As I look around the league or even read periodicals on IndyStar.com, I see alot of former IU, Purdue or Notre Dame players who play for other teams, not the Pacers.

Greg Oden, Eric Gordon, Gordon Hayward, George Hill and a few others. Even Tyler Hansborough's younger brother, Ben, who now plays for Notre Dame. If Indiana's suppose to be this basketball mecca, why aren't the Pacers going after more of the local/regional talent? I mean, just look at how many fans came out to see Gordon Hayward play? Look at how many fans still pack the Fieldhouse when Zach Randolph comes to visit. It just makes sense to me to "recruit from within"...sorta. Many of the former Indiana college basketball players have recited on a number of occasion how they grew up watching the Pacers (and Reggie Miller) play the game and have long dreamed of playing at the Fieldhouse (or old MSA before the Pacers made the transition to the Fieldhouse). To me, it just makes sense for the Pacers to start drafting more of their own homegrown talent.

I'm not saying they should have a team full of college players from Indiana, just that they should give more consideration towards bring in some of the local/regional talent. People love watching a familiar face on their local pro team representing. TPTB need to tap into that homegrown magic.

This isnt college you draft the best player avalible not because they are from your area. Same with FA if there is more talented players that fit the pacer brand of basketball you get them.

BillS
03-02-2011, 05:11 PM
I'd see going after someone local if all (and I mean ALL) other things are equal between that player and the best of the remaining picks or free agents, but you aren't going to pack the arena every night with a mediocre team full of local boys. We might think that would happen because we get such an attendance surge when one comes in from another city, but if those players were here 41 games, the surge would be spread out among all 41 games.

NuffSaid
03-04-2011, 06:39 PM
This isnt college you draft the best player avalible not because they are from your area. Same with FA if there is more talented players that fit the pacer brand of basketball you get them.
I know what league and/or level or professionalism it is. No need to be snide.

All I'm saying is if, as a small-market team, you're having trouble filling the seats because you can't lure an All-Star caliber player to your team from the pro ranks, why not go after some local talent your region is familiar with?

Again, look at how many people from all over Indiana showed up for Hayward Gordon's Fieldhouse debut? Look at how many people showed up to see Zake Randolph play at the Fieldhouse last year? Same goes for how much appreciation Eric Gordon receives each time he comes here.

I'm not saying any of those guys would ever truly turn out to be All-Stars, but there's NO denying they are highly recognized within the local/regional area and/or across the state. Why not tap into that and build on that local fanbase?

Again, I am in no way advocating filling the roster with local boys. However, I AM saying go after one or two if you can.

BillS
03-04-2011, 07:05 PM
Again, look at how many people from all over Indiana showed up for Hayward Gordon's Fieldhouse debut? Look at how many people showed up to see Zake Randolph play at the Fieldhouse last year? Same goes for how much appreciation Eric Gordon receives each time he comes here.


you aren't going to pack the arena every night with a mediocre team full of local boys. We might think that would happen because we get such an attendance surge when one comes in from another city, but if those players were here 41 games, the surge would be spread out among all 41 games.

Pre-answered.