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View Full Version : Good JA Adande article: Small market, Part 1



Hicks
04-08-2011, 02:12 PM
http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/columns/story?columnist=adande_ja&page=SmallMarkets-110407
ESPN.com
JA Adande

There's a short, nice video if you follow the link.



Maybe the NBA should be thought of as the Starship Enterprise, with the storylines always revolving around the same few people despite a crew of hundreds on board. Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Scotty, LeBron, Kobe, Carmelo, Dwight. Of the more than 400 NBA transactions since July 1, seven changed the way we think about the league: the signings of LeBron James and Chris Bosh and retention of Dwyane Wade in Miami, the acquisitions of Amare Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony in New York and the departures of Carlos Boozer and Deron Williams from Utah.

The common theme was that the stars, the guys you see on the bridge of the Enterprise, went from smaller markets to larger markets. In a sport that can be dominated by a select few players -- 10 of the past 12 champions have featured Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan or Shaquille O'Neal -- any hope for competitive balance resides in the ability of all teams' being able to land and retain those stars.

"Many of us are dealing with the same issues, in that now it looks like free agents are saying, 'I want to play in a few markets,'" Milwaukee Bucks general manager John Hammond said. "If I were saying, 'There's 30 NBA teams, and we're the only team facing that obstacle'? Then woe is us. We have no chance to survive. I think we're the majority; we're not the minority."

In this case, though, there might not be strength in numbers. The NBA is in danger of becoming a caste system -- or a "Star Trek" cast system -- where the bulk of teams can sell their fans tickets but not hope. It will shape the upcoming collective bargaining negotiations, in which teams in smaller cities will attempt to get on even financial footing with their larger counterparts. Some, including NBA commissioner David Stern, note that seven of the past eight teams standing in the 2010 playoffs were those that spent above the luxury-tax threshold.

But do you know who won't be paying a luxury tax this season? The San Antonio Spurs, who have the best record in the league. Same with the Chicago Bulls and Miami Heat, two of the top three teams in the Eastern Conference. It's not just about money. Lifestyle plays a role as well. Keep in mind, James and Bosh did not get the maximum amount of money by going to Miami. Nothing in the upcoming CBA can move a landlocked Midwestern city to a warmer climate by the ocean. That doesn't exactly create equal opportunities around the league.

"Fair chance?" said Marcus Barrett, a Charlotte Bobcats fan. "Nah, I wouldn't say a fair chance. Because all the superstars don't want to come here."

I spent time talking with players, executives and fans from small markets and visiting New Orleans, Charlotte and Milwaukee, trying to see whether there was any belief the teams there could be competitive and discovering how they could make it happen.

The answers didn't get any more brutally honest than Corey Maggette's.

"I don't think so," said Maggette, who has played in Orlando, Los Angeles, Oakland and currently Milwaukee. "They can't compete with these [large] markets, you know?

"It's just like saying, 'Milwaukee or Los Angeles? Where do you want to go? Where do you want to live?' It's tough, man."

Sacramento is likely to see its entire team travel down Interstate 5 to Anaheim in the coming months. The Hornets needed the NBA to take over the team to keep it solvent. And the next Hall of Fame-bound free agent who jumps to Indiana or Cleveland will be the first.

Less than a week before he was traded by the Jazz to the Nets, Deron Williams lamented that in Utah, "It's hard to get free agents. It is. You look at [the Jazz] the last couple years, besides Booz [Carlos Boozer], we haven't had any really big free agents. Most people either got traded or drafted. We had some great second-round picks that have blossomed for us, Paul Millsap, Jeremy Evans, some of those. It's hard. I mean, I've tried. I recruit the heck out of people."

So did Jazz general manager Kevin O'Connor.

"Do you make a call to those people?" O'Connor said. "Sure. If they say no, you move on. Those are excuses. You can win. If your ownership's committed, you can win."

O'Connor traded Williams because he wasn't sure that Williams would stay in Utah once he had the option to become a free agent in 2012. Coming on the heels of Jerry Sloan's resignation, it felt like an especially crushing blow to the hopes of small markets. Many look up to Utah's ability to field playoff teams year after year. They were the model of stability, with Sloan occupying the head coach's seat since 1988 and Larry Miller repeatedly writing big checks since becoming the full-fledged owner since 1986. Miller died in 2009. Even longtime play-by-play announcer Hot Rod Hundley has retired.

The Spurs are considered the model small-market franchise, winning four championships between 1999 and 2007, the result of stability plus ingenuity. (They were among the first and most successful at finding and incorporating foreign-born players.) Yet some will tell you they modeled themselves after the Jazz. And if the Jazz model can't be sustained, then what?

The hope turns to the Oklahoma City Thunder, with their San Antonio-trained general manager, Sam Presti, currently among the four best teams in the Western Conference.

The Thunder have some of the same revenue limitations. They decided they could afford to be patient. That meant no drastic moves even when the team got off to a 3-29 start two seasons ago.

"Every team handles their business differently," Presti said. "For us, we've chosen to focus on trying to build a team that is sustainable and, in doing that, certainly have had to make some decisions that were very tough decisions. Understanding that at the time they were difficult for people to understand and to accept but also recognizing that for us to continue trying to build in a proactive fashion, they were necessary.

"One of the hardest principles to assimilate into your process is that of restraint. And understanding that any time you're team-building and your goal is to build something sustainable that has a foundation and a strong base, there is a level of patience and an approach you have to take where sometimes you have to wait for things to develop as opposed to looking for quick fixes or things that might make you feel better."


That's actually where small markets have an advantage. With everything going on in Los Angeles and with the championship-or-bust expectations placed on the Lakers and Celtics franchises, those teams have to do everything they can, spend whatever it takes to win now, or they'll be irrelevant. When you're the only major pro team in the entire state, in the Thunder's case, where else will the fans turn while they're waiting?

And it's not about getting the fans to buy in so much as it is instilling belief in the best players. Oklahoma City has done that with Kevin Durant, who took a step in the opposite direction of the spotlight-seeking stars this past summer and committed to a five-year extension with the Thunder.

When asked recently about the challenge of attracting other stars to join him in Oklahoma City, Durant said, "That's come to my mind. I guess that's the way we did it with the draft. They have to come if they're drafted. But if we continue to just play hard and be a team that comes out and is known for playing hard and playing together. Hopefully, guys that love to play basketball will love to be a part of it.

"Big market, small market, that's something I try not to get into. Everybody else outside the game is going to ask me about it. But I'm here, I like it here, I love my teammates and coaches and the city. I don't have to worry about anything else."

How many other players take that approach?

It almost seems that small markets don't just need to hit the winning lotto numbers, they need to have the bonus number as well. They need to stumble upon a player with Durant's talent and his mindset.

As Maggette said, "The players have got to be really sold on coming to a small market. The only way that's going to happen is if you turn out to be a LeBron James or a Blake Griffin and you're from Milwaukee and you really want to stay in Milwaukee."

And we've already seen how that went with James in his native northeast Ohio.

Eventually, free will and independent thought triumph. The quest is to look for rules and regulations that at least give the smaller markets a fighting chance.

The fans don't understand the minutiae of collective bargaining agreements. The people I talked to were knowledgeable, up-to-date on what's going on in the league, well-versed in the history of their teams and the sport -- and they don't know how the league actually functions. They just know how they want it to be.

"Even out the salaries," said Doug Dorrow, a fan in Milwaukee. "I know there's a salary cap [now], but a lot of people manipulate it ... however that works is way beyond me."

From city to city, variations on the same theme kept popping up, similar to what Hornets fan David Boyd said:

"I like the way the NFL is set up where every team has a chance to win the Super Bowl."

Stern has hinted at the same belief, rhetorically asking reporters in December, "What do you think makes [the NFL] so competitive?"

The answer is revenue sharing and a hard salary cap. The NBA can never be like the NFL, though, because the entire NFL television package is handled on a national network level, while the bulk of NBA games are televised by local stations. That's where the disparity kicks in. The annual local TV rights for some small-market teams don't even match the contract of the highest-paid player on their team. The Lakers, meanwhile, are about to create their own channel that will bring in a reported $150 million a year or more -- as much as $200, according to an SI.com report.

Then there's the inability to attract major corporate sponsors who crave the prestige and visibility that come from partnerships. The Knicks' parent company, Madison Square Garden, signed a 10-year deal with JPMorgan Chase worth a reported $30 million a year. No chance the Memphis Grizzlies are getting a deal like that.

Small-market teams can't afford to take a chance. Well, they can take chances; they just can't afford to be wrong. They can't compensate for an error by simply signing another player at that position. They also can't spend big dollars for small parts. The Lakers have Steve Blake at $4 million per year. He's not an essential part of their plan to repeat as champions, but they thought he could help. Because they're over the dollar-for-dollar luxury-tax threshold, his real cost to them is $8 million.

The solution fairness is not as simple as adjusting for the income disparity by restricting the amount teams can spend via a hard salary cap. I asked a general manager who has worked in both large and small markets about the different strategies that come with each place.

"If you have free-agent money, players will go where they have the best salary available to them," the general manager said. "If it's even, then the location comes into play also. Most players want to go to a winning environment.

"In a smaller market, you may have to overpay to get someone to come."

So if small markets want to get top-tier free agents, the next salary-cap structure needs to allow them a way to spend more on a player than their competitors do. How would they have the means to do this? That will have to come from better revenue sharing. But don't just write every one of the have-nots an equal check. Make them spend more to get more. In other words, the higher a team's payroll, the larger the cut of the revenue-sharing pie it receives. The union would be more likely to sign on to this arrangement because it would be a means to drive up salaries. And you might avoid some of the internal sniping in baseball, in which the big boys such as the Yankees and Red Sox accuse some teams of doing nothing but pocketing their checks and never spending to improve their teams.

The next step is retention and or/compensation. One possibility is a version of the NFL's franchise-player designation, in which a team retains rights to a free agent for a year as long as it pays him an average of the highest-paid players at his position or 120 percent of the previous year's salary, whichever is greater. Since positions aren't as strictly defined in the NBA, the NBA would have to go with the maximum raise. In fairness to the player, it should be a larger raise than he could receive on the open market.

Next, automatic compensation for losing a free agent, such as the Major League Baseball system that forces teams to send their best available draft pick to their free agent signee's former team.

There are no changes to the league's setup that will turn bad decision-makers into good ones. And nothing will guarantee good results. Even under the current system, since 2003, the two teams playing in the league's smallest TV markets, the Memphis Grizzlies and New Orleans Hornets, have made more combined playoff appearances (six) than the two teams playing in the largest, the New York metropolitan area's Knicks and Nets (four).

"It's not necessarily the market or the amount of revenue that a team has that proves to translate into championships," Hornets president Hugh Weber said. "You have to build a championship style and organization, with the culture and the mission and resources to back it up."

You can have resources or you can be resourceful ... and still be at the mercy of where a man chooses to live.


I like the 120% raise/franchise tag idea (not new, though I hadn't realized the 120% part before). I also like the MLB idea of sending your best draft pick to the team whose player you've signed away, but I'd like to know more about it.

That can't possibly apply to just any player who changes teams, so what determines if the player is good enough to warrant this kind of compensation? A committee?

BillS
04-08-2011, 02:24 PM
I kind of liked the "pay to participate" revenue sharing, meaning you not only want to stay under a cap but you want to stay as close to it as you can to get the revenue sharing. I think that will definitely help a harder cap fly with the players' union.

tfarks
04-08-2011, 02:28 PM
Next, automatic compensation for losing a free agent, such as the Major League Baseball system that forces teams to send their best available draft pick to their free agent signee's former team.

He oversimplified this obviously( I can't keep up with all the compensation rules in baseball), but I like the idea. You wanna sign a type A free agent? You lose your 1st rd pick. Give some teams incentive to keep a player throughout his contract. Rather than forcing that team to make a trade before the player may or may not leave out of fear of ending up with nothing. Now they can evaluate whether or not its a better move to trade their player away or taking a pick. Not to mention that the player might actually choose to re-sign.

wintermute
04-08-2011, 02:38 PM
The solution fairness is not as simple as adjusting for the income disparity by restricting the amount teams can spend via a hard salary cap. I asked a general manager who has worked in both large and small markets about the different strategies that come with each place.

"If you have free-agent money, players will go where they have the best salary available to them," the general manager said. "If it's even, then the location comes into play also. Most players want to go to a winning environment.

"In a smaller market, you may have to overpay to get someone to come."

So if small markets want to get top-tier free agents, the next salary-cap structure needs to allow them a way to spend more on a player than their competitors do. How would they have the means to do this? That will have to come from better revenue sharing. But don't just write every one of the have-nots an equal check. Make them spend more to get more. In other words, the higher a team's payroll, the larger the cut of the revenue-sharing pie it receives. The union would be more likely to sign on to this arrangement because it would be a means to drive up salaries. And you might avoid some of the internal sniping in baseball, in which the big boys such as the Yankees and Red Sox accuse some teams of doing nothing but pocketing their checks and never spending to improve their teams.


I 100% agree that small markets need to overpay to attract free agents. I've never understood the argument that reducing maximum salary will level the playing field for small markets. It doesn't, because if the money is equally small, the player will simply choose the better location. No, the key, as the article says, is better revenue sharing.

I'm not sure I agree with the proposal that spending more automatically gets you a larger share of revenue back. This might just encourage bad teams to go on spending sprees knowing they'll get their money back through shared revenue. And I can't imagine the richer teams being happy about subsidizing their competitors' upgrades. Maybe just requiring a minimum level of spend to qualify for shared revenue payments? Just to discourage the Sterlings of the world.

Hicks
04-08-2011, 03:27 PM
I kind of liked the "pay to participate" revenue sharing, meaning you not only want to stay under a cap but you want to stay as close to it as you can to get the revenue sharing. I think that will definitely help a harder cap fly with the players' union.

Yeah, I forgot to say that myself.

Though I don't think it would be paired with a hard cap. I think it would work better with a cap more like what is already in place. It is, after all, rewarding spending. Hard to spend too much if there's a hard cap.

Hicks
04-08-2011, 03:28 PM
I'd almost bet money that was Donnie Walsh being quoted, by the way (GM who has been in small and big market). Fits, and I can easily imagine those words coming out of his mouth. It also fits in that it would be Bird's mentor saying it, and it's something Bird seems to strongly believe as well.

BillS
04-08-2011, 03:30 PM
Yeah, I forgot to say that myself.

Though I don't think it would be paired with a hard cap. I think it would work better with a cap more like what is already in place. It is, after all, rewarding spending. Hard to spend too much if there's a hard cap.

I don't think the idea is simply to reward spending, I think the idea is to "punish" just pocketing the revenue sharing as profits. After all, if there's no cap and you share revenue with the teams that spend the most with no ceiling, the rich teams might as well just keep the money they'd put into the sharing pool.

You're essentially encouraging teams to spend everything they are allowed to spend, not to encourage overspending (which would be counterproductive, really).

ChadR11
04-09-2011, 03:21 AM
I was thinking about this small market/big market issue earlier this season. The question is, can a team like the Pacers use an NFL team in a small market (Colts) as an example when comparing the ability to make additional off the court money for themselves? I mean, if I'm Larry Bird, the first thing I'm pointing out to potential FA targets is how much money and endorsements Peyton Manning has been able to make being in a small market. Are the NFL and NBA so different that the comparison can't even be made? My opinion is that even with the differences in the two leagues it is a fair comparison. Am I way off base here?

King Tuts Tomb
04-09-2011, 04:33 AM
My opinion is that even with the differences in the two leagues it is a fair comparison. Am I way off base here?

I don't think you're way off base, but Peyton Manning is also a once in a lifetime athlete/celebrity. His marketable qualities are so unique that I can't see it happening again, be it in a small or big market.

King Tuts Tomb
04-09-2011, 05:00 AM
This Big Market vs Small Market controversy is a complete media construction. This is not a problem in the NBA. It's not within the top ten problems in the NBA. It is what the league wants people to focus on because it will force more concessions from the players union.

NBA Players want to play for the Lakers and Heat because they're well run, championship winning franchises. If you put a well-run title contending team in Bozeman, Montana you'll get quality free agents.

idioteque
04-09-2011, 09:20 AM
T If you put a well-run title contending team in Bozeman, Montana you'll get quality free agents.

You've got to be kidding me.

When it comes to big markets, you don't have to be incredibly well-run, you just have to have the will and desire to spend a lot of money. That's the difference between the Lakers and the Clippers. The Clippers could be nearly as good as the Lakers, but they refuse to spend the money. Their owner would rather have them be incredibly profitable on their balance sheet, which they are, as opposed being successful on the court, which they aren't and likely never will be, regardless of what certain Clippers fans say on this board.

If you're a small market team, you have about a 15% chance of being successful in the NBA. How do I get that number? Because there are around three to four successful small market teams every year. And of those teams, one, San Antonio, is really the only contender. Utah (maybe not anymore) and Oklahoma City are good, but I would be shocked to see them even in the Western Conference Finals, much less the NBA Finals.

You can follow the Utah model and be so-called "contender", although there was never a year where I thought Utah would win the championship, but it is really rare because there are only so many NBA coaches of the Pop or Sloan variety in the league and so many good GMs. To be a big market contender all you have to do is be able to spend spend spend.

The point I'm trying to get at is there is no way I can conceive that Miami is a "better run" franchise than Milwaukee. Miami attracts free agents by virtue of its location. Pat Riley is there because it is Miami, Florida and not Miami, Ohio. They have a crappy coach and a crappy bench and their team is constructed in an ad-hoc way. They play in an ugly, unremarkable building.

1984
04-09-2011, 09:46 AM
I don't think you're way off base, but Peyton Manning is also a once in a lifetime athlete/celebrity. His marketable qualities are so unique that I can't see it happening again, be it in a small or big market.

Don't hold your breath. Athletes are becoming more and more charismatic. Sports media in high school and college sports is larger than ever. It seems every superstar is expected to preform on the field and in front of a camera. Needless to say, "there will be another." Whether he is in a football uniform or a basketball uniform - another perennial MVP and mega-marketable personality will arrive to a small market, perhaps ours, within the decade.

Hicks
04-09-2011, 01:18 PM
This Big Market vs Small Market controversy is a complete media construction. This is not a problem in the NBA. It's not within the top ten problems in the NBA. It is what the league wants people to focus on because it will force more concessions from the players union.

NBA Players want to play for the Lakers and Heat because they're well run, championship winning franchises. If you put a well-run title contending team in Bozeman, Montana you'll get quality free agents.

And how did Bozeman get to be a contending team without any free agents? Did they suck and then get lucky that their lottery pick was high when a top talent came along? Did they then get lucky that said talent decided he didn't want to bail to after his rookie contract because he was playing in Bozeman?

King Tuts Tomb
04-09-2011, 04:31 PM
And how did Bozeman get to be a contending team without any free agents? Did they suck and then get lucky that their lottery pick was high when a top talent came along? Did they then get lucky that said talent decided he didn't want to bail to after his rookie contract because he was playing in Bozeman?

The same way as Oklahoma City, which is closer to Bozeman than LA. Top talents don't leave after their rookie contracts. The current CBA guarantees that players will be on their teams through at least one extension, about 7 years. That's long enough to build a championship contender.

BillS
04-09-2011, 04:35 PM
The same way as Oklahoma City, which is closer to Bozeman than LA. Top talents don't leave after their rookie contracts. The current CBA guarantees that players will be on their teams through at least one extension, about 7 years. That's long enough to build a championship contender.

That would be...


Did they suck and then get lucky that their lottery pick was high when a top talent came along? Did they then get lucky that said talent decided he didn't want to bail to after his rookie contract?

King Tuts Tomb
04-09-2011, 04:50 PM
You've got to be kidding me.

When it comes to big markets, you don't have to be incredibly well-run, you just have to have the will and desire to spend a lot of money. That's the difference between the Lakers and the Clippers. The Clippers could be nearly as good as the Lakers, but they refuse to spend the money. Their owner would rather have them be incredibly profitable on their balance sheet, which they are, as opposed being successful on the court, which they aren't and likely never will be, regardless of what certain Clippers fans say on this board.

The Knicks have spent more money than anyone in the last decade, in the biggest media market in the world. According to the logic of this board they should have won 10 championships.

King Tuts Tomb
04-09-2011, 05:01 PM
I'm curious, what are these small market teams that are suffering from being in small markets? Looking at the standings the bad teams are at the bottom because they're poorly run, not because they're suffering from losing players to big market teams.

Peck
04-09-2011, 05:14 PM
I hate when David Aldridge (who I actually think very highly of) uses the Thunder as a model franchise for small markets.

Sure we could all be succesfull if we were able to draft the leading scorer in the NBA and then turn around and draft one of the top p.g. in the NBA while still having several other good draft picks from sucking for a good while.

Would David's view of OKC be the same had Portland decided to draft Durrant instead of Oden?

They just traded for Perkins, which I believe was smart, but he is going to want to get paid so let's see what he goes for.

It's never just about getting a high draft pick (see Wizards) it's about getting franchise changing players with the high draft pick.

Peck
04-09-2011, 05:15 PM
I'm curious, what are these small market teams that are suffering from being in small markets? Looking at the standings the bad teams are at the bottom because they're poorly run, not because they're suffering from losing players to big market teams.

You mean other than Cleveland?

LoneGranger33
04-09-2011, 05:17 PM
Nothing intelligent to add here, just my opinion on this whole debate:

I personally don't want to be on level with the Lakers or the Knicks. I like the small market disadvantage - it's part of what attracted me to this team in the first place as an 8 year old kid sitting in the nosebleeds at MSG. Sure, the big markets have a competitive edge, but it's not impossible to overcome, as we've seen in the past with the Spurs and the Pistons. It just makes the journey to the championship that much more rewarding. I'd much rather embrace it than complain about it. I'd rather be the team that builds from the ground-up with scrappy, high-character, quality players rather than throwing millions around for free agents every year like the Dallas Mavericks do.

Roy wants to win. Danny wants to win. Darren wants to win. So does Tyler, Josh, Jeff. And they all want to do it here, as Pacers. And that's what I'm looking forward to as a fan. Next week, we play the big market Chicago Bulls - the team everyone's talking about, with the media-annointed MVP Derrick Rose and his free agent sidekick Carlos Boozer. I personally can't wait.

LA_Confidential
04-09-2011, 05:25 PM
I hate when David Aldridge (who I actually think very highly of) uses the Thunder as a model franchise for small markets.

Sure we could all be succesfull if we were able to draft the leading scorer in the NBA and then turn around and draft one of the top p.g. in the NBA while still having several other good draft picks from sucking for a good while.

Would David's view of OKC be the same had Portland decided to draft Durrant instead of Oden?

They just traded for Perkins, which I believe was smart, but he is going to want to get paid so let's see what he goes for.

It's never just about getting a high draft pick (see Wizards) it's about getting franchise changing players with the high draft pick.

"News comes from The Oklahoman that the Thunder have signed Perkins to an extension. The deal is reportedly a four-year extension for $34 million. The Celtics, under salary cap restrictions, were only able to offer a four-year, $21.5 million deal. The Thunder could offer more because they were under the NBA cap."
http://www.bostonherald.com/blogs/sports/celtics/index.php/2011/03/01/kendrick-perkins-signs-extension-with-thunder/

Peck
04-09-2011, 05:32 PM
"News comes from The Oklahoman that the Thunder have signed Perkins to an extension. The deal is reportedly a four-year extension for $34 million. The Celtics, under salary cap restrictions, were only able to offer a four-year, $21.5 million deal. The Thunder could offer more because they were under the NBA cap."
http://www.bostonherald.com/blogs/sports/celtics/index.php/2011/03/01/kendrick-perkins-signs-extension-with-thunder/

D'oh that totally slipped my mind & I even knew that. Old age is a B!tch

King Tuts Tomb
04-09-2011, 05:33 PM
You mean other than Cleveland?

LeBron left Cleveland because it was poorly run, not because it was a small market. They wasted draft picks, wasted money and surrounded him with average players. If LeBron was drafted by Miami and that team was as poorly run as the Cavs do you think he would have stayed there?

Peck
04-09-2011, 05:42 PM
LeBron left Cleveland because it was poorly run, not because it was a small market. They wasted draft picks, wasted money and surrounded him with average players. If LeBron was drafted by Miami and that team was as poorly run as the Cavs do you think he would have stayed there?

Yes.

King Tuts Tomb
04-09-2011, 06:40 PM
Yes.

Fair enough. To me it's a pretty obvious no but you're entitled to your opinion.

Small market teams like the Spurs, Blazers and Pacers are continually good because they don't waste money or draft picks. Big market teams like the Clippers, Wizards and Warriors are continually bad because they waste money and draft picks.

Being in a small market puts a team at a slight disadvantage. That disadvantage can be easily overcome by a smart front office. It turns into a major disadvantage when you add dumb owners like Dan Gilbert and Glen Taylor.

Pacerized
04-09-2011, 07:47 PM
It's a good overall article after you get past the opening. The NBA has never really had parity but's it's been far worse for the past few years then it ever has been. The issue of parity needs to be addressed and should be a top priority in the next cba. My biggest gripe remains seeing all star players dictating where they go so they can pile up on a few select teams. Leave free agency just make it so financially unattractive for a top free agent to join forces with another star that they'd rather go to Indiana or the Bucks then to sign with LA or NY.

BillS
04-09-2011, 10:15 PM
Suppose team payrolls were required to be tiered, meaning you have 15 salary slots from (say) Vet Max to Rookie Minimum (with some leeways since not every one has rookies, &c). Meaning you could not pay 2 guys max money and if you had 3 top guys one of them would be making well below the max money.

That third guy could get the max somewhere else, so it isn't impacting his earning potential. It just stops a team from stockpiling max (or even "within 10% of max") guys because they are willing to pay the luxury tax. It would mean that 2 guys getting together would make sense but that third guy would likely be taking a major pay cut.

Ideas on how this could be made to work?

Pacerized
04-09-2011, 11:22 PM
Suppose team payrolls were required to be tiered, meaning you have 15 salary slots from (say) Vet Max to Rookie Minimum (with some leeways since not every one has rookies, &c). Meaning you could not pay 2 guys max money and if you had 3 top guys one of them would be making well below the max money.

That third guy could get the max somewhere else, so it isn't impacting his earning potential. It just stops a team from stockpiling max (or even "within 10% of max") guys because they are willing to pay the luxury tax. It would mean that 2 guys getting together would make sense but that third guy would likely be taking a major pay cut.

Ideas on how this could be made to work?


I brought something like this up on PD several months ago. Set a max salary for players 1 through 3 with making it a 50% pay cut for a free agent to join any team that already has a max contract player and a 75% pay cut to join a team that has the top 2 spots filled. Melo would've preferred the Nets over the Knicks if he wanted to leave the Nuggets in that scenario. Make an exception to this based off the # of years played for the team you sign with giving the home team an advantage to keep their players. All this could work within a hard cap but it might not be needed.

itzryan07
04-10-2011, 01:13 AM
i dont like all of this small market talk. I only has really been a problem because thats what everyone thinks that is why lebron left cleveland. which isnt even close to the reason. if you have a good team, players are gonna want to go there, for example OKC they could get a big FA.

Really?
04-12-2011, 04:23 PM
He oversimplified this obviously( I can't keep up with all the compensation rules in baseball), but I like the idea. You wanna sign a type A free agent? You lose your 1st rd pick. Give some teams incentive to keep a player throughout his contract. Rather than forcing that team to make a trade before the player may or may not leave out of fear of ending up with nothing. Now they can evaluate whether or not its a better move to trade their player away or taking a pick. Not to mention that the player might actually choose to re-sign.

Yeah the not sure how it is determined but you can either get 1st round picks or second round picks for a type b player(not as good) or non for a average player, like Danny probably would be a Type b fringe A type player so if he signed with Clips we would get the clips second round pick.

I think that might be kind of weird in the NBA, I mean if this was the case when type A free agents hit the market I'm it still puts low lottery teams at a disadvantage, they get a Star Player and lose their first pick, I guess I would trade my first overall pick for Kevin Durant but it might hurt the team in the long haul in acquiring the building pieces to build around that player.

Also the talent in the NBA really drops off... I would feel sorry for a team like Cleveland that losses Lebron in free agency and he signs with at top 5 team and they only get a late 1st round pick... I guess it is more than what they would have got but still kind of depressing.




i dont like all of this small market talk. I only has really been a problem because thats what everyone thinks that is why lebron left cleveland. which isnt even close to the reason. if you have a good team, players are gonna want to go there, for example OKC they could get a big FA.

No it hasn't, he was just one of the Big Free agents, but looking at smaller name free agents you have seen this for a while


In addition I liked the article but I am not sure about his ideas for a solution, but I really enjoyed it though.

Pacerized
04-12-2011, 10:28 PM
i dont like all of this small market talk. I only has really been a problem because thats what everyone thinks that is why lebron left cleveland. which isnt even close to the reason. if you have a good team, players are gonna want to go there, for example OKC they could get a big FA.


That's not even close to being the whole story. It's not just small market vs big market, it's preferred teams vs unpreferred teams and the fact that most preferred teams are in big markets is no coincidence. Players prefer the lime light of the bigger markets, endorsement deals and in some cases better climates. You can't blame them but it gives an unfair advantage to some teams due to issues that are out of control for other teams like the Pacers. I do think that's why Lebron picked Miami and if it wasn't Miami it was going to be NY or Chicago for the same reasons. I think that's why Bosh went to Miami as well. That's why Amare went to NY and Melo forced a trade to NY. It's why Shaq went to L.A. and the list could go on. You see exceptions where top 5 players stay with their team but I can't recall a top 5, or even a top 10 player choosing to move to a small Market team as a free agent.
The NBA needs parity or at least a move in that direction. I'd love as a fan for the Pacers to stand as much of a chance at drawing a big name free agent as NY.

Scot Pollard
04-12-2011, 10:54 PM
I don't like this whole big market, little market.

Teams all across the league still have a player they can call a star.

I don't think teams are being skinned of stars and being attracted to a bigger city.

We're a pretty blue collar team and we've been a blue collar team. That's Indiana basketball for you.

I'd be happy having a team of blue collared players that aren't so called "superstars". At least not the ones that are snotty and also the ones that will attract bandwagon fans all over the world.

I'll be happy with an Eric Gordon type of blue collared player. A Hoosier who knows what the expectations are here and would love to come back.

There are probably a bunch of players in this league who will sign not with a big market team, but either where they feel like they can fit in or for the money.

This city is proud their team is back on track.

King Tuts Tomb
04-12-2011, 11:12 PM
I'd love as a fan for the Pacers to stand as much of a chance at drawing a big name free agent as NY.

That won't happen, no matter what salary restrictions the NBA puts in place. Indiana isn't New York.

New York and LA attracts more quality doctors, lawyers, artists and academics than anywhere else in America. Yet we still have the Mayo Clinic, Kurt Vonnegut and Ohio State University emerging from the midwest. Maybe the most talented athletes don't want to work in Indiana but Indiana usually doesn't attract the most talented people in most fields. This can be overcome through smart management and investment.

Pacerized
04-13-2011, 12:40 AM
[QUOTE=King Tuts Tomb;1212276]That won't happen, no matter what salary restrictions the NBA puts in place. Indiana isn't New York.
QUOTE]


I disagree, It can happen if the financial loss of teaming up with a second or third all star is great enough. I guarantee that Melo would pick the Nets, Bucks or Pacers over NY if he could get 20 mil there verses 10 mil at NY. Lebron would've stayed in Cleveland rather then go to Miami if he had to take a 10 mil per year pay cut to team up with Wade. All that's needed is some parity clauses in the cba.

King Tuts Tomb
04-13-2011, 01:08 AM
I disagree, It can happen if the financial loss of teaming up with a second or third all star is great enough. I guarantee that Melo would pick the Nets, Bucks or Pacers over NY if he could get 20 mil there verses 10 mil at NY. Lebron would've stayed in Cleveland rather then go to Miami if he had to take a 10 mil per year pay cut to team up with Wade. All that's needed is some parity clauses in the cba.

The NBA union would never agree to a CBA that only allowed free agents to make 50% of the max salary because (a) it's not fair and (b) it's it makes no sense.

Peck
04-13-2011, 03:36 AM
That won't happen, no matter what salary restrictions the NBA puts in place. Indiana isn't New York.

New York and LA attracts more quality doctors, lawyers, artists and academics than anywhere else in America. Yet we still have the Mayo Clinic, Kurt Vonnegut and Ohio State University emerging from the midwest. Maybe the most talented athletes don't want to work in Indiana but Indiana usually doesn't attract the most talented people in most fields. This can be overcome through smart management and investment.

You keep saying this. Now explain how this can occur.

How can smart management & investment overcome a gathering of supergroups that can be brought together by either going to the mega markets or the worlds sun & fun beach?

Please be specific and list instances when this has occured in the past.

King Tuts Tomb
04-13-2011, 04:15 AM
Please be specific and list instances when this has occured in the past.

San Antonio Spurs
Detroit Pistons
Oklahoma City Thunder/Seattle Supersonics
Portland Trailblazers
Indiana Pacers

None of these teams is a top ten media or money market in the NBA. In the last 25 years, by my count they have 7 NBA titles and 12 finals appearances combined. Two are championship contenders this year and four are in the playoffs. There are numerous examples of ways these teams have succeeded (economical use of the draft, overseas scouting, swapping stars for assets) despite being in small markets, but I can give specific examples if you need.

I'm also interested in what teams you think have been hurt by being in small markets. Almost every example I can find of underachieving small market teams begins and ends with "bad management."

Constellations
04-13-2011, 05:42 AM
I'm also interested in what teams you think have been hurt by being in small markets.

Vancouver Grizzlies. lol

Pacerized
04-13-2011, 08:59 AM
The NBA union would never agree to a CBA that only allowed free agents to make 50% of the max salary because (a) it's not fair and (b) it's it makes no sense.

This makes complete sense. A free agent could make the max only if he stays with his own team or moves to a team that doesn't already have a max player. If he wants to join forces with another all star making the max salary or close to it, then he has to take a huge pay cut. Nothing stops the player from making the max salary but each team can be limited to 1 max salary player. The idea is to impose a heavy financial penalty on players like Melo, Lebron, and Bosh who want to join forces on any team. No top player in his prime is going to play for that much less just to join forces with another all star and chase a title. Top players would have to play against each other if they want to get paid.
It is fair to the teams because it would apply to every team, and it is fair to the players. They still have free agency and no one is keeping them from signing for the max with a team that has no max player. If they want to take the easy way out and team up on a big market team for almost no salary that would be their choice.

Pacerized
04-13-2011, 09:06 AM
San Antonio Spurs
Detroit Pistons
Oklahoma City Thunder/Seattle Supersonics
Portland Trailblazers
Indiana Pacers

None of these teams is a top ten media or money market in the NBA. In the last 25 years, by my count they have 7 NBA titles and 12 finals appearances combined. Two are championship contenders this year and four are in the playoffs. There are numerous examples of ways these teams have succeeded (economical use of the draft, overseas scouting, swapping stars for assets) despite being in small markets, but I can give specific examples if you need.

I'm also interested in what teams you think have been hurt by being in small markets. Almost every example I can find of underachieving small market teams begins and ends with "bad management."

Detroit is not a small market.

One small market team won a title and that's because they did everything right and had a player with the integrity to stay and win it without another superstar. You can still do everything right and have a player that just wants the bright lights of a big marker and the easy way out by joining forces with other super stars.
That's 1 exception and how many are the rule.

D-BONE
04-13-2011, 10:02 AM
This makes complete sense. A free agent could make the max only if he stays with his own team or moves to a team that doesn't already have a max player. If he wants to join forces with another all star making the max salary or close to it, then he has to take a huge pay cut. Nothing stops the player from making the max salary but each team can be limited to 1 max salary player. The idea is to impose a heavy financial penalty on players like Melo, Lebron, and Bosh who want to join forces on any team. No top player in his prime is going to play for that much less just to join forces with another all star and chase a title. Top players would have to play against each other if they want to get paid.
It is fair to the teams because it would apply to every team, and it is fair to the players. They still have free agency and no one is keeping them from signing for the max with a team that has no max player. If they want to take the easy way out and team up on a big market team for almost no salary that would be their choice.

If there priority is truly encouraging more parity, I think they have to think more along the lines of what you're suggesting. I do agree it's as much or more about elite players dictating where they will play than it is about small vs. large markets.

Peck
04-13-2011, 11:57 AM
San Antonio Spurs
Detroit Pistons
Oklahoma City Thunder/Seattle Supersonics
Portland Trailblazers
Indiana Pacers

None of these teams is a top ten media or money market in the NBA. In the last 25 years, by my count they have 7 NBA titles and 12 finals appearances combined. Two are championship contenders this year and four are in the playoffs. There are numerous examples of ways these teams have succeeded (economical use of the draft, overseas scouting, swapping stars for assets) despite being in small markets, but I can give specific examples if you need.

I'm also interested in what teams you think have been hurt by being in small markets. Almost every example I can find of underachieving small market teams begins and ends with "bad management."


Three of the five teams that you have listed have had success in no small part to luck of the draft.

How many times does a team get the chance to draft one of the top big man in the NBA, let alone do it twice. San Antonio

How would this team look if instead of taking the best big man available the Trailblazers decided that his injury history made him less appealing than the player many said would be a great scorer in the NBA. OKC

What if Grant Hill didn't force a trade via free agency & the unknown (at the time) Ben Wallace didn't become the future rock of a championship team?

None of the above were good managment skills, with the exception of the Chucky Atkins & Ben Wallace trade (& we all know they never would have made that trade had Hill not forced it) it was just the luck of being in the right place at the right time.

The Pacers had one of the top 10 highest payrolls in the NBA for over a decade & several years were in the top 5. Now that may be good management, I won't disagree however management could never do anything to put them over the top. Why? Even they would tell you they could never attract a marque free agent here because of the market & the fact that they had to over pay the players that were here.

Portland I'll give you. They have fielded a competative team year after year while not landing top draft picks that often and when they do it doesn't pan out for them. However again they have never been able to do anything to get over the hump (since the 70's anyway) and they have not attracted free agents to their team either it's mostly been done by drafts & trades.

We can skip all of the formalities of going team by team and playe by player I'll just give you one scenario that occured and you now explain to me how the smaller market was not screwed by not being the big glamorous market.

In 1996 Shaquille O'Neal left as a free agent from the Orlando Magic to join the Los Angeles Lakers. In the 1994-95 season the Magic played the Houston Rockets in the NBA finals. They lost to the defending champs who were more experianced. The following year they made the E.C. finals only to run into the return of Michael Jordan, which no one was going to stop. Orlando's management did everything that I can think of to put a top contender around Shaq. They brought in veterans (Grant & Shaw) to go along with a decent solid cast of Anderson, Royal & Scott on top of having another young dynamic player in Hardaway.

Orlando offered max money to get Shaq to return.

He chose to go to the Los Angeles Lakers so he could be a part of the movie & music scene. Remember at the time the Lakers were not the leagues power house at the time of him going there. L.A. did not pay one dime more than Orlando could have & in fact because he was their player the Magic could have paid him more. But by his own words he made it clear that he chose L.A. for the offerings of the market, not the team.

Please explain how anything that Orlando did or did not do in this case was bad management on their part & that the bigger market did not have an advantage that could have been over come.

I believe every team in the NBA would have opened up their wallets & dumped any player (not named Jordan) to get Shaq to play for them but he only wanted the lights of Hollywood. Thus the case of one market having the supreme advantage over every other team in the NBA due to location.

King Tuts Tomb
04-13-2011, 07:54 PM
Detroit is not a small market.

It's 13th in the league in population, lower in media markets, and the only city in the top 20 to have lost population in the last decade. Within the next decade it will be in the lower half of NBA cities by metro area. Money-wise it's probably in the bottom ten already.

Detroit is a medium market, on it's way to a small market.

King Tuts Tomb
04-13-2011, 08:44 PM
Three of the five teams that you have listed have had success in no small part to luck of the draft.

Every team builds through the draft to some extent. Small market teams have to do it more but that's probably for the better anyway.


How many times does a team get the chance to draft one of the top big man in the NBA, let alone do it twice. San Antonio

San Antonio was lucky to draft Duncan but Duncan was also fortunate to be drafted by San Antonio. They surrounded him with high level role players from the draft and low cost, high reward free agents.

What they DIDN'T do was sign over-priced free agents and trade away valuable draft picks like many owners, then blame their predicament on being in a small market. It's not the market, it's the fact that YOU TRADED AWAY YOUR LONG TERM ASSETS FOR SHORT TERM GAINS (Example: Minnesota, Cleveland and Charlotte). The Clippers, Wizards and Warriors do this too but they don't have the easy excuse of the small market.


How would this team look if instead of taking the best big man available the Trailblazers decided that his injury history made him less appealing than the player many said would be a great scorer in the NBA. OKC

Then Portland, another well run small market team, would have Durant and 50 wins.


What if Grant Hill didn't force a trade via free agency & the unknown (at the time) Ben Wallace didn't become the future rock of a championship team?

We can play "what if" all day. I care about what happened.


None of the above were good managment skills, with the exception of the Chucky Atkins & Ben Wallace trade (& we all know they never would have made that trade had Hill not forced it) it was just the luck of being in the right place at the right time.

Maybe so. But what about signing Chauncey for $5 million a year, drafting Tayshaun Prince, trading Stack for Rip and fleecing Danny Ainge to get Sheed? All those are luck too?


The Pacers had one of the top 10 highest payrolls in the NBA for over a decade & several years were in the top 5. Now that may be good management, I won't disagree however management could never do anything to put them over the top. Why? Even they would tell you they could never attract a marque free agent here because of the market & the fact that they had to over pay the players that were here.

First, the Pacers did what small market teams have to do: Put more money into good teams and hope the extra playoff money and revenue covers the cost. When the team is worse, save money by scaling back and building assets. This is how the Tampa Bay Rays have become so good in baseball and it's how the Pacers have prepared for the next era.

Second, I don't understand why anyone would want a marquee free agent. Other than Shaq and LeBron almost every max free agent contract has been a waste of money. Let the big market teams have Rashard Lewis, Elton Brand and Eddy Curry.


We can skip all of the formalities of going team by team and playe by player I'll just give you one scenario that occured and you now explain to me how the smaller market was not screwed by not being the big glamorous market.

In 1996 Shaquille O'Neal left as a free agent from the Orlando Magic to join the Los Angeles Lakers. In the 1994-95 season the Magic played the Houston Rockets in the NBA finals. They lost to the defending champs who were more experianced. The following year they made the E.C. finals only to run into the return of Michael Jordan, which no one was going to stop. Orlando's management did everything that I can think of to put a top contender around Shaq. They brought in veterans (Grant & Shaw) to go along with a decent solid cast of Anderson, Royal & Scott on top of having another young dynamic player in Hardaway.

Orlando offered max money to get Shaq to return.

He chose to go to the Los Angeles Lakers so he could be a part of the movie & music scene. Remember at the time the Lakers were not the leagues power house at the time of him going there. L.A. did not pay one dime more than Orlando could have & in fact because he was their player the Magic could have paid him more. But by his own words he made it clear that he chose L.A. for the offerings of the market, not the team.

Please explain how anything that Orlando did or did not do in this case was bad management on their part & that the bigger market did not have an advantage that could have been over come.

I believe every team in the NBA would have opened up their wallets & dumped any player (not named Jordan) to get Shaq to play for them but he only wanted the lights of Hollywood. Thus the case of one market having the supreme advantage over every other team in the NBA due to location.

I never said great players don't leave smaller markets. What I said is that it's not unique to the NBA. Some people want to live in big cities. Teams should expect this. Indianapolis wouldn't expect Tom Cruise to move there, why expect Shaq?

But it's not a "supreme advantage." It's an advantage. It's what you need to take into account when you buy a team in a small market. If you open a restaurant in Indianapolis do you complain that you can't get Emeril Lagasse? No, you find chefs who are cheaper and effective in different ways.

More importantly, you chose an example BEFORE this current CBA. The way the current CBA is structured superstar players can't leave their current teams (without sacrificing massive amounts of money) for SEVEN years. That's more than enough time served for one franchise. If they want to change teams after nearly a decade I don't see how any rational person can hold it against them.

LA won 53 games the year before Shaq got there. True they weren't a powerhouse team at the time but they were still a powerhouse franchise and Shaq knew that. I also would have chosen Jerry West and Jerry Buss to build a team for me over the guy who started Amway.

BillS
04-14-2011, 12:36 PM
The way the current CBA is structured superstar players can't leave their current teams (without sacrificing massive amounts of money) for SEVEN years. That's more than enough time served for one franchise. If they want to change teams after nearly a decade I don't see how any rational person can hold it against them.

There's an external here that gets missed, which is how much of the NBA's marketing depends on promoting a single player. Individual clubs are handicapped doing long-term marketing campaigns for the team as a whole because of the sheer amount of nationwide noise that emphasizes certain players as <b>the</b> reason to watch NBA basketball.

That means that a lot of local marketing has to be on convincing local people that one of your guys is at least a <i>good</i> reason to watch, especially if you are not lucky enough for it to be <i>the</i> reason.

Obviously, then, when that guy chooses to leave, for whatever reason (bright lights, big city, more endorsement money, to play with his buddies) that means the marketing campaign has to start from scratch.

Why does this hurt the small market more than the big one? Because there will always be a certain %age of fans who are fans of the team, and I think that doesn't change much based on size (it changes based on history and success, but I think that becomes circular until you get back to the starting point where the franchise was positioned to become successful, and it can backfire if a major roadblock - like the #1 guy in the league leaving or a run of very bad PR - occurs). By definition, then, in a large market that %age translates into more people who will attend the games when the "name droppers" stop attending - many of whom may be happy to finally get tickets for face value instead of at stupid markups.

This is why I think a change in the CBA is not as important as a change in the way the league views its marketing strategy. The league doesn't have to stop marketing stars, that would be stupid since it is how they get recognition from non-fans. In parallel, however, a full league-wide campaign based on "love your local team", with hooks for local marketing interconnect (and removal of that stupid 75-mile limit), would make a huge difference.

King Tuts Tomb
04-15-2011, 10:49 AM
There's an external here that gets missed, which is how much of the NBA's marketing depends on promoting a single player. Individual clubs are handicapped doing long-term marketing campaigns for the team as a whole because of the sheer amount of nationwide noise that emphasizes certain players as <b>the</b> reason to watch NBA basketball.


I don't know if this is necessarily true for small market teams though. Individual player marketing is largely done on a national level by endorsers and the league. If the Pacers had a superstar they wouldn't have to market him too much because just by virtue of being on ESPN all the time he'd have name recognition.

Casual NBA fans watch games more based on individual players while local fans watch more based on win/loss and the thrill of being involved in an expression of civic pride, so I don't think a superstar matters as much for attendance as much as winning.

I do agree with you about NBA teams needing to do more team marketing instead of focusing on the individual players so much. The NFL does such a good job with this. Look at the team logos. NFL logos are iconic, effective and ingrained in the culture of the teams. Half the NBA teams seem to change their logos every three years and it's hard to build a consistent presence in a market when you re-brand constantly.

BillS
04-15-2011, 11:23 AM
Casual NBA fans watch games more based on individual players while local fans watch more based on win/loss and the thrill of being involved in an expression of civic pride, so I don't think a superstar matters as much for attendance as much as winning.

Winning or a superstar pretty much means you don't need marketing. Marketing is there to produce consistent support for the team in spite of the personnel and the record. I think if the league as a whole helped drive this team level marketing in addition to their player focus it would start to be "cool" to be a fan of a team and not just a player.

rexnom
04-15-2011, 11:41 AM
It's just unfortunate that a small-market team has to be as brilliant as Sam Presti to succeed (he has literally never struck out) whereas a larger-market team like LAL eventually will get a chance to compete regardless of how well they've done.

King Tuts Tomb
04-15-2011, 03:03 PM
It's just unfortunate that a small-market team has to be as brilliant as Sam Presti to succeed (he has literally never struck out) whereas a larger-market team like LAL eventually will get a chance to compete regardless of how well they've done.

This isn't true. Large market poorly run teams fail constantly (The Wizards in particular come to mind). The Lakers are large market and brilliantly run, that's why they dominate.

BillS
04-15-2011, 03:20 PM
It's just unfortunate that a small-market team has to be as brilliant as Sam Presti to succeed (he has literally never struck out) whereas a larger-market team like LAL eventually will get a chance to compete regardless of how well they've done.


This isn't true. Large market poorly run teams fail constantly (The Wizards in particular come to mind). The Lakers are large market and brilliantly run, that's why they dominate.

He didn't say a large market team will by definition dominate, he said there will always be another chance for them to compete. A poorly-run large market team has to really stink (think of the anti-Sam Presti) to fold or get moved. As long as the team stays put and has fans, there will be an opportunity to compete, and large market teams don't have the worries that a small market team does.

I am unaware that the current Wizards ownership is considering closing them down or moving them any time soon, certainly the previous ownership had no intentions whatsoever of doing so.

Certainly a well-run large-market team will dominate - they have all the advantages and use them well. A poorly-run small market team is about guaranteed to be gone at some point -- they have none of the advantages and can't come up with anything to offset them. The comparison would be between a competently run team in both markets - the size of the market gives an inherent advantage that means the small market can't afford to make any mistakes in order to maintain the same standards a large market can maintain while having some screwups here and there.

The whole point is that market size is an advantage, one that could be perceived as unfair in a league trying to work across all market sizes, and that if some creative way can be made to help level that part of the playing field without rewarding poor management, the league would be stronger and better.

King Tuts Tomb
04-15-2011, 04:39 PM
They [small markets] have none of the advantages and can't come up with anything to offset them.

Small markets can definitely offset the advantages. There's no trick or super heroic brilliance, just good management. The Pacers have never been great wheeler dealers but they're one of two teams (the other being the Lakers) who haven't won less 30 games in any season in the last twenty years.


The small market [team] can't afford to make any mistakes in order to maintain the same standards a large market can maintain while having some screwups here and there.

Small market teams can make mistakes. The Pacers have definitely made some. Small market teams don't have the leeway that some larger markets have but it's not insurmountable by any measure.


The whole point is that market size is an advantage, one that could be perceived as unfair in a league trying to work across all market sizes, and that if some creative way can be made to help level that part of the playing field without rewarding poor management, the league would be stronger and better.

The league already does this though. Players have to stay on the team that drafted them for 7 years. I've yet to hear a rational argument for why this isn't long enough.

My main point through this whole thread has been this: The advantages of being in a large market exists in every part of life not just the NBA. Large markets have advantages in attracting talent in ALL fields.

Basketball is a career for these guys and they want to maximize their earning power. At a certain point you have to let them go where they want to go and not punish them for having some self-interest.

This paragraph (from a great American Scholar (http://www.theamericanscholar.org/baseballs-loss-of-innocence/) essay worth reading) says everything I'm not eloquent enough to say.


“For once in the history of the world,” wrote essayist Charles D. Stuart, “the interests of the financier and the people are one”—whereas the interests of the ballplayer, belonging to neither of these groups, are ultimately at odds with those of his sport. The player is loved by the fans, not as a person with economic rights and needs, but as a soldier “drafted” onto their city’s team. His individuality mustn’t ever transcend the importance of the uniform he wears that bears his city’s name. As comedian Jerry Seinfeld put it more recently, “You’re actually rooting for the clothes, when you get right down to it.”

oxxo
04-15-2011, 05:09 PM
You are insane if you honestly think big markets don't have a HUGE advantage over small markets. The top teams are spending what, 50% more than the bottom? They get to make many mistakes and get to sign a bunch of vets through all the exceptions.

They have a gigantic competitive advantage.

King Tuts Tomb
04-15-2011, 05:14 PM
You are insane if you honestly think big markets don't have a HUGE advantage over small markets. The top teams are spending what, 50% more than the bottom? They get to make many mistakes and get to sign a bunch of vets through all the exceptions.

They have a gigantic competitive advantage.

50% more than who?

http://hoopshype.com/salaries.htm

Utah, Memphis, Portland and Milwaukee all spend in the top ten.

Chicago, Washington, LA Clippers and the MIAMI HEAT all spend in the bottom ten.

Big market teams aren't outspending small market teams and buying all the good players like in baseball.

BillS
04-15-2011, 05:59 PM
Small markets can definitely offset the advantages. There's no trick or super heroic brilliance, just good management. The Pacers have never been great wheeler dealers but they're one of two teams (the other being the Lakers) who haven't won less 30 games in any season in the last twenty years.

You edited out the first part of the quoted sentence and didn't editor bracket the right replacement. "They" didn't just refer to "small market teams", it referred to POORLY RUN small market teams. That paragraph was meant to show the two extremes, not to be the example.


Small market teams can make mistakes. The Pacers have definitely made some. Small market teams don't have the leeway that some larger markets have but it's not insurmountable by any measure.

And the mistakes the Pacers have made recently came within a whisker of killing the franchise. A large market team making the same mistakes doesn't get punished by the fans nearly as much because there are enough die-hards in the market to keep it floating. The mistakes have to be much more drastic to be as devastating.


The league already does this though. Players have to stay on the team that drafted them for 7 years. I've yet to hear a rational argument for why this isn't long enough.

Because unless that one player is the person who will hit the NBA and immediately and single-handedly take the franchise to the championship, it can take that long to develop completely. It took 7 years after the Bulls drafted Jordan for them to win the championship - with His Airness, for crying out loud. If it's a slightly lesser player and a market with fewer benefits, the 7 years isn't enough.

The point here is that even a franchise of average to above average competence has to have time, luck, and lots of things fall into place to get to a championship level. If every time that happens they get a kick to the curb, it keeps them from being able to remain competitive.


My main point through this whole thread has been this: The advantages of being in a large market exists in every part of life not just the NBA. Large markets have advantages in attracting talent in ALL fields.

Basketball is a career for these guys and they want to maximize their earning power. At a certain point you have to let them go where they want to go and not punish them for having some self-interest.

This paragraph (from a great American Scholar (http://www.theamericanscholar.org/baseballs-loss-of-innocence/) essay worth reading) says everything I'm not eloquent enough to say.

And my point is that it IS in the interests of the players to have a lot of strong franchises that aren't limited in geography. If the strength of the sum of franchises is greater, then it isn't only the largest and most successful who can afford to pay not just top salaries but high salaries to the middle of the roster players.

If winning draws people, help give all the teams a chance to win. If the large markets have an inherent advantage because players want to go there, give the small markets something they can use as an incentive that the big markets can't match. That doesn't hurt the players, it doesn't hurt the fans, it makes the game more competitive. The only teams it hurts are the ones in the large markets or the ones who hit the lottery.

In other words, make success for a franchise no matter the size of the market something that can actually be planned and managed for rather than dependent not ONLY on management but on factors beyond the control of management.

Otherwise, just stop the pretense, move any franchise not in an SMSA that is either a top-10 market or in the Sun Belt, and make it completely a players' league, where the fans are merely a source of income and don't really matter in any other way. It'll still make money, but I'd venture to say not as much and there will be little to no growth except by annexing leagues around the world.

King Tuts Tomb
04-15-2011, 06:57 PM
You edited out the first part of the quoted sentence and didn't editor bracket the right replacement. "They" didn't just refer to "small market teams", it referred to POORLY RUN small market teams. That paragraph was meant to show the two extremes, not to be the example.

If a small market team can't be bad without the threat of moving then that's a far deeper issue than what we're talking about here. Basketball is a zero sum game when it comes to wins. There has to be a loser. If a team can't stay solvent with a couple of bad years then that team probably shouldn't be in that city or there needs to be changes to the way money is shared in the league.

I'm solely talking about player movement within the league from small market to big market being a total disaster and why it's a big myth. What you're talking about is a completely different, and more fundamental, issue.


And the mistakes the Pacers have made recently came within a whisker of killing the franchise. A large market team making the same mistakes doesn't get punished by the fans nearly as much because there are enough die-hards in the market to keep it floating. The mistakes have to be much more drastic to be as devastating.

This again is a different issue. A team that never bottomed out and always stayed at least somewhat competitive for two decades should not come close to death. This is about revenue sharing, generating and what percent the players should get.


The point here is that even a franchise of average to above average competence has to have time, luck, and lots of things fall into place to get to a championship level. If every time that happens they get a kick to the curb, it keeps them from being able to remain competitive.

But this has happened twice in the last twenty years. It is not a problem. You're setting up a dire scenario but it happens once every decade.

Small market players leave for big market teams in EVERY SPORT and EVERY PROFESSION. If this is crushing the league then there is a fundamental problem in league financing, not player movement.


And my point is that it IS in the interests of the players to have a lot of strong franchises that aren't limited in geography.

It's in the interest of players to have strong franchises in a lot of different areas. It's not fair if you're making them go to small cities with limited funds, poor management and asking them not to leave.


If the strength of the sum of franchises is greater, then it isn't only the largest and most successful who can afford to pay not just top salaries but high salaries to the middle of the roster players.

Middle of the roster players are more likely to stay with their teams because of the salary increases. For LeBron making taking a pay cut from $18 mil to $15 mil isn't that bad. For a role player making $5 mil compared to $7 mil is a big deal. When's the last time the Pacers lost a middle of the roster player they wanted to keep?

In fact, a lot of the examples I can think of are teams from BIG markets not being able to afford their role players: Celtics with Kendrick Perkins, James Posey. Lakers with Trevor Ariza. All the stuff the Suns had to do to try and keep their core together.


If winning draws people, help give all the teams a chance to win. If the large markets have an inherent advantage because players want to go there, give the small markets something they can use as an incentive that the big markets can't match. That doesn't hurt the players, it doesn't hurt the fans, it makes the game more competitive. The only teams it hurts are the ones in the large markets or the ones who hit the lottery.

What's your plan for hurting the big market teams and helping the small market teams? I've yet to see one, in this thread or elsewhere, that makes sense.


In other words, make success for a franchise no matter the size of the market something that can actually be planned and managed for rather than dependent not ONLY on management but on factors beyond the control of management.

I'd love to hear that plan but it sounds like utopia. You're an NBA Marxist. ;)


Otherwise, just stop the pretense, move any franchise not in an SMSA that is either a top-10 market or in the Sun Belt, and make it completely a players' league, where the fans are merely a source of income and don't really matter in any other way. It'll still make money, but I'd venture to say not as much and there will be little to no growth except by annexing leagues around the world.

I don't think some cities right now are NBA level markets moving forward (Memphis, Charlotte, Sacramento, New Orleans) and it's probably better that they not have teams or they move to more hospitable cities.

Truthfully, the NBA shouldn't be made up of mega metropolises (metropoli?) and relatively tiny cities. It's not fair to either. Heavyweight boxers don't fight lightweights.

King Tuts Tomb
04-15-2011, 07:16 PM
To be clear, I'm not saying there aren't problems with small market teams making money. I'm just saying that the outrage over player movement is overblown an easy target when in reality it's not as big a crisis as it's being made out to be.

This Chris Sheridan article (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=6363575) deals with the business side of things that I agree needs revamping.


But before the players agree to absorb some of the expenses, they want to see some of the larger market owners share more of their local TV revenue with the smaller market owners who receive only a fraction of that money from their local TV deals.

When this thing gets settled, look for that BRI recalculation and enhanced local TV revenue sharing to be major parts of the new labor deal. Other factors such as age limits, rookie scales, lengths of contracts, etcetera, are secondary.

It's about the pool of money, redefining how to calculate the pool of money and then splitting it up.

Pacerized
04-15-2011, 09:07 PM
To be clear, I'm not saying there aren't problems with small market teams making money. I'm just saying that the outrage over player movement is overblown an easy target when in reality it's not as big a crisis as it's being made out to be.

This Chris Sheridan article (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=6363575) deals with the business side of things that I agree needs revamping.



The issues brought up in the opening article aren't about small market teams losing money, that's a given. The issues brought up are about small market teams being at an unfair disadvantage when it comes to being competitive. I think the outrage over player movement to a few select preferred teams is a serious issue. The real issue is more one of preferred destinations versus unpreferred destinations but the preferred destinations also happen to be in big markets. It's always been a problem, but it's became a much bigger problem recently. You've said nothing to convince me that the ability of NY, Miami, and Chicago to draw all star free agents is not an advantage. It is and it's an unfair advantage, but it can be addressed in the cba if it's a priority to the owners. I realize that the financial side of the cba will always be priority #1 but everything I've read from Stern and Silver concerning parity at least shows that it is a real issue that they want to address in the cba. I hope something goes through to level the playing field more then it is now.

King Tuts Tomb
04-15-2011, 09:25 PM
The issues brought up in the opening article aren't about small market teams losing money, that's a given. The issues brought up are about small market teams being at an unfair disadvantage when it comes to being competitive.

I know, and I've said from the beginning that it's much ado about nothing. There are problems with being a small market team, access to talent is not one of them.


I think the outrage over player movement to a few select preferred teams is a serious issue.

It's an easy position to take because it makes sense when you first look at it ("All the good players want to go to New York and LA and Miami! They have all the money") but if you actually go through all the evidence it's no more prominent than it's ever been. It seems that way because it just happened but like I keep saying, it's happened TWICE in the last twenty years that a top ten player has left his team in free agency.


You've said nothing to convince me that the ability of NY, Miami, and Chicago to draw all star free agents is not an advantage.

I never tried to convince you otherwise. I just don't think it's as big a deal as the media makes it out to be. It's an easy narrative to push (and it's definitely being pushed by the league and owners). It doesn't happen any more in the NBA than it does in any other are of life.


It is and it's an unfair advantage, but it can be addressed in the cba if it's a priority to the owners. I realize that the financial side of the cba will always be priority #1 but everything I've read from Stern and Silver concerning parity at least shows that it is a real issue that they want to address in the cba. I hope something goes through to level the playing field more then it is now.

And I ask again, what's the plan?

Pacerized
04-15-2011, 09:39 PM
And I ask again, what's the plan?

I gave you my idea for a plan but I think there are many ways to go about achieving better parity. I think limiting each team to 1 max contract player and setting a lower max for the second and third highest paid players would stop player collusion for all star players to join forces on 1 team, they'd have to play each other if they want to get paid and win a title. A sliding scale exception could be made based on # of years played for the team you sign with, that would help teams to keep their own free agents.
I have no idea what the NBA's plan is but here's an interview with Silver speaking about the parity in the upcoming cba negotiations.
http://portlandtribune.com/sports/story.php?story_id=129859444827019000

King Tuts Tomb
04-15-2011, 10:00 PM
I gave you my idea for a plan but I think there are many ways to go about achieving better parity. I think limiting each team to 1 max contract player and setting a lower max for the second and third highest paid players would stop player collusion for all star players to join forces on 1 team, they'd have to play each other if they want to get paid and win a title.

NBA teams, big market and small, wouldn't do this. Teams like the flexibility to spend their money how they want. I can't see the players association or the owners pushing for this.

LeBron and Bosh didn't sign for the max. So you'd have no problem with them in your scenario?


A sliding scale exception could be made based on # of years played for the team you sign with, that would help teams to keep their own free agents.
I have no idea what the NBA's plan is but here's an interview with Silver speaking about the parity in the upcoming cba negotiations.
http://portlandtribune.com/sports/story.php?story_id=129859444827019000

The key quote from the Silver article is this:

We’re spending too much on (player) salaries, though, and under our current CBA, we pay roughly 57 percent of gross (income) to our players. At our meeting during All-Star weekend, we told them prospects are wonderful, but the model is broken, and no business is sustainable over time that pays out more than it takes in. By definition, if we pay out 57 percent of the gross, it has to cost us less than 43 cents to generate every dollar, and that’s not the case.

The biggest problem for competition is that small market teams aren't solvent enough to sign veterans and make that extra push for a championship. It's not superstars bolting for big markets.

Pacerized
04-16-2011, 12:24 AM
NBA teams, big market and small, wouldn't do this. Teams like the flexibility to spend their money how they want. I can't see the players association or the owners pushing for this.

LeBron and Bosh didn't sign for the max. So you'd have no problem with them in your scenario?

You're right except for the amount. Wade would get the max, Lebron would get 10 mil, and Bosh 7.5. I think they'd decide not to join forces to chase a title in that scenario. Maybe Lebron would stay with the Cavs or perhaps he'd join the Nets where they didn't already have a max player and he could get paid. The players are going to agree to some form of salary reduction when this is settled. You have no idea how they'll agree to it but at least they would keep the same max salary in this scenario and a team wouldn't spend 90% of their salary cap on 2-3 players so the guys under them could actually get paid. A true hard cap set at the current soft cap would with no limit to a max salary could have the same effect though. Let someone pay Melo 40 mil, and see what's left of their cap to bring in another top player.


The key quote from the Silver article is this:

We’re spending too much on (player) salaries, though, and under our current CBA, we pay roughly 57 percent of gross (income) to our players. At our meeting during All-Star weekend, we told them prospects are wonderful, but the model is broken, and no business is sustainable over time that pays out more than it takes in. By definition, if we pay out 57 percent of the gross, it has to cost us less than 43 cents to generate every dollar, and that’s not the case.

The biggest problem for competition is that small market teams aren't solvent enough to sign veterans and make that extra push for a championship. It's not superstars bolting for big markets.



That's one of the things he brings up in the article but it's not the key quote or the focus of the article. I said that I realize the financial issues will always be priority #1.

Here's another quote.

"Also, when it comes to distribution of revenue, more now than in any of the CBAs I’ve been involved in, there has been more discussion about competition." " In addition to our desire to create a model where all teams at least have the opportunity to be profitable, we also are focused on a model where all 30 teams have the opportunity to compete for a championship. There’s a recognition out there now that’s not the current model"

Parity is an issue on the table at least with the Owners and if they really want it in the cba they'll get it. All the players really care about is the % of BRI they receive. When you read the full article it sounds like a hard cap is the NBA's way of achieving parity, and I'm fine with that. At least it's better system then what we have now.

Jeff Foster 4 Ever
04-16-2011, 03:03 AM
I'm sorry I fail to see why a player shouldn't be able to go whereever he wants to go. If a team is losing, or failing to win a championship, the star player has every right to go where ever he wants to go and if another star player in a simliar situation wants to play with the other guy in order to win a championship.....then let them. If the player doesn't want to stay, that isn't his fault it is the team's fault.