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 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.
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.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.
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 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.”