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Thread: A good article on competitive balance

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    Default A good article on competitive balance

    http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/pos...titive-balance

    NBA owners and players are in New York fighting about money.

    And, maybe, one other thing.

    More than 90 days into the lockout, and more than a year into talks about the next collective bargaining agreement, the union and the league still can't agree whether or not they're fighting over competitive balance.

    The league says they want to change how the NBA operates, to give fans in all 30 NBA markets hope at the outset of every season. The league says now is a rare chance to fix a system in which teams are fairly well locked into categories of contenders and non-contenders, and that a team's payroll tells you a hell of a lot about how well that team's going to perform. The league's insistence on a hard cap, or a luxury tax so stiff it might function like one, has been arguably the talks' biggest sticking point.

    The union says the entire effort is sleight of hand. The union says that the league's talk about competitive balance, and making the game more exciting for fans, is merely an attempt to put a friendly face on the league's latest scheme to reach into players' pockets.

    FACT: The NBA has terrible competitive balance

    Neither side disputes this. There are obvious and strong numbers to support the idea that other major American sports have more teams contending, and more close games, than the NBA. Respected economists made a clever measure of a league's competitive balance, called Noll-Scully. By this measure, the NBA finishes last of the big four sports just about every year, and recently completed the least competitive decade of any major American sport in the last century, with a Noll-Scully score approaching 3. The NFL, meanwhile, has a score over the same period of 1.5. Needless to say, lower is better.

    In the NBA the gap between the good teams and the bad teams is wide. Very wide. When you tune in for a midseason contest between the Lakers and Kings, you have a strong idea who's going to win.

    And, making this news extra hard to swallow for fans in those unlucky markets is evidence that in the NBA it's rare for bad teams to become good. One way to test this is to see how a team's wins this year work to predict their wins next year. The answer in the NBA is a lot. If you want to know where your team will finish in the standings next year, where they finished this year is a strong predictor. That's not nearly as true in other sports.

    Consider that over the last quarter century in the NBA, a measly eight teams have won titles. In baseball that's true of 17 teams, for the NHL and NFL the number is 13. If there were lots of turnover among the elite, this simply wouldn't be so. The NBA is also last in terms of how many teams have made the Finals or conference finals, and, according to the NBA, now is the time to close the gap between the strong and the weak.

    THEORY: That lack of competitive balance costs the NBA and its players money

    We used to live in a world where the most important NBA revenues came from those attending in person. In the wired global future, however, there's almost infinite potential for the NBA to grow the televised game. The key growth audience is watching on screens -- on TVs, mobile phones, or computers -- and increasingly in places like Brazil or China.

    What matters here is that while Laker fans may be content to buy a ticket to see their team roll to big victories. But fans watching on national or international TV don't have the same team allegiances. They want great entertainment -- better than whatever's happening a click away. As a television product, basketball needs to be exciting from the opening tip to the final buzzer.

    In recent NBA marketing research, even fans rooting strongly for one team identified closely fought games as their top priority in choosing what to watch. There has also been evidence from the NBA and European soccer research that as games turn into blowouts, people at home are quick to change the channel. There is value to the NBA and its advertisers in simply keeping more games close. That will keep more people watching for longer, which will mean better TV ratings, which, the theory goes, will lead to more national and international revenues for the league to share with players.

    THEORY: That competitive imbalance is because some teams are really rich

    Some teams in the NBA are really bad, and many of those have low salaries. Meanwhile, other teams are really good, and many of them have high salaries. It's not perfectly true -- the Knicks famously had massive payrolls and few wins. This last season the Bulls and Thunder were among the league's elite in all but salaries.

    But by and large, the playoff teams spend a lot, and the lottery teams spend little.

    Economists differ on this. Some find that the current NBA salary is a meaningful predictor of wins. Others say it is only a weak predictor, and point to the likes of the Bulls and Thunder who won a ton with small salaries.

    To the extent salaries do determine wins, however, there's a chicken-and-egg question. Do winning teams have high payrolls because they are good, or are they good because they have high payrolls?

    Consider the Cavaliers before LeBron James. They knew they were bad. The key decision-makers are on the record. They made an organizational decision to shed payroll every which way they could. It was not a case of competing as hard as they could. The strategy was to preserve draft picks and payroll for a time when they had a star to build around.

    This is the standard playbook for turning around an NBA team, and it's as good a strategy as any.

    When that same "poor" team got James, however, the money story changed completely and they soon came to be a very high payroll team.

    So were they good in those later years because they spent more? Or did they spend more because they were good?

    If they had spent more without getting a player like James, would the league have been better off? Or would the Cavaliers have been spending more for role players, to little effect?

    Title teams essentially always have stars, and there are not 30 stars. There is no way to spread money around the NBA to get every team a player to build around.

    "Payroll is significant and there is a correlation [with winning]," says deputy commissioner Adam Silver. "Itís not a perfect correlation and thatís a point [union president] Derek Fisher has made many times; and we donít mean to take away anything from his multiple championships. But, itís a critical issue. And a GM thatís given $100 million to spend as opposed to a GM or owner whoís given $50 million to spend is at a huge competitive advantage and thatís something we want to fix in this deal."

    The Lakers, points out David Stern, spend "well over $100 million on the payroll and Sacramento at 45, thatís not an acceptable alternative for us. That canít be the outcome that we agree to."

    FACT: A hard cap or stiff luxury tax would change ... something

    The NBA is ardently pushing for either a hard cap or a luxury tax so stiff it would function like one.

    One way or another, teams like the Lakers and Mavericks will almost certainly have to shed salaries in the next CBA. Players like Brendan Haywood, Caron Butler, J.J. Barea, Metta World Peace and Lamar Odom could be redistributed, one way or another.

    The great thing that money buys you in the NBA is not so much more talent, but a greater ability to weather front office mistakes. Mark Cuban "missed" on Brendan Haywood, but it hardly doomed Dallas. Thanks to his deep pockets, he got to try again when Tyson Chandler came available.

    A hard cap or something like it would limit Cuban's ability to spend his way out of bad decisions, which will make things more tense for fans of rich teams like the Mavericks.

    THEORY: More equal spending would mean more equal winning

    But would cutting the Lakers and Mavericks salaries down to size really increase the likelihood the Kings or Timberwolves could win a championship?

    The NBA says yes. They are working with internal numbers showing that if you want to win one more games per season, the recipe is to spend an additional 3.8 percent on player salaries. The Lakers' salaries alone, by this analysis, give them an 82 percent chance of making the playoffs before the season even starts.

    The union says basketball is a game of just 10 players on the court -- one star can make a huge impact. The wins and high salaries congregate around those stars.

    British economist David Forrest, who has studied sports leagues, says that hard caps are a major economic boon to ownership: "The way owners end up getting their fingers burnt in sports leagues is what you might call an arms race. It's in all their best interests not to go out and buy all the talent. But if things are calm, one club will see its chance, to get the special reward, financially and otherwise, of winning championships and so on. If all the others can be relied on just to carry on spending normal amounts of money, it's in the interest of one to go out and try to buy the talent and finish on top of the league. Of course, when that's seen, someone else will say well we've got to go nuclear as well. So a lot of agreements in sports leagues, to try to contain costs, break down. Are you familiar with the prisoner's dilemma? It's in the interest of everyone for them all to keep low wages. But one of them breaks ranks, and the war breaks out again, and the costs go through the roof. So, sports leagues would like some permanent way of stopping an arms race. And in America, leagues seem to find that they get this through regulators and the law very readily compared with Europe."

    Deputy commissioner Silver, however, denies that the league's interest in a stiff tax or a hard cap has to do with keeping salaries down. "By definition, it can't depress salaries" he says, referring to the league's offer to guarantee players a fixed percentage of basketball revenues. "So the economic discussion in terms of paying a percent of BRI or overall revenues to the players, both sides accept. ... Weíre negotiating first in the aggregate as to the total amount we pay. So it cannot possibly depress salaries; thatís the math."

    That total to be paid to all players will not go down, or change in any way, should the league close the gap between how much rich and poor teams can spend.

    "This is not about suppressing salaries," says David Stern. "This is about distributing talents and salaries in a different way than we currently do. ... Thatís what our proposals have been about."

    THEORY: It's really about reducing guaranteed contracts.

    It's generally true that NBA contracts are guaranteed, while NFL contracts are not. It's entirely untrue that that's because NBA players have guaranteed contracts as a birthright. The simple truth is that every player in either league is eligible to have guaranteed or non-guaranteed contracts. Your entire NFL roster could have guaranteed deals. Why doesn't that happen?

    Because the NFL's hard cap makes it bad strategy to hand out guaranteed contracts. Owners simply don't do it -- if the player becomes injured or unproductive for any reason, it's just too costly to keep him on the roster, tying up precious cap space. So all but the stars face the reality of being paid about as long as they are productive, and no longer. That's a tough gig for players, compared to the deals they could command on the free market. NBPA head Billy Hunter has made it a "blood issue" to keep the league's middle class from facing the same degree of uncertainty, where the vast majority of players could be unemployed every offseason.

    And the union says this is the NBA's real motivation in arguing for competitive balance. They are really arguing for a way to sign up the best players in the world, while protecting against having to commit to those players beyond their most productive periods.

    FACT: Hard caps are unproven in increasing competitive balance.

    The NFL has a hard cap and has tremendous parity, where any team has a good shot at winning any game. But the NFL has always had great parity, even before the current salary structure.

    The NHL has recently imposed a harder cap. So how's that working out? Some economists find "weak evidence" that it is having a desirable effect on making the league more competitive. Others say a mild tightening of the standings in the NHL is attributable to other factors.

    The NBA makes a convincing and logical case that redistributing talent would mean more excitement for fans, and more revenues for the league. And it might. But if it's that simple, why is it so hard to find examples of leagues that have achieved that?

    It's a tough issue to resolve ... and until it is resolved, it's likely these CBA talks won't find resolution.

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    Default Re: A good article on competitive balance

    Brings up a lot of points without any real conclusion. I still think a hard cap would help but it's not the ultimate tool to achieve better balance. Killing sign and trades as the owners have proposed is a must. That way players can't go to another team without giving up the additional year and higher % of raises in their contract. I think that alone would have stopped most of the movement we saw last year including the big 3. Melo would most likely still be in Denver, at least for another year.

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    Default Re: A good article on competitive balance

    Quote Originally Posted by Pacerized View Post
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    Brings up a lot of points without any real conclusion. I still think a hard cap would help but it's not the ultimate tool to achieve better balance. Killing sign and trades as the owners have proposed is a must. That way players can't go to another team without giving up the additional year and higher % of raises in their contract. I think that alone would have stopped most of the movement we saw last year including the big 3. Melo would most likely still be in Denver, at least for another year.
    I agree, if a team can't our right sign a player they shouldn't be able to use another teams Bird rights in order to obtain said player. If you sign a player you should not be able to trade the player for at least one season.

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    The Last Great Pacer BlueNGold's Avatar
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    Default Re: A good article on competitive balance

    As good as the NBA is in terms of the game, the action, the athleticism, getting to see the players up close, their expressions, there's not much like it. NFL and MLB doesn't have that. But the issue with it not being competitive in A LOT of games is a huge problem and perhaps the biggest reason the NBA will never be the most popular league in the US. Most interesting is, the problem can be fixed.

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    Default Re: A good article on competitive balance

    Quote Originally Posted by BlueNGold View Post
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    As good as the NBA is in terms of the game, the action, the athleticism, getting to see the players up close, their expressions, there's not much like it. NFL and MLB doesn't have that. But the issue with it not being competitive in A LOT of games is a huge problem and perhaps the biggest reason the NBA will never be the most popular league in the US. Most interesting is, the problem can be fixed.
    Can it, though? The thing about the NBA is one great player can have more of an impact on the game (and on the team) than any other sport. If you ran a mock snake draft with 30 teams, with all players eligible, I think the teams with the top 10 picks would be the best because they'd get the superstars.

    (On a tangent, that'd be a real interesting exercise. This board has enough knowledgeable NBA fans to pull it off. And since it was my idea, I'm demanding to be Detroit. )

    Anyway, if you look at whose won titles, only the 2004 Pistons have won without a Hall of Famer (at least a surefire one anyway). I bet if you look at teams that have made the Finals since Bird and Magic entered the league, they all had at least one Hall of Famer (or future one). That's why I think it's harder in the NBA to create a parity situation like the NFL has, or even baseball or hockey.

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    Default Re: A good article on competitive balance

    One comment. Have the economists who point to the Bulls and Thunder ever heard of the rookie wage scale? If we were back in the Glenn Robinson days, they wouldn't have low salaries, because they would have paid Rose and Durant market value.
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    Default Re: A good article on competitive balance

    Quote Originally Posted by BlueNGold View Post
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    But the issue with it not being competitive in A LOT of games is a huge problem and perhaps the biggest reason the NBA will never be the most popular league in the US. Most interesting is, the problem can be fixed.
    The NBA will never, ever be the most popular league in the US because basketball is simply not the most popular sport. In reality it's always been behind football and baseball. Always has been and always will be. It's because of Stern and the superstar led dynasty teams of the 80s/90s that the NBA has even gotten some amount of airtime to rival that of the NFL and MLB.

    Why is NCAA football more popular than NCAA basketball? Because football is simply a more popular sport. Certainly I don't think it's because NCAA football is a better run organization than the basketball side of things. The football side is incredibly popular even though they don't have a legitimate way of determining a champion while basketball has arguably the best post-season tournament in all of sports.

    Football is king in this country and always will be.

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    Default Re: A good article on competitive balance

    Quote Originally Posted by d_c View Post
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    Football is king in this country and always will be.
    People used to think that was true for baseball too.

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    Default Re: A good article on competitive balance

    Quote Originally Posted by Eleazar View Post
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    People used to think that was true for baseball too.
    The thing that is different about football right now compared to baseball (in the era when baseball was king) is that football has established itself as #1 at BOTH the professional and amateur level. Baseball has never done that. And pro football simply got off to a much later start that pro baseball. In fact the time that it took for football to catch up in popularity baseball was approximately the time of the head start that baseball got in first getting established.

    And it has grown to the extent that the amateur football teams in regions that don't have a pro team (many parts of the SEC) basically ARE the pro team in that area.

    And again, this despite the fact that college basketball has a far more legitimate (and compelling) way of actually determining a champion. It's the better run side of the NCAA organization but it hasn't made basketball more popular.
    Last edited by d_c; 10-02-2011 at 08:38 PM.

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    Default Re: A good article on competitive balance

    Well in the trio of Baseball, Football, and Basketball basketball is by far the youngest sport. The first instance of professional football came the year following the creation of basketball. So based on your theory of head starts, basketball is bound to overcome football in the next decade or so. Based on the latest gallup survey I could find (2001) basketball is vastly more popular with the younger generation than football.

    Anyways my point is just because something is true today doesn't mean it will be true tomorrow. For all we know a decade from now Hockey and Soccer will be the two dominate sports in the US. Yeah the odds of that happening are extremely slim, but it is not that far of a stretch for basketball to become as popular as football. For most people basketball practically didn't exist before Bird and Magic.

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    Wink Re: A good article on competitive balance

    Quote Originally Posted by Eleazar View Post
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    For most people basketball practically didn't exist before Bird and Magic.
    And that's what attracted the casual fan to NBA. It wasn't competitive balance. It was a of couple superstars creating a rivalry between two dynasties that combined for 8 titles in the same decade. And remember that Stern publicly begged Jordan to come back for one more year with the Bulls after 98'. He certainly wasn't doing it in the name of parity. He knew that another year of the Bulls trying to extend their dynasty = $.

    Even with baseball last year, I'm very glad the SF Giants finally got off the snide and won for the first time in 53 years, but MLB probably wasn't too happy with it. They got some of the worst World Series TV ratings in quite some time because the series didn't involve one of the juggernauts from the Northeast. So while Rangers vs. Giants did create some parity, the casual fan didn't care much for it.

    Make no mistake about it, sports leagues will always love the traditional dynasties fighting it out for the title because that makes more money. Always has.

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    Default Re: A good article on competitive balance

    Quote Originally Posted by d_c View Post
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    And that's what attracted the casual fan to NBA. It wasn't competitive balance. It was a of couple superstars creating a rivalry between two dynasties that combined for 8 titles in the same decade. And remember that Stern publicly begged Jordan to come back for one more year with the Bulls after 98'. He certainly wasn't doing it in the name of parity. He knew that another year of the Bulls trying to extend their dynasty = $.

    Even with baseball last year, I'm very glad the SF Giants finally got off the snide and won for the first time in 53 years, but MLB probably wasn't too happy with it. They got some of the worst World Series TV ratings in quite some time because the series didn't involve one of the juggernauts from the Northeast. So while Rangers vs. Giants did create some parity, the casual fan didn't care much for it.

    Make no mistake about it, sports leagues will always love the traditional dynasties fighting it out for the title because that makes more money. Always has.
    Did you completely ignore the part where I said what is true today doesn't mean it will be true tomorrow? There is an evolution to everything. Yes, the flashiness of those great players gets new people into the game, but it is the parity and competitiveness that keeps fans around after the flare of the great players wears off.

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    Default Re: A good article on competitive balance

    Quote Originally Posted by Eleazar View Post
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    Did you completely ignore the part where I said what is true today doesn't mean it will be true tomorrow? There is an evolution to everything. Yes, the flashiness of those great players gets new people into the game, but it is the parity and competitiveness that keeps fans around after the flare of the great players wears off.
    The NBA has experienced some of its highest ratings the past few years BECAUSE of the rekindling of the Lakers/Celtics rivalry and what appears to be a Heat assembling a juggernaut.

    Fans like the flash of great players, but what they really love watching are great teams/dynasties. If Stern didn't like that, he would've encouraged Jordan to stay retired after 1993, but of course he was begging him to stay on after 98'. And that's because Stern is a businessman who knows what makes money. He's a businessman in the entertainment industry and his goal is to make money, not achieve a level of moral equality.

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    Default Re: A good article on competitive balance

    Quote Originally Posted by d_c View Post
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    And again, this despite the fact that college basketball has a far more legitimate (and compelling) way of actually determining a champion. It's the better run side of the NCAA organization but it hasn't made basketball more popular.
    Not sure I agree with that. I would say it hasn't made basketball as popular but I think the college game as made more people interested in pro basketball.

    I think college ball has failed to gain popularity in certain areas of the country like the south where football hasn't. Why that is I don't know but I do agree dynasties are good in any sport but I don't think a Cinderella story is bad for the sport just because the ratings are down one year.

    Quote Originally Posted by d_c View Post
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    The NBA has experienced some of its highest ratings the past few years BECAUSE of the rekindling of the Lakers/Celtics rivalry and what appears to be a Heat assembling a juggernaut.
    Comparing pro football to Bball one thing that stands out to me is that they have more rivalries and more dynasties to point to. ITs not up to two teams to carry the league popularity in the NFL.
    Last edited by Gamble1; 10-02-2011 at 10:24 PM.

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    Default Re: A good article on competitive balance

    Quote Originally Posted by Eleazar View Post
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    I agree, if a team can't our right sign a player they shouldn't be able to use another teams Bird rights in order to obtain said player. If you sign a player you should not be able to trade the player for at least one season.

    These are the kind of rules that could go into the next cba instead of a true hard cap. Another thought would be limiting the # of max contracts a team can hand out to 1 per year. The owners have already put a proposal in to limit teams using Bird rights to one player per year. Anything that takes control from the players to form super teams is a good thing. Something still needs to be in place to keep a handful of owners from outspending the rest though. It could be a hard cap or super tough LT.
    The union is full of it saying a hard cap is about limiting salaries. They're still only guaranteed the same amount of the BRI no matter what the system is. They either lose it escrow if teams overspend, or they get it in a payout from the league if teams under spend. In the end, total player salaries are the same under a hard cap as they are under the current system. It may just be distributed a little differently.

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    Default Re: A good article on competitive balance

    Quote Originally Posted by d_c View Post
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    The NBA will never, ever be the most popular league in the US because basketball is simply not the most popular sport. In reality it's always been behind football and baseball.
    Maybe in some parts of the country, but that certainly wasn't always the case here.

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    Default Re: A good article on competitive balance

    Basketball is not behind baseball anymore, as far as youth participation is concerned.

    Yes, American Football will always be #1. It's a uniquely American sport. MLB is twice the age of the NBA, and therefore has a much larger installed fanbase, even now. That said, in another 20-30 years, you'll see an entire country of sports fans that grew up with magic/Bird, Michael Jordan or the current superstar era. The NBA's unique ability to create media superstars at a much faster rate than any other sport will only make them bigger, assuming the league can get out of its own way.

    I support every team's ability to compete, but let's be honest here. The NBA doesn't help themselves by forcing parity. So long as good management can turn any franchise into a winner, I see no need to help teams that aren't helping themselves.
    Last edited by Kstat; 10-03-2011 at 09:08 AM.

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    Default Re: A good article on competitive balance

    Quote Originally Posted by Kstat View Post
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    I support every team's ability to compete, but let's be honest here. The NBA doesn't help themselves by forcing parity. So long as good management can turn any franchise into a winner, I see no need to help teams that aren't helping themselves.
    I'll pick this as a starting point because one of my favorite bits in the original article was the statement:

    Quote Originally Posted by Henry Abbott
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    The great thing that money buys you in the NBA is not so much more talent, but a greater ability to weather front office mistakes. Mark Cuban "missed" on Brendan Haywood, but it hardly doomed Dallas. Thanks to his deep pockets, he got to try again when Tyson Chandler came available.
    So I would modify Kstat's assertion to say that great management can turn any franchise into a winner, but merely good management needs a little help from deep pockets.

    The way I would "help" the competitive balance is maybe to make sure that it depends more on the quality of your management than the amount of money you spend (or can offer to spend in the future so that you can build a team with contracts that explode down the road).
    BillS

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    Default Re: A good article on competitive balance

    I agree the NBA may never be bigger than NFL (if you reread carefully, you will see I didn't even say that), but that doesn't take a thing away from the issue at hand. The NBA simply isn't as competitive and more competition would make the league and its regular season games, as a whole, a lot more interesting.

    As for those who think NCAA football is bigger than NCAA basketball, I would say it depends on where you live entirely. Central Indiana differs from northern Indiana. Kentucky differs from Ohio. Also, while the bowl games are big, you cannot separate March madness from NCAA basketball. There isn't a better tournament in any sport and that's where it gets most interesting....particularly when you see a team like Butler take on Duke in the final four just down the street from its little campus.

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    Default Re: A good article on competitive balance

    Here's another article on competitive balance and parity. I completely agree that "raising" the max salary would be one of the best things to do.

    http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/pos...s-about-parity

    On Yahoo, Adrian Wojnarowski quotes Dwyane Wade saying what economists and GMs have known for ages: Superstars are worth far more than teams are allowed to pay them:

    ďIn terms of driving revenue, if the NBA had no cap, the compensation would be totally different,Ē Wade said. ďLike baseball, where they have no cap, you see the players that they feel fill arenas, that people come out to see, A-Rod, those kind of guys, look at how much money they make on their deals.

    ďYouíve got guys -- starting with Michael Jordan, Shaquille OíNeal, and Kobe and LeBron -- all players that individually people wanted to come to see. And wanted to just have a glimpse, just one glimpse, to be able to say that Iíve seen that person play. For what theyíve done for the game, what theyíve done for organizations, I donít think you can really put a dollar amount on it.Ē

    There is talk about some players being worth as much as $70 million a season when you factor in how they generate media attention, ticket sales, TV ratings and the like. (Case in point: This blog post! A million people have said stars are worth a ton. But it matters now because Dwyane Wade is saying it.)

    Which makes me think ... the NBA, in talking about hard caps and stiff taxes, is adamant that increased competitive balance is incredibly important and valuable moving forward. If they really want to alter competitive balance, then the real way to do it is to get whatever kind of stiff tax we're headed for already, or let those stars suck up an infinite amount of it.

    Think about it. If the Heat could pay Dwyane Wade $50 million, and the salary cap or luxury tax line was around $60 million ... well the most likely thing is that Wade will play on a one-star team. For competitive balance, that's huge. This is the first proposal I've heard that would get bad teams what they really need to compete: stars.

    If stars could make infinite amounts, Wade would have long ago snarfed up all the cap space in Miami, and LeBron James and Chris Bosh would be giving hope to NBA fans in other cities.

    Similarly the Lakers would have been paying Bryant $50 million a year for the last decade, which would likely have made some Pau Gasols and Andrew Bynums available for the NBA's lesser teams.

    The haves and have-nots in the NBA right now are not strictly big and small markets. The cities of Cleveland and Miami are about the same size, and both are willing to spend big on star-laden teams.) The haves and have-nots in the NBA are teams with stars (Oklahoma City and San Antonio included). The most precious resource in the NBA, the only resource essential to contention, is a star or two.

    Teams without stars are the competitive balance issue.

    Clearly, owners love that they have capped those stars' contracts. It's a bit of a boondoggle. And the union has played along, essentially taking money from the best players to shore up the middle class -- a noble act, to a degree.

    Meanwhile, stars are a windfall for any owner lucky enough to employ one. But those way-below-market star deals not only bring a chance to contend, but also extra revenues to pay other players. If the NBA is as serious about improving competitive balance as they say they are, the obvious move is to set their sights on maximum contracts.

  25. #21
    The Last Great Pacer BlueNGold's Avatar
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    Default Re: A good article on competitive balance

    I can't put a dollar amount on seeing Lebron either.

  26. #22
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    Default Re: A good article on competitive balance

    It sounds like Wade would be happier in a true open market like Europe. Let's see if he pulls down 50 mil per year over there.

    Having no limit for max players might work under a true hard cap if it were low enough. You'd never see all stars try to team up with another all star.

  27. #23

    Default Re: A good article on competitive balance

    I call BS on this article. Baseball has no salary cap and without me actually going to look at the salary numbers, I would guess a much larger gap in terms of high and low payrolls per teams. I'm pretty sure the difference between the Yankees and Pirates is greater than the difference between the Lakers and say us in terms of salary.

    But according to this article, competitive balance is worse in basketball than baseball. So maybe salary cap isnt the issue?

    To me it seems more that basketball is by far the most "stud-driven" sport out of the 4, as in one superstar player makes a bigger difference in baskebtall than in any other sport. (Although Peyton Manning fans might argue differnetly this season). Its no coincidence that the best teams in the league have Dirk, Durant, Kobe, Lebron, DRose, Dwight Howard, etc. with few exceptions.

    And it just so happens that teams that draft these stars, if those stars stay, they stay good (Dallas, OKC, etc). And when those stars leave, they turn bad (Cleveland, Minny with KG, etc.). And when those stars leave they go to big attractive cities (NY, LA, Miami, Boston). And when those stars get drafted by those attractive cities, they happen to stay more often (DWade, Kobe, Dwight, Dirk, etc).

    LA, NY, Dallas, Boston, Chicago, Miami, etc. are attractive to these star players because those cities are attractive to them, not because those cities are able to go way over the cap and others arent.

    None of this would change with a salary cap. If Lebrons set on going to Miami or Melo's set on going to NY, or Shaq's set on going to LA, Miami, NY and LA will make it happen one way or the other (the systems already set so that they cant just buy the players without being far enough under the cap, and they made it happen anyway).

    and this one star player makes a much bigger difference in basketball than in any other sport. The Mariner's aren't going to win 90 games if you throw ARod on the team. The RAms arent winning 10 games if you give them Aaron Rogers. But you put Lebron on the Cavs and apparnetly they win 60 games.
    Last edited by SkipperZ; 10-04-2011 at 12:26 AM.

  28. #24

    Default Re: A good article on competitive balance

    that being said, I agree with the article shags linked

  29. #25
    Running with the Big Boys BillS's Avatar
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    Default Re: A good article on competitive balance

    If you could figure out a way to hold the superstar money until a player proved out as a superstar, that would be one thing. The problem, as has often been seen in baseball, is that trying to get the potential NEXT superstar is where the money ends up going, and most of it is wasted.

    If you are going to do that, make a max guaranteed amount but no max in incentives. That way you can make a player an offer that makes him EXTREMELY well compensated IF AND ONLY IF he really is worth what he thinks he's worth.
    BillS

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