Last year's NBA lockout was enacted because the owners weren't making enough money. They were riddled with bad contracts and their incoming revenue couldn't keep up. So as a solution, the new collective bargaining agreement set up a system where the owners weren't required to pay as much money to the players.
However, the reasoning behind the lockout and the subsequent collective bargaining agreement is flawed. That's because they can't protect the owners from themselves.
We're starting to see this play out in this offseason's free-agent signing period. Instead of seeing owners exhibit caution in the contracts they propose, we're seeing teams attempt to hand out bad contracts all over again. Meaning the lockout was a waste of time.
A perfect example of this is Indiana restricted free agent Roy Hibbert's proposed max deal from the Portland Trail Blazers (reported by David Aldridge). If Portland is unlucky enough to sign Hibbert, they'll pay him $58 million over four years.
Don't get me wrong, Hibbert's a very good center, an All-Star, in fact. But he's not worth a max deal. Only a handful of players in the NBA are worth max contracts, and Hibbert is not one of them.
Don't believe me? Check out what Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee tweeted about Hibbert's proposed deal.
I like Roy Hibbert but a max deal for him?
Jones followed that up with another tweet that highlighted the problem with the lockout.
This is why the lockout was crazy. Teams are going to overpay guys, regardless of system in place.
It'd be one thing if Hibbert's proposed contract was an isolated incident. Unfortunately, it's not. Another example is Landry Fields, who ESPN reports to have agreed to a three-year, $19 million offer sheet with the Toronto Raptors (via Marc Stein of ESPN).
Because Fields is a restricted free agent, the New York Knicks can match the offer; but either way, Fields is getting his money. Fields, like Hibbert, has proven himself to be a very solid player, especially during his rookie year. But he's not worth $20 million over three years.
While Fields' and Hibbert's proposed contracts are bad, they can't hold a candle to Omer Asik's reported offer from the Houston Rockets. Asik's contract proposal is absolutely horrendous—$25.1 million over three years, including $15 million in the final year.
Even ESPN's Jalen Rose, a former player, had a tongue-in-cheek response to Asik's proposed deal on his Twitter account.
Happy for Asik parlaying 2 starts, 3pts/5 rebs into a $25m deal from Hou. Being 7ft always pays especially if you can walk & chew gum #NBA
What's the moral of the story, you may ask? It's really quite simple. As much as teams want to make money, they want to win more. Don't get me wrong, that's a good philosophy to have from a fan's perspective, but it's not good business acumen.
All it does from a business standpoint is bog teams down with more bad contracts. After repeatedly doing this, revenues will no longer match player salaries, and the NBA will find itself in another lockout to remedy the problem.
So while the ever increasing player salaries may in fact be the problem, artificially reducing salaries isn't the solution. The real solution is to avoid giving out bad contracts in the first place. But as we're starting to see this offseason, that's much easier said than done.
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