There's a hypothetical team, and they've been bad for a long time. It's not a premier destination—star players have shunned this team's many entreaties. Suddenly, in a flourish, said team gets some major free agents. It can finally compete. It is no longer a joke. Not only that, but it can challenge the dominant team in the conference.
Good for parity, yes?
Think again, because the Brooklyn Nets are getting cited as parity killers the closer they move towards getting Dwight Howard. Their big-market status, combined with the triumph of Howard's choice, categorizes this as a situation that's bad for competitive balance.
This is strange because the Miami Heat likely control the Eastern Conference. In the absence of injury, it's hard to envision a series loss to the Pacers, Celtics or a rehabbing Derrick Rose. The Heat have a monopoly, an arrangement antithetical to "equality."
Orlando would certainly be a "have not" were the Nets able to pull off a lopsided trade, but fans would win in the aggregate. A boring Eastern Conference playoffs would be transformed into doubt and intrigue.
If parity is what drives us to watch, because we don't quite know what will happen, then a Deron-Dwight team-up better accomplishes this goal than any other feasible NBA move.
Are they the title favorite? Are they the best in the East? Better than Miami? We just wouldn't know, which is why we would watch.
A player's continued say on a bad, small-market team does little for parity. A player's entrance onto a decent, big-market team does a lot for parity. And to those who wring hands over what Orlando's losing, I say this: They got cheap years out of Dwight, via the NBA draft. So what's the problem here?