“The Decision” was an embarrassing spectacle. Whispers of collusion echoed through even the deafest of ears. Yet, it looks like we have just seen the beginning.
The NBA is treading down a treacherous path: having all of its star ballers on a handful of teams. The Miami Heat is the perfect example of a scenario in which the term “teamwork” is taking on an entirely new meaning.
Recent rumors concerning the New Orleans Hornets’ star point guard Chris Paul have created a feeling of a mockery in the making. As his friends in Miami have assembled their own version of the Dream Team, Paul now sees himself as the player who got left out of all the fun.
Paul is tired of mediocrity in the “Big Easy.” The Hornets had one pretty good season since he’s been there, while the others have been mired in injuries and few victories. He wants to win now.
This is where the problem lies in the NBA. I’m more tired of blaming parity on the league’s woes than most, but there is no other way around it.
The “Summer of LeBron” only made the climate in the league that much worse. In less than 15 minutes, James managed to make the Cleveland Cavaliers irrelevant while simultaneously making the NBA live up to its notorious lack of contention.
In reality, the NBA only has about six teams which have a reasonable opportunity to win a championship: the Dallas Mavericks, Chicago Bulls, Miami Heat, Los Angeles Lakers, Orlando Magic, and Boston Celtics. David Stern should be worried about what the rest of the franchises put out on the court than the aforementioned top-notch teams.
This Paul situation is not the first case of “super teams” crowding the NBA. The Celtics started it and the Heat perfected it.
But where does it end? Will Stern put a stop to such instances plaguing the state of his league? How many Lakers/Celtics Finals matchups will basketball fans watch, let alone the casual sports fan?
Every Heat game will be put under a microscope, and, as Dwyane Wade himself said, every loss would be compared to the tumbling of the World Trade Center towers-but in a sports sense. There is a fine line between big-time ratings and doing your league justice, and that line is becoming thinner and thinner every time each very good team gets that much better.
If Paul-“CP3” as many call him-is granted his wish and gets traded to a team already in contention, like his “top” choice in Orlando, then the Hornets become virtually unwatchable and the fans will stop showing up. It will be like the situations already taking place in Toronto, Indiana, Sacramento, Minnesota and so on.
Paul wants to leave New Orleans because the Hornets are an average team with yet another coach at the helm-I understand that. But what happened to athletes honoring their contracts (Paul has two years remaining on his current deal) and playing through them?
I’m not blaming Paul in asking for a trade; I blame Stern and the NBA. The culture of joining the best players in a given sport only hurts the product in the long run. Maybe it speaks about the state of the league and declining interest among the masses, or perhaps this is the road Stern wants to pass through.
Stern wants the quick fix, the road less traveled, for a reason. It also rings true why the NFL is so popular in this country: Each team has the ability to contend on a year-to-basis and superstars exist in arguably every franchise.
The NBA is a player-driven league and its recent actions mirror such reactions.