LeBron James to the Heat and Carmelo Anthony to the Knicks: Good for the NBA?
By now everyone is aware that over the summer LeBron James "Took his talents to South Beach," and at the trade deadline Carmelo Anthony was shipped off to the Knicks.
Both of these transactions are part of a new league trend to put superstars on the floor together in an attempt to form super teams.
But is this new trend good for the NBA?
The 2004 NBA Finals were the third-highest rated since Michael Jordan's last finals appearance. The two key ingredients to the highly rated series were star power (Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O'Neal, Karl Malone, and Gary Payton), and market power (Los Angeles in the second-largest TV market).
Further, last year's NBA Finals between the Lakers and Celtics was the highest-rated since the 2004 finals.
The two ingredients were present once again: There was the star power (Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce), and the market power of Los Angeles and Boston, which is seventh-largest market—and considered by many to be a great sports city.
The two lowest-rated NBA Finals since the Jordan era both involved the Spurs. Their two opponents were the New Jersey Nets and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Neither of those two series were loaded with star power.
While the Spurs have their own "big three," they play a boring—but super-effective—brand of basketball. And in 2007 finals against San Antonio, LeBron wasn't the superstar he is today and Cleveland is a small-market team.
Now moving onto this season. LeBron's return to Cleveland was the highest-rated regular season NBA game since Jordan came out of retirement. Even The Decision at the time was the third-highest rated cable broadcast.
Star power and large markets is what makes for high TV ratings which is what the NBA wants. The NBA is in great position now and headed into another golden age.
The Lakers, Celtics, Heat, Bulls, and Mavericks are all considered elite teams and all play in major markets and the talent level is at its highest since the Jordan era.
The Lakers, Heat, Celtics, Knicks, Mavericks, Bulls, Thunder, Spurs, and Magic are all loaded and full of stars. Five years ago the league wasn't nearly as deep as it is today.
In New Yor, the Knicks are not an elite team yet, but they're a much more talented and competitive team now, which is huge for the NBA.
Sure there are bottom feeders like Minnesota, Cleveland, Sacramento, and Washington, but what league doesn't have it's fair share of bad teams?
The 2011 NBA Playoffs are just over a month away, and fans are going to be in for a treat.
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