NBA: East Coast, West Coast Power Shift Is a Good Thing

Anthony Hardin SrContributor IMarch 15, 2011

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 17:  (L-R) Pau Gasol #16, Kobe Bryant #24, Derek Fisher #2 and Lamar Odom #7 of the Los Angeles Lakers run up court in Game Seven of the 2010 NBA Finals against the Boston Celtics at Staples Center on June 17, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Gordon Geko said it perfectly when he said “Greed is good!”

Maybe it is about time NBA fans embrace that motto and praise the players for teaming up. After all, the rivalries that may develop may be enough to send us into the next great era of NBA basketball.

The Los Angeles Lakers have Kobe, Gasol and Odom. The Mavericks have Kidd, Nowitzki, Marion and Terry. The Spurs, well the Spurs are the Spurs. And let’s not forget where we were when King James decided to take his talents to South Beach and team up with Wade and Bosh.

The point that I am getting at is that parody may be great for the NFL, but it stinks in the NBA. Think about the golden years of the league. The Knicks squads of the seventies were a complete “team,” The decade of the 80s had the stacked squads that seemed to dominate the nightly standings.

It was the “Showtime” Lakers and the “Bad Boys” of Detroit that left the longest lasting impressions. Their teams were stocked with super stars and role players from top to bottom. And that believe it or not, that was a good thing.

Nowadays, the watered down product that the NBA forces down our throats is not even comparable to those great teams. Expansion has forced the league to spread their stars too thin, and when they look around in the huddle, they usually do not see any other stars looking back at them.

The Cleveland Cavaliers proved that having the best player in the league means zilch, if the supporting cast around him is littered with players of minimal talent.

The self-imposed player contraction is helping to improve the NBA product. Instead of suffering and struggling every season to make the playoffs, star players can now join forces and enhance their chances of reaching the Finals and hoisting the Larry O’Brien Trophy.

The players of today are doing what David Stern and the team owners refuse to do. They are taking matters into their own hands and no longer look for the big pay day. No, they are looking for championship gold instead.

Take the new look New York Knicks for example. The Knicks had long been the laughing stock of the league, but that would not detour big man Amar’e Stoudemire from forcing his way out of Phoenix to join them. Stoudemire would be quickly be joined by Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups. And this is a great thing.

The NBA is better when basketball matters in the Big Apple. Of course the Knicks are probably at least a year from contending for the title, but Anthony and Billups have added a spark to a team that is looking to turn heads.

Gone are the days of watching stars in small markets and manning a rudderless ship with little to no help at all from their teammates. Take Kevin Garnett for example, he toiled in Minnesota for over a decade and for seven straight years he watched his season end as it always did; with a first round exit out of the playoffs.

As soon as KG joined forces with Lonely Boston Celtics superstar Paul Pierce and perennial all-star Ray Allen, the "Big Three” earned the ultimate prize and won the NBA Finals their first season together.

Has the player exodus from mid-market teams affected the overall NBA product? No, basketball is king in the larger markets like Los Angeles on the West Coast, and Boston and New York on the East Coast. Of course you can’t forget about San Antonio, Dallas and Miami. The Spurs have proven what veteran players, great coaching and selfless play can do. The jury is still out on Miami, and only time will tell.

This is exactly what the NBA and its fans need. Commissioner David Stern will never admit that his league expansion and globalization experiment has failed. 

Dwindling attendance and the looming Collective Bargaining Agreement has proven to be a hurdle that may not be cleared.  Let the players force themselves out of lousy markets, and sign with large market teams that will offer them a chance to win a ring.  If players are where they want to be, they will play inspired basketball and that can only entertain the fans.

Yes, greed is a good thing.  And right about now lets hope that the powers that be in the NBA decide to continue being greedy.