5 Reasons the NBA Must Get a Deal Done in 2011
The 2010-11 NBA season was one of the most exciting in recent memory. After a summer free agency Bonanza that saw a number of star players switching jerseys—most notably LeBron James—the 2010 season did not disappoint.
What was thought to be a two horse race for the NBA title (between Miami and LA) turned out to be anything but.
The Chicago Bulls led by MVP Derrick Rose emerged with the best record in the NBA winning 62 games. Out west, the thought to be over-the-hill San Antonio Spurs blazed through the regular season winning 61 games.
However it was the Dallas Mavericks who emerged as champions after defeating the Miami Heat in six games in the NBA Finals.
Uncertainty loomed over the season as the NBA and the NBAPA were unable to reach a new CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement).
This summer the uncertainty remains but the NBA needs to bring the lockout to an end immediately.
Here are five reasons why.
Another Upstart League
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The likelihood of this happening is slim but must be considered. The reason the NBA is able to dominate basketball viewership is because there is no other league to rival or compete with it.
Should the lockout last an extended period of time this is another possibility that’s out there: the NBA could lose players if another league—domestic or foreign—were created and got serious financial backers.
We’ve seen a number of football upstarts try and fail (most notably the USFL and XFL) but the Arena Football league does exist, as does the CFL in Canada.
The number of players required to make up an NBA roster is considerably less than that of football and if a few quality players were to jump to a new league, the NBA could be in some trouble.
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It is a word that scares role players and causes David Stern to yank out those silvery strands by the handful. Unfortunately for the NBA it could become a reality. A large number of the league’s teams are losing money and are in markets where people could care less about the game of basketball.
The league was forced to take over the New Orleans Hornets franchise in 2010 and the idea of disbanding the Hornets and other failing franchises might be something the league is forced to consider.
Contraction won’t hurt stars on folded teams and could improve the overall talent level of the league, but when your idea is to expand your game globally; it is definitely not something you want to do.
Risk of Injuries
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Injuries are always a concern, but could you imagine the catastrophic affect an injury to an NBA superstar would have on the league if the player were injured overseas?
How would a team go about rebuilding if one of their stars is lost while playing in some international league or on some national circuit?
Assuming a new CBA is reached before the 2011 season is over and all players are allowed to return to their teams, could you imagine a situation where the Lakers were forced to play without Kobe or Oklahoma City without Kevin Durant? Ticket sales and ratings would drop and the league as a whole would suffer.
Lose Relevance with the Players
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The Globalization of basketball has been good for the NBA but could also help bury it. Basketball players are going to play if given the opportunity. Stars like the Nets' Deron Williams have already signed with a team in Turkey and Kevin Durant is reportedly in negotiations with the same team.
It only seems logical that when a new CBA is reached all of the league’s players will come back, but it is no guarantee. With a national debt crisis and the threat of contraction, some players may elect to stay overseas and play in different leagues.
The game's biggest stars would without a doubt make the most money in contracts and endorsements stateside, but what about some mid-level players? Might the intrigue of living abroad and the opportunity to become a star tempt some NBA players to sojourn in countries around the globe?
Lose All Momentum from 2010
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The 2010 NBA season was preceded by an epic free agency class. The buzz around LeBron James and other stars kept the league relevant for most of the summer months.
The NBA regular season, playoffs and Finals all saw solid TV ratings and the drama from the Lakers playoff collapse and the Heat’s failure in the NBA Finals are great storylines for the upcoming season.
If the 2011 season is shortened or all together cancelled, the NBA’s momentum goes with it. All the venom directed at the Miami Heat and LeBron James will surely subside as will the excitement over the Dallas Mavericks attempt to defend their crown.
Will anyone remember the run that Memphis or Oklahoma City made a year from now?
Also what would a year away from the game mean to aging veterans like Kobe Bryant, Dirk Nowitzki and Tim Duncan?