You may or may not care that the NBA is in the midst of a work stoppage that might wipe out the entire 2011-2012 season. Bill Simmons cares. He recently went all sports guy on us by explaining how the president guy in the movie Dave would be able to solve this lockout.
The thing that Billy doesn’t get is that neither the owners nor players seem to care. Errybody’s down to “Do the Eddy Curry” and take the entire season off.
Although the bloggers are reporting recent signs of negotiating progress, here’s what my people are telling me…
Owners: Many teams are operating at an annual loss. The market to buy NBA teams has also dried up so franchise values aren’t as inflated as they once were. In order to both turn a profit and prop up franchise values, the league needs to drastically change the economic structure of the league. A new agreement is the perfect opportunity to fix all of this. The owners are willing and prepared to wait this out.
Players: Unlike other sports leagues, the NBA only has 350 union jobs so it’s easier to keep the players united. Players also have an option to play overseas (or go down to the playground) so they don’t seem as desperate to get back to work. In fact, I bet a bunch of players would gladly take just half their salary each year to play a two-month regular season (The Roger Clemens), try kinda hard in the playoffs and then tweet away during a nine month offseason. Besides Derek Fisher and Roger Mason Jr., I’m not sure how many players actually want the season to start on time.
Turn on SportsCenter, go to your local park or check ya Twitter feed. The players are chillin. They are going abroad (ESPN overseas tracker). Durant may possibly have joined the new 21st century version of the Harlem Globetrotters. Artest, er, Metta World Peace is now a comedian. The foreign guys are playing ball all over the world in the European Championships and Olympic qualifying. It doesn’t seem like anyone is worried about their league in the same way as NFL players were this summer.
Combine this with my theory that one day all athletes are going to unite and rule the world. First, they will pool their salaries together to buy their own teams. Between their earning power, media presence and physical prowess, they will then dominate all other races, political parties and business leaders.
My point here is that the players are in an amazing position. They are united and are not desperate to work. All they want is the status quo so they have the media and fans on their side. Furthermore, they may not even need the NBA anymore.
The players have the perfect opportunity to form their own super league or tournament. Here’s how I see it working.
The Pro Sweet 16
The Pro Sweet 16 would be a single elimination basketball tournament played in the fall. All games would be in Las Vegas. Players will form their own teams. The 16 teams that ante up the largest entry fees will compete (anybody is eligible). Sponsors can pledge the fee on behalf of a player/team. The 15-plus tournament games (plus consolation games) would either be televised through Pay-Per-View or the global broadcast rights will be sold to media companies. The entry fees, event and media revenues will be pooled together and distributed to teams based on performance. It’s so beautifully simple.
This is actually already kind of happening without the high-level marketing genius and organization. Carmelo Anthony helped organize a game in Baltimore that featured a duel between LeBron and Durant in which Durantchala went for 59. This was a few weeks after Durant put on a show in NYC playgrounds including 68 at the Rucker. The Impact Basketball Academy in Las Vegas is putting together “competitive training sessions” with over 40 NBA players this month. Even Jimmer Fredette is putting on an exhibition tour in Utah.
The allure of the Pro Sweet 16 would be the players, teams and match-ups. Judging by fantasy spots and last summer's Melo trade debacle, we know fans love player’s moving from team to team! Fortunately, Littyhoops has your team projections and seedings. Damn kid, get psyched, posts like this are why you read all my lame pseudo-intellectual entries about the Internet. Buckle up!
#1 — Team USA
Always self-conscious Kobe brings together a bunch of egomaniacs under the USA flag as former national players, all-stars and veterans unite to form the most formidable team in the world.
#2 – Nike Swooshes
Nike finally surrounds Durant with players who let him do whatever he wants….Score!
Captain: Kevin Durant
Team: Amare Stoudemire, Kevin Love, Stephen Curry, Zach Randolph, Al Horford, Chris Bosh, Joel Anthony, Rudy Gay, Marcus Camby, James Harden, Eric Maynor
#3 – CAA All-Stars
Led by World Wide Wes, CAA puts together the biggest sponsorship package and buys the rights to the music video and documentary.
#4 – Wasserman, Tellem & Associates
Casey Wasserman and Arn Tellem’s players are led by a dynamic back court of D.Rose and Russell Westbrook. Not sure if this helps bring Football to LA though.
Captain: Derrick Rose
Team: Russell Westbrook, Brook Lopez, Robin Lopez, Tyreke Evans, Antawn Jamison, LaMarcus Aldridge, Kendrick Perkins, Jordan Farmar
#5 – Emerald City
Not sure how Seattle became a basketball hot spot but it has. These dudes are super tight and mad proud of the 206.
Captain: Jason Terry
Team: Jamal Crawford, Nate Robinson, Marvin Williams, Aaron Brooks, Brandon Roy, Jon Brockman, Brian Scalabrine, Terrence Williams
#6 – LeBronmates
We know LeBron performs best when playing with scrubs who aren’t gonna boink his momma. Here he is with his best buds. This is More Than A Game. Even Mav Carter gets all up in the video.
Captain: LeBron James
Team: Mike Conley, Greg Oden, Zydrunus Illgauskus, Dru Joyce III, Romeo Travis, Willie McGee, Sian Cotton, Maverick Carter
#7 – The Excelerators
Jeff Schwartz is one of the best agents in basketball. He signs great character guys and builds long term relationships with them. He also stays out of the press. He’ll do a nice job organizing this squad.
Captain: Paul Pierce
Team: Deron Williams, Al Jefferson, Emeka Okafor, Devin Harris, Jason Kidd, Charlie Villanueva, Blake Griffin
#8 The Iron Curtain
Back in the day, these guys would have been called the USSR. I kind of wish the Middle East could field some amazing sports teams so we can have some Cold War type rivalries.
Captain: Dirk Nowitzki
Team: Beno Udrih, Hedo Turkoglu, Marcin Gortat, Goran Dragic, Vladimir Radmanovic, Zaza Pachulia, Omar Asik, Timofey Mozgov, Andrei Kirilenko, Enes Kantor
#9 – Big East Alumni Network
Yup, we actually created something better than the Big East Tournament. Gotta have some Johnnies in our dance.
Captain: Ray Allen
Team: Jeff Green, Roy Hibbert, Ben Gordon, Hakim Warrick, DeJuan Blair, Ryan Gomes, Kemba Walker, Wesley Matthews, Marcus Hatten, Dwight Hardy
#10– The NATO Warriors
First, Europe unites to support the Libyan rebels and now they all ball together. Led by the Spaniards, this might be the prettiest team to watch.
Captain: Pau Gasol
Team: Marc Gasol, Rudy Fernandez, Ricky Rubio, Jose Calderon, Boris Diaw, Nicholas Batum, Marco Belinelli, Johan Petro, Tony Parker, Danilo Gallinari
#11 – MJ’s Carolina
You know MJ is licking his chops for any excuse to play competitively. His fellow alumni are probably the only guys to follow him. Larry Brown can coach these guys.
Captain: Michael Jordan
Team: Ty Lawson, Raymond Felton, Tyler Hansbrough, Ed Davis, Vince Carter, Antawn Jamison, Brandan Wright, Danny Green, Wayne Ellington
#12 – The City
I love these guys, but shouldn’t there be more talent here?
Captain: Metta World Peace (formerly known as Ron Artest)
Team: Lamar Odom, Sebastian Telfair, Stephon Marbury, Lance Stephenson, Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson, Jamaal Tinsley, Rafer Alston, Royal Ivey
#13 – Role Models
This team is smoking!
Captain: Gilbert Arenas
Team: Michael Beasley, OJ Mayo, DeMarcus Cousins, DeShawn Stevenson, Glenn Davis, Allen Iverson, Delonte West, Javaris Crittenton
#14 – The Dukies
Gonna be fun to watch these guys lose. Battier and Grant Hill are pissed he lost the Presidency to Curtis Granderson. Coached by Steve Wojciechowski
Captain: Grant Hill
Team: Carlos Boozer, Elton Brand, Luol Deng, Chris Duhon, Shane Battier, Kyrie Irving, JJ Redick, Mike Dunleavy Jr., Nolan Smith
#15 – The High Flyers
The official team of the Tea Party, Kenny Chesney and Talladega Super Speedway.
Captain: Steve Nash
Team: David Lee, Chris Anderson, Kirk Hinrich, Chase Budinger, Landry Fields, Kris Humphries, Kyle Korver, Gordan Haywood, Steve Blake, Jimmer Fredette
#16 – Team Zeros
I never understood why a guy would want to be a zero. But apparently these guys do. And they understand each other. And they are going to match their win total with their uniform number. Maybe they will be sponsored by NASA or Mircrosoft or Yahoo.
Captain: Mike Bibby
Team: Shawn Marion, Drew Gooden, James Johnson, Jeff Teague, Gary Forbes, Avery Bradley, Darrell Arthur, Spencer Hawes, Chad CeroYcero
What team would win? What team would you like to see form?
Here’s a highlight video of Durant lighting up the Rucker. This is the type of ball you’ll see in the Pro Sweet 16.