In what was arguably the craziest free-agent summer ever, the Heat made moves and set precedents that spelled out the death of the NBA. With he acquisition of the “Big Three,” the Heat has torn the league in two. Now, instead of spread out talent and competitive teams they are forming the haves and the have-nots. The way the league is headed now, smaller markets like Charlotte and Cleveland are in dire straits.
Some may claim that the great dynasties over the years have had a multitude of talents, and that the combination of James, Wade, and Bosh is nothing new.
Jordan had Pippen and Rodman, Magic had Abdul-Jabbar and Worthy, Kobe had Shaq and Gasol, what’s the big deal now? The big deal is that Miami pilfered their talent by taking other team’s franchise players. The distinction lies in that there’s a difference between getting a supporting cast and stealing superstars. No other player has had a meeting with his greatest competition and negotiated a deal where they joined up on the same team, they played the game like men and built their reputation on their own merits.
This idea of “talent hoarding” had never been done on such a large scale before. Coming off back-to-back MVP seasons and three straight All-Star selections, LeBron was the premier talent in the league. He was in an organization that did nothing but support him and a city that loved him unconditionally. He abandoned his home without warning, in a blaze of infamy, in search of a ring. His choice threw the league into frenzy and started the trend that everyone should be concerned about.
The owners were the first to realize its negative impact and are now pursuing a hard cap, however, lockout negotiations (or the lack thereof) have essentially destroyed the their plight.
With the lack of a hard cap and the precedent set by the Heat, the door has been blown wide open for the creation of more “super teams.” In addition to talent hoarding, this has also created a lack of loyalty towards the organizations. Franchise players like Chris Paul and Dwight Howard are more likely than not to leave their current teams in search of a new powerhouse home. This consolidation of talent will eventually result in a league devoid of competitive balance.
Without competition the league will become something of a joke, much like the rivalry between the Mets and the Yankees. When one or two teams dominate the entire league, fan support will dwindle drastically. The greed of a few will cause the downfall of many, and in effect end what fans now know as the NBA. Some of you may argue that I’m grasping at straws, and that these are nothing more than far fetched predictions, to the doubters I say, “It’s a slippery slope my friend; A very slippery slope.”