Negotiations, negotiations, negotiations.
NBA fans have heard a lot of "that" talk in the last few days as players attempt to reach some sort of middle ground with the league that pays their salaries.
What it boils to do is simple: The NBA wants to tax teams that sign it's "employees" to insane contracts. There's no point of naming those with the gaudy agreements, we all know who they are.
The fact that the NBA's commissioner David Stern wants to regulate how and essentially when clubs dole out the big dollars has gotten underneath some of the "brand's" biggest names skin.
The agreement doesn't just affect the faces' of the leagues cash-flow situation; it would put the clamps on Joe Schmo riding the bench, too.
Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James, and Kobe Bryant were in attendance during today's bargaining session. Perhaps they thought that their presence would be valued, and that Billy Hunter and Stern would listen up.
Stern is seeking a "hard" salary cap, taxing clubs that exceed the league's future financial standard. Basically hidden in all of the technical chatter is some type of plan to make smaller market teams competitive.
Teams like the Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics, New York Knicks (competitive?), and Orlando Magic can afford to lock in big names, ensuring contention for years to come.
What about the little guys, the small market teams?
What about the Milwaukee Bucks, or others like them?
A hard salary cap would eliminate the worry of not being able to cash in on big name talent because of the lack of funds that the bigger organizations have. What would keep the NBA exciting to watch if the same names and teams were the only perennial contenders?
By leveling the playing field, or court in this case, small market franchise owners wouldn't have to worry about their teams folding because of financial issues. Merchandise sales, television exposure, and ticket sales pays players' salaries—no money for big names equals money trouble.
If an agreement isn't reached soon, there could be a lockout in 2011. This wouldn't only tarnish the image of Stern's NBA, but the "brand" that he's striving to build would take a hit in the credibility department. The NBA would be known as a joke—clarification, an even bigger joke.
Here's a solution: Why doesn't the NBA just consolidate? Make the biggest professional basketball league in the world an eight team league, comprised of the elite names that have those meretricious deals? Fans could sit back and watch Bryant vs. D-Wade every year, or better yet, Bryant vs. James.
An eight team set would take the guess work out of pro ball. Who's going to the NBA Finals? Well, you'd have a one in four chance of picking each conference's champion.
Sounds ludicrous, and of course this would never happen, but something has to give. The previous statement was just meant to serve as an extreme example of what could happen, just on a grander scale.
Would it really hurt so-and-so that rakes in millions of dollars to take a minor pay-cut for job security's sake?
What happened to taking one for the team, or does that saying not exist in professional sports today? People slave at jobs that they hate just to buy your jerseys, shoes, and overpay for nosebleed section seats to watch you play. Think of someone other than yourself.
When it's all said and done, trust that Stern will come up with the best plan available in order to guarantee an NBA 100 year anniversary season. Sit down with your then children/grandchildren and tell them about the times when the league that we all love almost spent itself into oblivion.