Although later reports have indicated that Howard was eligible to speak with the Nets, it seems to me that NBA owners are making a strong effort to stop future superteams, like the one in Miami, from developing.
The NBA is extremely different from the other major sports.
Great players will always have a huge impact, but there is no game where a player can have more of an impact than in basketball.
In basketball great players like LeBron James or Kobe Bryant can go out for 48 minutes and just totally dominate. They can get the ball on every possession, they can score half the team's points and they can play shutdown defense.
In sports like baseball, football and hockey it is impossible for one player to have such an impact on a game.
In baseball if you do not want a player to hurt you, then you can just pitch around him.
In football players most players do not play both offense and defense.
Hockey is the closest comparison, because of the fluidity of the game, but still players go out on short shifts, and thus you need four solid lines of players to make up a strong team.
In basketball though, you can get two or three good players and be in the playoffs.
Many of the small-market teams believe they are being exploited by this and are not being given a chance to keep their top players.
The rejection of the Chris Paul trade to Los Angeles and the earlier allegations against Dwight Howard prove this point. The top players in the NBA want to form superteams to keep up with the superteams that have already been formed, and many owners do not like this.
In a sport where a game can so easily be taken over by one player, it is hard to build a competitive league of 30 teams. The good teams and the bad teams are miles apart in the NBA, and the gap needs to be narrowed.
Just look at Cleveland.
The team lost one player and was a total disaster the next season. Now look at the Cardinals in baseball. They lost Albert Pujols this year, but will still most likely remain competitive for years to come.
The small-market teams are tired of not having a chance to re-sign their franchise players, and frankly many fans are tired of it as well.
Sure, the playoffs are exciting because all the superstars are playing each other, but the regular season is getting boring.
I would not be surprised if we see some interesting changes in the NBA over the next few years so that the smaller-market teams can stay more competitive.