Saturday, November 22, 2008

The NBA: Where Belt-Tightening Happens

On the surface, the big stories so far this season are the continued Lakers/Celtics rivalry and the free agent status of superstar Lebron James. But what�s really on everyone�s mind is how the current financial crisis will impact the league long-term. Allow me to indulge is some gloom and doom for a moment�

With attendance dwindling and many small market teams hemorrhaging cash, we might be witnessing the end of the big-spending era where players got 100 million dollar contracts based on potential. The Knicks just basically gave away Jamal Crawford and Zach Randolph for the opportunity to sign James in 2010. According to league reports, as many as 14 teams are lining up to spend their money on Lebron. Yes, he�s one of the best players in the game but he�s also a proven commodity. He�ll sell tickets and help you win games. Practically speaking, that�s a good investment.

Gone are the days when Atlanta would give Jon Koncak 10 mil a season to get 5 points, 8 boards and a block. Gone are the days when Juwan Howard got a six year deal for being Washington�s third best player. In fact, if ticket prices ultimately go down based on poor attendance (makes sense, right?), it�s entirely possible that we�ll see the elimination of the well-paid role player (guys like James Posey or Lamar Odom). To stay profitable, each team would consist of two maxed-out stars and a bunch of minimum wage CBA guys. All those mid-level exception guys would either have to take pay cuts to stay in the league or go look for better deals overseas. Another possibility is that all of the role players play for one-year, non-guaranteed contracts, kind of like the special teams guys in the NFL.

Well paid coaches would probably also get the boot, unless they were winning titles, of course. Mike Dunleavy- gone. Scott Skiles- gone. Rick Carlisle- gone. Now I know this sounds pretty fucking bleak but with the unemployment rate getting higher every day, the average consumer is likely to make cutbacks on spending and I seriously doubt whether even the most hardcore fan would choose hoops tickets over paying the rent.

David Stern, the epitome of corporate douchebaggery, has been frantically trying to set up shop in China so he can jump ship the second it starts sinking. Great leadership there, you prick.

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