Wednesday, October 22, 2014

NBA Change: Any Sign That They Are Slowing



So today in the NBA, the presumed highly unpopular Sixers won a major victory in their effort to rebuild the franchise, as the NBA's teams did not vote in strong enough numbers to punish truly bad teams with the potential of a middling draft pick in the lottery.

It didn't have anything to do with their popularity, of course. Rather, it had more to do with the OKC Thunder and San Antonio Spurs coaching and organizational trees working their way through enough sympathetic ears, and the cure seeming worse than the disease.

But a majority did go for change; it just wasn't enough people. Which means this will likely change next year, in a less draconian way, just in time (hopefully) for the Association to lock the barn door after the Sixers and their tanking horses have left.

So why did enough teams vote to let the tankers win by losing? Because the league is changing with incredible speed under them. Max contacts aren't as long as they used to be. The salary cap is about to go boom, thanks to the sudden influx of (much) bigger broadcast dollars. Franchise values may be doubling, even for teams in minus markets, thanks to the rampant popularity of the league in foreign lands. Adding a lottery change was just too much, too soon, for too many. But in a year? Probably not.

Oh, and one other thing: I can pretty much guarantee that there will be a franchise move, or a new team or two, really soon. Because if a franchise in a middling town like Milwaukee is worth $550 million, and the Clippers in Los Angeles go for $2 billion...

Well, how much would a three-pack of teams in Asian markets be worth? That would get the Association up to 32 teams, put franchises in more time zones, and create the greater potential for global numbers. Here, let me roll out a new 36-team Association, with divisions, and see how crazy it looks.

Atlantic

Boston
Brooklyn
New York
Philadelphia
Toronto
Washington

Central

Chicago
Cleveland
Detroit
Indiana
Milwaukee
Minnesota

Southeast

Atlanta
Charlotte
Memphis
Miami
New Orleans
Orlando

Southwest

Dallas
Houston
Los Angeles Clippers
Phoenix
San Antonio
Utah

Pacific

Beijing *
Golden State
Los Angeles Lakers
Portland
Seattle *
Tokyo

And yes, the NBAPA would revolt at all of that plane travel... but if I shorten the regular season to 68 games (20 from 2 home and aways in your own division, home and away with the other five divisions to get you 48 more), they'll come around, especially when teams don't play more than 3 games in any week.

Besides, this isn't baseball, where franchises haven't moved in decades, or football, where teams don't move any more because the game has become the only national religion. There's also no real shortage of actual basketball players, unlike, say, home run hitters or quality quarterbacks.

The pace of change in hoop has, just like every other facet of modern society, quickened. Try not to freak out too much...

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