The NBA Sucks (with an Addendum!)

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I am LAme.

Ok, you know there was no way I could not write a post today after what’s transpired over the past few hours.

Firstly, the only thing I have to say about Albert Pujols leaving the Cardinals for the Angels is that it’s the worst thing that could have happened. Why’d you go to an AL West team, Al? WHY?! Even though you’ve been my favorite baseball player for a while now, you leave me no choice. It is my duty. I must hate you.

And that’s all there is to say about that.

Now — Chris Paul.

Please note that I’m writing this at 3:00 in the morning so my train of thought may be wonky. In fact, the following will probably just be a conglomeration of the bunch of scattered, non-linear thoughts that ran through my head when I heard the news, as well as additional commentary regarding the reasons why I’ve stopped caring about the NBA.

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*3:20PM: Jump to a more clearly thought out argument in the addendum here.

Otherwise, read on to see what writing at 3:00 in the morning looks like.

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So clearly, the lockout was completely pointless. I thought a big reason for it was to help restore competitive balance in the league. The new free agency rules were supposed to compel upcoming free agent superstars to stay with their (usually) small-market team, and the very first day the new CBA is ratified, Chris Paul forces (the NBA-owned) New Orleans Hornets’ hand, says peace-out and joins Kobe Bryant in sunny LA. Seriously, does anyone (besides Laker fans) not see how fucked up this is?

The league has slowly been decimated over the past few years (part of the reason why I grew to become disinterested). Currently, only about 4-5 teams out of 30 have a legit chance at winning a championship. What’s the point in watching games played amongst the other 25 teams in the league when they have absolutely no chance of going anywhere? As a Warrior fan, I know this feeling all too well. So let’s be honest Warrior fans, the team, while exciting to watch, aren’t going to even sniff the playoffs the season. The biggest tease came this week to gullible fans who had bought into the idea that the Warriors actually had an enticing package to lure Chris Paul to the team. Hell, even the basketball guy himself, Bill Simmons, was convinced the Warriors had the CP3 sweepstakes won. I knew better.

How can fans of small-market teams even enjoy watching games when their team has absolutely no chance from day 1? How is that exciting? Please tell me because I don’t see it.

This is why I was highly disappointed when I read the terms of the new CBA did not include a hard cap. A hard cap will solve A LOT of these problems, at the very least, restore some semblance of a competitive balance in the league…

I also still believe removing some teams and contracting the league will help, too. Less teams, less crap talent will result in more quality teams with better talent…

Damn it, LeBron. This is all your fault. Didn’t you know that stunt you pulled would induce a snowball effect?…

And then the NBA decides to block the trade. And to that, I say, good for them. It’s about time they put their foot down. Some people will argue that it was an even trade for all three sides involved, and to that, I say those people are grade-A idiots (I’m looking at you, Chris Broussard). An even trade makes all sides better. The Hornets were getting a bunch of throwaway players, the Rockets get one guy, and the Lakers create the best backcourt in the league, all the while saving money, saving Bynum, and having enough trade chips available to sign Dwight Howard too, if they so chose. That’s fair? Alright, sure.

But therein lies the problem: small-market teams couldn’t even comprehend having those kinds of options available for them. The Lakers traded for the best point guard in the league, and they still have the opportunity to get the best center in the game? That’s ludicrous…

And now Chris Paul wants to sue? I don’t — I can’t even…there are no words. I wish the lockout was still going on.

I have more thoughts about this, and I’ll probably include an addendum to this post. But I’m getting sleepy and starting to forget that I actually don’t care about the NBA.

Whatever the case, fuck the NBA. I can’t believe they’ve kept me up this late to say how much I hate them. Oh and fuck LA, too. Bastards.

Addendum (3:20 PM):ย 

I realized that writing a post at 3:00 AM in the morning, when I had downed about 5 glasses of red wine only a couple hours prior, was probably a bad idea. I included the disclaimer at the top of this post, so you can’t say I didn’t warn you that my perspective on the whole ideal was probably going to not be well-thought out.

That’s not to say, I still don’t fully stand by everything I wrote above. What it does mean is that I didn’t quite articulate as well as, or as much as, I wanted to in order to defend my argument.

For one — yes, I understand the package the Hornets were receiving for Chris Paul was probably the best return they were going to get. I called that package “throwaway” players because I couldn’t think of a more fancy and concise way to say “players who were decent but weren’t going to make that team a real contender.” It’s not a great package, but it’ll do. Plus, I was purposefully trying to be inflammatory. If they had not made this trade, Chris Paul was going to leave at the end of the season anyway, and they would get nothing. Yes, I’m not a dumbass. I understand how free agency works. And this is the argument a lot of people are making. But my argument is that people are completely missing the point, and what I had assumed was supposed to be “resolved” with the new CBA.

My overriding argument is that the NBA system is still broken. Under the new CBA, while it’s supposed to help in theory, small-market teams still will not be able to retain their players and super teams will continue to be formed elsewhere. This may just be a difference in opinion, but I, for one, am not a fan of super teams, especially super teams that are formed through free agency and/or trades. Super teams formed organically, though the team’s own system and the draft, perfectly fine. But a team “forming” its own big 3 superficially just seems cheap, ironically.

However, in retrospect, after reading what I wrote last night and after thumbing through countless analysis of the non-trade, it’s not a lopsided trade — for now. The Lakers are giving up the second best center in the league and their 3rd leading scorer. That’s a hefty price, understandable. The biggest issue I have with it is what comes after. Because the Lakers were able to bank some money and keep Andrew Bynum, they still have the opportunity to pursue Dwight Howard, despite reports that Howard is going to the Nets. And reports are rumors until he’s signed a contract, so him on the Lakers is still a very real possibility. That’s what bothers me most about the trade, what it allows the Lakers to do after the fact.

If I were being completely honest, the owners should have not vetoed the trade. It’s not the Hornets/Lakers/Rockets fault they know how to expose the system. All this nonsense can occur because the CBA still sucks. And if all 29 of those owners who own the Hornets didn’t want this trade to happen, then they should have never ratified the CBA in the first place. Plain and simple. Even if that meant losing a season. Oh well.

This fiasco just makes all sides look absolutely moronic. I’m still in awe that I’ve churned out over 1300 words about a league I stopped caring about a couple of years ago. Who’s the real moron here?

9 thoughts on “The NBA Sucks (with an Addendum!)

  1. I really think most people are missing the biggest reason this deal should be blocked. It has little to do with the lakers or cp3 or competitive balance in the nba which was the point of the lockout, butis also a joke. The reason this should be blocked is because the nba owns the hornets. As long as the nba owns the team it means every owner from big market teams like the lakers heat and mavs, as well as small market teams like pacers, bobcats, and raptors are paying the salary of the hornets. So when you trade CP3 and his expiring contract, and you take back 4 guys who have contracts lasting several years that total more money it is unfair to every other team that they are having to agree to pay even more money out of their pocket to help their competition. Why is Mark Cuban not able to resign his guys because he has to worry about a luxury tax, but has to live with paying for his opponents to improve? Had this been an expiring for expiring where hornets took back no more salary none of the owners would be saying anything because the amount they are paying to run the hornets wouldn’t have changed. Bottom line is nba should have ensured the sale of the team before lockout ended, or shohld have contracted the team and either offered players on waivers with priority based on worst record, or just bought out the roster made everyone free and let them sign wherever they want. Just my opinion

    1. That’s a good point, and gives more clout to why the league should contract. I’m a HUGE advocate of contraction.

      I’ve seen that a “majority” of the owners were against the trade, but it doesn’t say it was a unanimous backlash So clearly, there were some owners who were okay with it and maybe they felt the sale of the team was imminent or within the year at least, so they wouldn’t have to deal with paying the rest of those contracts for much longer. Just a thought.

      What bothers me more is that it also proves the whole transaction was one big salary dump for the Lakers while at the same time acquiring top-flight talent (how that’s allowed to happen blows my mind), and consequently, the Hornets are nearly maxed out to the cap while losing their best player. This just seems backwards to me.

      I still think under the rules of the new CBA, the trade was fine. But for the sake of basketball and the bigger picture, it ruins the integrity of the league.

  2. Nice post. I think you’re slightly missing one major point, which for me would be the biggest reason to abandon the NBA, which is that the fact that Stern blocked the trade was totally unjust. Its not his job to judge all trades based on what’s best for the league, and to maintain competitive balance via the distribution of player talent. The fact that Dan Gilbert and his squad of owners of (bad) small-market teams are able to push Stern into blocking a trade simply because they don’t like it is scary.

    I understand the desire for competitive balance, and a hard cap probably would have been nice as far as that goes, but making sure all teams have a level playing field should be done with rules, not judgments by the commissioner on what players should play for what teams. The outcome of the trade for all sides is irrelevent. Unless collusion of some other illegal practice played a part in orchestrated the trade, then it should be allowed.

    As far as the disadvantage of small market teams, I think this is something that will always exist. Even among major cities, some areas are better for sports franchises than others. Toronto is a major city but that doesn’t mean its as good an environment for the NBA as New York City. And I think small market teams can stil be successful if they are well-run, as San Antonio and OKC prove. Major market teams aren’t guaranteed success either, the Knicks were a laughingstock for many years and the Clippers might be the worst franchise in pro sports. The main common theme among successful franchises is good ownership and smart management, not size of market. Would Paul want to move to LA if he were in Russell Westbrook’s place in OKC instead of in New Orleans? Or if he spent the last 7 years with the Spurs? Why did Durant sign an extension, and LeBron and Carmelo not? Because his team is in a position to contend for the forseeable future. Cleveland, Denver, and New Orleans weren’t. In the end, winning is the bottom line.

    As far as why someone would care to watch a team that has no shot at a title, I think you can make that argument for any regular season game. That’s why I don’t watch regular season baseball, does winning or losing one game make a difference out of 162? I think if its a sport you love, and the game is played hard and well, you will watch regardless of the context. Maybe I’m biased since I don’t root for a particular team.

    1. Unfortunately, because of the veto and subsequent appeal, Chris Paul will be in either two destinations this season: if they win the appeal, LA; if they lose it, then he’s stuck in New Orleans and has to wait til the offseason when he was going to leave anyway. Every other team that was in consideration for him is basically out of the conversation, so in a roundabout way, the owners basically screwed themselves.

      The unintended consequence of the action was that it sets a precedent for every trade in the league from here on out. So let’s say, Dwight Howard does end up going to the Nets (or Lakers), is he going to veto that trade too? And if he doesn’t, why not? Clearly, he didn’t think this through.

      I understand your sentiments regarding small market teams and completely agree that good ownership plays a huge role. Yes of course, LA and NY will always be more attractive than Milwaukee and Indiana, thus creating an inherent unfairness. But what most small market owners (and fans) want to change is the retention. The second their superstar’s contract expires, they don’t want them to immediately bolt and head to Miami or Jersey to play with their buddies. They want to be able to retain their stars. The way to do this is offer a higher incentive to stay, which was supposedly included in the new CBA, but it doesn’t have an effect until next season, I believe. Regardless, it seems a lot of these players are willing to take a slight pay cut in order to play with their friends to create a super team. To solve this problem, or at the very least, contain it, a hard cap and some sort of franchise player tag would be valuable, especially in a league that puts so much emphasis on one player.

      The impetus for all these problems is the “new and improved” CBA. The owners knew what they were voting on, and they knew that this was a possibility. If they weren’t willing to put up with it, then they shouldn’t have signed off on the deal. Otherwise, they have no place to complain.

      Besides 3 or 4 marquee Warrior matchups, I’ve stopped watching regular season NBA a long time ago. And the playoffs didn’t even really interest me as much as it usually does. So I don’t think it has to do with how (or if you’re) attached to a team. It has to do with the product, and only about 10% of the NBA has a quality product. Everything else is crap.

      1. I hope the veto doesn’t set a precedent, that would be absurd. I don’t think Stern can get away with that because he won’t have the excuse of the team being league-owned in other situations. As for the idea that the trade shouldn’t be allowed because in effect all the other owners would be paying; I don’t necessarily disagree, except that Stern had always previously said that the Hornets would be able to conduct business and make transactions just like any other team. If he’s decided that its in NO’s “best interest” to keep Paul, essentially barring them from trading him, why did he wait til after they actually completed a trade to tell them so? Its just a fuck-up resulting from past fuck-ups, and the Hornets probably should be contracted, along with a couple other teams.

        Do you really think its a “problem” that players are willing to take less money to go to teams where they have a better chance to win? I can’t see how that’s a bad thing. Sure it would be nice to have more players end their careers where they started, and there are rules to make that easier for teams to do. But ultimately the player has the choice, and if he’s willing to turn down the extra money his current team can offer, in favor of a better chance to win, I think that’s a positive thing.

      2. Of course it’s not a “problem” per se that players would be willing to take less, it’s almost refreshing in a sense. But there has to be a way for the small-market teams to be able to retain their players or else the future of the league is 5 teams vs the Washington Generals (if it isn’t already).

        And about the owners paying for NO’s remaining contracts, Jeff and I were talking about that above. It’s a legit reason sure, but it just provides more fodder for league contraction. If they don’t sell this team now, they’re in serious shit.

        I think Paul ends up in LA with LA giving either NO/HOU more draft picks/money. This is all one big clusterfuck and I don’t know how the NBA is going to get out of it.

      3. I don’t really buy the whole “Washington Generals” thing.

        By my count, there have been 18 different teams in the NBA finals since the start of the 90’s. That number for MLB is 22 and 23 for the NFL and NHL. So not a significant amount less parity than the other sports?

        I think people’s fear that just 4 or 5 teams will rule the league is based on the assumption that building a “superteam” is a viable strategy to win championships, which has yet to be seen. I think the league has a fine amount of parity as it is, and the new CBA made many changes in favor of small market teams. At the least, I think you give the league a chance for a couple more years and see what happens.

      4. Be a fan of the Warriors, Cavs or small-market team, and maybe you’d feel a little more apathetic lol

        18 teams made it, but only 5-6 (guesstimate) have won championships compared to the other sports where there’s 10+ teams who’ve won. (I’ve seen this stat before so I’m not sure of the exact numbers but its something like that)

        I guess the point is, teams like the Lakers/Celtics keep on winning and making it, while a team like the Cavs will make it one year and not make it again.

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