Wednesday, February 24, 2010

It's a shame the NBA has been so great lately.

Because they're about to trash everything about it with a players' strike in the coming offseason. Silver lining? Plenty more time for scenes like this:

Ordinarily, I hate Bill Simmons, but he put together a fantastic little 10,000 word manifesto on why the current CBA sucks for everyone but role players and provides constructive criticism on how it could be fixed.

The only problem is this: it depends on a collective bargaining agreement between players and owners. So the athletes want protection in long-term deals, high league minimums, and they'd like compensation to scale to league tenure as much if not moreso than talent and productivity. Pop quiz: how much money will Jason Kapono earn this year? Remember him? Over $6MM. Check this out.

  • The Sixers have played 56 games this year. Kapono has played in 36.
  • He's third on the depth chart behind Rodney Carney at SF.
  • He's making $2,292,605.17 per point scored per game that Philly plays.
  • This isn't shocking news.

That last bullet point? Hardest part to believe. Think of it this way. Larry Hughes is getting paid $13MM this year. He's got a broken finger and is toast for the rest of the season. This shit is so complicated that a team traded for that. His only real value is his expiring contract. And while I'm no expert, that makes no linear, logical sense. Meanwhile, it took Kevin McHale roughly 40 years to get fired from Minnesota. Mike Dunleavy oversaw 600 losses at a 40% win rate. WHO WOULD PAY FOR THAT SERVICE?

The answer probably lies in the fact that team owners are irrational animals. They overpay for physiologically depreciating assets based on past performance. This is how Ken Griffey Jr. made a wheelbarrow full of cash while hurt for God knows what percentage of his time in Cincy. It's how Mike Hampton stole more than $10MM per year for what seemed like a decade on the injured list after one or two decent seasons in Colorado.

The difference is that baseball doesn't have a salary cap; basketball does. Or did. Whatever it is or was, it won't be this time next year. But owners will still be rich, players will still be paid like thieves, and the only people I feel bad for are season ticket holders and fans left weathering the players strike/lockout or whatever winds up going down.

This almost killed pro hockey and it took the Homerun Race Brought to you by Balco to make us forget the cataclysm of the players' strike in baseball. Is basketball immune? Thoughts?


  1. i don't see the big deal. Anytime you can pay Eddy Curry 10 mill for 3.7 gotta do it...

  2. BUT WHAT ABOUT THE NFL STRIKE!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

  3. The NFL is more or less bulletproof in terms of popularity. At least that would be my guess. If any American sport could survive a strike in stride, it's got to be football. It's a different argument, but baseball and hockey were buried behind the NFL decades ago. Not even 40 years ago, I think you would have called basketball a distant third in terms of public interest. Now, it rivals soccer at the global level. In light of the impending strike, I'm curious to see how basketball holds up.

  4. Everybody go and play in the Euro leagues!