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  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by kingsxman View Post
    I dont think he is. I think your going to see more teams pull this. But..I'm going to say that with a "caveat" of there has to be a franchise changing player at the top of the draft. But I think you'll see more and more teams look to find ways to get multiple years with picks at the top of the draft and hope that they get lucky. As has been pointed out you HAVE to have one of those MVP caliber players to have any hope at all of winning a title...and thats whats wrong with the NBA.

    So how do you fix that? Probably another thread but IMHO there are only 2 ways to "fix" that. And they both essentially change the way the NBA markets itself. (i.e. superstar league). You have to find a way to either spread the talent around more so more teams have major talent...or limit the "effect" that a single superstar can have on the game. Neither would be popular to the NBA or to most fans. Finding ways the spread the talent is probably the more realistic of the 2 and even then its not fool proof. It relies on teams making good managment decisions which we all know too many who dont.

    It goes back to parity and whether or not its good for the league. I personally think it is but I know I'm in the minority.
    Thinking more parity would be better is fine and good, but that ignores the more fundamental question of whether it's even possible.

    How do you specifically propose to "limit the effect that a single superstar can have on the game"? Because that's the problem. I think that effect is inherent to the sport of basketball at the highest level. (Relatedly, I think the NBA "marketing itself" as a superstar league is an effect of that reality, not a cause of it. That marketing orientation is based on a recognition of the fact that from the perspective of winning championships, the NBA inherently IS a "superstar league" because there's no realistic way to significantly change the ability of the very best players to exert an outsized impact on the results of any given game, playoff series, and championship).

    You talk about "spreading the talent around" but any realistic mechanism I can think of still allows for talent to become concentrated, whether it's teams drafting multiple guys who become stars while they're on their first (two) team-controlled contracts, or choosing to team up via FA, if as TJ says guys decide to sacrifice (some) money to increase their chances of winning at the highest level (when the very best players do that, even to a relatively minor degree (the SuperFriends heat stars took like $1m less than their respective max salaries, so it's not like a max-level guy was playing for the minimum), there's really no way to counteract it).

    The NBA's lack of parity is what it is, and at the risk of sounding fatalistic and/or lecturing, if you can't stomach that, the NBA might not be the sport for you.

    Short of TJ's proposed centrally managed league, where a single decision making body is placing all players on teams, and intentionally giving all of the very best players the worst teammates possible, while teaming up a bunch of the 2nd and 3rd tier players, to try and balance the playing field, I can't envision an system that would actually increase parity significantly (and TJ's centrally managed league, #2 above, is obviously never happening, as neither the owners (30 independent businesses who want to gain competitive advantage among themselves) nor the players would want their rosters/teammates/city of residence/etc. dictated to them, and those are the groups who actually negotiate and determine how the league is run; there is no "NBA" independent of those two groups, as the league office is created and given authority by those groups to mediate between them).

    Eliminating 10 teams redistributes a lot of talent, but some of it ends up on the same teams as the MVP level guys, too, so their teams are still going to be the best. There were significantly fewer teams in past eras, and there was still never parity.

    As for every player being a RFA every year (and presumably drastically changing the rules related to the salary cap, Bird Rights, etc.) OK, but how does that enforce parity? If anything I think that would increase the motivation for guys to form up into Voltron Super-Teams in an attempt to win, because they're all going to be FAs every year anyway, so there's never a balance between long-term financial security and "shopping around" for the best situation to try and maximize the chances of winning, and any given financial sacrifice can be made up for with the next year's big RFA contract. That's also never going to happen, though, because it's not fair to the players, who ARE the product, they know it, and increasingly understand how to leverage it, and they're never going to give up that much power/security in labor negotiations (nor should they, IMO).

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by TJ Styles View Post
    Yeah, I see 3 main ways to get to that level of parity (none of which I am particularly a fan of).

    1) I can't remember the term and random phrases in Google isn't helping me out much, but reducing the number of teams would be the first option. The fewer teams battling for the high level talent, the more high-level talent is available. ...And the less generation of revenue is available. There is basically no realistic way for the NBA to do this (note: they could drop a couple of teams here and there, but the level needed to "balance the rosters" would be a good 6-10 teams, and there is no way the NBA pulls the trigger on something like that).
    2) Manage the teams from a league level. What I mean is that the teams no longer call the shots for the players, and the rosters are decided "by committee" at the league level, intentionally balancing the teams and building more parity. Again, it is highly unlikely that owners ever agree to support this, and the fans would probably riot as well.
    3) Change the way the cap works. As I have said a million times, a Salary Cap will never, ever, ever be effective at capping Talent. It is simply not possible. When Dwayne Wade is allowed to take less money to play with his superstar friends, the entire system breaks down. Especially when you have places like Miami with no state income tax. And, you have players that are no longer worth their deals getting paid like superstars and eating up more of the cap than they "should". Changing the cap to a talent-based system would help fight that, but even then, any measure that is used to gauge the talent is going to be constantly in question and highly debated.


    I am still a fan of players giving up their guaranteed contracts for RFA status every season. That way, teams can move away from bad contracts easily, but players who out play their contracts can be rewarded with a pay raise every season and not have to wait until a contract year. This would help shorten the bottom-feeding time of teams that get stuck with a albatross contract and help slow down the teams that get a huge amount of young talent on cap-friendly contracts (like GS and OKC). And, when I say "get rid of guaranteed contracts", I simply mean that they could be taken off of the cap. It doesn't necessarily mean that a player isn't still paid. It could work like the Amnesty provision, where a team can cut any player and avoid a cap penalty as long as the owner is willing to cut with the cost out of his pocket. Maybe at a lower rate (like 80% contract value or something) if the players are getting the ability for yearly raises, though.
    Of course it's not like the league has ever had parity. The "problem" is it's a game that one guy can dominate when the team only has 5 players out at a time.

    I just looked it up - from 1949-2010 (62 years) either the Celtics or the Lakers (or both) have been in the finals 40 times. 40 out of 62... that's crazy. At least it seems a little tougher now for a team to buy their way to a title. But as long as a guy like Lebron can decide who he wants to play for it'll be pretty much impossible to legislate parity.

    Maybe you have to go full on fantasy football draft every year. And you draw the draft order out of a hat. Every player is available every year. Sorry Lebron, you have to move to a new city every year. Here's $30 million to cheer you up. Your team sucks this year? Oh well, maybe you'll get a top pick next year and bounce right back. Timberwolves? You get the 27th pick again this year. CRAP!!!
    Maybe you can't get a top 3 pick more than once a decade. And maybe you are guaranteed a top 10 pick every 3 or 4 years.
    NJ wins the draw, they take Lebron and guess what, they're the new favorite to win it all. I know it's silly, but it would certainly spread the talent out. Players get paid based on their draft position. And you better prevent teams from trading their draft pick to protect the stupid guys from themselves.

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by aceswired View Post
    I assume you're going for "contraction" here. The trouble with that idea is that the Wolves would have to be on the short list of teams to contract.
    That is the word I was looking for, thank you. Kept trying different "de..." words, and none of them triggered a hit that said "contraction". Thanks.

    Yeah, even with Towns and company, I have to think that the Wolves would be a team in discussions for that still.

  4. #24
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    Has the "Super Team" thing really been a problem?

    Wade, LeBron and Bosh each took 15M less over 6 years. That's 2.5M/year of a discount. They still got massive salaries.

    Durant signed for (I believe) the Max with GS.

    LaMarcus Aldridge signed a Max deal with the Spurs.

    Its really been the more fringe players (David West types) that have taken the cheap "ring chasing" deals.

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by LEvine View Post
    Has the "Super Team" thing really been a problem?

    Wade, LeBron and Bosh each took 15M less over 6 years. That's 2.5M/year of a discount. They still got massive salaries.

    Durant signed for (I believe) the Max with GS.

    LaMarcus Aldridge signed a Max deal with the Spurs.

    Its really been the more fringe players (David West types) that have taken the cheap "ring chasing" deals.
    The problem isn't so much with the success of the Super Teams. It's more about the lack of success/hope for such a high percentage of teams outside of the top few, and how nearly impossible it is to ever have the hope of competing for a championship unless some small miracle happens like Lebron wanting to come home, or pulling a Steph Curry rabbit out of the hat. But those instances are super rare.

    You're right that the Super Teams haven't necessarily had a terrible impact, and in some cases it hasn't worked out that well either.

    But what stinks is thinking a team has to do what Philly did, and completely tank for several years and then hope to get lucky in the lottery and have it happen in just the right year. Otherwise you're stuck with no chance to win big, year after year.

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by ECA19 View Post
    Of course it's not like the league has ever had parity. The "problem" is it's a game that one guy can dominate when the team only has 5 players out at a time.

    I just looked it up - from 1949-2010 (62 years) either the Celtics or the Lakers (or both) have been in the finals 40 times. 40 out of 62... that's crazy. At least it seems a little tougher now for a team to buy their way to a title. But as long as a guy like Lebron can decide who he wants to play for it'll be pretty much impossible to legislate parity.
    Just a point of clarification, but for much of those 62 years, there was no free agency, and the Shaq-Laker years were really the only time when either the Lakers or especially the Celtics were actually built through FA (Al Horford this past summer was the first significant outside FA that Boston has ever signed, and he's a legit max player, but a complementary one, who didn't even make the All-star team this year, and Boston isn't a realistic title threat, at least without another big trade before the deadline).

    Those teams have won so consistently because they've been smart and well managed, and in Boston's case particularly because Bill Russell was amazing, not primarily because they've been able to outspend other teams.

    More broadly/currently, it's not LeBron being able to choose where he plays that makes it impossible to legislate parity. It's that LeBron is so good, and a basketball game can be dominated by a single player or small group of players to such an extreme degree, that no matter where he plays, and (within reason) pretty much regardless who his teammates are, his team is going to be a contender.

  7. #27
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    Marc Stein‏@ESPNSteinLine
    The teams have NOT yet signed off on the trade but the latest talks have NOLA shipping Alexis Ajinca and a future first for Jahlil Okafor.

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by LEvine View Post
    Marc Stein‏@ESPNSteinLine
    The teams have NOT yet signed off on the trade but the latest talks have NOLA shipping Alexis Ajinca and a future first for Jahlil Okafor.
    I guess that's understandable for Philly, although if I were them I'd seriously consider taking Asik instead of Ajinca if that will "buy them" lower protections on the draft pick, as several people are reporting. What else are they realistically going to use their mountains of cap space on?

    No matter how the pick protections vs. contract dump settles out, though, that's a risk for the Pellies. I still think there's a good NBA player in Okafor, in exactly the right situation, but I'm not at ALL sure that New Orleans is that situation, and they should be very wary right now of moving their own draft picks in risky moves. I guess Jah is still on his rookie-scale, at least, so if the best-case hits, they can't lose him.

    And in the end, a trade looking questionable for both sides might be a pretty good indication that it's fair value...

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by LA_33 View Post
    Just a point of clarification, but for much of those 62 years, there was no free agency, and the Shaq-Laker years were really the only time when either the Lakers or especially the Celtics were actually built through FA (Al Horford this past summer was the first significant outside FA that Boston has ever signed, and he's a legit max player, but a complementary one, who didn't even make the All-star team this year, and Boston isn't a realistic title threat, at least without another big trade before the deadline).
    But for many of those years those teams had a huge talent advantage, and it was clear who would be competing for a title every year (similar to how it is now). Those early Celtic teams were stacked. Nobody is saying they didn't do a great job building them. And I didn't mean to say they bought those titles (because free agency didn't even exist). The 40 in 62 years was simply to illustrate that there hasn't been parity in the league forever.

    Quote Originally Posted by LA_33 View Post
    Those teams have won so consistently because they've been smart and well managed, and in Boston's case particularly because Bill Russell was amazing, not primarily because they've been able to outspend other teams. More broadly/currently, it's not LeBron being able to choose where he plays that makes it impossible to legislate parity. It's that LeBron is so good, and a basketball game can be dominated by a single player or small group of players to such an extreme degree, that no matter where he plays, and (within reason) pretty much regardless who his teammates are, his team is going to be a contender.
    That's exactly what I said: "Of course it's not like the league has ever had parity. The "problem" is it's a game that one guy can dominate when the team only has 5 players out at a time."

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by ECA19 View Post
    The problem isn't so much with the success of the Super Teams. It's more about the lack of success/hope for such a high percentage of teams outside of the top few, and how nearly impossible it is to ever have the hope of competing for a championship unless some small miracle happens like Lebron wanting to come home, or pulling a Steph Curry rabbit out of the hat. But those instances are super rare.

    You're right that the Super Teams haven't necessarily had a terrible impact, and in some cases it hasn't worked out that well either.

    But what stinks is thinking a team has to do what Philly did, and completely tank for several years and then hope to get lucky in the lottery and have it happen in just the right year. Otherwise you're stuck with no chance to win big, year after year.
    and this is my point. Your going to see more of it for exactly this reason. There is no other way. Period.

    Re: parity. I know we've been down this rabbit hole before. But to me you try to lesson the impact of the superstars on the game. One way is to eliminate the frigging "star" calls that we all know happen. Call the game the same for the rookie as you do for Lebron. That alone will help even things out a little..but the league will never do it because now Lebron wont be playing as many minutes because he'll be in foul trouble. But I think it woudl help. Or speaking of minutes...maybe there is a minutes limit on players. No one can play for longer than X. (I dont like this either but I'm just throwing stuff out).

    Re: rosters. The ONLY thing I can think of at the moment is to make it financially impossible to have more than 1 superstar on your team. We;ve talked before about how guys like Lebron simply cannot earn enough based on thier real worth to the game. Well...lets change that. Each team is allowed 1 player who can make (and I'm pulling these numbers out of my ***) 60% of your payroll. Then you have to divvy up the rest based on a sliding scale. So unless a player is going to take a HUGE paycut...they arent going to be as likely to go play with Lebron....or Steph.....or whoever. Your contracts would have to be much shorter. Maybe 2 years or 3 years max. As players progress and get better they can move up the scale...but if you have a "superstar" on your team and have a young and upcoming super star....your going to be forced as to which one you want to keep. It'll spread the best talent out (at some point) around the league as the difference between being "the man" and the "next man up" will be large.

    I'm really just throwing stuff out against a wall. Of course...now that we have Towns I dont want to introduce ANY of this stuff. But in general....I think it'd improve the parity of the league..thereby increasing interest.

  11. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by LEvine View Post
    Marc Stein‏@ESPNSteinLine
    The teams have NOT yet signed off on the trade but the latest talks have NOLA shipping Alexis Ajinca and a future first for Jahlil Okafor.
    Wow. They didn't wait long to cut bait. I'm shocked Okafor has fallen that far. Am I missing something on Ajinca? And I'd think the 76ers would want to move him for something other than another post guy.

    If I had to pick sides I'd rather gamble on Okafor. Sometimes bigs develop slowly, and all that talent he showed has to be in there somewhere doesn't it?

  12. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by ECA19 View Post
    Wow. They didn't wait long to cut bait. I'm shocked Okafor has fallen that far. Am I missing something on Ajinca? And I'd think the 76ers would want to move him for something other than another post guy.
    I'd imagine Philly taking on Ajinca's contract is to get less protection on the 2018 draft pick.

    If I had to pick sides I'd rather gamble on Okafor. Sometimes bigs develop slowly, and all that talent he showed has to be in there somewhere doesn't it?
    I'm not the right person to ask. I've never liked him for the Pro Game. I think he's a guy you essentially have to build a team around - and a team built around him is likely going to kind of stink. By that I mean, I think he kind of has to be the focal point of an offense to have on court value. And I don't think you can build a good scheme around him.

  13. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by ECA19 View Post
    Wow. They didn't wait long to cut bait. I'm shocked Okafor has fallen that far. Am I missing something on Ajinca? And I'd think the 76ers would want to move him for something other than another post guy.

    If I had to pick sides I'd rather gamble on Okafor. Sometimes bigs develop slowly, and all that talent he showed has to be in there somewhere doesn't it?
    Me too. Bigs do develop slowly. With tough coaching he can be really good. Ideally I want to see Towns at center but I'd like to have Okafor too.

  14. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by LEvine View Post
    I'd imagine Philly taking on Ajinca's contract is to get less protection on the 2018 draft pick.



    I'm not the right person to ask. I've never liked him for the Pro Game. I think he's a guy you essentially have to build a team around - and a team built around him is likely going to kind of stink. By that I mean, I think he kind of has to be the focal point of an offense to have on court value. And I don't think you can build a good scheme around him.
    That's kind of a shame. There sure are a lot of #2 overall picks that turn out horrible (on the same day Derrick Williams gets cut too).
    But giving up on a #2 overall pick, after only one year, just to reduce protection on a draft pick? That's a pretty giant swing and a miss.

    I mean, people were comparing him to another Tim Duncan! Wow

  15. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by ECA19 View Post
    That's kind of a shame. There sure are a lot of #2 overall picks that turn out horrible (on the same day Derrick Williams gets cut too).
    But giving up on a #2 overall pick, after only one year, just to reduce protection on a draft pick? That's a pretty giant swing and a miss.

    I mean, people were comparing him to another Tim Duncan! Wow
    I still cant believe we didnt pick him over KAT. I mean...that would have been THE most Timberwolves thing to do wouldnt it? Finally get the #1 pick and whiff on it and have the next guy taken turn out to be a potential HOFer?

  16. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by ECA19 View Post
    That's kind of a shame. There sure are a lot of #2 overall picks that turn out horrible (on the same day Derrick Williams gets cut too).
    But giving up on a #2 overall pick, after only one year, just to reduce protection on a draft pick? That's a pretty giant swing and a miss.
    I think you're missing the meat of the trade. Philly would be trading him for a #1 pick. They'd only be taking back Ajinca to make the protection more favorable on the pick they're getting for Okafor (because the Pels would love to dump the stiff).

    I mean, people were comparing him to another Tim Duncan! Wow
    That was a foolish comparison if anyone made it. Nothing about Okafor projected to being even a decent defender or rebounder at the NBA level.

  17. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by LEvine View Post
    I think you're missing the meat of the trade. Philly would be trading him for a #1 pick. They'd only be taking back Ajinca to make the protection more favorable on the pick they're getting for Okafor (because the Pels would love to dump the stiff).



    That was a foolish comparison if anyone made it. Nothing about Okafor projected to being even a decent defender or rebounder at the NBA level.
    It was Flip that supposedly made that comparison. I never understood it either. Maybe calling him the next Cousins. But Duncan? Sure looks ridiculous now.

    As for the trade details, you're right I don't know the details. What does the reduced protection get them? Was it a #1 they were getting anyway, and this just lowers the protection a little? Or does it turn a very unlikely pick into a potential lottery pick?

  18. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by ECA19 View Post
    It was Flip that supposedly made that comparison. I never understood it either. Maybe calling him the next Cousins. But Duncan? Sure looks ridiculous now.
    Cousins was 10x the prospect. The best I could come up with was "The next Al Jefferson"

    As for the trade details, you're right I don't know the details. What does the reduced protection get them? Was it a #1 they were getting anyway, and this just lowers the protection a little? Or does it turn a very unlikely pick into a potential lottery pick?
    No one knows the details. I was just confused by this comment:

    But giving up on a #2 overall pick, after only one year, just to reduce protection on a draft pick?

    That makes it sound like Philly would be trading him to sweeten a previous deal. But they'd be trading him for a 1st round pick. Any bad contracts going back to Philly (like Ajinca or Asik) would likely be to lower the protection on the pick they send for Okafor.

  19. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by LEvine View Post
    Cousins was 10x the prospect. The best I could come up with was "The next Al Jefferson"



    No one knows the details. I was just confused by this comment:

    But giving up on a #2 overall pick, after only one year, just to reduce protection on a draft pick?

    That makes it sound like Philly would be trading him to sweeten a previous deal. But they'd be trading him for a 1st round pick. Any bad contracts going back to Philly (like Ajinca or Asik) would likely be to lower the protection on the pick they send for Okafor.
    Ahh, now I see what you were saying. I suppose getting a #1 back isn't so bad, and they have plenty of cap space to absorb a bad contract to make that a better pick. I thought you were saying NO already owed them a pick and this deal would reduce some restriction on that pick. My bad.

    I can't imagine NO would risk giving up a high lotto pick unless they see a lot more in Okafor than everyone else.

  20. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by kingsxman View Post
    and this is my point. Your going to see more of it for exactly this reason. There is no other way. Period.
    I guess this is the disconnect, as I don't see tanking as the only, or even the best, path to building a contender. Many more contenders are built through trade, and while sometimes the critical star trades involve high picks/prospects who are the result of lotto luck, even those picks don't always come as a result of tanking (see: whatever Boston does with the Nets picks, after building a team that currently has a top-5 record around a guy who the freaking Suns dumped for a draft pick in the late 20s).

    FA is still part of most builds, too, but tanking is essentially in direct conflict with FA, as teams generally need to already be at least low-level playoff good to land high-quality FAs, and often already relatively close to contender status.

    The current Spurs were built by trading for a mid-first and turning him into an MVP candidate, signing a mid-level playoff team's second-best player as a FA, landing an All-star PG with a late-1st (Parker), developing several unheralded guys, and then signing Pau to replace Duncan.

    The Warriors drafted all-NBA guys at 7, 11, and in the 2nd-round, filled in around them mostly with FA signings, and then landed an MVP-level star as a FA (because LeBron has just enough help in Cleveland that GS couldn't beat him in spite of having those three All-NBA guys, and great depth around them, in 2016).

    The 2008-12 Celtics drafted Pierce at 9, over a decade, traded for two more aging stars (without including anyone drafted in the lottery in the trade for KG) and developed an All-star PG from the mid-1st.

    The 2008-2011 Lakers had Kobe (drafted #13, although kind-of a FA even then) from the Shaq-era title teams, traded for Pau and Odom, and drafted Bynum at 10.

    Etc., etc., etc...

    Re: parity. I know we've been down this rabbit hole before. But to me you try to lesson the impact of the superstars on the game. One way is to eliminate the frigging "star" calls that we all know happen. Call the game the same for the rookie as you do for Lebron. That alone will help even things out a little..but the league will never do it because now Lebron wont be playing as many minutes because he'll be in foul trouble. But I think it woudl help. Or speaking of minutes...maybe there is a minutes limit on players. No one can play for longer than X. (I dont like this either but I'm just throwing stuff out).

    Re: rosters. The ONLY thing I can think of at the moment is to make it financially impossible to have more than 1 superstar on your team. We;ve talked before about how guys like Lebron simply cannot earn enough based on thier real worth to the game. Well...lets change that. Each team is allowed 1 player who can make (and I'm pulling these numbers out of my ***) 60% of your payroll. Then you have to divvy up the rest based on a sliding scale. So unless a player is going to take a HUGE paycut...they arent going to be as likely to go play with Lebron....or Steph.....or whoever. Your contracts would have to be much shorter. Maybe 2 years or 3 years max. As players progress and get better they can move up the scale...but if you have a "superstar" on your team and have a young and upcoming super star....your going to be forced as to which one you want to keep. It'll spread the best talent out (at some point) around the league as the difference between being "the man" and the "next man up" will be large.

    I'm really just throwing stuff out against a wall. Of course...now that we have Towns I dont want to introduce ANY of this stuff. But in general....I think it'd improve the parity of the league..thereby increasing interest.
    I guess I still don't see how any system like that would actually make it harder for the teams with the very best players to win. I think any rational "make it impossible to have more than one Superstar" cap system would inevitably have to include at least the top-10 or probably more likely top-15-to-20 players, or maybe even more than that. If you spread all of the top-20 out on separate teams (or frankly mostly likely even just the top-10), then the teams that have the VERY best 5 or so players are still VERY likely to be the best teams, and probably comfortably so.

    GS had the two-time MVP and IMO both the 3rd and 4th best players in the Finals last year, and the Cavs still beat them because LeBron is THAT good.

    I also don't think Love is a top-20 guy right now, although he's probably close, and Kyrie also isn't top-10, while Curry was clearly top-5 last year, Klay was probably top-10, and both Klay and Draymond are top-15, so GS would almost have to be MUCH worse under any realistic "you can only have one superstar" system, while the Cavs might not be....


 

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