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  • How to Save the NBA!

    Not often, but occasionally, I come up with some ideas that really are genius.  The other day I was watching a highlight about a Summer League basketball game comprised of NBA players from Los Angeles vs Washington DC.  All of a sudden I had one of those strokes of genius and realized I knew how to save the NBA!

    As I understand it, here are the problems of the NBA:

    1. Some markets (such as Sacramento, New Orleans, etc) are losing money and can’t really compete on a long-term basis.
    2. Some owners have no incentive to win . . . they’re happy making their few million per year whether they win or lose.  That would be you Donald Sterling/Clippers.
    3. Large markets such as New York and Los Angeles have a built in advantage due to population, tradition, etc.
    4. Certain markets have a difficult time keeping their premium free agents, either because they can’t afford to pay them, or they are in lesser desired markets.  If a player has a choice of playing for the same money in LA or Cleveland, most will choose LA.
    5. “Bad contracts” are killing the league . . . Gilbert Arenas to name one of many.
    6. The Miami “Heatles” have set a precedent where superstar players are colluding to play together, which upsets competitive balance and frankly sucks for the fans in cities that don’t have a big name player.
    7. Players play big in a contract year, but too many coast after getting the big guaranteed money . . . Eddie Curry!

    How to save the NBA!

    If I were King of the World, or at least King of Basketball, I would turn the NBA into a true “meritocracy”.  That includes players and ownership.  Here’s how it’d work.  Assuming the current 12 man roster, every team would essentially rank their roster from 1-12.  Every team would then have the same salary for each individual slot, meaning the #1 ranked player for both the Lakers and the Bobcats would make the same amount.  The #8 player for Timberwolves and Knicks would also make the same amount.  Here’s what I would recommend for those salary slots:

    1. $15 million/year . . . SuperStar money                        7.  $900,000 . . . 7th best player
    2. $10 million/year . . . 2nd best player                           8.  $800,000 . . . 8th best player
    3. $6 million/year . . . 3rd best player                              9.  $700,000 . . . 9th best player
    4. $3 million/year . . . 4th best player                             10.  $600,000 . . . 10th best player
    5. $2 million/year . . . 5th best player                            11.  $500,000 . . . 11th best player
    6. $1 million/year . . . Sixth Man                                      12.  $400,000 . . . 12th best player

    Total payroll per year equals $40,900,000, way underneath every single teams existing payroll.  Does any of those salaries above seem out of line relative to the status of the teams?  Think about what this would do; it would spread out Superstar players to all the teams.  LeBron James is not going to take a $5 million/year less then Dwayne Wade.  The “Big 3” never even consider joining forces.  There are 30 NBA teams, and now we get to find out every single year who the top 30 players are . . . how fun would that be??  We’ve taken care of NBA problems #’s 4 and 6 from above, and goes a long way towards restoring competitive balance no matter the market size . . . and we’ve also made the players accountable to their salaries.

    You ask, “why in the world would the players ever agree to an uber-hard salary cap structure like this?  What’s in it for them?”  Now we get to the part that’s really innovative.  Our salary structure now gives us payroll control.  Some teams like the Knicks and Lakers will realize significant payroll savings . . . up to $50 million.  Those are cities that tend to have built in revenue advantages.  In our new plan, each team at the beginning of each year will pay a “franchise fee” based on some algorithm largely dependant on market size and competition.  Here’s what I would recommend:

    • New York Knicks:  $40 million                                   LA Lakers:  $33 million
    • Chicago Bulls:  $30 million                                           Detroit Pistons:  $25 million
    • Dallas Mavericks:  $25 million                                    Houston Rockets:  $25 million
    • LA Clippers:  $25 million                                               Philadelphia 76ers:  $24 million
    • Atlanta Hawks:  $23 million                                         Washington Wizards:  $22 million
    • Miami Heat:  $20 million                                               Boston Celtics:  $20 million
    • Phoenix Suns:  $20 million                                           Golden State Warriors:  $20 million
    • Orlando Magic:  $18 million                                         New Jersey Nets:  $18 million
    • Denver Nuggets:  $17 million                                      Portland TrailBlazers:  $16 million
    • Utah Jazz:  $16 million                                                   Minnesota T’Wolves:  $16 million
    • Indiana Pacers:  $15 million                                         Milwaukee Bucks:  $15 million
    • Toronto Raptors:  $15 million                                     Cleveland Cavaliers:  $15 million
    • Charlotte Bobcats:  $13 million                                   San Antonio Spurs:  $13 million
    • Oklahoma City:  $13 million                                          New Orleans Hornets:  $12 million
    • Memphis Grizzlies:  $12 million                                  Sacramento Kings:  $12 million

    Now the fee for each city may vary a bit, but you get the gist of it.  Total “franchise fees” would be $588 million each year.  Where does that money go each year???  That’s the playoff money baby!  How ridiculous is it that a player like Kobe will get a $20 million/year salary, then make $75,000 or whatever in playoff money?  Let’s get serious with this.  Lets reward the teams that truly deserve to be rewarded.  With our modified salary structure, we’ve leveled the playing field for each team.  Currently there are 4 playoff rounds, so we’ll award 20% or $117,600,000 to be divided evenly between every team that reaches that round and a final 20% to the Champs.

    Playoff money per team each round:

    • Round 1:  16 teams, each will receive $7,350,000.
    • Round 2:  8 teams, each will receive $14,700,000.
    • Conference Finals:  4 teams, each will receive $29,400,000
    • NBA Finals:  2 teams, each will receive $58,800,000
    • NBA Champions:  will receive $117,600,000!

    Under my proposal, the playoff bonus will be distributed to the players in the following:

    1. 18% . . . Player 1/Superstar                     7.  3% . . . 7th best player
    2. 14% . . . 2nd best player                            8.  3% . . . 8th best player
    3. 11% . . . 3rd best player                             9.  2% . . . 9th best player
    4. 10% . . . 4th best player                            10.  2% . . . 10th best player
    5. 9% . . . 5th best player                               11.  1% . . . 11th best player
    6. 6% . . . Sixth Man                                         12.  1% . . . 12th best player

    Team owner would receive 20% playoff share.

    Now we’ve got something . . . can you see how much money is at stake, not only for making the playoffs, but especially for winning the championship??  Now EVERYONE is highly incentivized for the same goal.  Under this scenario, here’s what the 2011 NBA Champs could’ve made, with actual salary and making assumptions about their roster 1-5:

    Player Rank     Name                    Actual Salary            New Salary with Playoff Bonuses

    • #1          Dirk Nowitzki                $19,092,873              $56,013,000
    • #2          Tyson Chandler           $12,600,000             $40,899,000
    • #3          Jason Terry                   $11,5658,000           $31,063,500
    • #4          Jason Kidd                     $9,621,000                $25,785,000
    • #5          Shawn Marion               $8,225,932                $14,571,000
    • #12        Brian Cardinal              $854,389                     $2,428,500
    • Owner/Mark Cuban                          N/A                         $45,570,000

    This is why the players would approve of this plan.  Think how insane the competition would be for the Superstar player to make over $56 MILLION IN A YEAR!  Even bench scrubs who would typically make $400,000/year would make 600% more!  Think how motivated owners would be!  No longer would the Donald Sterlings of the world be content to barely make a profit, when they would be guaranteed over $45 million if they produce a champion.  Now we have a true “merit pay” system!

    Tell me how this isn’t the best plan ever . . . this is How to Save the NBA!

    Part II of How to Save the NBA!

    Published on August 22, 2011 · Filed under: NBA, Sports;
    1 Comment

One Response to “How to Save the NBA!”

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