Image via USA Today
By Dalan Overstreet
About a month ago, I wrote about NBA disparity. I argued that nothing could be done about elite players joining forces and walking to the NBA Finals (or NBA Title), much like Golden State did this past season. I said players value winning more than large NBA contracts because of their legacies and other revenue streams. In my mind, nothing could be done to combat the growing competitive imbalance in the Association. Then, Lebron tweeted.
“So tell me again why there’s a cap on how much a player should get?? Don’t answer that. Steph should be getting 400M this summer 5yrs”. This was in response to a tweet discussing the increased value of the Warriors Franchise since 2010, rising from $450 million to $2.6 billion.
The added value of a successful franchise is apparent. By extension, the value of the star(s) that is the foundation of that success is obvious. The average fan is probably not stricken with grief at the idea that Steph Curry will be making $201 million bucks over five years. Then again, the average fan just sees a guy that is rich for playing Basketball, something “a kid does” (a stupid take to discuss another day). If you are the reason for the money, you deserve a fair share of that money. Remember, “a lot” is not always akin to “fair”.
What does this have to do with NBA disparity? Well, just image if there was an increased salary cap, but no max contracts. Imagine if Kevin Durant could’ve been offered $70 million a year by OKC. What if the bottom dwellers of the league could entice Paul George in 2018 with $75 million a season? Maybe these specific players would not be influenced by the additional funds, but enough would.
The NBA is set up to give franchises an edge at retaining their own players, but the game has changed and the rules should adapt. The second, third and fourth options on elite teams are better than at any other point in league history. Between the emphasis on winning rings and other revenue streams, there is no need to go to, or stay, in a less than ideal situation for the money alone. However, maybe franchises just can’t offer guys ENOUGH money yet. I said there was nothing that could be done about NBA competitive imbalance. I may have spoken too soon.
P.S. … I have a nagging suspicion Lebron’s tweet may not have been about Steph. Dan Gilbert may have a real problem next year.