How Crazy Would It Be If?

No one’s psyche has been steadied by the various insanities surrounding the NBA (and its mega-marketing madness), its All-Star game (and its totally contrived “competition” and hoopla), the trade deadline (and its landscape changing seismic shifts), and now the buyouts (think of Troy Murphy endorsing a check for maybe $2M to not play for the Warriors in the final third of the season after playing just 16 MPG in only 18 games in Philadelphia racking up a PER of 6.8). It is on this decidedly unfirm footing that I launch this flight-of-fancy column leavened, hopefully, with just enough substance to leave you pausing and then going “Hey, waitta minute.”

With the current CBA expiring and the mutual discontent of the spoiled millionaires jockeying with the spoiled billionaires, this could be the last season of the NBA, or of the NBA as we know it, or things may muddle on just about the same. Suffice to say that several, probably many, lawyers will make enough to retire off the ensuing melee; the fans will get no break, nor consideration (although judging by the poundage of bling, plethora of designer ensembles, and generous sprinkling of rigor mortis smiles from fresh botox injections there aren’t many “normal” fans left); and the principals (certainly not the principles) will come out little the worse for wear. So I say,
shut the thing down for a year, or ever.

Seems to me that the networks could use some incentive to produce some fresh programming—although sadly it would more likely just be a huge boon to the infomercial industry. Certainly the two opposing cliques of rich people could use a wakeup call as to how good they have it and how stupid it is to threaten the golden goose, much less butcher it. After a year, set both sides in front of a binding arbitration committee made up of former season ticket holders (who haven’t been able to afford to go to a game for the past decade.)

Think that is not going far enough? Dissolve the NBA and reform it as the Public’s Basketball Association. Let every city of more than 600,000 have a franchise. Set a hard salary cap of $40M. Let the cities benefit from the income and proceeds as an income stream to help support the large populations. Really big? Let the huge population areas have a team for every 1.9M inhabitants (give LA 2 teams, and NY 4). Let the “owners” decide whether to build a new arena, new parking venues, new paraphernalia or concessions—after all it is a municipal cost/benefit analysis. A quick perusal of the following 2009 census shows 26 cities over 600K and 34 over 500K. It includes most of the existing franchise cities. We could have an opening draft with a lottery determined order and subsequent rounds in reverse order. Fifteen rounds with initial salaries running from 15/128’s of the $40M down to 1/128 of the cap number. A maximum salary number would be set at $8M or $9M, minimum at $300K, and minimum roster at 14.

1 New York New York 8,391,881 2 Los Angeles California 3,831,868 3 Chicago Illinois 2,851,268 4 Houston Texas 2,257,926 5 Phoenix Arizona 1,593,659 6 Philadelphia Pennsylvania 1,547,297 7 San Antonio Texas 1,373,668 8 San Diego California 1,306,300 9 Dallas Texas 1,299,542 10 San Jose California 964,695 11 Detroit Michigan 910,921 12 San Francisco California 815,358 13 Jacksonville Florida 813,518 14 Indianapolis [g] Indiana 807,584 15 Austin Texas 786,386 16 Columbus Ohio 769,332 17 Fort Worth Texas 727,577 18 Charlotte North Carolina 709,441 19 Memphis Tennessee 676,640 20 Boston Massachusetts 645,169 21 Baltimore [d] Maryland 637,418 22 El Paso Texas 620,456 23 Seattle Washington 616,627 24 Denver Colorado 610,345 25 Nashville [g] Tennessee 605,473 26 Milwaukee Wisconsin 605,013 27 Washington District of Columbia 599,657 28 Las Vegas Nevada 567,641 29 Louisville [g] Kentucky 566,503 30 Portland Oregon 566,143 31 Oklahoma City Oklahoma 560,333 32 Tucson Arizona 543,910 33 Atlanta Georgia 540,922 34 Albuquerque New Mexico 529,219

Enough of the league, how ‘bout dem Celtics? Consider this, supposedly the Perkins trade was driven by Danny Ainge’s lack of confidence that Perk could be resigned for a reasonable rate. Perkins did decline an extension of around $23M/4 years. He also commented that $30M would be a very different matter. It is very likely that as a free agent he will get offers of at least $8M per, perhaps as large as $10M or $11M. Eight per runs to $32M for 4 years, $40M for five. I thought Perk would have gone for $30M/4 for the Celtics had they been able to offer that much on the extension. Instead Danny felt he could not take the chance that Perk would only be a rental for this last third of the season. Wouldn’t it be crazy if OKC ended up being the renters? This summer the Celtics could offer the MLE (at least under the current CBA which won’t exist, maybe) starting at $5.85M. With max raises, that could be $28.2M over 4 years ($36.6M over 5). Would Perkins return to the Celtics’ fold for $28.2M? Although I wish the best for Perk, I kinda find myself hoping that he hates tornado alley, longs for the comfort of the Green embrace, misses his compadre Rondo, and figures he can get along on $7M a year to ride out the careers of the New (old) Big Three.

Nah, maybe I’m just overcome by seeing Delonte back in Boston. But considering delightful flights of fancy, if the Sacramento Kings rose to 5th in the league, the Celtics would suddenly be privy to multiple second round picks that were part of the sleight of hand in dumping less useful players along with money for their buyouts in exchange for roster openings for midseason FA signings. On more secure footing the 2012 pick from LAC through OKC may be protected through 10 but is anyone really afraid that it will fall much below 10? Worst case it is delayed until 2016 when it is unprotected, but I’m pretty confident that if Sterling lives that long it will still be a better pick than any the C’s will earn on their own. Well there is the danger that 2012 they climb out of the lottery along with Minnesota and both are league leaders, oh wait, is that really a danger?