I’ve watched as much as I could of these NBA playoffs so far, and with every lower seed playing the higher seed tough it got me thinking about the state of the NBA. Make no mistake, t’s in a great state right now as every team in the playoffs looks good even some of the lower seeds. In basketball we usually don’t see a ton of surprises, because you don’t surprise any team four times in a series. That’s what basketball has right over all the other sports, they always get the true champion, because no road traveled is easy. That’s not really the case in every other sport. Coming to conclusions like this makes it even tougher as a Warriors fan…
I guess the first question that popped into my head is this one of the last chances for the “older” teams to win a championship? Maybe not this year, but it’s coming. This year we have the traditional favorites that you can’t really bet against like the Lakers, Celtics, and Spurs, but how much longer can their reign last? Most of their top-tier stars are well into their 30’s, and these teams are all stumbling a little already in this first round. I’m not saying that I’ve counted these teams out already for this year or next, because that would be ridiculously short sighted. I do find myself having a hard time seeing them continue their dominance beyond this year especially last years finals pairing. The Lakers and Celtics will have some huge questions to answer at the conclusion of the season. Both are going to be praying that their coaches stay, and Phil has already said he believes there will be a long lockout which is a reason he wants to retire. Doc might be thinking the same thing. New coach and new system doesn’t usually equal championships, but you can teach an old dog new tricks every once in awhile. The Spurs are finding it impossible to have their big three healthy and together when it matters for the past few seasons. Maybe the lockout would help them since they wouldn’t have to play nearly as many games, keeping these older guys fresh without a long regular season might be to their advantage, but at the same time I don’t see that making up for slowly eroding skills. The NBA is an era league, that started way back with Bill Russell dominating. More recently, we went from the Bird-Magic era to the current Kobe-Duncan era, so are we heading into a new era? Oh my the possibilities that are coming to light are enticing.
The East is stacked with young superstar talent as we all know. The Bulls, Knicks, and Heat are sure to be battling it out for years to come barring injury of course. Nearly all the superstars on those teams have had previous playoff failures, so in my eyes these teams aren’t as inexperienced as some would have you believe. The West isn’t as clear cut as the East in terms of power, but the Grizzlies are the second youngest team in the league, and have showed promise against the Spurs just like the Thunder did with the Lakers last year as an 8 seed. OKC is the seeming favorite to be the heir apparent to the Western Conference Throne, and I can’t argue with that. A side note on the Sonics, why doesn’t every GM follow the blueprint that they used? Get a superstar, have cap space to spend on the other players, build through the draft, and boom, you have an elite team. The Clippers have a solid core with a superstar that can only get better, oops, I shouldn’t ever put the Clippers in a championship post… Anyways you get the point, and my question is who’s era is it going to belong to?
April 20th, 2011 at 6:00 pm
I think that the Lakers will have problems should Jackson depart ! I can’t see ’em signing Dwight unless they can pry him away from the Magic and for that they’re going to have to offer major bank or players and bank if they’re inquiring via a trade . As it is I can’t see the Magic doing anything in spite of the obvious mancrush with that exists with some of sportschump’s patrons for Dwight .
And I think it’s pretty safe to say that the Heat’ll …… be derided if they fail to make the NBA Finals this year ! That being said I can’t see any one team completely dominating at all ! Not only that I think that the coaching is on the decline somewhat . Once the likes of Jackson , Rivers and Pop depart look at what we’ll be left with ? Not exactly impressive is it ? There won’t be a coach in the league other than that trio that has actually won a title as a head coach .
April 21st, 2011 at 9:19 am
I dunno Al. We seem to always get one team to dominate at least moderately. If a team wins three or four championships over the next decade, I would give that decade to them. I agree coaching isn’t as good as it used to be especially if we see one of the greatest ever step down.
April 21st, 2011 at 12:33 pm
Other than the Lakers and Spurs there’ve been few teams to have dominated over the last decade and half . The Lakers and Spurs between them have won 9 of the last fifteen NBA titles . There’s a growing belief that those two teams either will drop off somewhat but I’m not so sure we’ll see that once dominate team again and the reason I say that is because of the drop-off in coaching talent !
April 20th, 2011 at 6:15 pm
It looks as if your prayers have been answered . MLB hierarchy have performed an intervention on the Dodgers . See link provided below .
MLB to take over Dodgers operations
But don’t expect the Dodgers’ creditors to take 40 cents on the dollar for that cumulative debt of over $1.2 billion. At the same time McCourt says he’s prepared to take legal action against the league hierarchy for intervening . ‘nough said !
More than half of the owners in baseball shouldn’t be involved in the sport at all as they’ve about as much business acumen and the IQ as that of gnat !
April 21st, 2011 at 9:21 am
Good move by baseball. It’s not a good thing that they needed to step in, but hopefully it will work out. I hope the McCourt’s get the hint and sell the team, I doubt it though. I really feel bad for the Dodgers fans though…
April 21st, 2011 at 12:49 pm
I can assure that it wasn’t me who hit Selig up side his head with a two by four ! But it looks as if he’s got cojones afterall ! That being said McCourt says he won’t relinquish the team without a fight . So that means …. see you in court . I don’t think Selig would have done this without the majority agreement of the other owners around the league . But I do feel that he now ought to set his sights on Katz and Wilpon of the Mets . What those two have done with team is beyond criminal and if there’s proof that they transferred funds between the Mets and their company Sterling Equities then the FBI and Justice Dept ought to be after their a_s !
But the real problem within the NBA isn’t about the money that’s being lost it’s gross and extravagant expenditure by the teams . There’s a salary cap of $57 million per team and few go over it . So tell me where’s the money being spent in order for these teams to be losing that sort of money ?
Jackson will definitely have influence with the Lakers but I don’t think it will be in depth . He’ll act in the same way that West when Kupchak assumed the role as GM . The sad part were it not for West the success that the Lakers have attained over the past decade plus wouldn’t have happened . He more than anyone else has been the main architecture of what has taken place .
April 21st, 2011 at 9:29 am
The real question is what is this league going to look like from a business perspective this time next year? Let’s say what the owners say is true; somewhere between 19 and 22 franchises are losing money and the league all tolled is bleeding at the rate of between 300 and 500 million bucks. In other words, depending on what free-agency looks like, there’s still going to be teams with money and teams without. Don’t forget that the “Larry Bird Rule” ( the one that created all these ridiculous sing-and-trade deals) may not exist in the next collective bargaining agreement. Just for giggles, which side of that money divide do you think the Lakers, Celtics, Bulls, and Knicks end up on?
On an other note, don’t think that just because Phil Jackson is leaving the Lakers bench doesn’t mean the “zen master” is out of the picture. As long as Jerry Buss has owned that team, the Lakers have been run like a family business. Jackson, through his relationship with Jeannie Buss (Laker Exec VP and daughter of the owner), is juiced in. In short, don’t think for a minute that he won’t still have a level of influence.
This is also why whoever replaces Jackson as coach has to come from the “Laker family,” because that guy will need to be comfortable with taking over for a legend; a legend who also happens to have the bosses’ daughter living in his house. A lot of many is out their on Brian Shaw being the guy, but don’t be surprised if it ends up being Kurt Rambis.
April 21st, 2011 at 10:39 am
Yeah maybe your right the whole financial aspect of the NBA is the bigger question. I have a hard time believing that there’s that many teams losing money, but then again there are a lot of empty seats in some of those arenas during the regular season… I have a hard time seeing there even being basketball next year, because there are no easy answers for the players or owners.
It’s going to change a lot of things if the Larry Bird Rule is eliminated. Is it going to make it so teams can’t get anything for their superstar?!? Will they make it a max of four years instead of six? Tough to tell, but we know big things are about to change.
Interesting take on Phil. I agree they are going to hire from the “Laker Family” since they usually do. That being said, I have a hard time seeing them being able to replace Jackson with someone that will get the same respect from the team. Do you think they only hire someone that is using the triangle like Rambis is? I’m pretty sure your a Lakers fan right? Did you read Jeanie’s new book? It sounded interesting when she was doing PR stuff about it…
April 21st, 2011 at 12:16 pm
I agree with you in terms of the NBA owner’s claims of poverty – I have a degree of skepticism for that, unless they are willing to open the books. But even if their claims are true, they have no one to blame but themselves. They are the ones who spent over and above their available revenue. They are also the ones who are propping up failing franchises. The NBA really needs to let some of its less-gifted owners fail, so they can be replaced with new ownership with both the money and the energy to move the league in a new direction (and the NBA isn’t the only league that needs to do that…) After all, if an owner can’t make an NBA franchise work in Indiana, where basketball is the “national” sport, then perhaps that owner shouldn’t be in the business.
No matter what, the NBA needs owners and GMs who can (cliche warning…) “think outside the box” and get creative about the issues facing them. Companies retain talent with more than money all the time; it is time for franchise owners to be more than crybabies and/or blackmail artists.
I didn’t really bother with Jeanie’s book; the most interesting thing about her career in basketball is the men who made it for her.. That sounds much more critical than I intend it to be, but the fact remains she is where she is because of her father and “boyfriend.”
I grew up watching the Lakers, and I think they are headed for another transition period, much like after any coach they’ve had who won championships (Sharman, Riley, Jackson). Even so, ask yourself a question: How many times in the last 40 years have the Lakers not been a factor in the league? The Lakers are a power player in the NBA, and it would take a Frank McCourt type of owner to change that.
April 21st, 2011 at 4:21 pm
I totally agree with you on getting the owners to be smarter about who they are signing. I mean are guys like Drew Gooden and Darko worth over $5M a year?!? I guess this offseason they were for some reason. In that sense we need owners to think outside the box, and not approve these horrendous contracts. It should be entertaining to see what the owners give up, and what the players give up. I’m much more into the negotiations for the NBA than the NFL, because there is an obvious need to change the way things are done in the NBA, not so much with the NFL aside from a health care plan for the retired warriors. Whether that means they need to protect the owners from themselves or not remains to be seen.
Yeah, Jeanie’s book didn’t sound that good, but when she was hyping it up on the radio it sounded like there were some cool stories that Lakers fans would enjoy… I agree with you that Buss is an amazing owner. All he cares about is winning, and he’s in a market that loves him for it. I don’t see the Lakers being down forever, but I wouldn’t mind a nice ten plus year drought like the ten year one they had after Magic left.
April 21st, 2011 at 4:38 pm
Why can’t everyone just open the goddman books? Why is that so hard? Imagine a world where all of the contracts are drawn up so that every ounce of that shit is private and nobody’s ever allowed to see it…
April 21st, 2011 at 4:42 pm
Well obviously Chicago New York and LA command more money because they are larger markets. And you couldn’t get someone to spend $100 million annualy on the Timberwolves.
April 22nd, 2011 at 7:39 am
I’m not convinced market size is the sole determinant for the value of a franchise. It plays a role, but that’s largely about TV money (which should be shared revenue anyway, because there isn’t just the home team on the floor, there’s a road team that deserves a cut for being part of the show as well, but that’s another discussion.) Everything else about market size and revenue are finite – you can only sell so many tickets, you can only sell so much ad space in the arena, you can only sell so many hot dogs and beers, you can only park so many cars, etc…
Let’s say I’m a billionaire and I buy the New Orleans Hornets from the NBA, and I relocate them to any reasonable city, you can pick one. If I built my own $500 million dollar arena for that team to play in, that franchise instantly becomes a Top 5 in terms of value because it owns a tangible asset which I then can use to generate additional revenue streams by booking events into the arena when I’m not playing basketball in it.
Even if you don’t buy that, ask yourself a question. If market means everything, then why have Donald Sterling and the LA Clippers been an NBA bottom-feeder for 30 years?
April 21st, 2011 at 1:00 pm
Teams are losing money because in some cases attendances have fallen off greatly at a number of franchises and many of the teams in question didn’t take that as part of their projections . Look at the Heat last season you couldn’t get anyone inside AA Arena prior to the trade . This year it’s a completely different scenario altogether . There’s a vast difference in the revenues from an attendance of 18-20,000 plus down to less than 15,000 over your a team’s home schedule of 41 games . Think about it ?
Fans may well be spending money on concessions memorabilia and no doubt if they’ve driven then that’s taken into account .
April 21st, 2011 at 4:29 pm
Yeah, I understand what effects home team attendance have on a team. Following the A’s has shown me the basics in those type of math equations. The problem is if you are an owner trying to just pull in fans you end up signing guys to ridiculous contracts that don’t even fit in with the team (see Clippers and Warriors last two decades). If your an owner that cares about winning you build a team based on what their real needs are, not just making a free agent splash for the hell of it to sell some tickets. I think that’s the difference we are working with right now, and not enough owners care about the on floor product as they do with the concessions and turnstiles. That being said, not every team can be good, so I guess it goes without saying that the small market team will always lose out, unless they “think outside the box” as JW said…
April 21st, 2011 at 2:35 pm
If you and JW are interested ?
April 21st, 2011 at 4:34 pm
In answer to the poll question, it’s Oklahoma City.
Look, I live in the midwest and it’s Bulls country out here, but I see nothing that’s stopping Oklahoma City from becoming the next dominant team of the future. The Bulls aren’t good enough to beat OKC in the Finals, It’s a harsh reality that we’ve all had to come to terms with.
April 22nd, 2011 at 10:19 am
Tough to go against OKC, they seem like they will be good for a long time the way Durant led all the talented rookies over the summer on Team USA. He’s got that “it” factor where nothing rattles him. You can’t tell if he’s scored 50 or gone 0 for 10.
BTW, I have a hard time seeing Chicago make it out of the East, there’s just too many good teams over there!
April 21st, 2011 at 7:18 pm
I went with OKC, but I really don’t know. More importantly, I’d like to take this time to brag that I won my first ever fantasy basketball league last week Very excited about that.
Are you guys doing anything for the draft like last year or two years ago, whenever that was?
April 22nd, 2011 at 10:16 am
wow, and you don’t even like basketball! Maybe that helps keep you objective instead of avoiding guys on teams you don’t like! How many teams were in the league?
We never really did much for the draft, that was YOU guys!!!
April 22nd, 2011 at 2:32 pm
I guess I was thinking of the live chat for a playoff game. I don’t really know what to do with myself next weekend.
There were only 8 teams in the league, but they all watch basketball. One guy ran away with the regular season and I had to try and match up with him in the final. I won 5-4.
April 22nd, 2011 at 6:33 pm
You’re right man we haven’t done a live chat in forever! We’ll have to get one lined up for one of these playoff games!
April 22nd, 2011 at 7:59 am
We always talk about windows closing and eras ending, but by the time the older set of vets (Kobe, KG, Pierce, Ray Allen, J Kidd, etc) call it a night, the newer generation will then be vets and will have to contend with the new, younger generation.
Round and round she goes.
In the NBA, vets generally win, which is why I was inclined to go with Lakers/Celtics this year once again.
We’ll see if that holds true.
If things remain as they are (LeBron/Wade/Bosh in Miami; Melo/Amare in NY); Rose and Co. in Chi), I see those three duking it out in the East for some time, much like GB, SF and Dallas duked it out in the 90s in the NFL.
The wild cards in the equation are Dwight Howard and Chris Paul.
April 22nd, 2011 at 10:23 am
Agreed it would be hard to go against Lakers Celtics again this year.
So who is Dallas and SF of that bunch, and who ends up as GB? Is NY Green Bay?
You could also throw in Deron Williams as a wild card, unless he actually stays in NJ…
April 22nd, 2011 at 8:47 am
As private entities the teams in the NBA aren’t obliged to open up their books to public scrutiny . The only time that tends to happen is when there’s an apparent takeover bid , criminal investigation initiated by a subpoena or if a a request comes directly from the league office overseen by Stu Jackson and David Stern . But as we all know Stern is about as open about the league’s finances only when he wants to be . As of now he’s only creating this facade because he knows that the league’s dealings with the union is about to become really litigious and contentious .
Public companies with more than 500 shareholders have to file their shareholder listings and their P& L financial statements with the SEC and certain state agencies where mandated by law .
April 22nd, 2011 at 11:10 am
You’re preaching to the choir in getting an NBA team owner or baseball team owner to try and think outside the box . That’s like getting a member of Congress or the Senate to scratch their a_s and think at the same time ! You do realize for that’s not at all possible for those guys don’t you ?
Great win for the Bulls last night over the Pacers . I feel so sorry for the Pacers’ Danny Granger ! I think though that Barkley ….. was way too harsh on him in describing his late three point attempt in the waning moments of the game as “utter garbage ” . Luol Deng was all over him like white on rice hence the hesitation and miss .
April 22nd, 2011 at 6:36 pm
I missed Barkley’s commentary, but did see the shot. I’m sure it’s one he’s going to learn from going forward. He’s never really had any meaningful crunchtime shots…
May 5th, 2011 at 12:22 pm
[…] be the powerhouses that we originally thought they were. Like I said back on 4/20, there’s a changing of the eras in the NBA. I didn’t think it would be this year, but thought it was on the horizon. More and more […]