Here at The Diss we talk a lot about the Stadium Issue, and for good reason. The Stadium Issue is a portal into the (often ugly) core of the business of sports. Nowhere else do we see the owner and league’s raw desire to succeed than when they are trying to bilk a city and a fan base out of hundreds of millions, not even on the court or field.
In that vein, last season NBA owners locked out the players, citing a litany debts and outrageous costs as part of an argument for a complete restructuring of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. One of the major changes to the CBA was reducing the length of all future contracts. This was a big win for the owners, as it significantly reduces the amount of guaranteed money tied up in player contracts. What is conveniently left out is that a. Players are getting paid more money because the success of basketball as a whole, and b. The only entity to blame for unfortunately long contracts are the owners themselves.
Every year the salary cap is determined by a formula that primarily takes into account revenue earned by the league in the past year. Thus, if the salary cap rises (and owners have the ability to spend more money on players) it is only because the previous season the league increased its revenue, which I hope is seen as a good thing. And when the owners were given the ability spend more money, it was their own damn fault that they did such. a. poor. job.
In the owners defense, the free agent period has only been open a little over 24 hours, and we are already seeing that they were right to demand a change to the CBA to save them from themselves. The length of contracts might be lower than in years past, but the stupidity is at an all-time high. Portland offering Roy Hibbert a max contract? Toronto offering Steve “I Don’t Have a Functioning Back Because Somebody Removed All of the Defensive Bones” Nash $36 million? The Nets signing Gerald Wallace for $40 million dollars AND pursuing Joe Johnson’s max contract? OMER ASIK making $8.5 million a year? And those are the good players in this free agent class that are actually worth shelling out money for (but, if it not obvious, not nearly as much as they are reportedly being offered), what is going to happen when we get to the scrubs? Is somebody going to give Anthony Randolph $18 million? Who is going to get an Austin Croshere contract?
I’m excited to have a full offseason and everything it includes (free agency period, Summer League, training camp), and I especially enjoy laughing mirthlessly at incompetent front offices. I mean, is the supply of quality centers so dearth that Roy Hibbert gets a max contract? I guess Andris Biedrins isn’t that overpaid afterall. But next time you hear an owner begging for hundreds of million public-dollars to build a stadium, remember that these are the same ruthless bastards that locked us out of an offseason and 15 games of basketball for the privilege of offering Brandon “I Retired Because of Catastrophic Knee Injuries” Roy the full mid-level exception.