Super Teams are Super Bad for NBA

Competitive balance. That might be a phrase NBA fans will want to keep in mind for the future.

The media, fans and probably even David Stern love the idea of more super teams. Big players in big markets on big teams means big ratings, right? I mean, how crazy would a Heat-Laker final be with Chris Paul and Dwight Howard playing for LA?

Miami, Boston, New York, Los Angeles. The latest, most likely false, rumours speculate a move of disgruntled stars Chris Paul and Dwight Howard suiting up alongside Kobe Bryant in the purple and gold. A dream team of the best center, best point guard and best(?) shooting guard in the league is more than a little intriguing for even the most casual of NBA fans.

The idea of another “dream” team is no doubt intriguing but it is quite possibly the worst thing that could happen for the NBA.

It’s one of those slippery slope situations. Boston started it all with their OG big 3 followed by LBJ’s chosen destination and New York’s almost predictable failure in their attempt to create a super team dynasty.

The problem is, where’s the talent for the rest of the league?

Top tier talent comes at a premium but when that talent is concentrated in a few very select cities the premium becomes the non-existent. There won’t be any players left for the 25 or 26 other teams if this kind of ridiculousness persists.

It may be as much fun for you to keep up with super teams as it is for your girlfriend to keep up with the Kardashians but the obvious reality of the matter is that there is no NBA without the smaller market franchises. Competitive balance is already an issue in the NBA, especially in the Eastern Conference where a below .500 record can earn teams a lot more than a participant ribbon. Imagine what it would be like with a few more celebrity filled teams.

Amidst all the excitement, no one seems to be worrying about how the possibility of more super teams could severely affect the majority of NBA franchises. The league can’t work with 5, 6 or 7 teams carrying 3 or, dare I say, 4 superstars. The NBA is moving towards a league where glory driven superstars’ only hope of competing will be to put their egos aside and form a star-studded force of their own. It will become a classic case of ‘if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.’

Oh yeah, the NBA will also feature 24 teams playing 82 meaningless games. 80% of fan bases won’t have anything more to cheer for than ‘fast to last!’ Sure, you can have your odd struggling franchises here and there, but a league full of them isn’t going to fly.

Chris Paul and Dwight Howard probably won’t end up in LA when it is all said and done but you can bet your bottom dollar that they will be offering their services to a contending team with other stars. Creating a legacy of your own is quickly becoming as popular as pogs have been in the last decade.

Too many fan bases without a star player to root for is a scary thought. The draft won’t be enough to compensate 20 plus teams’ inability to contend for a title. Hope is the one consolation for struggling teams but if the NBA continues to steer in this direction there won’t be enough hope to go around.

The occupy protestors should get where I’m coming from. The NBA will be the professional sports’ model of class stratification. Those franchises left out of the NBA’s super team exclusive country club won’t know what hit them. Soon enough they will be sleeping in tents outside David Stern’s office protesting the NBA’s 1% elite.

The NFL thrives on competitive balance and a constant influx of new playoff teams from year-to-year. Granted, football is much a much more team oriented sport than basketball and if you don’t believe me then you might want to look at the Philadelphia Eagles. Nevertheless, competitive balance, more than anything, ensures unwavering interest from fan bases from teams 1 to 30. Competitive balance is a big part of what increases the NFL’s already massive pool of money seasons after season.

NBA fans should stop supporting the prospect of more star-studded teams because in the long run it might just be the thing that kills the sport. A league of super team normality won’t spark the same interest that the Miami Heat have and still are generating. Individually the smaller market teams don’t mean much to the league but as a collective unit they are everything.

Competitive balance?

I wouldn’t mind a little more of that in the coming years.

Agree? Disagree? If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at cross_can15@hotmail.com. Also, follow me on twitter @paintstheblack and I will happily return the favour.

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Carmelo Anthony Finally Dealt. Are the Knicks Ready to Contend?

Carmelo Anthony will now be teaming up with Amare Stoudemire in the Big Apple

So the Melo-drama is over. The inevitable happened. I wonder how Mikhail Prokhorov is feeling right about now.

In case you don’t have twitter here’s how the deal went down. The Knicks gave up Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari, Raymond Felton, Timofey Mozgov, and their 2014 1st round pick. The Nuggets will also receive 2nd round picks in 2012 and 2013 that originally belonged to the Warriors. The Timberwolves get Eddy Curry’s expiring contract, Anthony Randolph and $3 million cash. Most importantly, the Knicks will acquire Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Shelden Williams, Anthony Carter, Renaldo Balkman, Corey Brewer and a 2nd round pick.

Throughout this whole ordeal Donnie Walsh had been adamant in his refusal to include both Gallinari and Chandler. Whether or not it was pressure from above to incorporate both players, I don’t think I’m alone in thinking that the Knicks have once again screwed themselves over for the future.

I’m also not alone in loving the idea of a ball-dominant wing player combined with a very good big man. Kobe-Shaq, Kobe-Gasol, Wade-Shaq, yeah, you get the picture. The problem with the Knicks picture is that selling the farm makes the combination significantly less lethal. Landry Fields, Toney Douglas and Ronny Turiaf ain’t going to get the job done by themselves.

The Knicks aren’t ready to contend. Anthony is a very good player but he doesn’t make those around him much better. Essentially a .500 team without Carmelo, it will become apparent that the Knicks will roll through the abundance of weak teams in the East but simply roll over when they face real competition.

Amare Stoudemire is not going to benefit from less touches and a ball-dominating non-creator.

Chris Paul or Deron Williams in 2012? Possibly, but like the Heat, the issue of adequate role players leaves them in quite the predicament. The combination of a superior point, wing and big player is as ideal as it gets from a star recipe stand point, but the headline ingredients cannot complete the meal without their lesser parts.

No draft picks and the potential for a hard cap in the future make the assembling of a quality supporting cast that much more difficult. Not to mention that putting all the eggs in the PG basket might not work out exactly as planned. Sorry to burst your Knick bubble if you hadn’t figured that one out. It sounds like the fool-proof Lebron plan all over again.

So what now? Do the Knicks just settle for a 4-6 seed in the Eastern Conference for the next couple seasons?

Donnie Walsh must know that his team can’t compete with the likes of Boston or Miami yet.

The much hyped Carmelo Anthony trade changes the complexion of things in the East but not drastically. The Knicks will be better but not as much as they should be given how much they traded away.

The Denver Nuggets suckered the Knicks into a bidding war with the Knicks paying not only in players but in their future as well.

Related Article: Whatever Happened to Good Ol’ Rebuilding?

Agree? Disagree? If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at cross_can15@hotmail.com. I am now on twitter follow me @paintstheblack and I will gladly return the favor.

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Lebron and sidekick will be dominant, but will it translate to a championship?

Fellow all-stars Lebron James and Chris Bosh could be playing together next season

This past weekend the New York Times reported that a team executive from one of the clubs going after Lebron James said the free agent to be is strongly leaning towards the Chicago Bulls, along with fellow USA teammate Chris Bosh. The source said that he gathered as much from discussions with his fellow NBA executives, saying, “I think it’s a done deal.” The source also stated that the other major teams attempting to lure Lebron and Co. are the Miami Heat, New Jersey Nets, New York Knicks, and the Los Angeles Clippers. Now we all know that Lebron James can carry a team to the top of the NBA standings and adding a guy like Chris Bosh to his team would make it that much more dominant. However, the question arises of whether bringing in Lebron and another max player will translate into an NBA championship.

If the New York Times report does indeed happen to be correct, and the Bulls are able to lure Lebron and Bosh to the windy city, they will be joining probably the best supporting cast, of the teams that have the cap space to acquire 2 max free agents. Of the 5 players that the Bulls have under contract next year, 4 of those guys are all productive players. The 4 include Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Luol Deng, and Taj Gibson. Derrick Rose is turning into one of the elite point guards in the league and Joakim Noah has made a name for himself with his rebounding, hustle, and determination. Although Luol Deng has not lived up to the big contract he signed a couple of years ago, he did have a strong comeback season last year averaging 17.6 points and 7.3 rebounds. Taj Gibson, who plays the same position as Chris Bosh also had a solid rookie season and would be a very adequate backup.

I think that there is virtually no doubt that the Bulls, with Lebron and Bosh, would be a dominate regular season team. However, come playoff time, they are going to have some issues if they are unable to bring in the role palyers that would best complement their lineup. First off, as of right now the Bulls are missing a shooting guard/quality stand-still shooter. If you have Derrick Rose, Chris Bosh, Lebron James and Joakim Noah in your starting lineup, LBJ is the only “consistent” 3-point shooter (33%). The offensive end is seriously contracted with those 4 guys on the floor. If the Bulls cannot add a couple quality shooters it will be tough to call them legitimate contenders for the NBA Championship.

J.J. Redick is looking at a raise this offseason

For the Chicago Bulls, cash is going to be an issue for bringing in quality players, but there are a couple potential guys on the market that could fit nicely onto their roster. J.J. Reddick is a restricted free agent who proved that he can be a real solid bench player for the Orlando Magic this year, as he has expanded his game and improved his defence. Also, former USA National team player Mike Miller is an unrestricted free agent and could be what the Bulls need. Although Miller has stopped shooting the ball in recent years, he still shoots it at a high percentage, and maybe getting open looks from a star-studded Bulls cast could change that. Nate Robinson could also be an option as a guy coming off the bench. Robinson showed that he can keep his mouth shut and put the team above his own needs while he was in Boston. Let’s not forget the aging Anthony Parker who is a smart veteran that knows his role and will not be seeking a whole lot of money.

It should be noted that Luol Deng has shot the 3 ball at around 38% the past three years, but only took 1.2 three-pointers a game last season, which was the most in his career.

The thing is, it is hard enough to find good role players for your team under normal circumstances. But when you are hoping to sign top flight free agents the salary cap becomes even more of an issue. It is going to be a big problem for these teams that have shed so much salary specifically for the 2010 free agent class because they have virtually no one on their rosters. The Chicago Bulls currently seem to be the best equipped of the teams in contention for Lebron and friends.

Right now, the Knicks have Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, as well as the developing Toney Douglas and Bill Walker. They also have Eddy Curry, but he is just most likely going to sit on the bench and count his millions. New York is not looking like the most viable option for any top tier free agent.

The Miami Heat, assuming Wade comes back, have only 3 guys on their roster after waiving James Jones today. The other two would be Michael Beasley and Mario Chalmers. Again, like other teams in their situation, they are looking to find a number of quality bench/role players.

People like to talk about the weakness of Lebron James’ supporting cast in Cleveland, but when you look those guys compared to these other teams, was it really that bad? The Cavs had Mo Williams who is a very good shooter from the outside and although he isn’t a playmaking point guard you have to wonder if Lebron would work well with a point guard who dominates the ball and can’t shoot from the outside at a high percentage. Anderson Varejao and Joakim Noah are very similar players. It is obvious that Antawn Jamison underachieved but he has been a 20-10 guy throughout his career. Moreover, you add on Delonte West and J.J. Hickson, and suddenly you think that maybe these teams aren’t much better off than the Cavs.

Don’t get me wrong, adding an all-star power forward will make a world of difference for Lebron James, but in the end you need the proper role players to get the job done. It also has to be said that having Bosh or Stoudemire as a sidekick is not a very solid intimidating presence in the paint for opposing big men. Bosh isn’t strong enough to be a true force inside and Stoudemire doesn’t seem to care on the boards sometimes. That’s why the situation in Chicago would be great because Joakim Noah can be that force in the inside even though he is more of a power forward.

Brook Lopez is turning into one of the best center\'s in the NBA

One team that isn’t talked about nearly as much as the Knicks, Heat, and Bulls, are the lowly New Jersey Nets. In terms of supporting cast, the Nets are arguably in the second best position among the teams involved in the Lebron sweepstakes. New Jersey currently has 8 guys under contract and soon to be 9 with Derrick Favours coming to town. As we have seen with the LA Lakers the past two years, having a big team makes a big difference. If Derrick Favours can live up to his potential, he would give the Nets a two headed monster up front along with Brook Lopez. You also have an all-star calibre point guard in Devin Harris, who is looking to rebound after a poor injury plagued season. Then add to the mix good role players in Courtney Lee and sophmore Terrence Williams. All of the sudden you’re looking at an upper echelon team if you can acquire Lebron James. However unlike Chicago or Miami, the sidekick needed here would not be Chris Bosh or Amare, rather someone like Joe Johnson would probably be the best fit if Lebron were to flock to New Jersey considering they would already have two starting big men. It was also reported today that Yi JianLian has been traded to the Wizards for Quinton Ross and cash, which leaves even more cap room for the New Jersey Nets.

It looks as though Lebron James is going to leave Cleveland and bring a sidekick with him wherever he goes. There is no denying that a team with Lebron James is immediately a playoff team, but without the right pieces it will not be a championship team.

Agree? Disagree? If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at cross_can15@hotmail.com. I’m now on twitter follow me @paintstheblack and I will gladly return the favour.

Also check out howiGit’s blog, a guaranteed great read every time.

Bosh to the Big Apple?

Chris Bosh has been a treat to watch throughout his time in Toronto and it very much looks as though he will be leaving sometime this summer. Yesterday, Chris Bosh gave the Raptors his list of 4…err 5 teams that he would like to play for next year, which includes Chicago, New York, Miami, LA Lakers and of course he has to say Toronto although we all know that this is not going to be the case. Sources have said the Raptors as well as Bosh prefer the sign and trade, and obviously the Raptors would want some sort of replacement for Chris Bosh but what is the best option for Bosh as well as the Raptors?

Chicago seems like the least viable option for Bosh as the fit just wouldn’t be right there. It would be ridiculous to give up Joakim Noah after his breakout season this year, and the rookie power forward Taj Gibson has also showed some nice promise. Moreover, a sign and trade involving Bosh with either of these two players is not probably not a good idea for Chicago if they want to get Lebron, and are either Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson, or the veteran Brad Miller fair compensation for Chris Bosh. I would think not.

In terms of fit Miami looks as though it could be a very possible destination for Bosh. There has been much talk of Wade and Bosh teaming up, especially after they have become quite good friends from the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Despite the fact that Miami has very few players under contract next year, a Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade tandem is scary to think about. Now the player under contract currently filling the 4 spot in Miami is the always consistently inconsistent former #2 pick Michael Beasley. The question is whether Miami is ready to give up on their former lottery pick for proven talent and whether Toronto believes Beasley is a viable replacement for their supposed franchise player. Personally I feel that Bosh would be a great fit with Wade as I don’t think he can ever do it on his own anywhere even with a great supporting cast. However, the Raptors need a strong inside presence and someone who is willing to commit themselves to the defensive cause and Michael Beasley does not fit either of those criteria. His scoring does not compensate enough to call him a solid starter.  All in all a Bosh, Wade team would be great for Miami but not for Toronto leaving this option, in my eyes, null and void.

That leaves two options: The Lakers and the Knicks. There were rumours during the season that a straight up trade of Bosh for Bynum was in the works. This just does not make any sense for the Lakers. The Lakers already have a Bosh essentially with Pau Gasol. Bosh does not provide the inside presence that Bynum gives, and although Bosh’s offence is very good you cannot have 3 guys who need the ball in their hands a lot. The Raptors could defenitely use Bynum, but at a young age Bynum has already had some injury issues which I think spells trouble for a big man making him not a very good option even for the Toronto “no defence” Raptors.

Now that just gives Bosh one spot to go and that’s the lowly New York Knicks. The sign and trade possibility of David Lee for Chris Bosh is not ideal for the Raptors but is not out of the question. Although David Lee is only 6″9 he would serve as a good replacement for Chris Bosh as he is a legit 20 and 10 guy despite what some people may lead you to believe. With Chris Bosh moving to New York he would finally get the national exposure that he never received playing in Canada. This possibility becomes even greater if Lebron James does indeed decide to sign with the Knicks, as they have spent the last 2 years basically tanking for a shot at Lebron James and another max contract (Wade or Bosh). I believe that they only have two players under contract right now with Danilo Gallinari and Wilson Chandler.

If you go through the teams on Bosh’s list it is evident that New York is the only viable destination right now, as Bosh does not want to come back to Toronto to play on a perennially mediocre team. Chris Bosh has a tough decision to make but I think that he is going to the Big Apple.

If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, please feel free to reply. Or you can e-mail me at cross_can15@hotmail.com

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