Are you enjoying the wild NBA Playoffs so far? Good, because it looks like it will be the last pro basketball we'll see for a while. It was revealed yesterday that the NBA is looking to impose a hard cap of $45 million per team in the next collective bargaining agreement. As someone said on Twitter, the NBA may as well have proposed that the cap be $45.
To put into perspective how crazy this number is, the current NBA salary cap is $58 million, plus it's a soft cap - teams can, and do, go over that amount. In fact, only the Sacramento Kings came in under the new proposed $45 million limit this season, and only six teams came in under the current cap of $58 million (it should be noted that two of those teams are still in the playoffs - Oklahoma City and Chicago). Under the new hard cap (all teams would have to be under $45 million, no exceptions), Kobe Bryant's $24.8 million salary would eat up 55% of the Lakers' cap room. The NBA is also pushing for non-guaranteed contracts which might become as big a sticking point as the new hard cap proposal will be.
Sure, it's early in negotiations and the NBA is bound to budge a bit on their early demands, but this still isn't an encouraging sign for fans of pro basketball. The player's union will fight tooth and nail against non-guaranteed contracts and a drastically reduced salary cap. Which means I'm going to have to get creative with story ideas after these playoffs end since we may have not have any games to comment on for a long time. Be afraid, very afraid. This the end, beautiful friend, this is the end.
It will be worth it, though, in the end. The NBA would be soooooooooooo much better off with a hard cap and non-guaranteed contracts. The way things stand now, you couple a desperate GM with a player who works his tail off in a contract year and then goes an eats donuts for the remainder of his 5 year $65M deal, and your team is sunk for half a decade.
Level the playing field and keep the players accountable. I see nothing wrong with either of those.
@DeROK82 Spoken like a true TWolves fan!! Maybe it's my econimics degree, but I'm a fan of a free market without any limits on salaries. The hard cap, like the age limit for the draft, is just another case of the owners/GMs needing rules to protect themselves from themselves - if they stopped drafting clueless high school players and giving horrible contracts out to aging players, they wouldn't need all these silly rules.
@Jeff Fox Oh, I've definitely suffered for a long time under these rules as a Wolves fan, but it's not just Minnesota. If the NBA went to a total free-market system, then LA and NY would perpetually dominate, while teams like Sacramento, Memphis, OKC, New Orleans, and Charlotte would be perpetually stuck at the bottom.
Yeah, they'd get their Durant and Chris Paul's in the lottery, but without salary restrictions, they'd never be able to keep them. It would be worse than the Yankees and the MLB. A top-notch pitcher plays only one in every five games. A top-notch player only hits every nine at bats. If you had the Lakers pull Durant from the Thunder... That's devastating.
Plus, whether you blame the owners or not, the system breeds laziness. Why try hard when you're going to get paid the same no matter what? Especially when you can just flip the switch in your contract year and some idiot will sign you up for another 5-6 years.
In an ideal world, you wouldn't need rules, but I think that history shows that even the current "loose" rules are hurting the game overall. Then you look at the NFL, which has the strictest rules by far, and you see the game thriving.