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Don’t think for a second owners’ latest offer is what fans want

Nov 11, 2011, 11:02 AM EDT

Dallas Mavericks Victory Parade Getty Images

Let’s be honest about what you really like — trades and teams full of stars.

You like seeing basketball, too, which makes the new offer from NBA owners appealing to fans. Because it means 72 games and a full playoffs, basically a normal season. I want to see it in place for the same reasons.

You may get it (not that we have any say) but know that the owners offer — the parts the players are opposing of it particularly — goes against what fans have shown they want.

The owners have preached “competitive balance” and sold it sort of like the NFL’s parity. The NBA is never going to have the parity of the NFL (because the stars of the NBA control the game much more and are so much better than their peers). But that’s not really what is at the heart of all this. Small market owners watched LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony control the process, take all the power and force their way where they wanted to be. The owners want that power back.

I know what is coming in the comments — you say you want that, too. You’ll say that you want Grizzlies to be able to compete with the Lakers every year. You say you don’t want the Knicks to make all the big trades. You’ll say you want sanity in the system.

The numbers tell a different story. The numbers being every measure of fan interest we can find, whether it is television ratings or Internet traffic or ticket sales.

You love trades and free agency — there is a reason traffic on this and every other NBA web site peaks in July, not during the finals but during free agency. You love rumors. Love them. You love to read about and talk player movement. We all love to play armchair GM. There is a huge traffic and interest boost in February as the trading deadline nears for the same reason.

This new deal from the owners is designed to restrict the kind of big trades you clearly want to see (hence more restrictions on tax spending teams). Sure, there will be plenty of smaller trades and we can get excited about Sasha Vujacic getting moved for cash considerations. But the small market owners want to keep their stars. Those are the guys that sell tickets and bring in sponsors and boost local television ratings and they don’t want them all going to New York and Los Angeles and Miami.

Thing is, you love teams loaded with stars. You may say you hate the Miami Heat, but you watched them and bought their gear in record numbers. Ratings were up last season and the Heat and Knicks were the primary reasons. When you talk about the golden age of the NBA, you talk about the Jordan era when the Bulls dominated the league, or the 1980s when the Lakers or Celtics won eight out of nine titles. That’s when the ratings were highest.

What’s frustrating about the lockout is they figured out the money part of the lockout, mostly. That was supposed to be the hard part of getting a new NBA labor deal, but the players have gone all the way back to a 50/50 split of revenue, giving enough money back to cover what the owners said they lost (even if we don’t buy their math).

We’ll see what happens with the offer the owners made. We may get our wish and get basketball. But know that while David Stern and Adam Silver are selling this deal as good for the fans, it really isn’t. It’s just very good for the owners.

101 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. danielcp0303 - Nov 11, 2011 at 2:32 PM

    The owners don’t realize that this deal actually doesn’t address the problem of stars leaving small market teams, it’s still going to happen. Now they can leave sooner, and maybe hop around to a 3rd team by the time their last big contracts come around. Except now you probably won’t be able to trade them for much, so they’ll probably just leave in free agency. In 10 years or whenever the new deal is over, they’ll still be losing money and complaining about not being able to compete with big markets. Running your franchise better might be a way, but that’s too simple of an idea for the owners.

    • mikeewright7 - Nov 11, 2011 at 2:56 PM

      Exactly i agree with danielcp0303
      Players will still have the power, you can not seclude a player in a small market team or a team who isnt bringing him help, and surrounds him with (K.brown) trash players..i really think K.Brown sucks, but if a players want to leave and go play with another Elite player the most you can do is attempt to trade him and if you cant get anything for that player then you will have another Lebron situation……hopefully w/o the big party before the season starts lol lol

  2. BrownsTown - Nov 11, 2011 at 2:43 PM

    I was going to confirm the traffic data, but Alexa doesn’t track websites ranked outside the top 100,000. I’ll have to take your word for it, Kurt.

    P.S. Kurt hearts LeBron

  3. acieu - Nov 11, 2011 at 2:54 PM

    More major league sucking up by Americas biggest shill Kurt “I am on my knees For the players” Helin

    • rreducla1 - Nov 11, 2011 at 5:04 PM

      Kurt is just trying to balance all the uninformed owner shills that come to this site–like you, for example.

  4. funderburke - Nov 11, 2011 at 2:58 PM

    Actually, as a Kings fan, I am definitely a proponent of a deal limiting players’ ability to will themselves to whatever team they choose, ala Carmelo Anthony. Bring competition back to small markets – even if we lose a season.

  5. veekj17 - Nov 11, 2011 at 3:06 PM

    I love how the owners overspending and giving out bad contracts is the player’s fault. It’s not so much that the system is broken, it’s that some owners just didn’t play it correctly. Small market teams may be at a slight disadvantage when it comes to free agents, but how can you say they’re constantly screwed when you have teams like OKC? The owners need to not act like a kid in a candy store every free agency, see: Joe Johnson, Travis Outlaw. Also, do you think Lebron would have left if Gilbert had just one year managed to put a decent team around him? Lebron left because he wanted to win, and the Cavs never gave him an opportunity to do that.

  6. mikeewright7 - Nov 11, 2011 at 3:08 PM

    What many fans or ppl fail to see is that alot of us dont like “THE BIG 3” joinging together Bron/Wade/??????Bosh?????? or melo/amare/ and supposly “chris paul” other big three teams celtics ray,paul,Kg spurs tony,manu,duncan but these were just like 90s teams or 80s right? jordan,pip,dennis…magic,kareem,worthy bird,mckhale(however u spell it),parish barkely,the dream,drexler
    Like teams had big 3’s even fours before
    detriot billups,hamilton,rasheed,prince
    point is that its just the way you magange egos and coaching is where its affective…miami will prolly win a title in the next 3yrs only team i see winning is Boston LA Bulls OKC Miami Knicks(if they get paul) Mavs, Spurs thats just realistic..becuase those teams are stacked with chemistry and some egos are tained now if you wanna want timberwolves or raptors wizards cavs clippers suns, wizards etc you may need to make a 6-10yr plan bringing in a star player and surrounding him or them with veterens and role players

  7. danielcp0303 - Nov 11, 2011 at 3:21 PM

    Here is a little nugget from the new deal. “New proposal would allow teams to send players to D-League first 5 years of career and reduce pay to pro-rated 75K”

    Yeah…these owners really want to make a deal. Looks like this new proposal will be an easy “no” from the players

    • rreducla1 - Nov 11, 2011 at 4:59 PM

      Yes, I will be interested to hear how this clause would help competitive balance.

  8. asublimeday - Nov 11, 2011 at 3:42 PM

    Kurt, as usual, completely unable to just report the damn news and keep his opinions out.

    • rreducla1 - Nov 11, 2011 at 4:31 PM

      This is a blog, not a newscast.

      • mikeewright7 - Nov 11, 2011 at 5:47 PM

        LMAo this is a blg, not a newscast

        Indeed it is…

      • mikeewright7 - Nov 11, 2011 at 5:48 PM

        so that mean basically Kurt can say what he wants lol

  9. david8726 - Nov 11, 2011 at 4:11 PM

    The truth hurts, doesn’t it?

    Some of you guys can kick and scream and say you want competitive balance, but the TV ratings this year prove otherwise.

    People love watching elite teams in big markets. The NBA has always been at it’s best with elite teams in big markets.

    That’s just the way it works in this sport.

    • mikeewright7 - Nov 11, 2011 at 4:28 PM

      thats just how life is, most people prolly wanna move to a bigger area such as Miami,New York,LA,Bulls,Boston….etc Im a Boston Fan and i see nothing wrong with stars playing together and win they lose it just prove it takes more then “star power” to win a NBA game, it takes hard work and knowledgable of what role do “I” play to help “US” win…basically

    • bowens3181 - Nov 11, 2011 at 5:18 PM

      I ove how everyone is just yelling out the same stat over and over and over again. TV ratings increasing in the NBA is so irrelevant because TV ratings for sports leagues in general have been going up because more people are watching sports in general. The issue is that while yes the NBA ratings are going up, they are not going up any where near as fast as the other leagues.
      The only people that love watching elite teams in big markets are people that are fans of those teams. No one else wants to see that.

      If this is really the way that it works in this sport, then this sport is broken.

      • mikeewright7 - Nov 11, 2011 at 5:54 PM

        The only people that love watching elite teams in big markets are people that are fans of those teams. No one else wants to see that.

        thats not true there are many small marketing fans who love to watch big marketing teams for example me..i live in milwaukee wisconsin who love to watch boston celtics, lakers, and miami…Just curious bowens3181 what team are you supporting?

      • mikeewright7 - Nov 11, 2011 at 5:55 PM

        and i hate the lakers and miami but i still enjoy watching them

  10. rreducla1 - Nov 11, 2011 at 4:35 PM

    There is nothing to compare it to because the system has always been the same.


    Heh. How old are you, 12?

    When did NBA Free Agency start? Do you actually know?

    • bowens3181 - Nov 11, 2011 at 5:27 PM

      OMG your right! If you compare the TV ratings from last season and compare them with those from 20 years ago, you will see that there are better ratings this year then there were then. This must be concrete evidence that the system is perfect.

      you are an idiot

  11. mikeewright7 - Nov 11, 2011 at 4:47 PM

    Realistic i wanna say sorry to all the following:
    Clippers (greatyoung team maybe in some years)
    Suns (trade steve nash he deserve to be on a contending team)
    Raptors (especially)
    Atlanta (maybe)….naw Atlanta too
    Milwaukee (no more fearing that deer) Lmao
    76ers( maybe in some years)
    Portland (your a threat just not that big of one)
    Magics as well (goodbye D.Howard)
    Hornets(goodbye Chris Paul)
    NJN (have a slight chance)
    Pistons(trade hamilton)
    Houston Rockets

    Because realistically you will not win a title in the next 1-4years Big or Small Market doesnt matter as much these teams will be in the Finals 1-4years

    Boston Celtics
    LA Lakers
    Miami Heat
    Chicago Bulls
    Dallas Mvericks
    Denver Nuggets
    NewYork Knicks

    • bowens3181 - Nov 11, 2011 at 5:25 PM


      That is the issue

      thanks for tuning in

      • mikeewright7 - Nov 11, 2011 at 6:02 PM

        lol that is not the issue,

        the issue is other teams unless the “stars” on those teams work on their game and some defense during this lockout wont amount much to any elite team…Chicago wasnt a elite team earlier this yr since Jordan era and now look at what they accomplish, 60+ wins youngest MVP hard work paid off… see i put Denver in there because Wilson Chandler nd J.RSmith can turn that team around and they are a small marketing team

        AnyBody can be a Elite player if they work on their game, so ppl are bless with tremendous talents like Lebron some of them just have to work on their game to be “Elite”, but even Lebron had to work on his game and stil have too,

        I hate Lakers but Kobe the best( Random outburst)

        Celtics Fan

    • bowens3181 - Nov 11, 2011 at 6:15 PM

      So your basically saying that the lockout is the fault of players who don’t work hard?

      • mikeewright7 - Nov 11, 2011 at 6:48 PM

        Its alot of ppl fault for this lockout, the owners keep they “dick/johnson” ride these stars like Lebron and dont give him anybody usefull to really work with then be surprise when the star leave to a team with better players or better coaching, Lebron couldn win with those guys they next best player was west, then you brought in a Shaq who didnt bring nothing but size ( i suppose)

        What im saying players and owners more so owners wanna a better w/e to keep there star players, so im saying there focus shouldnt be on just one player if the whole team would work on there indiviual game then you will have a bunch off allstars who can compete with players

        matter of fact then dont even need to be bunch of allstars every team has at least one star…right??? surround that star with players he can either work with of he can make them better or make hisself better

        best player in the league that make players better is Steve Nash
        My point of view on this lockout is that hard work pays off, The Cavs knew Lebron prolly wasnt gone stay so they should of been smart and traded his a$$ or had a back up plan, Melo situation is diff i think the denver got a great deal

  12. somekat - Nov 11, 2011 at 6:30 PM

    I have an easy solution for this. If all players are willing to give owners the same percentage of any endorsement deals that the owners give the players of bri, then they can talk to me. Because they wouldn’t be an attractive commodity to endorse any products if the league didn’t give him a platform to play in and showcase his talents.

  13. mikeewright7 - Nov 11, 2011 at 7:01 PM

    The owners that complaning is basically the ones who has nobody really “good” on there team to compete with other ” Big Marketing/Good Teams”

    Point #1:not only big markets have good teams so for those who say “bowens3181” only big Market teams win is not true lol (picking on you)

    Point #2: Is it really the league fault that half the NBA teams suck? No you owners waste draft picks on “TRASH A$$ PLAYERS” then complain that somebody else pick who went to a better “Marketing/Team” is the reason for lockout

    Point #3: If the Wizards won or cavs or “small marketing” the owners wouldnt complain…


    • somekat - Nov 11, 2011 at 11:00 PM

      your point #2 is a horrible point. Did the cavs make a terrible pick with Lebron? Did the Raptors make a terrible pick with Bosh? Did the Nuggets make a terrible pick with Melo? ( I won’t include amare, they just had too many stars to keep them all). Did the hornets make a terrible pick with Paul? Did the Jazz make a terrible pick with Paul? Did the Grizz make a terrible pick with Gasol?

      All of these guy were able to leave, not one of them with the former team getting nothing back, while willing to pay the same amount. They literally CAN’T keep them. Even when they do everything possible (The Cavs literally made every more Lebron wanted, not to pick on him, i’m not a cavs fan, just an example), and he still bolted. Even if they make a great pick, the guy is a UFA 3 years later. Once he really starts coming in to his own, he can walk for nothing.

      • somekat - Nov 11, 2011 at 11:03 PM

        oh, and add Howard to that list next year

        Also, name me one team that has one of the top teams, that has more than 1 of them through their own draft pick. So please don’t sell me on how the elite teams are so good because they draft so much better

      • somekat - Nov 11, 2011 at 11:04 PM

        by top teams, I man one of the so call “stacked” teams (you know, the 5 or 6 that are clearly better than the rest) LA, Bos, Mia, NY, etc.

      • somekat - Nov 11, 2011 at 11:11 PM

        not to spam the board. But OKC would be the one exception I can think of

      • 6thsense79 - Nov 12, 2011 at 6:25 AM

        Somekat…..Your comment is kind of silly. All those guys that left left as either free agents or there was a sign and trade meaning their former teams got back draft picks or some other form of compensation. You just don’t like the fact that a player has a choice of choosing where they want to work after their contract is up. It also appalls you that these “greedy” players would sign for less money to play on the team of their choice. Walk for nothing. Give me a break. Lebron made the Cavs multi millions. Took them to a championship and decided after his SECOND contract to exercise his right to be a free agent. The Cavs then traded him for multiple draft picks there by making sure they received one last compensation from the man. What else do you want?

  14. alekesam - Nov 11, 2011 at 10:18 PM

    lol. Yeah, seriously. People need to really dig in deep and check what’s really going on versus whatever the owners are spinning through the media that supports them.

    Fact is, the owners could win every concession and then some, and there’ll STILL be teams that will suck because concessions won’t change someone’s incompetance. There will still be the same knuckleheads that will draft the wrong player, overspend on others, fail to put the correct pieces around the star, etc. It’s not all about money. It’s the personnel that they choose that matters as well. Look at the Spurs. They bought Duncan, Manu and Parker and walked away with four rings in ten years plus how many serious runs at the finals? But what if they used that same amount of money and put together a bunch of busts or talented players that aren’t compatible w/ each other? Is that the players fault or the owners?

    Secondly, small market teams are always going to struggle to attract people to play in small market teams because no one really wants to live in small market cities. Why do you think Wade and Bosh didn’t go to Cleveland or ‘Bron and Wade go to Toronto? Because they didn’t want to live there/play there. Not to mention some cities just aren’t big basketball towns. It takes time, skill, patience and luck to build you team to a solid following where you have true fans.

    • mikeewright7 - Nov 12, 2011 at 1:06 PM

      i agree

  15. rreducla1 - Nov 11, 2011 at 11:32 PM

    Draft Picks on top teams:

    Rose, Noah, Deng, Gibson, Asik–drafted

    Horford, Josh Smith, Marvin Williams–drafted. And of course, if the Hawks had drafted Chris Paul, they might be a legit contender now.

    Bryant was draft-day trade; Bynum, Fisher,–drafted

    Duncan, Ginobili, Parker–drafted

    Gay, Conley–drafted

    Pierce, Rondo–drafted

    Also, some of the trades made to build these teams involved trading guys the teams originally drafted. Three examples:

    Al Jefferson
    Marc Gasol
    Devin Harris

    Three of the guys the Knicks traded to get Anthony were drafted.

  16. rreducla1 - Nov 11, 2011 at 11:34 PM

    Also, the Knicks went 42-40 last year and lost in the first round of the playoffs.

  17. gracerefuge - Nov 12, 2011 at 10:16 AM

    Many teams are losing money. Several are on brink of going under. Days of mega-billionaire owners willing to throw unlimited funds at a team just for bragging rights or trophy are over. NBA now needs a viable business model that’s affordable for the average mid-sized city team. David Stern wouldn’t be playing this so hard if it isn’t for these facts of life. Just way it is.

  18. santolonius - Nov 12, 2011 at 6:06 PM

    why is it so hard to believe that fans of the 20 or so teams that have been barely relevant for the last 4 decades would like a chance to participate in a real way in the quest for a championship?
    why is it so hard to believe these same fans would like to be able to build a team around a superstar when they land one in the draft rather than seeing him go to some sexy city when his first contract is up and he’s coming into his prime?
    why is it so hard to believe that fans of those teams don’t pull for superstars in marquee cities at all?
    the nba has been broken for 40 years. time to fix it.

    • Kurt Helin - Nov 14, 2011 at 10:09 AM

      I know that you and the fans of other smaller market teams want to be competitive. I just don’t think it was the system that kept teams from being competitive. Again, San Antonio and Oklahoma City and so on. To be competitive for any team you need to be smart/lucky with the draft (remember, the Lakers got Kobe and the Mavs Dirk on draft-day trades). Then you have to put good players around your stars with good management. I think the reason teams are not competitive is not a matter of spending but management.

    • rreducla1 - Nov 14, 2011 at 10:34 AM

      the nba has been broken for 40 years. time to fix it.


      Actually, it was born broken by your reasoning: The NBA revolves around dynasties and mini-dynasties, which revolve ariound stars. In order:

      Mikan Lakers 5 titles

      Russell Celtics 11 titles–closest competitors: West/Baylor Lakers and whoever had Wilt

      Knicks 2 titles
      Celtics 2 titles
      Lakers 1 title
      Bucks 1 title


      Lakers 5 titles
      Celtics 3 titles
      Pistons 2 titles
      76ers 1 title


      Bulls 6 titles
      Rockets 2 titles
      Spurs 1 title


      Lakers 5 titles
      Spurs 4 titles

      The only time in league history the title was “passed around” was 1975-1979:

      1975 Golden State over Washington
      1976 Boston over Phoenix
      1977 Portland over Philadelphia
      1978 Washington over Seattle
      1979 Seattle over Washington

      Portland probably would have won 2 or 3 had Walton been able to play. This was also the league’s absolute nadir commercially–Finals games were shown on tape delay. The merger contributed as well–mixing up the talent.

      Also, recent history shows us that non-bling market teams can compete for the reasons Kurt said. Teams that made the finals, conference finals, or won titles:

      1990s: Portland, Utah, Seattle, Houston
      2000s: Sacramento, Minnesota, Indiana, San Antonio, Detroit, Denver, Phoenix
      2011: OKC and Chicago–Bulls’ roster core is almost all guys they drafted.

  19. jimeejohnson - Nov 12, 2011 at 9:36 PM

    What the fans want has been conveniently overlooked by both players and owners. We want to kick back and watch some of the best athletes in the world play b-ball, and forget about our troubles, just for a little while. The 2012 London Olympic basketball tournament will be more interesting than usual.

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