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Are NBA teams giving out “foolish” contracts? Yes. Lockout couldn’t stop that.

Jul 16, 2012, 8:02 AM EDT

New Jersey Nets v Atlanta Hawks Getty Images

NBA fans are shaking their heads when they see Jeremy Lin about to get $25 million over three years. Or when they see Brook Lopez getting a max contract. Or JaVale McGee not signing a $50 million deal while seeking more. Or countless more deals since the start of free agency. Fans thinking pretty much what George Karl told Sam Amick of Sports Illustrated.

“This summer has kind of been, I don’t know what the word is other than foolish,” said Karl, who has been outspoken against the league’s star culture that he was once a part of before Carmelo Anthony was traded to New York two seasons ago. “I just think there’s some wild and crazy mentalities going on out there.”

They also are asking this:

“Wasn’t the lockout supposed to stop this kind of spending?”

Actually, no. It was supposed to contain it. It was supposed to give the owners quicker outs of the bad deals they were about to offer.

The lockout was always about the owners wanting a CBA that protected themselves from themselves. They wanted a CBA that forced fiscal constraints on themselves because they knew they couldn’t just do it through discipline.

Once the feeding frenzy of free agency starts teams are going to overpay. Some team always will. Maybe it’s the only way they can get a free agent to a smaller market, maybe a team overpays on potential, maybe teams overvalue what they have. There are as many reasons for bad contracts as there are bad contracts.

But the lockout was never going to bring good decision making to the NBA.

What the owners wanted and got were constraints — max deals are now one year shorter. There are all kinds of new restrictions on the exemptions that teams over the cap can spend.

Most important of all, the owners won back a whole lot of “basketball related income.” Nearly 7 percent of a nearly $4 billion business. That is money in their pockets (that can go to the rest of the business or to stem losses). It’s about the money.

Now those bad contracts are a little bit less expensive (and teams can spend less on other players after one). Plus they end more quickly. It makes the bad moves less painful for owners. And fans.

But there is nothing the owners could do to legislate out foolishness.

  1. illcomm - Jul 16, 2012 at 8:06 AM

    Another article repeated with a different title. get some new material.

  2. cantonbound13 - Jul 16, 2012 at 8:51 AM

    Kurt is due for another article that kisses LeBron’s ass.

  3. opinevain - Jul 16, 2012 at 8:56 AM

    A system to protect themselves from themselves? Sheesh, only if there was something to protect myself when I spend hundreds’ on Goose

  4. papichulo55 - Jul 16, 2012 at 9:07 AM

    Good article. The Lockout has also failed to improve the overall competiveness of the league. So far, the rich has kept getting richer.

  5. thestudiokida - Jul 16, 2012 at 9:24 AM

    There are ways to stop the foolish spending and all of them involve making team’s accountable for their contracts. There are 1,001 exceptions to the NBA salary cap. Every team manages to sign whoever they want despite often being millions over the cap. MAKE IT SIMPLE. Make a hard cap. Forget luxury tax and forget sign & trades, just don’t let them spend what they don’t have.

    • trybe29dr - Jul 16, 2012 at 11:21 AM

      how about the businessmen billionaire owners who run the team stop spending money “they dont have?” that makes it even more simple…i know. Its a crazy idea but maybe itll work…

  6. papichulo55 - Jul 16, 2012 at 9:42 AM

    A straight Hard Cap will not help the small market teams. Todays players make a lot of money in endorsements. Why sign with Sacaramento, when you can make sign the same contract in Los Angeles, and double or triple your endorsements?

    The league should let the small markets spend more. Everyone likes guaranteed money. Maybe the bigger, guaranteed contract can make some players chose Sacramento over Los Angeles.

    • n2thaizzo - Jul 16, 2012 at 10:02 AM

      Yeah, but what does a player do when there is no more money to be spent in LA, or Miami, or NY? They have to go to Indy, or Minn, or any other team that has money available. Players are going to get endorsements if they are good enough to get them, no matter where they play. But if there was a hard cap, GMs would have to curb their spending and the league would be more competitive.

  7. opinevain - Jul 16, 2012 at 9:47 AM

    Reblogged this on Vain's Opine and commented:
    A system to protect themselves from themselves? Sheesh, only if there was something to protect myself when I spend hundreds’ on Goose. Only if life were as simple as owners overpaying for players because of their vertical jump rather than paying them for their mental.

  8. dysraw1 - Jul 16, 2012 at 9:49 AM

    its kinda crazy how the owners close down the league in order to establish protection from themselves, an yet they still allow their gms, to play games like the poison pill contract. not hating on L. Fields or J. Lin or Brook Lopez, but for dough they were demanding they could all walk because none of them have establish jack.

    • dysraw1 - Jul 16, 2012 at 9:55 AM

      and Javale Mcgee has some nerve too[ even though i believe in his abilities]

  9. dalucks - Jul 16, 2012 at 10:46 AM

    There are about 20 horrible general managers who hand out terrible contracts but the media wants to blame the players for accepting the money, C’mon man. The Owners have bad employees (general managers) who repeatedly flush the owners money down the toilet but there is no way the owners do not know the amount of these contracts especially since they write the checks. The cause of the lockout were the general managers and as long as they keep their jobs then bad contracts will remain in the NBA.

  10. trybe29dr - Jul 16, 2012 at 11:17 AM

    Javale McGee didnt sign that $50m deal? That kid is dumber than he led us to believe.

  11. Kevin S. - Jul 16, 2012 at 11:47 AM

    One very easy way to get rid of terrible deals for the middle class – ditch maximum contracts. The league commits a certain portion of revenue to its players. If it constrains how much it can give to its youngest players, and how much it gives to its best players, then by default the veteran middle class is going to get a larger share of the pie than they otherwise would have. I’m not sure why anybody is shocked by this.

  12. 49erminer4life - Jul 16, 2012 at 12:23 PM

    Pulbic perception always makes the players fold, so next lockout whos side are you on

  13. franklamar17 - Jul 16, 2012 at 1:51 PM

    Don’t hate the player hate the game

  14. papichulo55 - Jul 16, 2012 at 2:14 PM

    Sneaker companies are a serious, behind-the-scenes influence on player movements. You think Addidas gives $250,000,000 to Derrick Rose if he plays in Sacramento?

    These players are making some serious money outside of their contracts. You can be sure that atleast a few of the “strings attached” involve location. For that kind of money,
    there are many ballplayers that will listen to the gentle suggestions of their sneaker company. I know I would!

  15. omniusprime - Jul 16, 2012 at 7:42 PM

    A Fool and his Money soon go Separate Ways! No better proof of that saying than professional sports team owners who consistently pay way too much for way too little talent and no loyalty whatsoever. It’s really disgusting to see the kind of serious money they’re paying these chump change NBA players. I think it’s outrageous that these pampered overpaid bozos have sports agents to get them crazy sums of money then they have a damned union to protect them? From what? Sorry but pro athletes are the scum of humanity. Each year I watch less and less pro sports, I’d rather watch college sports.

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