How to Solve Bill Simmons’ NBA Lockout Solution?

11 Jul

I had something different planned for today but Bill Simmons published his idea to solve NBA lockout and I feel like I should react. Because even though I have always admired him for his writing style and creativity [e.g. Entertaining As Hell Tournament could be awesome and it probably would help with tanking] IMHO there’s too much inconsistency in too important article to leave it without any comment…

Don’t get me wrong, I think he’s spot on in some aspects, for example here:

Stubbornness in its rawest form. That’s the National Basketball Association’s lockout. The owners want to “fix” the system without actually fixing it. The players want everything to remain the same even if that “same” makes no sense. Both sides spent the past few weeks poking holes in each other’s arguments, leaking unflattering tidbits to trusted writers1 and excreting code-word spin control BS like “we’re unified” and “we’re in this for the long haul.” I never heard anyone say the words, “Hold on a second … what’s really wrong here?”

or here:

NBA superstars should make more money than they do; it should be easier for NBA teams to keep those superstars; and too many nonsuperstars make too much money.

but as usual the problem can be found in the details:

We settle on a $52 million hard cap but promise players we’ll spend 52 percent of the BRI on salaries, which should average out to $56 million to $58 million per season
For instance, if Dwight Howard wants to sign with the Lakers next summer, they could offer only his franchise cap number ($68 million over four years). Orlando gets the benefit of that $500k bump — eight Howard/Orlando seasons multiplied by $500,000 — so they can offer him a four-year deal worth $87 million. The longer he stays in Orlando and keeps playing at a ‘Franchise’ level, the more money Howard can earn.

How Magic would be able to resign Dwight Howard when they have committed 55M$ in 2012-13?
Wouldn’t it create a whole new market of dumping players’ contracts?
Would all contracts be restructured to fit into his ‘All-Star’ or ‘Franchise’ status? If the answer is yes the problem has another layer: two players could earn 39M$ per year… which would mean 13M$ for the rest of the roster… shouldn’t we mention here voting process among players?
There’s no way that majority of them would agree to such salary structure!

Speaking of which…

Going forward, we define an ‘All-Star’ as someone who’s played four consecutive years with one team and made two All-Star teams OR an All-NBA team during that time. Any ‘All-Star’ automatically gets a $12 million cap figure

How many players among roughly 450 of them can be named All-Stars? How it wouldn’t be a problem?
Not only it would screw deep positions and/or conferences but also with players’ salaries based ONLY on individual accomplishments [which on the other hand are based on stats like PPG] wouldn’t it create ENORMOUS incentive to be as selfish as possible?

—————————————– break for nitpicking —————————————–

Issue No. 5: Nobody is putting a gun to the owners’ heads and telling them to overpay players.

Earlier quote in the same article:

By including a luxury tax in the previous two labor deals, they assumed it would frighten teams from overpaying players. Nope. If anything, it’s turned into something of a Jedi mind trick. You can’t win unless you’re overpaying players. Open your wallets. Open them. Our past four champions were luxury tax teams. Not a coincidence. As deputy commissioner Adam Silver told the New York Times, “We had predicted the tax would be more of a drag on salaries than it’s turned out to be. It became business as usual to pay the tax, and therefore it created a league of haves and have-nots, where you have the Lakers at $110 million and Sacramento at $45 million.”

Am I splitting hair here or it is a contradiction, isn’t it?
So owners are to blame for losses while rules force them to overpay?

Another one is here:

Any ‘Franchise Player’ automatically gets a $17 million cap figure, but can be paid $500,000 per years of service beyond that number without it counting on the cap.

What’s the point of hard cap system if teams can spend more than that on salaries?

Final one is here:

If you’re wondering why the Bulls would agree to this, here’s my response: Has having a second NBA team in town hurt the Lakers these past 30 years?

No… but how can you deride and criticize Clippers about incompetence/cheapness for so long and make a realistic example out of them?

—————————————– end of nitpicking —————————————–

I left IMHO the biggest problem for the end:

Issue No. 2: The players are currently getting too big of a revenue share.

Are they? Why *correct* numbers should be taken out of the hat?
He mentioned in the article link to Nate Silver’s piece where was clearly stated that NON-player costs have skyrocketed… Why did it happen? Will it happen again in the next 5 years? Does it even have to happen?
I don’t know answers to those questions and without official books we probably won’t know it…
but IMHO that’s the point where the whole discussion should start


Posted by on July 11, 2011 in Expanding Horizons


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5 responses to “How to Solve Bill Simmons’ NBA Lockout Solution?

  1. greyberger

    July 13, 2011 at 06:27

    Yeah I thought that tying player salaries (or what teams are allowed to offer players!) to All-star and All-NBA teams was a dumb idea too. It creates way more problems than it solves and opens the door to really nasty issues (like fans voting in an All-Star for strategic purposes or intentionally voting in a player whose on a team they root against – so that the team has a harder time negotiating that player’s next extension).

    • wiLQ

      July 14, 2011 at 00:15

      To his credit he has mentioned about changing voting process for All-Stars but… whatever the details it’s still going to encourage individual style of play and it will concern less 10% of all players.

  2. k

    July 13, 2011 at 23:00

    I completely skipped his payscales. I didn’t expect simmons to be able to do the math to make it work. Performance based contracts are inherantly hard to do. Not everything you contribute to a team is kept in a statistic and can be measured. Plus the whole injury debate or perhaps lack of playing time to keep you from cashing in on a contract.

    I do like the idea of having a hard cap supplimented to a percentage of BRI or projected BRI.

  3. free iphone 5

    July 15, 2011 at 21:07

    Great review! This is truly the type of blog post that should be shared around the web. Shame on the Bing for not positioning this post higher!


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