Brian Windhorst reports that a group of eight owners are begging the league for an economic model that would make life much easier in small markets.
The letter and the writers were revealed by the Seattle Times on Sunday. The owners are the Portland Trail Blazers' Paul Allen, Memphis Grizzlies' Michael Heisley, Charlotte Bobcats' Bob Johnson, Milwaukee Bucks' Herb Kohl, Utah Jazz's Larry Miller, New Orleans Hornets' George Shinn, Indiana Pacers' Herb Simon and Minnesota Timberwolves' Glen Taylor. No doubt, new Sonics owner Clay Bennett is in that club now as well.
Although the Cavs don't exactly see themselves as paupers, they are much closer to the Timberwolves and Grizzlies in the scheme of things than to the Knicks and the Lakers. Yet with a new and very rich deal from FSN-Ohio, which puts them in the top five in the league and runs for 10 years, they are in no mood to share.
Interesting that San Antonio's Peter Holt wasn't on that list. Guess those Spurs must have something figured out.
Percy Allen's article started it all, and makes the case that the NBA's product is suffering:
You'll never hear the NBA say that, but it is. The league has stagnated and is predictable. Each season, only a handful of teams have a legitimate chance of winning the championship, which is never good for business.
In the last 27 years, since the Bird-Magic era began in 1979, only eight teams have won the title. The Los Angeles Lakers (three) and San Antonio (three) have won six of the past eight titles.
That type of predictability has as much to do with a broken economic structure that forces teams to give the lion's share of their salary cap to one or two players, while everyone else earns significantly less.
I don't know if I buy that. All those recent titles were concentrated around Shaquille O'Neal and Tim Duncan, in my mind, not big markets. After all, San Antonio's tiny. And when O'Neal moved so did the title (as the big market Knicks, Lakers, and Bulls are endured mediocrity).
Not to mention, Howard Schultz and company made money, in the final analysis, in their time running the mediocre mid-market Sonics. You just don't get it as annual income in the current model. Economic minded readers, what do you think? Is this a model that needs fixing? Does revenue sharing work? Would it make the NBA a better product?