Readers' tips for small-market teams
Does the NBA realize it can't get along without us?
Helping the NBA's small-market teams appears to be a lot more difficult than we might have thought. We were told that the months-long lockout of players was supposed to force a new collective bargaining agreement that would somehow protect the small-market owners from themselves and from those really greedy big-market owners.
How's that working out?
That's why we called for the help of our readers, who are clearly smarter than NBA owners, if not richer. One reader, Carey S. of Palo Alto, Calif., thought he had a great idea for small-market teams: "Let the league own you."
Only problem is that hardly seemed to help New Orleans last week when NBA commissioner David Stern killed a trade for Chris Paul that would have sent four viable players to the Hornets. But the one catch was that Paul would go to the Los Angeles Lakers -- and small-market owners turn green (and we don't mean Celtic green) at the idea of the Lakers renting another star.
Paul ended up going to Los Angeles on Wednesday, but to the Clippers instead of the Lakers. New Orleans got some talent in return but still could do nothing about its star player leaving town.
So if there is a way to help the small markets, the league appears to be its own worst enemy. But that's why you are here to provide this week's reader-generated list:
Top 10 Tips for Small-Market Teams
(Note: Some of you provided tips on how to keep superstars on small-market rosters while others provided tips on how to sell tickets. Two problems that go hand-in-hand.)
10. "Move your team to Mississippi and make Brett Favre the team president," said Michael S. of Austin, Texas. (Yes, this is the worst tip ever but we've missed Favre.)
9. "One word: Tebow," said Fred G. of Providence, R.I. (Now this is valid because Tim Tebow will be available for inspiration as soon as the Super Bowl is over.)
8. "Level the playing field by moving the big-market teams to other small markets: Omaha Lakers, Boise Knicks, Columbus Heat and the Walla Walla Mavericks," said Jason D. of Milwaukee. (We'd buy a ticket to see the Walla Walla Mavs.)
7. To keep your superstars: "Free babysitting for all players' children," said Janice H. of Palo Alto, Calif.
6. For the Clippers: "Kobe plays here!" said Sally D. of Los Angeles. (Or will the Lakers say, "Paul plays here"? I'm just askin'.)
5. To keep your superstars: "Free tattoo for every 10 three-pointers," said Lisa A. of Benson, N.C.
4. For New Orleans: "Name your facility after your star's mother -- The Mrs. Paul's Fish Sticks Arena," said Bill P. of Tualatin, Ore.
3. "Preface your team's name with 'Tyler Perry Presents '" said Carey S. of Palo Alto, Calif.
2. For Portland: "Where else can you get $8.9 million with bad knees?" said David H. of Tigard, Ore.
1. "One word: Madonna," said Beverly M. of Little Rock, Ark. (Hey, if it's good enough for the Super Bowl, it's good enough for the NBA.)
Solid suggestions all (well, except for No. 10), but if the lockout didn't change anything, chances are our suggestions will fall on deaf ears, too. Of course, on Christmas Day we can forget all this and get back to what really interests us: hating the Heat.
Jerry Greene is a regular contributor to ESPN.com and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org