For those NBA fans rooting for teams getting snubbed by all-star players turning down supermax deals to run off to better basketball situations housed in cities listed on the free agent destination list, here is a little bit of advice for you – change your allegiance to a team on that list.
Make the move, now – don’t wait, because the free agent destination index of the NBA market is on the upward trend, and this is the chance to buy low and reap the benefits later.
The die-hard fans are screaming right now because that’s not the way a true fan operates, right? The true fan stays with the team through good times and bad. But what if the bad outweighs the good by a wide margin? And, this is not about betraying a team. No, this is about making a business decision after charting the landscape of the league where the data points to current players yearning to build their brand, explore additional business opportunities, and finally, upgrading to a better basketball team situation. Why can’t the fan do the same thing – upgrade to a better team situation?
With the NBA experiencing a surge in talent, a super team to hate, and LeBron James in LA, people may not have realized that the illusion of fielding a championship caliber team (mostly) through the draft has faded. Maybe it was over a long time ago, but there was always a San Antonio or some other team fans could point to as a beacon of hope in the raging sea of free agency transactions. “The Spurs beat LeBron, and they did it the ‘right’ way.”
There ya go New Orleans, there is your blueprint. Just draft the next Tim Duncan – oh wait, you may have done that already, but he’s leaving soon and there’s nothing you can do about it. Good luck with your future first round picks.
Sam Hinkie thought the chances of drafting the next superstar were so slim he implemented “The Process”, a plan designed to get as many top-5 draft picks as possible by “tanking” with reckless abandon. Overall, the 76ers went 127-283 in exchange for one playoff series win. As bad as that sounds, maybe he wasn’t completely wrong. After all, the 76ers one playoff series win is better than what the Orlando Magic and Phoenix Suns have accomplished lately. A sports league where teams explicitly lose for better draft positions doesn’t exactly mesh with competition, a major pillar of the sports foundation.
Losing on purpose is bad enough for a sports league, but now there is another problem. The supermax contract put in place to help the home team keep its talent has failed. See, that was based on the old business model where players and agents just wanted the extra money, and so by offering more money than any other team available, the player would sign with the home team. (Hey, we all want extra money so no judgment here.) But it’s not just about the money now – there are brands to be built. Yep, after fans endure season after season of their favorite team taking the “L”, coupled with their GM finally winning the lottery and selecting a bonafide all-star player, it’s only a matter of time before the all-star decides he needs to upgrade his situation by moving on to another city.
Player empowerment — yes — easy to support. No one wants to revert to the time when cheapskate owners held all the cards, leaving players stranded on teams that would never win. But this NBA is not that NBA. The players are doing well financially and have plenty of mobility.
Now, it’s time for the fans to become mobile as well – they don’t have to watch the rinse and repeat of sacrificing seasons to get a nice draft pick, only to then watch the all-star leave.
Fan empowerment, baby – upgrade your team situation, fans.
Photo Attribution: Anthony Davis by Keith Allison Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0), NY City by Michael Vadon Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0), LA by Linnaea Mallette CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) Public Domain Dedication