All Teams Equal, Yet Some ‘More’ Equal?

Posted: October 4, 2012 in Basketball, NBA, Sports

Eric Fantillo

100280947

October 3, 2012

Blog Post #2

NBA logos 2012-2013

NBA team logos for the 2012-2013 season. Image courtesy of sportinvasion.net (Cropped by myself).

The NBA, like most professional sports associations, has an ideology of equality among their respective teams. This means they think that all their teams should be on an even playing ground. Such a scenario makes games more competitive  and as a result more entertaining and exciting. With this added fan enthusiasm, the associations’ philosophy is that it will then bring in more money (since that’s really their whole purpose) the more equal the teams are. All this is accomplished in the NBA via a bunch of legal jargon called the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).

The CBA strives for team equality in a number of ways, but the most important of which is the Salary Cap. This essentially puts a limit on how much a team can pay players to play for them. The concept is put in place so that teams with larger markets and ones that are more popular (have more money to burn) cannot ‘overpower’ the smaller teams with their wallets and create unfair ‘all-star’ teams. However, there are a series of loopholes and workarounds that teams can use to get around the cap, so it is defined as a “soft cap”. Meaning it is more of a line where teams should be at, rather than a wall they can’t go through (The latter simile being defined as a “hard cap”).

One such loophole is called the Luxury Tax. In laymen’s terms, it can be defined as a large some of money that a team has to pay the NBA if their team’s salary expenses exceed the soft salary cap. Essentially if a team is big and rich enough, it can still overpower the little guys. A prominent and recent example of this is the Los Angeles Lakers (LAL). They recently acquired 2-time MVP (Most Valuable Player) Steve Nash and the league’s best center; Dwight Howard. Doing all this while still retaining Pau Gasol, one of the league’s Top 5 Power Forwards who is robust enough to also play center. Not to mention the one and only Kobe Bryant. I don’t think I have to tell you that Kobe Bryant, along side LeBron James, is the face of the NBA and one its best players. Both of LA’s acquisitions were made after the new CBA (which was founded after the 2011 lockout) was in place.

LAL2012-2013

A picture of LAL’s intimidating starting five. Image courtesy of thegnuru.com

Before the 2011 lockout, the old CBA was working even worse than the new one. The Miami Heat‘s superstar stacked team was a perfect example of this. LeBron James and Chris Bosh waltzed out of their respective teams as easily as one can take candy from a baby. All Miami got was a light slap on the wrist in the form of the old luxury tax which was far more minuscule than the one imposed presently. Both the aforementioned all-stars joined fellow all-star Dwayne Wade to become the 2011-2012 NBA champions.

Couple the Salary Cap with all the policies in the CBA that I didn’t even touch on (Free Agency restrictions, Revenue sharing, etc), and it’s pretty clear by the two examples that I outlined above that the old and new CBAs were not and are not working as intended. Some franchises can still unfairly muster a far better team than the opposition. So, though the NBA’s ideology of team equality put in place the CBA and does to some extent restrict teams and keep balance, it does not do so completely enough to call the playing field even. So though all the teams are considered equal, some are ‘more’ equal than others.

 

 

Sources:

http://www.nba.com/2012/news/07/10/nba-salary-cap-release/index.html

http://www.cbafaq.com/salarycap.htm#Q1

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1293683-is-the-new-nba-cba-really-working-or-just-making-more-super-teams

http://www.nba.com/2012/news/features/fran_blinebury/06/22/free-agency-rules/index.html

http://www.nba.com/laborcentral/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NBA_salary_cap

Pictures:

http://sportsinvasion.net/2012/07/nba-2012-2013-schedule-10-games-to-look-forward-to/

http://thegnuru.com/2012/10/the-los-angeles-lakers-want-to-remind-you-that-nba-champions-arent-created-in-the-summer/

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