SBD/Issue 241/Leagues & Governing Bodies

NBA Considers The Future After Stars Shift Teams This Summer

Somes NBA Execs Alarmed By James, Wade, Bosh
Deciding To Team Up And Play For The Heat

The NBA offseason has been "upsetting the league’s balance of power and undermining a system that was once fine-tuned for parity and stability," and it "may well become the Off-season That Changed Everything," according to Howard Beck of the N.Y. TIMES. The "reckoning will come, as with everything else, at the bargaining table, where owners will try to wrest back control in the next labor deal." There has already been talk "among team executives of franchise tags and heavy financial penalties for players changing teams, measures that are anathema" to the NBPA. The NBA for years "cultivated a system of superstar inertia, providing players every possible incentive to stay put." Rarely has "so much high-level talent been on the move." It is a "potentially dangerous trend for the league." Beck noted one solution would be to "increase the financial incentives for a player to stay home (or, conversely, increase the penalties for leaving)." Another possibility would be to "adopt the franchise tag system used in the NFL," under which teams "can bind star players to another year of service, essentially delaying their free agency." An NBA team exec said, "It will be discussed. I can’t see it happening" (N.Y. TIMES, 8/28). The NBA's offseason was highlighted by LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh teaming on the Heat, and 76ers President Rod Thorn said, "All those guys were free agents. They didn't do anything illegal. They used their rights under the collective bargaining agreement to play where they wanted to play. I give Miami credit for being able to get far enough under the cap to do it." Thorn added, "The one thing that surprised me personally was that James went to Miami. After meeting with him (as president of the Nets), I thought he'd end up staying in Cleveland. That was just my inclination" (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 8/28).

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