Good writeup although I'm going to have to disagree with the max salary assesment. To give you some history, I actually came up with an idea back in the fall of '97. Kevin Garnett had just signed his 6 year, $120 million contract and the writing was on the wall. If he could get that money then there's no telling what players better than him would get so I wrote a ton of letters to a bunch of owners saying that instead of capping entire team payrolls in the form of a hard cap, they should put a limit on what you could pay an individual player. As fate would have it, we came up with max contracts. Now, I won't take credit for the invention of max contracts but I can honestly say that it was my idea long before it became a part of the new cba. Fast forwarding to today, we see articles saying that Kobe, Lebron and Wade would all be getting between $50 and $70 million a year in an open system. Even with a soft cap, you're looking at at least $30 million and that's just too much. If teams are losing too much money now then think what they would be losing if we had no max salaries. The entire premise of the '98 lockout was to wipeout superstar salaries and create a middle class and they did that. Stern wanted less attention on the individual and more on team. In short, he wanted corporate sponsors to market the team over the individual but they resisted. However, the economic system was saved by the entrance of max salaries and a middle class. Now, I do agree with the anti super team angle that you put in there. However, had Lebron, Bosh and Wade just taken the max then you would only have room for 2 on one team and we wouldn't have this entire super team conflict in the first place. There just isn't a way to stop players from taking a pay cut. OTOH, there are ways around it and I see progress in these lockout talks. One is the idea that only one player can be resigned using the bird exception per year. Bosh, Wade and Lebron all become free agents in the same year so something will have to give if this rule is implemented. Now, one guy can opt out early and the other 2 can wait til the final year but that still allows only 2 stars to stay and one will have to bolt. Another idea is to just allow 2 stars in the upper tier of the system meaning have a system where you only have 2 guys being paid a base salary in the $12 million and up range. That means that someone like Bosh will have to take on a base salary of less than $12 million. It's one thing to take a cut from $16.8 to $14.5 but would he go all the way down to $11.9. Probably not. Therefore, I say we should give these 2 ideas a chance before losing the concept of a max salary. Lord knows I wrote enough articles pushing the idea 14 years ago.
There's no way to stop a guy from taking less money, agreed, but if teams can offer you $25m or $30m to not play with you friends at a rate of $15m, that's a good deal more to think about than the competing offer of $17m. With a hard cap, I like no max contract.
True. I just think the middle class is going to be wiped out. Teams are going to do what they have to do to keep the superstar guy and that means he's going to get paid a lot. With a hard cap, that leaves little money for everyone else. Like yourself, I want to limit superteams. If there is a way to do that by keeping a semi soft cap and max salaries, then it should be explored. I still think we should give the concepts being thrown around right now an open mind. Limit teams to one bird exception per year. I'll even throw in a "J.J. Barea exception" meaning that you can sign a 2nd guy above the cap if he's willing to take less than the mid level amount. For example, Dallas could use their bird rights this year on Tyson Chandler and then sign a 2nd FA provided he take less than whatever the new MLE is. I don't see Caron Butler doing that but I do see Barea or Stevenson taking it. Also, my idea of limiting teams to just 2 players in the upper financial tier seems like it would work. No more super teams and a player couldn't demand a trade to a team that already has 2 players in that range already. For example, CP couldn't ask for a trade to New York since they already have Melo and Amare making that dough. Brooklyn already has a PG so the city of NY is completely out of the question for CP. I'd say NOLA's shot at keeping CP would go way up with that in place.