Be happy about the deal today; worry about Paul tomorrow
As predicted, the second that this new deal was announced, Hornets fans started wondering what it’s impact would be on the future of Chris Paul. Of course, national writers haven’t made it any easier as they make allusions to what the allowance of extend-and-trade deals will mean for Chris Paul and Dwight Howard, but that is besides the point. The fact is that nobody can predict exactly what will happen between now and July 1, 2012 when Paul is scheduled to become a free agent, but with the details of the new CBA leaking out, there are a couple of things that we can surely be thankful for this weekend.
1.) The Hornets will remain in New Orleans for the forseeable future and they will have a new owner.
Come on, this one is huge and yet we always seem to put it on the back burner. As great as Paul is, players come and go. If this team was relocated or contracted, that would have been the end of professional basketball in New Orleans. The league would have never given the city a third chance.
This new CBA, combined with the excellent work that the Hornets have done in the past eight months selling tickets and securing sponsorships, will ensure that there will be several viable offers to keep the Hornets in New Orleans. Expect several possible ownership groups to emerge in the next week or two, and the NBA to sell the team before the ball drops on New Year’s Day.
2. A Better Deal for Small Market Teams
Okay, let’s get this out of the way. Is this new CBA ideal? No. Is it better for the Hornets than what existed previously? Without question. I know some fans were hoping for the owners to break the union and push for a hard cap, a franchise tag, etc. but that would have required at least a season or two of no basketball and even then it was still unlikely. Remember, the small market owners were not only up against the union, they were up against other owners when it came to several of those issues.
NBA fans always point to the NFL when it comes to parity, but I have yet to hear one solution that would create true parity in a league where there are only five guys on the court and one person can be the difference between a 66 win Eastern Conference finalist and a 19 win team that gets the first pick in the draft. The fact is that those two sports are so different in so many ways that it is an injustice to try and compare the two.
The Lakers, Knicks, Mavericks, and Celtics will still have a competitive advantage because of the markets they are in, their television contracts, and their owners, but the gap has been narrowed. Because of tighter tax penalties and the implementation of a higher salary floor, you will never again see the Lakers spending 250% more in payroll than another NBA franchise (as we saw with the Kings last year). What we probably will still see is mega-stars flocking to the big cities to collect huge endorsement bonuses and to increase their exposure for their post-NBA careers- but what deal was ever going to stop that from happening?
3. We don’t have to become NASCAR, or baseball, or soccer fans.
Honestly, this is what I am most thankful for. Right now I am doing just fine because there is NFL or college football on practically every day, but what were we all planning to do starting February 6th? Hockey has never done it for me, and hearing about pitchers and catchers report to spring training does not exactly get my juices flowing. Instead, on February 6th, WE WILL HAVE BASKETBALL!!!
Who cares if it’s Chris Paul starting at the point, if it’s Russell Westbrook, or even Jarrett Jack. Doesn’t matter to me. I lived through the Dan Dickau era and I will live through whomever our next floor general is should CP3 leave. What I couldn’t have lived with is watching another episode of Bones on TNT when Kenny and Chuck are supposed to be on or pretending that I cared about NCAA basketball prior to the rush of filling out my bracket.
The NBA is back, and before we look ahead to forecast gloom and doom, let’s just stop for a second to say, “Thank you!”