Following the 2011 lockout, NBA commissioner David Stern has worked hard to make the league more competitive, and with the help of the new CBA (collective bargaining agreement) structure the league to be more small-market friendly, disallowing teams from exceeding the salary cap without paying an enormous luxury tax. One of the main causes of the labor negotiations that took place between the players, owners, and league office in 2011 was disgruntled ownership in smaller markets who felt that they had no chance to compete with the Knicks, Lakers, Bulls, and Heat. Now, small market teams suddenly have hope, and we the fans have a glimpse at what the NBA could look like in the coming years. Suddenly, its possible to envision finals between Indiana and Memphis, Minnesota and Cleveland, and New Orleans and Charlotte.
|Brooklyn native Lance Stephenson celebrates Indiana's game six victory over his hometown Knicks|
When small market teams complain that they have no ability to compete financially with big market teams, they must consider the fact that the big markets are what drive, not only professional basketball, but America's economy in general. When ratings for these games begin to flounder, Stern can only blame himself for giving in to the whining ownership of small-market teams that claimed they couldn't stay afloat with the, then current, structuring of the league. Instead of downsizing the league, and removing some of these irrelevant cities from the basketball map, he has handed over the reins to them, and now fans in America's biggest cities must sit back and watch teams from much smaller ones battle for hoops supremacy.