After months and months of backbreaking negotiations, of promising real change, of twisting the fans lives and hearts around like they were chew toys, the NBA is on it's way back and by all accounts, well, isn't going to be very different.
One of the main sticking points that the NBA offered from it's side to appease the masses during this lockout was the possibility of parity in a league that is driven by huge markets and deep purses. They promised a new system where smaller markets would have every advantage in competing with the big boys in keeping their talent from being whisked away with a lot of green and a lot of zero's. They talked a big game but in the end, they got what they wanted, more money flowing their way, and we got hosed as they caved on every issue that would have possibly evened the playing field.
Don't believe things are still the same, then look at the latest reports coming out of Lakers land. The extremely big market and deep pocket Lakers, before free agency has even officially begun, have targeted two of the best in the game, Dwight Howard and Chris Paul, and there is little doubt that they will land the two All-Stars.
The Lakers, who are far from cash strapped and since there is no hard cap, can go into the luxury tax with impunity, are reportedly set to offer anything and anyone not named Kobe Bryant to achieve their own version of the big three. Yep, a big market going out and possibly snagging two of the most talented players in the NBA to add with arguably the most talented player in the league.
Sure sounds like a new NBA to me.
No, in this sport, like in life, the rich get richer while the middle of the pack is left to scurry around hoping to put enough crumbs together to make an edible slice of bread. Yeah, sure, there is always building up a team through the draft, harder to do than it sounds, but then there's the reality that once these players hit the end of their contract, they are jumping to whatever big name team wants them.
Again, sounds like the same old NBA.
Look, it is what it is and the NBA is the NBA. They had their chance for real change but blew it. Now, the fans of teams with tighter purses are stuck watching the more marketable squads improve their rosters by leaps and bounds. They will go into every season as favorites while the rest of us will hope for the occasional late seed playoff appearance.
If it sounds like I'm bitter, well, I am. But I'm also very aware that this is just the way it goes and I need to either suck it up or start shopping for Lakers uniforms. And since I don't think purple is my color….
Pass me the straw please.
Photo Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS