NEW ORLEANS - APRIL 24: Chris Paul #3 of the New Orleans Hornets shoots over Derek Fisher #2 of the Los Angeles Lakers in Game Four of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at New Orleans Arena on April 24, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
In my travels around the internet, I've found that, by and large, there's a sense of solidarity amongst fans of small market teams during these dark days. Everyone from Lakers to Hornets fans wants the lockout to end, but those of us that root for financially challenged teams have an incentive for the process to sustain itself until a more balanced, competitive NBA is realized.
Basically, as fans of the Hornets, we have one pretty large reason to root for the lockout .
The problem with this pursuit, of course, is that it's really a question of if, not when. The realist will (rightly) argue that with so many other issues to be resolved - revenue splits, player earning limits, cap exceptions, and so forth - the idea of "fairness" isn't going to be very high up on either the owners' or players' respective agendas. Sure, a competitive league helps everybody involved in the long run. But there are so many alternative routes to profitability, and ultimately, that's the bottom line.
That almost inevitable failure ignored (and sorry for the pessimism, I'll just be staggered if the new CBA helps us out significantly), I think it's reasonable to talk about what specific permutations of the CBA would most help the Hornets (and other small market teams). There's a scenario under which losing three months would be totally fine with us, but what is the CBA end game in such a case?
This is where this post's title comes in. I don't have any definitive answers, mostly because I simply don't know enough about labor law or league finances.
So thinking aloud, what would help the Hornets in theory? Starting my list here, one that we should continue in the comments.
- very stringent revenue sharing
- (someone smarter than me can maybe quantify what that means)
- a luxury tax that will actually prevent overspending
- spitballing here, but a cap on "elite" players per team? What if players were categorized into Type A, Type B, etc. players (like in MLB) with Chris, Dwight, LeBron, etc. being Type A's, and teams could have a maximum of two?
- no amnesty
- if amnesty, penalties for teams that use, or incentives for those that don't
- keeping the restricted free agent system
- larger incentives for players to stay with long-term team