Posted by: Danny Hansen on October 11th, 2011The author's views are entirely his or her own and may not reflect the views of the Utah Jazz.
You are probably wondering if you read the title of this blog correctly. Good. Lockout. Those two words don’t belong in the same sentence. And I agree. There are far more negatives associated with a lockout than there are positives. However, looking at it purely as a Jazz fan, the Jazz may be helped by this lockout. Now, let me clarify that waiting for the good in this process will take an extreme amount of patience. I mean, can you live without Jazz basketball for a season? That may be what it takes. Let me explain. Last night, after negotiations again fell apart, Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver had this to say to the media,
“Our view is that the current system is broken in that 30 teams are not in a position to compete for championships,” deputy commissioner Adam Silver said. “And that while we understand their position, we understand change is difficult, it makes no sense for us to operate under the current model where taxpayers — especially those taxpayers who are willing to spend $10 [million], $20 [million] and often even more money above the average team in this league — have a huge advantage over the other teams.”
He is right. Teams that are able to spend more, win more. It is an unfortunate fact in the NBA. The losers in this are small market teams. They don’t have the massive TV contracts or outrageous ticket prices or amazing corporate sponsors, like the Lakers or Knicks have, to be able pay player salaries. You never hear of those big market teams trading a player in a salary dump to stay viable. The Jazz had to give away Eric Maynor, just to be able to dump Matt Harpring’s contract. It is a system that benefits the rich and keeps down the not-so-rich.
Now let’s talk about a hard cap. This is what the owners are going for. Reports may say that they conceded this, but they haven’t. They just keep reintroducing it in different forms. It is simple enough to say that if the league gets their hard caps, small market teams will win. It will keep the teams with deep pockets, such as Dallas, Lakers, Celtics, the last few NBA champions, from being basically to get any player that they can regardless of price. For as good as the Jazz have been the last 25 years, how many championships do they have to show for it? Zero. With increased parity, their wins won’t depend upon their market, but on basketball.
Another hot-button issue during this lockout is the mid-level exception. Let’s see if we can remember the last time the Jazz used their entire mid-level exception on a new addition. Part of it was used on Raja Bell last year, but only about half of it. You have to go way back to the initial signing of Matt Harpring in 2002. The Jazz just can’t add that much money as an exception to team payroll. That is why they couldn’t sign Al Harrington a year ago, or Morris Peterson a few years ago (thankfully). Whereas, teams like the Lakers can add a quality player like Ron Artest with the mid-level exception, and have championship to show for it.
I hope you can see where I am getting with this. So while it is tough to miss games, if the lockout can produce a major change in the system to benefit small market teams in the long run, it may be worth it, no matter how painful it is.
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