There is no way the NBA would ever ‘accept’ my proposals to (a) contract to 24 teams; (b) form a B-League, so as to have ‘relegation’ and ‘promotion.’ It’s fun to ‘launch’ such ideas but they are, as the French say, ‘Pour parler,’ just to talk. What might be possible … but, still, another long, long shot … is eliminating the NBA Draft. Yes, the NBA would have to give up two news-making events: (a) the ping-pong ball lottery ceremony to determine the order of selection in the Draft and (b) the NBA Draft itself. No question: those are two major events. Then why do so?
1. Credibility. Right now, too many people are saying … believing … that NBA teams are ‘tanking,’ losing on purpose to better their chances to get a favorable ping-pong ball in the lottery. Not only are they saying this, but journalists are writing it … often. And, they mince no words about it. I’m sorry, but it bothers me to think that a pro basketball team would do anything else but play to win. I was 15 when the 1951 Fixing Scandal hit. The last thing the NBA needs is a setback like that … or the perception of something of that nature.
2. Workable. Why not just throw all free agents in the same talent pool? That would be NBA players and NCAA players that are leaving the college game to try their hand in the NBA. Give teams a limit: you can only sign two such players in any given summer. Or three! Set salary limits: one figure for NBA free agents; another figure for NCAA free agents or foreign free agents. Obviously, the NBA player scale would have to be flexible. Let’s say, “First year, you get what you made last year with your old team.” Something like that.
Someone might object that this would give more power to player agents. Who knows? To me, that is a secondary consideration. First, let’s eliminate any motivation to ‘tank’ games. That perception is hurtful to the NBA’s image. So, let’s fight the lions and the tigers first and worry about the nits and the gnats after that. Of course, the NBA would have to enforce its salary cap to make this work. But I would venture to guess that the daily consumption of Maalox at NBA HQ would drop down to sub-zero. Again, all this just might work! I’ve been right before.