A look around the NBA yields a new perspective on competitive play. The NBA is looking to rein in spending, a direct result of hard economic times. For the first time in years revenue is down. What does this mean? It might pay not to win. In other words, keeping your team in the middle of the pack might mean a better bottom line as opposed to signing high priced talent and bringing in big crowds.
This means that teams like the Detroit Pistons, located in one of the most economically depressed areas of the country, are taking a back seat. Signing huge contracts with big stars won’t help if all your fans are out of a job. All this is reflected in the NBA salary cap, expected to shrink in 2009 after rising for years. It’s going to be interesting to see how this plays out. Will the Los Angeles Lakers, darling of the mega-rich Hollywood crowd, surge ahead? Will the Seattle Supersonics, primed in the tech world, shrink their payroll or take advantage? In the meantime, teams like the New Orleans Hornets have been dumping excess talent? What’s next? Will the NBA fly coach?Eric Drouant