Nobody really believes that contraction will be part of the next Collective Bargaining Agreement… heck, I’m far more concerned about when there will be a new CBA. Contraction is an issue that seems to be off the table.
But don’t think contraction talk is dead completely.
David Stern spoke with ESPN’s Bill Simmons on his podcast and talked lockout — and said nothing but his usual rhetoric. However, amongst all that came a few interesting gems about contraction (via CBS’s Eye on Basketball).
“[Contraction] is not a subject that we’re against,” Stern said. “In fact, when you talk about revenue sharing, a number of teams have said that if you have a team that is perpetually going to be a recipient, aren’t you better off with the ability to buy them in? Because between the revenue sharing and the split of international and the TV money, we could almost buy them in with their own money.
“The players actually have been heard to suggest that as well, which was interesting because that means they are suggesting that we eliminate 30 jobs, or the potential for 30 jobs. So we’ve said to the players, you know, ‘Give us the right to contract, let’s agree upon what the basis will be. Let’s make this deal and then let’s continue to look at that subject.'”
The players union has never said contraction was a good idea. They think the best way to help small markets is better revenue sharing from the big markets that do make money.
This is simply a negotiation tactic, to keep things on the table as long as possible. Nobody really thinks there will be contraction.
As Stern mentions later in the podcast, if you really are thinking contraction the hard question is who you eliminate? Wherever you try there will be angry fans. Loud and angry fans. Plus there may well be unwilling owners. People have pointed at Memphis in the past, but after last season you think they want to fold? There are no easy answers here.