Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there's nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
What if the top 25 or 30 players in the NBA — All-Stars and others deserving of that status — announced their intention to form a rival league? On many levels, it's even more of a pie-in-the-sky dream for the players than getting a few million dollars from overseas teams. But short of a legal shock to the labor negotiations — for example, the issuing of a complaint against the NBA by the National Labor Relations Board in the next 60 days — it's difficult to imagine a more effective leverage play than a breakaway league featuring the biggest stars in successful markets.
If someone could pull it off, it would beat the hell out of Sonny Weems signing in Lithuania as far as leverage goes.
And all I wanted was a league-wide training camp.
I'd LOVE to see the players, if the lockout was at an impasse around Christmas time, break off and start their own league. Imagine a January 1 announcement by the players that, in three weeks, they'll start playing in an 8 or 10 team league?
How quickly would owners lose it?
I made a similar point on Crossover Chronicles yesterday. When it was reported the owners sentiment was this:
The source said owners frequently speak of "being tired of making these guys rich" and are even contemplating asking for more, such as including income the players receive from their commercial endorsements and sponsorship money into the BRI pot — the theory being the players wouldn't become famous and able to make such deals if not for the NBA infrastructure that puts them on television and other media.
Let's say the NBA disbanded and every NBA player joined a new league. Meanwhile, at the same time, every current NBA owner fielded 30 new teams with 15 new players on each team. Which league would people watch? Which league would sponsors and TV networks negotiate with? Which league would survive?
I'd watch the new league. At least for the one season it existed. NBA owners would be sure to come back to the table to talk, especially if sponsors and sneaker companies played a big role. The players could even use the games to raise money for the non-playing union members by splitting some of the revenues and putting them into a pot for the guys who might be struggling a little.
This is, admittedly by everyone who advocates it, a far-fetched idea. But it's also a delicious one too. If owners are really sitting there saying they're "tired of making these guys rich", then lets see how they feel when players are off making money on their own. I'd rather see the NBA back (and FAST!), but if they drag this thing out, then I want to see the players pull this off.
The rest of the links: