We all know that the NBA has its own labor issues; we also know that of course NBA Commissioner David Stern will always argue that the sky is falling. I don’t think things are quite that bad, sure they need more cost assurance and more folks coming to see all 30 NBA team but this is hardly a league headed toward bankruptcy or anything. Some will argue, as I did for the NHL, that contraction is the answer. While we could make an effective argument for NBA contraction I think a hard salary cap, and more importantly, a salary floor is the way to fix the NBA’s financial woes.
Sure the NBA has a soft cap, but there are way too many lop holes, and at times far too many owners willing to eat a luxury tax bill. We have to remember that even though the NBA is a business, the franchises are owned by rich ego maniacs that sometimes value winning over anything else. With that in mind we cannot expect any of them to abide a cap that is so easy to work around.
The soft cap number for the current NBA season is right around 58 million dollars. That seems about right, as this amount of money would allow most clubs to sign a core group of players and then supplement that with role players and bench guys. It seems to me the main problem with the NBA, much like Major League Baseball, is we have 30 teams who spend a vastly different amount on the payroll.
The Boston Celtics spent 83 million, even with the big three in South Beach the Miami Heat spent just north of 55 million. The Sacramento Kings check in with just 38 million, and the Los Angeles Clippers check in just north of 49 million. That suggests a salary floor is need and the closer the floor is to the cap the better the NBA will be overall.