Hear Me Out...Column buffet: The dog days of the sports calendar
July 18, 2019
NBA free agency and big moves are wrapped up, the NFL is still a few weeks away from the preseason and the MLB has another month to go before it becomes interesting. We are officially in the sports calendar’s most boring stretch. This is the time of year when “B” Block topics are upgraded to the “A” Block, and may even open most sports talk shows like PTI.
So it’s time to bring the column buffet back.
IS PLAYER MOVEMENT HURTING THE NBA?
OK, I’ll explain my reasoning.
Seriously, how is this not more fun? Having true superstar players on the move and reshifting the balance of the league every few years is far more entertaining than watching a superstar waste away on a terrible team. I really like these shorter contracts and the elite players putting more pressure on front offices to put together a championship contender. No one wants to have what happened to Kevin Garnett, happen to them. His prime years were spent playing for a losing Minnesota team and a front office that couldn’t get out of its own way.
If you’re a great player in the NBA, winning a championship is far more important than other sports. Football you can still be considered among the greatest of All-Time without a ring. In basketball, you need that ring. Look at Karl Malone, he’s considered a Top 20 All-Time player because he has no ring. He gets one ring and you can argue that vaults him into Top 10 discussion.
I’ve seen the “what about loyalty or the small market teams?” argument come up quite a bit in the pushback to player movement. I get that for small market teams it can be tough to watch a superstar leave but if you have a competent front office there’s no need to worry. Indiana is a playoff team after losing Paul George and OKC has had a habit of losing superstars but still found a way to be among the top eight teams in the West.
However, the loyalty angle doesn’t make any sense. This is a business as many of these front offices like to say when trading players. If a player’s production drops off, many teams will trade that player even if they’ve been with the franchise their entire career. Where’s the loyalty then? It’s nonexistent because it’s a business. These franchises just play the loyalty card to help turn public opinion against a player.
Loyalty, in professional sports, is as mythical as a leprechaun riding a unicorn.
I’m all for player movement but that’s not to say we can’t make fun of the players that trip and stumble on their way out of town, I’m looking at you Anthony Davis.
THE NFL’S 18-GAME REGULAR SEASON GAME PROPOSAL
If there was ever a sign that the NFL’s international outreach is going abysmally, here come the NFL owners proposing, yet again, another 18-game regular season. The 32’s pitch comes is essentially this, the only way we can make significantly more money is adding more games. But we have to keep pretending we care about player safety, so let’s say if implemented, there is a 16-game cap.
This proposal is absolutely hilarious. Most teams have a hard enough time managing timeouts, now you’re going to ask them to determine which of their star players to play or sit out during certain games? It’s quite unsafe, in my opinion. Not for the players but for the health of all the front office people and coaching staffs in the league.
It’s just another bad move by the NFL, 16 games are perfect. Why mess that up? Expand the playoffs or add teams if you want to mix things up.
NFL Players Association DeMaurice Smith got beat up in the last CBA talks with the NFL, but during these new rounds of negotiation, he’s got something to work with. If the 32 are adamant about going to 18 games, the NFLPA could agree but at a cost. Instead of a 52-48 percent revenue split between the league and players, they could ask for a larger slice of the pie. Say, jumping that number from 48 percent to say, 77 percent. A big ask I know but you have to start high, right?
If the owners want 18 games, they’ll get 18 games. But if the players don’t get a significantly larger slice of the revenue, Smith will have gotten taken once again.