Pat Riley is on his soapbox again, this time he’s talking about superteams. This of course is the NBA’s latest “problem” in the wake of Kevin Durant joining forces with the 73-win Golden State Warriors.
You know all the arguments against superteams, the league isn’t competitive, small markets don’t have a chance, blah blah. Superteams have always existed in this league (see: Lakers and Celtics). Since 1950, those two teams have won half of the available championships…just saying. Riles by the way knows a thing or two about superteams both in Southern California and South Beach.
In an article by Emmett Knowlton of Business Insider, Riley talked about his solution to the league’s problem, he said:
I believe that there should be a franchise tag on one of your guys. My opinion of a franchise tag — this is why they don’t allow me to talk and give opinions in the collective bargaining agreement — is that a franchise player to me would be a player in which you can pay him as much money as you want.
That still won’t stop the small market owners from crying the poverty blues Riles. If we pay our star all that money, where do we get the rest to fill out our roster? And, while this is not as crazy an idea as it sounds, it still won’t protect the owners from themselves. Can’t you see some franchise sinking $50-$70M in a player that’s not quite at that level and then it backfires because of injury or some other stroke of bad luck? I’m looking at you Sacramento and New York…
It doesn’t go against the cap. Everybody gets one player, that Kevin [Durant] you get 50 [million], LeBron you get 100 [million]. Somewhere along the way there are players in this league that are worth that kind of money. Or there’s a limit on that. But if you franchise somebody then you have the ability to protect [against your star player leaving for a super team.]
In all honesty, this is actually forward and progressive thinking by Riley. I don’t know if this is something that will have a chance of being heard at the next collective bargaining discussions. However, the current agreement does expire soon and no doubt the same issues will be brought up. How can the “little guy” compete and keep their star players versus these big market superteams? This problem is complex and multilayered and as along as we (the collective) obsess about rings and player legacies, etc. super teams will exist. Superstar players will almost always join other teams to play with better teammates.