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The NBA's Crisis of Governance (RETALIATION)

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Omaha Steve Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 11:07 AM
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The NBA's Crisis of Governance (RETALIATION)

By Matthew Yglesias

Posted Friday, Dec. 9, 2011, at 8:19 AM ET

Chris Paul

Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

More fun, but about as convoluted, as the European Union treaty negotiations was last night's bizarre happenings around Chris Paul. First, the Los Angeles Lakers announced that they were acquiring Paulthe best point guard in the gamefrom the New Orleans Hornets in a three-team trade that also involved the Houston Rockets. There were two flies in the ointment. One is that the Hornets are actually owned by the NBA itself rather than by a separate ownership group. The second is that the owners believed themselves to have just won a labor dispute that was specifically supposed to counter the disadvantages faced by so-called "small market" owners who were incensed by the prospect of a top-tier star like Paul going to the Lakers. So under pressure from the owners, NBA Commissioner David Stern took the nearly unprecedented step of vetoing the trade.

Several bullets in response:

As a causal matter, the veto seems to have happened in large part because of the unusual ownership structure of the Hornets. But procedurally speaking, I don't think that was relevant and owners can now pressure Stern to veto all kinds of trades they don't like.

It's far from clear that this was actually a good trade for the Lakers. See John Hollinger for long form of the argument, but suffice it to say that this would have risked LA giving major minutes to replacement-level big men only to discover that there's only one ball for Paul and Kobe to share.

By contrast, this was an excellent move for Houston who were getting Pau Gasol for spare parts and a draft pick. They're the clear losers here.

The owners don't seem to realize that the more they act as a cartel to squeeze players' monetary compensation the stronger the hand of teams in the desirable locations becomes because non-salary compensation (including both endorsements and non-monetary benefits of playing with your friends or winning championships) starts looming larger in the equation.

FULL story at link.

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