Sunday, October 23, 2011

NBA Lockout: San Antonio Spurs Owner Peter Holt Wants Competitive Imbalance

It seems San Antonio Spurs owner Peter Holt wants to give “small market” owners less incentive to win, based on comments he made during Thursday’s press conference after mediation between the NBA and NBPA broke down.

Holt said the Spurs made money when they went deep into the playoffs, but they lost money the last two seasons when they didn’t make a deep playoff run despite increasing players’ salaries by adding aging veterans like Richard Jefferson and Antonio McDyess.

Holt said he knows he’s not in the same position as teams in New York and Los Angeles that make a profit whether they win or not (like the Knicks and the Clippers), but he would still like “an opportunity to make a few bucks.”

Based on Holt’s description, it sounds like the current NBA system works like this:
  • Big market teams make money whether they win or lose
  • Small market teams make money when they’re competing for titles

If the NBA lockout is really about competitive balance, then isn’t the current system pretty balanced? Big market teams with the most money have less financial incentives to win because they make money regardless while small market teams have more financial incentives to win titles.

Isn’t that the way sports should work? Shouldn’t the teams competing for the championship be rewarded with a profit while the losers get punished with losses? Isn’t that the capitalist way?

Do NBA fans in small markets really want their teams to have less incentive to put together a title contender? Do they really want their teams to be like the Clippers?

It seems that’s the system the owners really want. When the NBA says they want all 30 teams to be able to compete on the same level financially, they’re not talking about a playoff race.

NBA owners are talking about a race to the bottom where they can all be like Donald Sterling. That sounds like competitive imbalance to me.

The NBA says it’s small market teams lost money every year under the last CBA, but in this video from 2009 Holt talks about the Spurs being profitable despite the recession.

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