Arguing with the Editor: Analyzing whether or not the NBA should have a salary cap

NBA salary cap brings justice to league

By Terrence Hinds, Staff Writer

Published in print Oct. 29, 2014

The NBA possesses some of the largest stars in the sporting world. Players such as LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Chris Paul are know by the average person just as much for their prowess on the court as their commercials. On the open and free market, players of this caliber would be worth much more than what they receive as their salaries.

Take in the case of the league’s best player, LeBron James. Signing with the Cleveland Cavaliers this summer, the amount of wealth James will bring to the area is astronomical. Yet, Lebron James only agreed to sign a max two-year deal for only 19 million. The lack of longevity to James’ deal is impart due to the salary cap. Which NBA is rightfully better off with. 

The salary cap is the total amount of money that NBA franchises can pay their players. It is set up by the leagues collective bargaining agreement. Currently the cap is at 58.679 million dollars. The salary cap is an important part of league structure. It creates balance through out the league and holds teams accountable for poor decisions made in the front office. You know the old adage, throw enough money at a problem and it will probably go away. This would happen quite a bit if the league was uncapped. I personally enjoy the strategy of the off-season. Teams have to search for that player that can help them in some small way for their goal of winning a championship.

Another problem with having an uncapped league would be that the small market teams would never stand a chance. Teams like the Milwaukee Bucks, Orlando Magic and Utah Jazz already have enough trouble as it is attracting star talent to play for their team. This issue will only be exacerbated if they can’t afford to pay free agents as much as teams like the New York Knicks, Los Angles Lakers, and Chicago Bulls can. There will be absolutely no parity in the league that would make the seasons less interesting. Small market teams would have to rely solely on the draft and even that plan is kind of faulty because after that player plays out their rookie contract, they will perhaps be looking for that large pay day which larger market teams could provide. That will only leave the small market teams with about a one or two year window to be good enough to compete for anything.

I’m sure the players would love to have an uncapped league because it would maximize their earning potential but players can make money in a number of different ways from endorsements, to sneaker deals and investing. These players who earn millions to play basketball should be alright as long as they’re smart with their money. Let’s preserve parity in the NBA by keeping the salary cap.

NBA should get rid of the salary cap

By Matthew Johnson, Sports Editor

While my colleague makes valid points regarding sports and salary caps, I believe recently we have created a false mythos about salary caps. The largest of these doctrines is that salary caps creates a more balanced league, as in an uncapped league, the teams which have the highest payrolls will cause the small market teams to battle not for postseason contention, but obscurity as these low sized teams would never see the light of playoff day.

However, if we venture into the national pastime, we see that spending the most money does not equate to winning. Traveling to the Bronx, which in the past two seasons has been hellishly burning, the New York Yankees, the robber barons of baseball industry have had the largest payroll in baseball up till last season. Yet, within the past four seasons where New York management has spent millions more on players than any other team, the results have been mixed. Twice the team has been to the postseason; twice the team never saw October baseball.

Back to the NBA, as teams in New York and Los Angeles are continually ranked as teams which spend the most money, well run organizations in San Antonio and Oklahoma City have fielded some of the best teams in recent memory. Salary caps may make teams slightly more competitive, but the winners and losers of the NBA are decided instead by how a team’s management is able to build their teams. Rather than spend $25 million dollars on an aging, injured Kobe Bryant, teams can protect their superstars while still leaving enough money to build their franchise, as seen by future Hall of Famer Tim Duncan’s $10 million dollar contract with the Spurs. These two legendary players and their contracts show that for teams to consistently win, management must work smartly with the budget they have.

The most persuasive reason to get rid of the league’s salary cap has been recently attributed to comments made by MVP Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder. The debate has been discussed throughout the history of the league, but the firestorm was stirred currently due to the five time All Star. Stating the need to end the salary cap, I will use Durant’s closet contemporary to display the wisdom of the four time scoring champion. Lebron James, the NBA’s greatest player, after signing with the Cleveland Cavaliers this offseason is projected to earn the city millions of dollars in revenue. Due to the improvement of the team, fans will now flock to the usual poor product that is Cavaliers basketball. With James, Cleveland will sell each of their 41 home games as the surrounding businesses will certainly receive some benefit due to the city once again revived in their yellow and burgundy team.

Yet, James contract is only for two years and is worth $19 million dollars a year. With the economic electricity James will bring to the city, the four time MVP should be allowed to earn all he can since his playing days are limited. In no other entertainment industry, film or music, are superstars restricted to a defined earning. However, in a salary cap sport such as the NBA, that is an expected need for our athletes. In a country’s economic policy founded on capitalism, earn as much as you would can, the salary cap obstructs this belief and should be expelled from the NBA landscape.

Categories: matthew johnson, Sports, terrence hinds

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