Since we can all use a break from the Melo BS, I wanted to see what everyone thinks about the other big happening this weekend: The owners/players meeting and the new collective bargaining agreement. Like just about everyone else, I feel like there's a very high chance of a lockout. But if the fans got a vote in the process, here's what I'd suggest. These are ideas to give the league more parity, prevent super-teams, and create a better overall product for the fans:
- FRANCHISE TAG – 1 player, similar to NFL Rules
- FREE AGENT CONTRACTS MORE ADVANTAGEOUS TO CURRENT TEAM: 5 Year MAX for current team, 3 Year MAX with lower salary increases for any other team... And yes, I know there's pretty much no way the players would ever agree to both this and a franchise tag, but if the league had either of those options, it would really help small market teams and create more parity.
- SOFT CAP WITH LUXURY TAX AND HARD CEILING: I’m not proposing exact numbers, but basically it would be a system so that teams could still go over the cap to sign their own players, but not ridiculously so. Of course the caps/taxes would be defined by total league profits (however it is decided those numbers are reached). EXAMPLE: Salaray cap: $55 million, Luxury Tax Level: $65 million, Hard cap: $75 million (again, these numbers are just for example). This structure would force teams to be more fiscally responsible and create more parity, by helping to prevent super teams. This could go into effect in a year or 2, to give teams time to dump contracts.
- NO MID-LEVEL EXCEPTION OR LOW-LEVEL EXCEPTION
- CRAPPY CONTRACT FORGIVENESS CLAUSE (AKA, THE EDDY CURRY CLAUSE): Each team is allowed to remove 1 contract from it’s salary cap and release the player to free agency. The team will still pay the player for the remainder of his contract minus the top salary any other team is willing and can afford (under new CBA rules) to pay him. However, the player can take less to join a team of his choice. EXAMPLE: The Nets release Travis Outlaw (obviously). His $28 million/4 years remaining comes off their salary cap. Portland offers him $8 million/4 years, but Minnesota offers $12/4. Outlaw decides to sign with Portland. He will make a total of $24 million/4 years, of which the Nets pay $16 million and the Blazers pay $8 Million. He loses $4 million by opting to sign with the Blazers instead of the T’Wolves. The $8 million/4 years is what counts against Portland’s salary cap and is the only amount that counts on anyone's cap. This could be a one-time “get out of jail free card” for the owners to symbolically usher in a new era of financial responsibility or it could expand so that each team can release a crappy contract from their cap once every 5 years.
- OWNERSHIP REVIEW PROCESS (AKA THE DONALD STERLING RULE): Bill Simmons has suggested something like this before and I think it’s a great way for the owners to show the fans and the players that they are committed to putting together a winning product, but are simply trying to be more fiscally responsible. It also shows that they are willing to put themselves on the line just as they are asking the players to. The idea would be: If an owner’s team makes the playoffs 3 times or less in 10 years, the league (by Owners and Players Association vote) can force the owner to sell IF there is an offer considered by independent financial analysts to be at or above fair market value for the team, which will keep the team in it’s current city / metropolitan area.
I'm sure both the players and the owners would hate most of these proposals, but what do you guys think?