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Good for the players...

... that they stand up to their employers, unlike most workers in the United
States are able to do!

The job that owners do could be done by ane similar investor, and there are
plenty of them in the US.  Ulike that, the job of the basketball players can
not be done equally well by others.  And that's what America's system is all
about: reward those who can do things that others can't.

Furthermore, all of us who are sick of rich men complaining about their
salaries, let's assume that the NBA money pie were x times smaller.  It
becomes a matter of justice and principle as well.  If the players are the
heart of the NBA and they think that the employers make too much money at
their expense, then good for them to fight against it.

Having said all that, I would like the players to focus more on the minimum
salary, the 10-day contracts compensation, and other issues like the unequal
taxation among states and countries (given that a rookie can not make a
choice).  As far as the Bird exception goes, I think it's good to favor some
continuity and stability in teams.  Owners can devise other rules to
restrain themselves from giving in to Garnett-style demands without forcing
new direct restrictions on player salaries.  After all, don't the Bulls make
a profit after paying Jordan 30M a year?  And probably they would so,
assuming they had the same team, even if they were the Sacramento Kings,
though it's tough to visualize the Kings having done the job that the
Chicago front office did these last years :-)  As to whether MJ would have
stayed with his team had this team been Sacramento, that's a good

I am not sure what the current requirements for applying the BIrd exception
are, but I am certainly in favor of applying it only for players who have
already played for the same team a number of consecutive years equal to the
duration of the rookie contract, which should go up 5 years.  And give to
all rookies the choice to exclude BEFORE the draft any team that they do not
want to play for, but if they exercise this option play for the minimum
salary for the duration of their 5-year rookie contract.  And let's not
forget that the minimum salary in 5 years is more money that an average
American makes in 30 years or more.  But give players the choice from the
beginning of their career to sacrifice money to play for a team or city they

A probably unrelated problem I foresee in the NBA is fan royalty for teams
that have not become contenders for a number of years.  After the 76ers won
their last championship, there have been just 5 championship teams in 15
years or so, all of which won at least 2 titles.  This means that a team
wins an average of 3 championships once they reach the top (granted that
this number may be skewed upwards due to MJ).  At this rate, the AVERAGE NBA
team must wait almost 60 years to win a championship, which means that the
worst cases must devise a curse of the Bambino excuse for their incompetence
:-)  Now, the Red Sox have loyal fans, but I am not sure this will always be
the case in Sacramento or Atlanta (who have already established a reputation
for empty seats).