Super Agent Falk Foresees a Stern Dictatorship

Last week was mostly about injury and finance, and frankly, it bummed me out. I'm just not that enthused about the NBA right now. Good thing that David Stern, sensing an uncertain future or at least a change in tone, might intervene to get the party started again. ↵
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↵At least that's what super-agent David Falk thinks. From The New York Times: ↵
↵⇥The N.B.A.'s system is broken, Falk says, and fixing it will require radical measures that almost guarantee a standoff in 2011, when the collective bargaining agreement expires. "I think it's going to be very, very extreme," Falk said, "because I think that the times are extreme." ↵⇥
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↵⇥How extreme? Falk said he believed Stern, the commissioner, would push for a hard salary cap, shorter contracts, a higher age limit on incoming players, elimination of the midlevel cap exception and an overall reduction in the players' percentage of revenue. And, Falk said, Stern will probably get what he wants. ↵
↵I believe that, in polite society, we refer to this kind of bold action as "martial law" or a "coup." What's telling here is Falk's sense that Stern could use the economy -- which may or may not still be destroying the world by 2011, and has yet to really ravage the Association -- as leverage to implement his ideal version of the league. A hard cap and shorter contracts do make the league less vulnerable while, more importantly, improving product. There's also an argument to be made for a higher age limit also helping the league, in terms of increasing name recognition of rookies, and making them all more NBA-ready (though Derrick Rose and O.J. Mayo beg to differ). ↵
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↵But when you get to the midlevel exception and decreased player revenue, then you're talking less about an ideal league, and more about Stern's view of his role in the league (and history). The midlevel exception is a loophole, I guess, one that an increasingly tyrannical Stern must resent. The players' revenue, though? It's weird, the Commish has overseen the transformation of the NBA into a full-fledged players' league. It's one thing to encourage continuity and teamwork, to stem the more problematic aspects of this focus. But shorting the players in the future, well, that just smacks of trying to put a bunch of pro athletes in their place. If there are some consumers for whom this makes the league more palatable, I don't want to meet to them.↵

This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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