At least some NBA franchise owners are trying to boost the ability of teams to outbid rivals in order to keep their own star players, according to a report in the Orlando Sentinel (via Nets Daily). The NBA already has a rule allowing teams to provide five-year contract extensions for their own players, and six-year contracts for players for which they have Bird rights. (Bird rights are acquired when a player spends an allotted amount of time with one team. That span of time changes with the players' experience level and contract status.) Players signing with their own teams can also currently get bigger raises than can players signing with new teams.
Apparently, that's not quite enough of a home-court advantage. Orlando mayor Buddy Dyer told Sentinel columnist Mike Bianchi that Magic leadership has assured him that in the middle of the NBA lockout, owners are fighting for an extra boost to keeping stars like Dwight Howard. What shape that takes remains to be seen, though the phrase "franchise tag" has been bandied about in the past.
Of course, one simple way to boost the effectiveness of the existing home-court advantage in free agency would be to abolish sign-and-trade deals. LeBron James and Chris Bosh, who left the Cavaliers and Raptors to sign with the Heat last summer, each moved to Miami in sign-and-trade deals, which allowed them to sign to terms afforded to teams keeping their players. This happens regularly, and significantly dilutes the power of that home-court advantage.