The NBA 2010 Arms Race

It has been a while since the Dino Nation Blog has done anything on the NBA as a whole. But with the break in the schedule it gives me time to talk about something that has been a major topic in everything to do with the NBA. The year 2010 is the talk around every basketball chat or blog you can find. In one way or the other it is all about 2010 and the guy in the picture above is at the heart of that. Where will Lebron James be in 2010 is anyone's guess and I am not going to tell you I have the answer. But that being said I don't think anyone knows maybe not even James himself. But that has not stopped teams from loading up a ton of cap space to make their bid in the Lebron James Sweepstakes. The consolation prizes in this lottery would be Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. But I sit here and ask myself a few questions. Some I know the answers to and others I don't. So I will go through some of the questions mixed in with my thoughts.

The first question is why the heck are we talking about 2010 in 2008? Is that not just making this season and next season mean less. I know the answer to this one though. Fans have become knowledgeable to the point that they are more aware. Websites like Real G.M and all the media coverage and even blogs like this give fans a wealth of information. When a trade is made the cap applications are always part of the story and in some cases a bigger story than the player in the deal. I mean how must it feel for a guy like say, Rasho Nesterovic who knows he was traded for, as much because of his contract as he is for his play. It can't be a good feeling. But in a sense all players have become defined by the contract number they have as much the stats they produce. Any guy that has a contract that runs out in 2010 instantly has more value to a team based on the free agent class that is expected to be. It has become an arms race and the fans are as much a part of that race as the teams and the media have become.

The other question that makes you think is have teams got a split focus? Can that have a negative impact on some good teams now? Take the Raptors and Pistons as an example. The Raptors bring in Jermaine O'Neal and the Pistons bring in Allen Iverson. Both are risky moves for each club that could pay off in the short term and if they don't they have a lot of cap space saved up. The Pistons think they have a legit shot at Lebron James and the Raptors need to protect Chris Bosh to make sure he will be back and have enough money to maybe be in the hunt for a great second option. But what happens if the moves don't work and both J.O and A.I do not prove to be successful. Really does it matter for Joe Dumars and Bryan Colangelo? Is 2010 more important than the next two seasons? I think to a degree they think it is. What is it going to mean for the Pistons next year? Do they just keep all that cap space and wait for the King to come to Detroit? If the Raptors can't make what they are doing work does that hurt the chances of Bosh to come back? You also have teams that are not as good like the Knicks and Nets looking to get in on James sweepstakes. They are already bad and will take the next 2 years to see who is worthy to remain to be teamed with Lebron James.

All of this is the crazy NBA we are living in right now. The chase for a Championship may be alive in a few cities. But the chase for Lebron James is almost as big a race and as important for some teams. There is also that slim chance the King James say no to everyone and yes to Europe. After all the James goal is to be a billion dollar athlete and with the new Obama tax plan it will be tougher to do. As a total side bar note the King was out campaigning for Obama in Ohio which Obama won on election night. But more taxes mean that Lebron needs to get paid. But regardless of where James lands what happens to the teams that miss the mark? They will turn attention to Bosh and Wade. But if they are gone what happens? I mentioned just 4 teams with cap room but you can bet there is going to be more teams getting into this game. There is going to be a lot of money out there and some teams are not going to land the major prizes. What will they do with that extra cash? In these tough economic times do they just pocket the extra cash and save it for a rainy day? Those are questions worth asking as well.

It really has to make you wonder what the NBA is going to look like in 2010. If you are fans in Cleveland, Miami and Toronto are you not pissed that everyone is talking about having your superstar in 2010? Well they are kinda of talking about it if they are connected to a franchise. God forbid anybody say what is fairly obvious. That is tampering according to the NBA. But fans are not having to worry about tampering charges in the comments they are making on boards and blogs across the league. They all are a buzz for 2010. They are all excited or angry at the thought that they may or may not get Lebron James. We never had all of this drama with a Michael Jordon, Larry Bird or Magic Johnson. Which the exception of M.J's final run with the Wizards these players all stayed with the franchises the won titles with. Bulls, Celtics and Lakers go hand and hand with Jordan, Bird and Magic. Do the new school stars like James, Bosh and Wade care about that kind of thing. Loyalty in the modern sports world is a rare thing.

I don't think we find out these answers for a long time to come. It creates a really weird dynamic for the next few years. I sometimes think I am the only person who does not want to hear about 2010. I almost feel like it is Y2K and it is all this hype that leads to nothing. I mean no one is saying this but if James,Bosh and Wade all stay put and don't go anywhere it would kind of be like Y2K. The fact is that from a money perspective the teams they now are playing for will have the advantage in what they can offer from a pure cash perspective. Well they do against their fellow NBA clubs. If some European team wants to offer an insane contract they don't have a cap and do not have to follow the CBA of the NBA.

The other thing this likely helps the chances of the Celtics and Lakers have a better chance at taking advantage of people loading up on cap space and just hoping it works in the short term. This makes the road to the finals a little easier for these teams each time on of these risky cap type moves is made. That is if they don't work out. But if they do it is of double concern for these teams. A Pistons team that has A.I for a couple years and after that gets Lebron James. The NBA will never admit to it but they hope that LBJ ends up in New York to save the Knicks. The Knicks being better is always a good thing for the NBA just like it was to have a Lakers and Celtics Final. I don't think I am saying anything that everyone does not think already. Being good in large media markets is just good for business. Economics being such as they are today the NBA needs to work a bit harder to get those ad dollars and big money T.V, Radio and Internet dollars. All sports will have too.

So with all this talk of 2010 you need to understand that a lot of things can change in 2 years. Some that are far beyond the control of any team and even the league itself. Besides all of that there are two chance to go visit the White House and meet the President. Maybe even shoot a few hoops with him. That is what the focus should be. Who is going to win it all in the next 2 seasons. But this arms race is growing a life of it's own. But for me it is still all about who gets the ring and not who gets the King. I am tired of hearing about 2010 as much as I was about Y2K. In the end the calender turns to fast already in my view. I want to enjoy every second before 2010 and I am willing to start talking about it when it is closer to being the reality. But that is a long way off and so many things can happen both good and bad before we get to that point. So enjoy the moment and worry about 2010 when it is here. Besides it seems clear the NBA G.M's in the league are already worrying or planning for it already so no need for us fans to lose sleep over it. Even the ones in Toronto, Miami and of course Cleveland.

Only question I have left is what are your thoughts on 2010? Are you excited and can't get enough talk about? Or like me have you had enough of the talk and just want to focus on the game right now?


  1. FYI


    Jawai may be back soon!

  2. Thanks Dan,

    I had posted this article in the Jawai Fan Club that the blog started. I guess we will find some answers soon. about time.