On Yao, the current path, and the CBA

  • The feeling I observed a few weeks back from Cowboys fans upon news of Tony Romo’s latest injury was a familiar one.  I felt that way too after the injury that forced Yao Ming to finally give in and hang it up.  It’s a strange place when losing the player that represents hopes of accomplishing anything of significance triggers, not impending doom, but rather, casual resignation.  Its a realization that the writing is on the wall and that it is time to move on.  In those days, I am partially ashamed to admit, I had advocated trading Yao to reclaim any value he may have had; I did not think he would ever be able to stay healthy.  Ashamed because of the ambassador for the game he turned out to be – a reality only reinforced through the hindsight benefit (or misfortune) of witnessing the dramatic end of the Dwight Howard era.  But trading Yao, if possible, would have been the right basketball move.  Who knows, however, if they ever would have explored it given the foreign business opportunities the big man’s presence on the roster opened up for the big boss.

  • NBA.com recently ran a feature season preview piece on Mike D’Antoni and the Rockets, the tone of which seemed very oddly optimistic given the Rockets’ current place in the league’s hierarchy.  The title itself, ‘D’Antoni hopes formula is enough to bring him a title’ suggests Houston is among the league’s contenders, a premise which unfortunately at this point in time has little support.  But this somewhat jibes with my central point in ‘On the Houston Rockets’ current path’ where I argued that just being “fun” might yield positive business benefits.  Already we are seeing the effects of removing Dwight Howard upon the public perception of this team.  To that end, the goal this season might just be simply to alter the narrative surrounding this franchise, and eliminate the stench of negativity hovering over the past few seasons.  A high-octane, distributive offense typically does the trick there (see: Mavericks, Kings, Suns in the initial season in each of those respective teams’ ascension).
  • With the lull in NBA related happenings, I’ve been spending a lot of time recently reading up on the antitrust implications of the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement and salary cap and I’m more convinced than ever as to the anti-competitive effects of the league’s current structure, even with the massive spike in salaries currently coming into effect.  One interesting point raised in a journal publication I came upon yesterday asserted that the cause for the massively favorable agreement enjoyed by labor in the MLB (there is no salary cap) was the complete and total loss of the 1994 season.  Recall that the NBA player’s union has never had the stomach to sacrifice an entire season worth of earnings.  I’d be willing to bet that scenario would have definitely resulted in the players netting a healthier portion of total revenue.  The dilemma though is a classic agency problem: why would the current rank and file sacrifice present earnings to benefit future generations?

About the author: Rahat Huq is a lawyer in real life and the founder and editor-in-chief of www.Red94.net.

in musings
Follow Red94 for occasional rants, musings, and all new post updates
Read previous post:
No progress on the Donatas Motiejunas front