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David Stern's parting words to all fans of NBA teams not in cool cities - tough

Dwight-howard-lakers-debut1-e1350880678497As we have seen in many years of NBA free agency and trades forced by high profile players, none of these guys ever, ever goes to the central part of the United States outside of Chicago. Ever.

Off the top of my head ...

Kareem Abdul Jabaar? Milwaukee to LA.
Shaquille O'Neal? Orlando to L.A.
Carmelo Anthony? Denver to NY Knicks.
Chris Paul? New Orleans to LA.
LeBron James? Cleveland to Miami.
Carlos Boozer? Utah to Chicago.
Dwight Howard? Orlando to LA.
Chris Bosh? Toronto to Miami.
Kevin Garnett? Minnesota to Boston.
Ray Allen? Seattle to Boston; Boston to Miami.

I am sure at some point a high profile NBA free agent did not just flee to the coast but it always, always feels that way. BTW - If you can think of some, please pass them along.

This summer, it was the Deron Williams show that supposedly was going to lead him back home to play for the Dallas Mavericks. He did not, of course, as he stayed with the now very hip Brooklyn Nets.

Tumblr_m9xutxDVaX1qh6wb0o2_400This is what the NBA has broken into: If your team is in the central part of the U.S., other than Chicago, you need to be very lucky in the draft and hope like hell your best player wants to stay. It can work - i.e. San Antonio, OKC. It just usually doesn't - Indiana, Milwaukee - and it leaves those markets trying to convince fans that Danny Granger and Brandon Jennings are the town's ticket to NBA Finals.

As we have seen in Orlando, the best chance you have is to hit it huge in the lottery and then take advantage of it in the window before they can become a free agent and they force their way out of town. See James, LeBron.

That gives you about five years.

If you live in Boston, Miami, LA, Chicago, New York/Brooklyn your team has a very good chance of not only retaining its highest profile player but landing the marquee free agent as well. See James, LeBron. See Howard, Dwight.

The NBA and the player's union collective bargained an agreement last year that supposedly was going to put a few things in place to prevent the NBA super team from becoming so easily attainable. Maybe I wouldn't be whining if I lived in a town where the super team can be formed; notice the super teams aren't forming in Memphis, New Orleans or Sacramento.

Nothing has happened since then to convince anybody that player's can't force their way into an AAU All-Star team.

Is there really anything the NBA can do to prevent these super teams from forming? No. If a team is willing to go over the cap, what can the league possibly do to prevent it?

In a conference call on Thursday, NBA commissioner David Stern said in a recent meeting that the new agreement was working, that he was very excited about the start of the season, and then went on in great detail about the league's success in the overseas market.

I asked him that in recent years the very top talent is migrating to the coasts, and to Chicago, and if there was really anything the league could potentially do to prevent it.

"Since we are in the business of sports, super stars starting with Wilt Chamberlin and Kareem Abdul Jabaar had more of the ability to have a way in where they want to play," Stern said. "In fact, one of the early CBA's, I think I remember in a conversation where players said, 'After said number of years we should have the right where we want to go.'  I agree with that.

"I'm not as affected by that as you are. If you are talking about Dwight Howard, he spent seven years there. They got five draft picks in return (by trading him to the Lakers). In my eyes, that's a pretty good system. That's a right for which he bargained. We could - I'm not sure the players would ever agree to it again - (adopt a system where players) are not allowed any movement. But even in representing ownership that's not a view I ever agreed with."

Translation - no.

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Joseph Watley III

I don't see how this could be any of Sterns fault when that's the way the NBA has been going for years and years, before his time. You can't force a person to stay and play in a place, that's called FORCED SERVITUDE, is that what you want in the NBA? The Utah Jazz have been doing well for a long time, its called drafting and picking up quality free agents. How could you say that Danny Granger would be Indiana's guy, it is clearly Roy Hibbert; he opted to stay.


"I am sure at some point a high profile NBA free agent did not just flee to the coast but it always, always feels that way. BTW - If you can think of some, please pass them along."

Charles Barkley to Phoenix

The Commish

Bosh went from Toronto to Miami.

The Commish

Also, Boozer ORIGINALLY went from Cleveland to Utah. There's a counterexample.

Cal John in OKC (go thunder!)

Until Cities learn how to partner with Star Athletes their is no reason Star Athletes will stay in small markets. I keep hoping owners, in attempt to grow their local fan base and keep talent tied to a community will help Star Athletes start business's locally; business's that will make players want to stay and develop deeper ties to the community. I think it would help with tickets sales, prop up the local economy, and ties Athletes and teams to the city's the play. My bet says, long ter, and as franchises start to lose value this will happen. Let's hope we can find a way to keep stars in town, grow sports, and build a great community in the places where pro sports is prevelant.

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