For whatever reason, the NBA has taken it upon itself to do whatever it can to level the playing field and, in the process, it’s seemed to make things harder on small markets trying to compete with Los Angeles, New York and Chicago.
San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich didn’t touch on whether the attempts to micromanage cap rules has hurt the league, but he did acknowledge how important larger markets are for the NBA as a whole.
This, coming from someone who has obviously had immense success in a smaller market, should hopefully say something to those who try to convince everyone that markets don’t matter.
Before beating the Lakers into the ground Sunday night, Popovich was open to discussing these kinds of matters, as well as the transition from Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak running the front office to Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka stepping in to try their hand.
Here’s what he had to say about market sizes and their importance in the grand scheme of things.
“I'm one of those people who believes that having really good teams in big cities is important for the league. Sure, we all want to win, but the bigger picture is when big cities have good teams, it's good for everybody.
He goes on — hilariously, I might add.
"We've been successful, I guess. Maybe that's why some people have come, but you can't deny that markets like New York and Chicago, you know, the big cities, are attractive no matter what. No sense in trying to hide that. We've been here four or five nights and I've had lunches, and dinners, and wine every day until I can't wait to get out of here. I need to go dry out. No food and alcohol for a while. It's been great. I just hope half the team shows up today. ‘Are we gonna practice tomorrow?' I'm like, ‘No, screw practice. We've got to go to lunch.' It's an attractive place."
Popovich has the larger picture in mind. The NBA is in the business of revenue-sharing and, no other markets have as much revenue to potentially share as places like New York and Los Angeles.
When those teams compete, they’re also more likely to dip into the luxury tax, which also helps everyone. Oh and when large markets have success, ratings go up and TV deals become more lucrative.
Whether larger markets help players individually is still very much up for debate, but it can’t just be some funny coincidence that anytime an agent wants to gain a little extra leverage, the Lakers seem to come up in rumors.
Now, if you don’t mind, I’m going to find wherever Pop was enjoying his wine and meals — you know, for research purposes.
Harrison Faigen contributed to this report.