Contraction has again popped up as a talking point in the quiver and flow of the NBA lockout. David Stern went on Bill Simmons' podcast last week and contraction was discussed; Simmons mentioned the Kings as possible, though he noted that it was because the Maloofs are broke and made sure to say that Kings fans have been great. James Ham has the relevant transcript. I encourage you to read it.
Here's why contraction will never happen.
No one is going to agree to be contracted!
The NBA owns the New Orleans Hornets, but Stern notes in the podcast that the Hornets did really well last year, and that the team is working with state and local officials to boost the season ticket base and ensure that the team is thriving in southern Louisiana.
The Kings were mentioned by Simmons because the owners are broke and we don't currently have a new arena. If Kevin Johnson gets an arena built? We aren't going to have to worry about contraction talk for a long, long time.
Which team is a legit target?
The historic Bucks (
owned by a Senator who'd be voted straight out at the next election)? (Update: I've been reminded Sen. Kohl is retiring.) The historic Pacers (owned by a billionaire with a shiny arena to play in)? The Timberwolves, owned by a billionaire? The Bobcats, owned by Carolina native Michael F. Jordan?
Now that George Shinn is gone, the only NBA owners going broke because of the NBA are the Maloofs. Ron Burkle has already said he'll buy the team and keep them in Sacramento. Henry Samueli has made it clear he'd like to buy the team and base them out of the Honda Center. A Filipino baron has been reported to be interested in buying the team. There is no lack of interest in Franchise No. 30 on the value scale.
And there could soon be a plan to get that arena built, pushing that franchise way up the profitability rankings.
Contraction is not feasible. There are no teams to lose! Demand for the NBA has never been higher. No owners are trying to sell out of the league. This is a non-starter. This is a sham threat. This is bad faith negotiations. The end. Nothing to see here.
(Want more lockout rambling? I posted my 95 Theses On The NBA Lockout today at the mothership.)