The new collective bargining agreement in conjunction with player mobility have allowed the consolation of talent on a few "super" teams while the others scramble over the rest. So over the course of the last decade the NBA has followed the model of Baseball rather than the model set forth in the NFL.
So next off-season an absurd amount of top players will become free agents. At the same time you have a number of teams that will have almost no one under contract, the biggest team being the Lakers that will only have Steve Nash under contract. So what will happen is a team like the Lakers could sign three marquee players, maybe even four, and then sign the rest of their team as mid-level exception. This will compete with teams loaded like Houston and others. With a lot of these players in their prime it could cause a huge separation of power. In this format you may have a few young teams compete until their young players become free agent then leave to pair up.
I do not like this big player movement in the league. It leaves half the league as a bunch of development teams that will feed the teams with cap room, big pockets, and allows these players to talk behind the scenes and essentially manipulate the fate of the league. I would be much happier with almost no free agency (I know the players don't want that).
But what does this mean for the small market Kings. I think it really forces a team like us to do what Golden State did a year ago and sign a player to a contract they have not earned yet and hope for the best. It worked for Golden State in signing Curry to a long term extension. If Curry's ankles had busted and he missed much of the season then it would have been a different story. The Golden State gamble paid off. To keep a player like DMC we might have to give him the extension early and hope the gamble pays off. He could very easily play next year under the tender then become unrestricted and leave for nothing just like Lebron did to Cleveland. A lot of high profile rookies will begin using the tender year as a threat. There is already talk about Irving perhaps leaving Cleveland. If DMC plays this year out and become what he's capable of becoming he would almost instantly have all the leverage forcing the Kings to trade or just walking for nothing after playing out the tender. Either way it is not a good place for small market teams to be in.
The good news for Sacramento is I really believe the new ownership group does not think it will be the owners of a small market team for very long. When they bought the Kings they are looking beyond a sports team. They look at the area as growing into a huge city, and the influx of billionaire developers coming to the area speaks well to this too. They look at the new arena as a small component to a much larger project. Our location is prime to develop considering the amount of undeveloped land in the downtown area. I think big business will begin to find new homes here and the city of Sacramento will grow dramatically in the first 5-10 years of the arena being built. After that 5-10 years Sacramento will be considered a big city with a wide ranging outlying cities feeding the population base. So for us, I really think we will be one of the teams poaching big time free agents here. That could begin sooner rather than later. But real small market teams will suffer much like those of baseball.
It is certainly interesting times in the NBA. The 2014 off-season will reveal how bad the new CBA is for the small market teams and how much control the star players have in the NBA.