Even if you know it would never happen, what’s a radical idea that you have for improving the NBA?
Detroit Pistons head coach and president of basketball operations Stan Van Gundy shared two fun and intriguing ideas on how to create more parity in a league that has been more-and-more predictable in recent seasons.
His solution: eliminating the draft and maximum contracts.
“I’d get rid of it, just get rid of the draft altogether,” Van Gundy said when asked lottery reform by Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press. "We’d just deal with the salary cap. Make all (rookies) free agents coming in and if I want to go give a guy $50 million a year, good, but I got to do it under the cap.”
Van Gundy continued, “I think if you did that and you had no individual max on players, we’d start to get some parity in the league, but the league really doesn’t want parity. They want the super teams, and I get that. It’s worked well, business-wise.”
One might expect that rookies would flock to the big markets (Los Angeles, New York, etc), but Van Gundy thinks that in an open free agent period, rookies would essentially go where they feel valued most (where the money is).
“They say everybody would want to go to L.A., well how much money are they going to give up to go to those places?” Van Gundy said.
Under the current system, rookies are held to defined salary scales based on their draft positions. Since more and more high-profile stars are teaming up and signing max deals, it has created a frenzy that has resulted in a number of mid-tier talents being overpaid.
Instead, the coach believes that fitting everyone in under a defined salary cap would be the best for the Association as a whole.
“Nobody’s going to buy a ticket to see the first guy off the bench," he said. "I have great love and respect for those guys, but I’m just saying it would be a fairer system, we’d get parity in the league and then the draft picks would be out there. Fit them under your cap.”
Under Van Gundy’s system, highly-coveted rookies would likely be given massive deals to sign with their respective teams while franchise-altering stars would probably demand and receive deals in the $40 or $50 million per year range. Mid-tier players would presumably suffer as a result, caught in the middle.
While the plan will probably never happen, it’s still fun to think about all of the possibilities that the system would create.