Nice read, but I disagree with those who suggest that there is no advantage to playing in a large market like Los Angeles. When Chris Paul played in New Orleans, he was widely considered the best PG in the NBA. Yet, you didn’t see him in State Farm commercials until he was traded to the Clippers. Years ago, ESPN wisely moved half of their entire operation to Los Angeles…why? Because none of their talented TV personalities wanted to live in Bristol, CT all year long. They were losing talented people to rival networks who were already based on the west coast. Heck, even Bill Simmons moved to Los Angeles.
I am not suggesting that the elite players in this league can’t become superstars in small markets…we all know they can. But what if the NBA got rid of the NBA Draft? What if, instead, each college player who declared for the NBA was an unrestricted free agent? You think Anthony Davis is still in New Orleans? Is Karl Towns in Minnesota? The answer is NO.
I think the CBA has drastically changed the game for teams like the Knicks and Lakers. Star players have way too much financial incentive to continue to resign with the teams who draft them. This has leveled the playing field for the small markets, which is why these rules were put into effect.
The lure of the LA market is still very real for many NBA stars…most of them spend the entire offseason in Los Angeles. When the Lakers front office begins to show some semblance of competence, my guess is the glamor of the LA lifestyle will be enough for a few of the NBA elite to choose less money in order to switch teams and run with the purple and gold.