What Would A Cap-less NBA Look Like?

We may not find out this year, but in light of Mark Cuban's shot-down proposal to take the league capless, it's probably worth discussing.

The idea of a capless NBA makes sense if you believe that the superstar talents of the NBA are underpaid and the rank-and-file are overpaid. Which is arguably true; the economic impact of a LeBron or Kobe is likely far beyond what their actual salary is.

The problem: There's only two Lebron and Kobes. And for those two there's also Rashard Lewis, Elton Brand, Gilbert Arenas, Antawn Jamison, etc. Non-superstars or former superstars getting paid superstar money.

I could see a capless NBA working really well provided there were 20 or fewer teams in the league; in a 32-team league there'd have to be some form of specific revenue sharing to keep the small market clubs afloat. Along with revenue sharing there would have to be a much larger draft and a REAL minor league system created in order to spread the risk around a bit more. In MLB a highly touted first round draft pick, let's say a dominant pitcher like a Stephen Strasburg, can make a huge signing bonus. But then he can require shoulder surgery and may never come back again. In MLB that isn't quite as damaging as it would be to an NBA club that drafts, say ... Nikoloz Tskitishvili, pays him first round money and never sees anything for that investment.

The attrition rate for pitchers is extremely high, but an MLB organization can minimize that risk because Strasburg is only one of a hundred or more pitchers at all levels of the organization. The chances of them finding someone who can replace a good part of what Strasburg was projected to do are much greater than an NBA club getting top 5 production out of a second round pick or undrafted free agent. Certainly it happens but it's the exception rather than the rule.

I don't see a capless league happening any time soon because it'd require some very major changes that the league simply isn't going to make ... but the idea of it is captivating. Albeit not quite as captivating to me as implementing an NFL style cap with revenue sharing and non-guaranteed contracts.

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