NBA contraction could be on the table as the league looks to cut team costs. NBA contraction would mean that two teams could cease to exist. What is NBA contraction you ask? Well it would be where the league decides two or four franchises that can’t make a profit anymore, and disbands them. Those two or four cities would no longer have an NBA franchise, and the players would be absolved back into the rest of the league. The way that the players would be dispersed would be through a draft process, with any players not under contract suddenly becoming free agents that could sign with anyone.
The main reason that there would be an even number of teams contracted would be to make sure that the NBA schedule could stay balanced. Keeping an even number of teams would be a necessity, so they couldn’t just contract one NBA franchise. No owner in the NBA wants to lose the value of their franchise either, so the whole process could be a really tough one for the league to work out. According to ESPN, David Stern broached the topic of possible contraction as a way to help deal with the player salary problem in the NBA. Recently owners have just offered too many contracts at high dollar amounts, and now find themselves struggling to make a profit.
The announcement being made by Stern could just be negotiating tactics, because he knows that if teams are eliminated, it is going to mean fewer players in the NBA. That’s something that the NBA Player’s Union doesn’t want to see, and would be a hard thing to deal with. There are 15 players on every NBA roster during the season (12 being active), and that would mean at least 30 NBA players out of a job if two teams were contracted. It’s just one of the ideas that are floating out there as Stern has stated that the NBA needs to find a way to cut 1/3 of the costs associated with players.
So which teams could be at risk of facing contraction? The franchises at the most risk would be those struggling to get fans to buy tickets, but could also be compounded if a franchise in unable to get a new stadium in their area. At the top of that list would be the Sacramento Kinds, second worst in attendance in basketball, and unable to get the city to build them a new stadium. Not too far behind them would be the Memphis Grizzlies, as they too have trouble putting people in the seats. If Philadelphia and Indiana don’t increase their numbers, the franchise history for both organizations won’t be enough to keep them active.
Those are the teams at the most risk, but things could change, and the NBA could wander away from contraction if they find a way to convince owners to stop offering so many ridiculous contracts to players that don’t deserve it.