You all have probably heard the comments made by LeBron James suggesting that the NBA would be better off contracting some teams like Minnesota and New Jersey in an effort to help disperse more talent throughout the league. However ludicrous it is for a player to suggest contraction on the eve of the biggest collective bargaining deal the league has ever seen, the idea does have its supporters. Enter former AJC writer Terrance Moore now of FanHouse as he suggests the NBA would be better off without four teams including (surprise) our Atlanta Hawks.
Tom Ziller of SB Nation Basketball writes that contraction talk is ridiculous and that the NBA would never want to leave a major market like Atlanta.
Bad attendance is used as a decision point on which teams are worthy of contraction. The Hawks draw 14,000 fans a game and the Lakers draw 19,000. Those 5,000 missing fans, 41 times a year ... that's the justification despite the cold cash the 14,000 fans who do show up are spending, and the millions the networks (local and national) pay the NBA for the right to air their games
Could the franchise make more money? Of course it could. Would it be nice to see Philips Arena sold out every night? Of course. Fact is the situation might not be as bad as is thought and there is ample room for improvement.
Ziller goes further.
You think all these multi-millionaire businessmen are dummies? You think Michael Gearon, who fought for years to settle the Hawks' ownership quarrel, did all that because he likes to rub elbows with T.I. and not because there is mad loot in owning an NBA team?
You kill the Hawks, and you decimate (if not eliminate) the revenue the NBA makes in a major city. All because a quarter of the arena's seats are empty on any given Tuesday night in December? How dumb is that?
Fact is that the NBA's television ratings are up 30 percent so far this season. The League is prospering in popularity once again even as the cloud of a potential lockout looms. Perhaps King James should worry about helping the Players Association and the Owners reach an agreement before every team and everyone involved is hurt.