The NBA’s Concentration Of Power

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HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – We stopped counting the number of so-called “winners and losers” columns concerning the lockout when we ran out of fingers and toes here at the hideout.

Oddly enough, no two lists had the same bunch of winners and losers. Designations might not be necessary if some of the things being rumored actually transpire during the league’s condensed free agent frenzy and abbreviated 66-game season.

The big winners, as always, will be the league’s biggest stars and the teams willing to do whatever it takes (within the rules of whatever collective bargaining agreement is in place) to make sure they acquire said superstars.

If you don’t believe, just look at the big names (Dwight Howard, Chris Paul) being tossed around right now as potential trade pieces headed to bigger markets.

Howard Beck of The New York Times highlights a startling concentration of power in the league:

If Paul forces his way to New York and Howard ends up with the Brooklyn-bound Nets — who are pursuing him — it would leave eight of the N.B.A.’s top 20 players concentrated among just three teams (Knicks, Nets, Heat).

Add the Los Angeles Lakers (Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol), the Oklahoma City Thunder (Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook) and the Boston Celtics (Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo), and 15 of the league’s top 25 players would be spread among just six teams.

Until you see it in that context, it doesn’t really register. Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire on the Knicks and LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh on the Heat. That is a downright mind-boggling assembly of talent on just six teams.

So maybe all that fighting the small market owners were reportedly doing within their own caucus during the lockout actually made sense after all.

More from Beck:

In a league where superstars rule, that is depressing news for the other 24 franchises. Superteams may boost ratings in May and June, but they do nothing to help ticket sales for a Detroit-Charlotte game in January.

The lockout that ended last weekend was not, as some have asserted, a mere power play by the owners. Their first goal was to slash player costs, which they achieved with a $300 million reduction in salaries. They also won concessions to boost competitive balance, with higher taxes and other restraints on the top-spending teams.

But the owners lost their bid to ban extend-and-trade deals (which Anthony used) and contract options, which allow players to terminate their contracts a year early — as Paul, Howard and [Deron] Williams can do next summer.

Nor did the owners get the hard cap they so badly wanted.

“I think that set the league back,” the general manager of a small-market team said, referring to the hard cap. “That was the only true way to get parity. And they let it go.”

He added, “I think the players won this time” — the pay cuts notwithstanding.

Also, Chris Sheridan of summarizes the real reasons ($55 million of them apparently) someone is pressing the trade issue on behalf of both Howard and Paul:

So, to summarize, here are the options and the financial implications for each player.

Howard: _ Plays the entire season in Orlando, opts out and ends up elsewhere (either by signing as a free agent or through a sign-and-trade): $80.5 million for 4 years.

_ Gets traded in February, opts out, then re-signs with the team that acquired him: $110.8 million for 5 years.

Paul: _ Plays the entire season in New Orleans, opts out and ends up elsewhere (either by signing as a free agent or through a sign-and-trade): $75.8 million for 4 years.

_ Gets traded in February, opts out, then re-signs with the team that acquired him: $100.2 million for 5 years.

Do the math, add up the differences, and there are 55 million reasons why both those guys might want to be wearing different uniforms by the time March 1 rolls around.

Again, if some of the things rumored to be in the works actually come to fruition, some of those scorecards might need some adjusting. Winners and losers?

Sounds like there are a select few of the former and plenty of the latter.



  1. L. Smith says:

    I think people are confused about the new CBA, as well as some teams roster situations.

    Chris Paul could sign with the Knicks via free agency, but he WOULD NOT get a max contract salary because the Knicks would instantly be over the salary cap with his signing. Paul could ask for a trade to the Knicks where he WOULD be able to sign an extension and gain a max salary contract. But, as we all know the Knicks have no valuable trade pieces other than Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire, whom we all know will not be traded. The most realistic scenarios for Paul are, if traded: 1) To the Los Angeles Clippers for definitely Eric Gordon and most likely Chris Kaman, Mo Williams, Eric Bledsoe, and maybe a draft pick or two; 2) To the Oklahoma City Thunder in a straight-up trade for Russell Westbrook, this one is doubtful; 3) To the Boston Celtics for Rajon Rondo, Jeff Green (via sign-and-trade), JaJuan Johnson, and a first-round draft pick, this one is not even close to happening; and, finally 4) To the Los Angeles Lakers for a variety of trades, these trades are not plausible because Chris Paul and Kobe Bryant sharing a backcourt would end in disaster, especially with Mike Brown as the head coach. A possible trade that is worth mentioning is one between the Orlando Magic and the New Orleans Hornets bringing Chris Paul to the Magic. I’m not completely sure how that scenario would work out but it would keep Dwight Howard in Orlando. Shaq and Penny 2.0? Who knows?

    Chris Paul is most likely to decline asking for a trade and will probably refuse signing a contract extension with the Hornets propping him into free agency where he will want to sign with the Knicks.

  2. Fran says:

    I have been emailing with Sekou tonight (the 3rd) about my Nets and his views. I needed an unbiased opinion from a pro. He is so nice and was quick to respond to what ended up being 5 questions on this topic. I really like this article. Here were my questions and his answers from one of my new favorite sports writers.

    1. Will Deron Williams stay a Net? Answer: only if they can get another star like Dwight Howard

    2. Do you think they can get Dwight Howard? Answer: if Williams stays yes (meaning the two will probably text each other before they make decisions)

    3. Are the Nets winners or losers in the new deal? Answer: they’ll be fine

    4. Can I trust Billy King’s decisions? Answer: It’s too early too tell but it’s great that he got Williams (my opinion will be formed after Williams and Howard have made their decisions)

    5. Will Kris Humphries be effected by the divorce? Answer: It’s more likely that his play will suffer because last year was a contract year. Once he gets paid, well….you know.

  3. 6nba5 says:

    i have an even better idea for my celtics, age isnt nothing but a number and the celtics play better then most these young teams anyway, but keep the starting 4, go after tyson chandler as our starting center, he can score and has defense and has the same mind set like garnet, just like perkins but can move better, now for the bench, go after iverson for back up pg, that man want a ring and doc can control him, move west to 2guard or keep allen in depending how many points we up, resign jeff green and big baby i still want marquise back, and keep j’oneil. im telling you, this can and will work, all attitude, dominance, defense and pure will power.

  4. J. Pla says:

    HAZ your thoughts have more sense than the rest and still crazy and dilucional.Howard wont go anywhere for sure,so keep dreaming guys,its entertain.
    P.S Howard sh……… betwen us, where you going/ ha..ha..ha…

  5. Not a Hater says:

    The only trade posted here that makes sense is D12 to the Lakers. Tyson Chandler, Boozer? Rondo? Really? Wishful thinking.

  6. Dāvis says:

    Howard to Warriors. Trade Ellis/Lee and a first round pick to Magic.

  7. helveyn hayo says:

    i dont think dwight howard my main man in orlando will leave his team because he love his team and the team need him so..much..especially his teammates,they want dwight to stay in orlando and im sure the teamwork they showed in 2008’09 season will be back again,i know that hedo turkuglo will show his point forward ability once again.

  8. tom says:

    so much for competitive balance

    • Gary says:

      I’m tired of hearing about competitive balance. Every team gets a 1st round draft pick and it’s up to them to develop that player. Look at Kobe; he had a horrible shot his first few years; now look at him. I wouldn’t leave him alone if he was at half court! Oh yeah and he was drafted by the Hornets who gave him to LA, so in the end that franchise could have potentially had at least one championship but they blew their chance. Now people are crying because their teams don’t have Lebrons, Kobes or Carmelos. For every team that cries about competitive balance, I can look through their history and see all the greats or potential greats that they never kept or decided to not build off. Bad management ruins competitive balance. END OF STORY.

  9. fenerbahce says:

    howard to fenerbahce, istanbul..

  10. Jochen-Celt says:

    Howard probably to Beantown. We need a size, good size, big size, king size like Howard. I hope that Ainge should take care of that. If he can persuade him to land in Boston, i`ll thank to god millions times. Probably best contender to Howard is our Celtics Pride Nation. Go fot It Danny!

    • 21 says:

      And who do you think can the Celtics trade in order to get Howard? All they have to offer are really old players that are going to retire in the next 3-5 years. And to get Howard they would have to offer atleast two of their ‘big three’ Pierce, Allen and Garnett, which wouldn’t neccessarily leave them with a championship caliber team. And it wouldn’t be the best trade for Orlando either.
      What’s way more realistic is Howard to the Lakers for Bynum. The Magic would actually get some young, good talent in return there, rather than some old, used up players that will retire soon. And they wouldn’t have to change much in their playing style as Bynum would just replace Howard (with some drawbacks of course).

      • .... says:

        pierce and daniels for howard then hedo to new orleans for okaford
        rondo and big baby for paul then get gilbert arenas

        then celtics will have a starting of howard kg green ray and paul 😀 nice fantasy right

  11. bob says:

    well, every fan here is telling what he wants, but truth is, from all comments above, only lakers and bulls have good possibilities to acquire howard and not with trades like odom, bynum for howard or -even worse- boozer, bogans, butler (well, butler isn’t in bulls) for howard. Only possible trades would be gasol-bynum-picks for howard-turkoglu, or boozer,noah, deng for howard-turkoglu, or something like that (with bynum AND gasol, or noah AND deng or boozer).

    There’s a (slim) possibility for howard to stay in orlando, if orlando is able to obtain cp3, of course.

    All this, from a bobcat’s fan!

    • .... says:

      pierce and daniels for howard then hedo to new orleans for okaford
      rondo and big baby for paul then get gilbert arenas

  12. Raphael says:

    Howard play for the bulls! He will be a perfect fit in bulls defense! 🙂
    CP3 play for the knicks!

  13. Danny says:

    Howard to the Lakers for a package including Odom and Bynum. Maybe Lakers take on Hedo’s contract and sends an extra piece or two to Orlando. I DO like the move of trading him to Chicago, maybe for Noah and Boozer? Howard to the Nets would also be interesting, however with everything New Jersey will have to give up, just how good will The Nets be and how long will it take for them to become serious contenders? I just can’t see Howard going anywhere but LA.

    I don’t think Paul will go to New York. New York has nothing to offer New Orleans. If Paul goes to New York, he will have to opt out of whatever team New Orleans sends him to, however other teams might not want to trade for him if he is only going to be a rental. Paul is New York would be a risk on New York’s part. They would gut their roster of any remaining role players. And a big three that has two injury-prone players should make New York a bit nervous. I could actually see Orlando, in a final desperate measure to hold onto Dwight, trading for Paul in a last-ditch effort to get a ring. They know they will probably lose Howard, but honestly any deal they make for him is not going to improve Orlando. It will make them a 6th seed at best but not a contender. I could honestly see them working a deal to pair them together this season. If they can get a ring, it might encourage both players to resign.

    Steve Nash? If New York is not able to get Paul before the deadline, I could see them pursuing the 2-time MVP as a possible rental. They could trade Billups and Fields and maybe another piece for Hill and Nash. It’s not much of a risk on NY’s part because Nash and Hill are both free agents this summer. The Suns are able to clear cap room and get a young 2-guard in Fields. It would also put Phoenix in a good position to tank this year and get a high lottery pick this summer. If Phoenix wants to rebuild, they need to move Nash and Hill and at least get something in return. I don’t see Nash in Miami despite LeBron’s tweet. Wade and LeBron already had to adjust sharing the ball with each other– with Nash, they would have to completely restructure their offense to incorporate an offense where Nash is the floor general otherwise Nash would merely be reduced to a Steve Kerr jump-shooter role.

    I could also see Nash and Hill going to Oklahoma in a trade for maybe Harden and another piece. OKC gets instant veteran leadership from two old-timers who drink from the fountain of youth,

  14. Redd Feild says:

    Chris Paul to New York Knicks .. Trade billups , balkman ,Feilds and maybe any of the bench player of knicks!

  15. jackson mark says:

    lol boozer, bogans, butler for dwight howard!!! magic wouldnt even think about it.

  16. Haz says:

    Howard to miami fror bosh

    paul to new york for carmello and first round pick

    Lebron to china for a few years

    also, Andrew Bogut to win MVP
    PS, Dwayne wade to New Jersey? seems more than likely….

  17. Stern le douche says:

    Howard doesn’t care about the lakers, he will not follow in Shaq’s footsteps. He has stated he would like to stay in Orlando. If he leaves, however, he doesn’t care about Los Angeles. Mark my words. La can keep dreaming about that.

    • 21 says:

      Thing is that Howard isn’t the one deciding here, given that the Magic trade him before losing him to free agency without anything in return.
      What counts is what possible trade partners have to offer. And the fact is that LA can offer Bynum. 2nd or 3rd best Center in the league in return for the best sounds like a pretty good deal, given that the alternative would be losing Howard without anything in return.
      If they want they could also make a bigger deal out of it. Like Bynum, Odom, Ebanks + some draft picks to Orlando and Howard and Turkoglu to LA. That would allow LA to get rid of Artest, err, Metta World Peace in order to get a decent PG. And Orlando would get, as said, a very good Center + a very versatile and skilled forward + a young talent + even more young talent through draft picks. J.Nelson, L.Odom, A.Bynum sounds like a pretty good core group to me. All they need is a good SG (or they resign J.Richardson). Add to that some young talent through the Lakers’ draft picks and you have a pretty darn good squad that might even be more promising than the current squad. And it would be better for the Magic than losing Howard without anything in return anyways.

  18. iyash74 says:

    Dwight Howard to the HAWKS make more sense … Get a young proven BIG in HORFORD MAGIC

  19. Banan says:

    Dwight and CP3 should just try to get on the same team. That would be an epic combo.

  20. alexe says:

    howard to the bobcats for the entire team. MJ suits up again and brings along pip and rodman. Brett Favre does the quarterbacking. Reggie comes out of retirement to come of the bench, as does bruce bowen for some defense

  21. black mamba says:

    lakers is the best team for superman!!!!!!

  22. TheNBAGURU says:

    why is everybody thinking the magic will give up howard for trash and a 1st round draft pick? if the magic are going to trade howard to the lakers or bulls. it will be a) bynum, odom, ebanks, and either 2 1st round draft picks or 1 1 st 2 2nd. the lakers gave up 2 1st round draft picks, the younger gasol, plus trash for gasol. howard will demand more when teams fight over him trying to put packages together. b) for the bulls it won’t be boozer, butler, bogans, it will be gibson, jimmy butler, omar asik and picks. the bulls don’t even make sense considering they have noah unless you’re going to package him along in the deal instead of picks. i honestly see the clippers making a push for howard and the dark horse would be sacramento who does have young talent on the roster that they could part with. pair howard with evans, jimmer could compete easier in the west for many years instead of going against the big 3 in miami which everyone in the east prepare for.

  23. Joey says:

    Howard should go to the celtics, he has amazing opprtunities there, Boston Celtics is the most team with playoff experience. Just Imagine Rondo-Howard combo and Jeff Green comming off the bench plus the Big three (KG, Paul pierce, Ray allen) its no doubt that they are old but they all have pretty good two years in them, and after we win banner 18 and 19, we can start the rebuilding process around Rondo-Howard-Green. Look people i do not know how celtics will pull off a trade or what not but make it happen. If howard retires a celtic then he will be beside the Celtics greats Kevin Mechale, Larry Bird, Paul pierce, Dwight Howard. How great would that be !!

    • .... says:

      dude if that happenes then get ready for lockout again for the celtics being to unbeatable but i think in order to get howard the celtics could only do is break the big 3 that’s the only think i can think of or be a villain like the 3 kings of the heat

  24. 6nba5 says:

    i hope howard plays the whole season with the magics, then he will become a free agent, that will allow boston to go after him with out losing any players, retweak garnett and allen contracts, is a wrap, or once free agent market open up this december, go after tyson chandler, can you imagine, garnett and chandler in the middle, all that aggression in the paint and he can score, i miss perkins but hell tyson can move faster and can scorem move o’neil to the bench, find a way to daniles back keep that bench rotation, i can smell banner 18 and 19.

    • dukedaboi1da says:

      love your thinking man haha

    • F. Lasko says:

      You are delusional, Celtics winning 2 more titles with the current bunch of geriatrics is a pipe dream.

      • .... says:

        not necessarily if mirracles happend and kg ray ray and pierce not get injured and can perform like when they were young then it’s a sure win of 18 19 20 even

    • Alan says:

      Boston won’t be able to sign Howard if he becomes a free agent. The Celtics are already excessively over the soft salary cap, so the only way they can acquire him is through a sign and trade.

  25. Matthew Suleski says:

    Howard to Mavs for Tyson Chandler in a sign and trade, and you can throw in a first round pick.

  26. Phoniex says:

    Howard to the Celtics. At least Rondo & Jeff Green they have in Boston. Paul Pierce will likely play another 2-3 years pretty strong and retire as a Celtic. KG & Ray Ray would have to take a pay cut or get traded. Next year they are free agents, That should open up a ton of salary cap to bring in Dwight and still add on another good player or resign KG or Ray Ray.

    • riley says:

      wut r u smoking? celtics keep pierce, rondo, allen, KG, green and get Howard too? why would the magic even consider this if they get nothing in return lmao

  27. sky says:

    Howard to Bulls.. trade Boozer, Bogans, Butler and a first round pick to Magic..

  28. Barea # 1 says:

    I hope Howard doesn’t leave the Orlando Magic because i love that team

  29. Thomas says:

    Howard to The Lakers, they want him and he wants to be there, Bynum, Odom, Ebanks and a first round Draft pick for Howard and Hedo Turk.

    • riley says:

      lmao “howard wants to be in LA” i dont think so bro. he should team up with dwill in brooklyn or better yet go to ORL and be surrounded by 3pt shooters and the best center in the league! the nets aren’t playoff team like the magic, and with dwill they’ll be championship contendors no doubt

    • .... says:

      i want howard in boston and paul in la to cover their weakness boston have only kg in the inside and la has an aging fisher