When James announced his decision to play for the Heat, the makings of a Carmelo Anthony-to-New York deal gained momentum. Now that Carmelo wears the blue, white and orange, the Knicks have positioned themselves to form the next “Big Three.” Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo form a dynamic duo, even if they need a bit more time to adapt their offenses.
If you’re a fan of the Knicks or one of the few other NBA teams that could pay for a Heat-like trio (Bulls, Celtics, Lakers, Magic and Mavericks), there are few downsides to having all that talent on your team. But there are obvious drawbacks if you’re a small-market team such as the Charlotte Bobcats or the Sacramento Kings, both rumored to be on the verge of relocating. Teams without a strong fan base or financial resources will be on the losing end, as will the teams who now have to face the Heat for a chance to play in the NBA Finals.
With the apparent lack of depth in the league, along with the watered-down talent, the amount of parity will rapidly decrease and a select number of super-teams will dominate for a minimum of four or five seasons. The NBA itself may not be averse to a handful of talent-heavy teams as long as they’re in the right cities. Commissioner David Stern has not indicated his preferences, but he must be salivating at the thought of large-market teams like the Knicks and the Heat becoming the face of his brand.
For the fans, bragging rights and the desire for a winning product fuel them. League officials have their own corporate agenda. Although no one knows exactly how the triple-teaming up of stars will play itself out, one thing is certain: the number of people watching the championship series – either rooting for the Heat or for them to get beaten – is huge, potentially creating vastly increased loyalty to - and revenues for - the league. That might be enough to elevate the NBA to being the premier league in the country, and maybe – just maybe – the world.