Is the NBA even relevant anymore?  Does anyone even care?   Apparently not.   ESPN didn’t even care.  With what seemed like 74 playoff games being played last Thursday night, the NBA lost the ratings battle with the 1st round of the NFL Draft.  Yes that’s correct, there wasn’t even a game played in the NFL.  It was the Draft.  If that doesn’t wake up the corpse known as David Stern, I don’t know what will.  Hello Mr. Stern!  ESPN, who you have a gazillion dollar TV deal with, iced you on 2 games that night and showed the NFL Draft instead.

The NBA is easily the worst product out there right now of the 4 major sports.  As a whole, the NBA is clearly is the biggest trouble.  There is literally no reason to turn a game on untill the last 2 minutes.  But even if you choose to, do so at your own risk.  There’s nothing better than watching anywhere between 7.5 to 9.5 mindless idiots out there, having zero clue what’s going on. There’s just too much “Hey! Pass it to me!! Clear out fools, I’m takin’ this to the tin!!!!”   I can maybe think of 5 teams right now (Cleveland, Orlando, Dallas, Oklahoma City and Phoenix.  The Lakers are just brutal to watch) that I would even care to see.  It’s just terrible.  Sure I’ll keep LeBron on for a few minutes if I happen to see the Cavs on TV, or maybe even Orlando to see Dwight Howard just serve pathetic drive attempts into the 15th row. 

The point is that right now as I’m writing this column, I have the Red Wings/Coyotes game 7 on, instead of Kobe and the “Fakers” vs The “Durant’s”.  The Durant’s are easily the most entertaining team in the league to root for.  But yet, I can’t even turn it on.  You know why?  Because If I do, I’ll see Kobe hoisting up ill-advised turnaround jumpers, Ron Artest doing something REAL dumb, Pau Gasol’s god awful beard and Phil Jackson bitching and moaning about every call.  Sure, I’d love to see the up and coming Thunder take out the punks from LA, but I just can’t even muster up the strength to turn that vomit fest on.  And by the way, the NBA would NEVER allow the Thunder to win this series.  They NEED Kobe in the finals vs LeBron.  Yes, that ring tone you are hearing is Tim Donaghy’s cell phone going off (This of course would have happened if he hadn’t been caught rigging games and betting on the ones he was refereeing in)  “Oh no problem Mr. Stern, I know.  Kobe will get to the line at least 18 times tonight.  Yeah, yeah, we’ll keep it close in the 4th, don’t you worry.  Oh no, sorry…..I wasn’t scheduled to work the Orlando/Charlotte series…..yeah they tried, but even giving Dwight Howard 22 fouls in 4 games couldn’t help Coach Brown.  Sorry.  Take care.”

I would love to go back to the mid 80’s to see real basketball being played.  None of this watered down, guaranteed contract, if you leave the bench during an altercation you get suspended a gazillion games, sissy fest.  I recently listened to Kevin McHale on a Bill Simmons Podcast describing how in the mid 80’s when he was on the Celts, that him and Bird were in games where street brawls literally broke out on the court because teams genuinely hated each other.  And not once did I hear anything about suspensions.  These were star players getting involved and policing themselves.  These days, there are no true rivalries.  Who are the Lakers rival right now?  Who are the Celtics rivals?  Do the Cavs even have a rival?  The answer is a flat-out no. 

If the NBA wants to save itself from bankruptcy and going completely on the back burner, they need to take a long look in the mirror and make some drastic changes.  #1 Mandatory 3-years in college.  This will hone the skills of these kids and make them better in the long run.  #2  Contraction.  Way to many bums getting paid $25 million over the next however many years to sit on the end of the bench.  Either limit the number of  players from 12 to 10 or get rid of a few teams.  #3 Four year max contract length.  This will hopefully eliminate teams from deciding to give absolutely retarded contracts to real bad players.  Sure, you can add-on a 5th year team option to these contracts.  This way, a bad contract won’t cripple a team for 5 or 6 years.  #4 Hard Cap.  None of these salary cap “exceptions”.  No “injury exception” or “Mid-level” exception.   You have a 12 man roster and say 3 “practice squad” type players under contract.  $65 million cap. Figure out the math.   If you go $1 over, you forfeit every game that you are over the cap by $1.  There’s how you fix the NBA.  My way. 

Ahhh, nice to see the Thunder are down 20 at the half to the Lakers in LA.  Wow, I’m totally shocked and off to bed.  See you for game 7 in LA sometime next month.