Lakers’ Successful Off-Season Proves Large Markets Still Dominate

Lakers’ Successful Off-Season Proves Large Markets Still Dominate


The summer of 2011 will be remembered for one thing and one thing only among NBA fans. That infamous off-season saw the players and owners in a standstill that cost fans around the world to miss NBA games. Terms like Collective Bargaining, Basketball Related Income and market size took over the headlines in all of the media outlets and there was no escaping them.

Instead of the usual trade rumors and marquee signings, basketball fans had to deal with complicated legal jargon all summer long. One of the main reasons for the battle was a result of the lack of success for NBA teams. The franchises in the large markets had no problem building title teams and making profits, but teams in smaller market had trouble breaking even.

The league wanted to help alleviate the burden for the franchises losing money and also put them on an even playing field with teams like the Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks. Commissioner David Stern loved the fact that a small market franchise like the Green Bay Packers won the Super Bowl and he wanted the same thing to happen in his league.

Stern had this magical fantasy made up in his mind, but at the end of the day, everyone knew that some teams just have all the luck. No matter how hard Stern pushes for reform, the NBA will be a large market driven league. Stern and the league did whatever they could to fix the issue, but the Lakers’ 2012 off-season just proves that the rich get richer.

Next Page: Large vs. Small

  • CJac

    The small market/large market line of thinking is antiquated and used by those who want to use an artificial talking point without having to actually think.

    The Knicks and Nets have been largely afterthoughts for most of the past 15+ years. Chicago was once bad enough to land D-Rose as a #1 pick in recent years. Philly is a large market, how have they done recently? Atlanta is a top ten market, why have they been mostly irrelevant throughout their history? What was said for Atlanta can also be said for Washington DC. How much time passed between glory years in Boston?  Golden State and Sacramento play in Top 20 markets and they’d be California’s biggest NBA laughingstocks if the Clippers weren’t consistently terrible.

    There is only one team that has remained mostly competitive in the past 30 years on a year to year basis and that’s the Lakers. Their market matters less than the franchise itself.It’s all about winning cultures. It’s the reason why the Spurs have been in contention for the past 15 years or so. It’s why OKC has locked up their top two players to extensions the past couple of years. The difference between the Lakers and Clippers isn’t their market but the mindset of the franchise.

    A winning culture is why, despite similar market size and geographical proximity, people are clamoring to play in Miami and wanting to run away from Orlando.  That being said, you completely contradict yourself when you compare LeBron and Miami to Shaq and Los Angeles.  Orlando is closer in market size and geography to Miami than Los Angeles.  To implicate one being better than the other market-wise is a fallacy.  If you compare the cultures of the Lakers and the Heat to the cultures of the Magic and the Cavaliers, then you’re on to something meaningful.

    Speaking of Miami, you brought up LeBron and the two paragraphs surrounding his departure from Cleveland to Miami showed how little is actually comprehended about small market and big market, as well as the history of the NBA.  I’m beginning to realize that people throw the comparisons around without realizing what markets actually mean.  

    Had you kept your point to a strictly weather/location point, it’d be valid.  Adding in the rest of it when it pertains to LeBron severely hurts your own point in the eyes of anyone who chooses to look at it critically.

    Markets refer to television markets and the theoretical number of eyeballs that have the potential to watch television at any given time.  In that respect, Miami is 16th in the country while Cleveland is 17th.  Translation: there isn’t a large difference in market.  If one is a big market team, the other is a big market team.  If one is a small market team, the other is a small market team. If 100,000 people evacuate Miami and end up in Cleveland for whatever reason, their market places shift.

    Also, LeBron was already the most marketed player in the league when he was playing in Cleveland.  What new marketing opportunities has he landed while in Miami?  If marketing opportunities were his priority, he’d be sporting a #6 jersey for the Knicks, Nets, or Bulls.  Miami was his best shot to win a ring and he gets to play with his pal, Dwayne Wade.  Looking at all the extras about Miami versus Cleveland misses the point.

    And the superteams comment?  Name me an NBA team that has won an NBA Title in the past 30 years that hasn’t had at least two Hall of Fame or borderline Hall of Fame guys on there aside from the 1994 Rockets or 2004 Pistons?  The 1980’s was something of a Golden Age for the NBA and it was spearheaded by the Lakers and Celtics, two franchises that boasted multiple Hall of Famers in their lineups.  Superteams are nothing new and GMs will find ways around the CBA rules when they fully take effect in a few years (something else that you neglected to mention: the full effect of the CBA isn’t being felt now, hence the big moves).

    I really wish writers and talking heads would stop falling back on this lazy mindset. It’s an easy story to write that gets a reaction because it gets a reaction out of small market fans who wrongfully believe their market isn’t why they aren’t competitive rather than pointing the finger at their front office.

  • Alberto Garcia

    Christopher John said it all.