by Chris Haynes (@ChrisBhaynes)
Gone, are the days of true loyalty, perseverance, competiveness, and grit. That is, when it comes to NBA superstars deciding on if they should stay or go. When you think of Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, and Michael Jordan, you think Celtics, Lakers, and the Bulls. When you think of Patrick Ewing, David Robinson, Karl Malone, John Stockton, and Reggie Miller, you think Knicks, Spurs, Jazz, and the Pacers.
Players mentioned wouldnt have dreamed of teaming up together in their prime. They were too focused on figuring out how to destroy one another. Could you imagine Malone or Ewing leaving their perspective clubs to join Michael and Scottie Pippen in the mid 90s? Ill answer that for you. Heck no.
It seems as if players such as these dont exist anymore. Dont get me wrong, superstars like LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, and Chris Paul to name a few, would have definitely excelled in the Jordan era as well, but theres something internal missing from this generation.
Instead of bringing up a problem that has been regurgitated repeatedly over the last couple of years, Im going to take it a step further and issue the reason for this sudden change and bring about a solution.
Championships are the problem. What I mean by that is, so much is placed on winning a title. Its like you cant have a great career without winning one. Say what you want about this new generation of players, but you have to give them credit for observing and studying history.
Theyre looking at the careers of Malone, Barkley, Stockton, Miller and others who represent the greatest players this league has ever seen, and noticing an irremovable stain thats attached to their legacy forever -- never winning the big one.
This generation of players like Carmelo, LeBron, and Chris Bosh are willing to take that PR hit in ditching their squads to sign with other stars in order to get a step closer to that ultimate prize. You may call it a lack of competiveness, but is it really? All theyre trying to accomplish is what most feel great athletes should accomplish. Right or wrong, thats the mindset.
Owners have seen this trend and it looks as if this trend isnt going away anytime soon as Dwight Howard, Chris Paul, and Deron Williams are likely to follow the same path. Thats why its important that the system be changed, due to players changing.
A hard cap or a luxury tax system with ultra punitive measures sounds like whats best for this current crop of players. The wealth needs to be spread around and when I say wealth, I mean superstars or all-star players.
Its been real easy to rag on the owners during this lockout, but what are they to do when star players are choosing to set up shop in only five cities while the other 25 teams pick up the scraps? Thats not fair to the league or to the fans of those small-market cities.
Players want the current system to remain somewhat intact. They want teams like the Lakers or Heat to have the option if they want to sign a high-profile player and go over the luxury tax, which is not fair because most teams dont have that option because they cant afford it. If superstars arent willing to stick it out with their current teams, then a change has to be made.
"If LeBron stayed in Cleveland, Melo stayed in Denver, and Bosh stayed in Toronto, we probably wouldnt be having this lockout or it would have been lifted by now," a league executive told CSNNW.com
In no way was this meant to attack the players, its just the reality of whats been going on of late. You cant knock them for exercising their right to sign with the team of their choice, but they have to understand that it comes with consequences. Players cant have their cake and eat it, too.
Follow Chris Haynes on twitter @ChrisBhaynes