The Players League

Warning: Ridiculous idea below the jump, advocating the players create a new league in which the 30 best NBA players are franchise owners. This idea is inane, unrealistic, half-baked, and purely indulgent. It is also brilliant.

My new league proposal will cure the lockout blues.

The NBA lockout gets drawn out, and before long players decide to take matters into their own hands. They start their own league, except it’s more like boxing than a professional sports league in the conventional sense. They call it the Players League.

Here’s how the PL works: initially, the players themselves vote on the league’s top 30 players. These guys all get their own teams. Kobe, CP3, Dwight, Deron, Lebron, Wade, Rondo — all of those guys are now franchise owners.

These teams (i.e. the top 30 players) then get 1000 “points” with which they bid on players to complete the rest of their team, similar to auction drafts in fantasy basketball. These players are signed to the team for one year.

The player-owners are also responsible for hiring staff, and they are free to structure their organization in whatever way they see fit. Most hire coaches & GMs, and operate their teams similarly to NBA franchises. Kobe has a staff of zero, opting to do everything himself.

PL games can take place anywhere, including playgrounds, private residences, other countries. They typically stay in one city. Dwight Howard, for instance, would continue to play mostly in Orlando. On occasion, he would host games in Tampa, Jacksonville, Miami, his hometown Atlanta, and if he feels like it, New York, or Paris, or Delhi.

Teams have to agree to matches, similar to boxing. This adds a great rivalry element. Paul Pierce and Lebron James’ teams might play each other 10 times in a row one season. Various rules will ensure each team plays each other at least once, and they all play at least 60 games.

The rules are the same by default, but teams can agree to play games with alternate rules. Steve Nash and Rajon Rondo might decide they’ll play a soccer-style 90-minute game with no timeouts, with yellow & red cards replacing foul systems. If two teams can’t agree, they are forced to play by standard rules.

While we’re at it: There shall be no offensive goaltending rule in the PL, and less ticky-tack foul calls.

16 teams make the playoffs, just like the NBA. The teams with the #1-#8 records take turns choosing their opponents from #9-#16. Winner of the series with the #1 team plays winner of the #8 series, and so forth.

The guys who miss the playoffs lose their teams, and now the press votes on the league’s most franchise-worthy players (not necessarily the best). The top 14 will have teams the next year. Some guys will get to keep their teams, while underachievers such as Carlos Boozer may be replaced by up-and-comers like Kevin Love.

Each draft will produce entirely new rosters, and give each team a shot at landing any player. The Players League will inherently always be extremely competitive.

The league has intense revenue sharing, with winning teams getting bonuses. Player salaries are always a set % of total revenue, and distributed according to the points they were drafted for.

The college draft is just incorporated into the larger draft.

No rules on trades.

The players collectively compose the league’s governing body, and vote on all major decisions.

We also steal Jeff Van Gundy’s idea for changing the all-star game.

Who’s with me? Someone do me a solid and show this to Bill Simmons.


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