"It's working," he said. "The teams are very, very competitive. There is no way that big markets teams can outspend small market teams. So when the season starts everyone thinks their team can compete for the Stanley Cup."
The above quote is from the owner of the Wizards and the Capitals. As an NHL owner, he has experience moving to a hard cap, as could happen in the NBA with the new CBA coming up. (Need any more initials?) I'm bringing this up for two reasons. First, it's a non-melo trade topic, and two, I think there are some strong opinions on this site regarding this issue.
I'm in favor of the hard cap system. I don't follow the NHL, so I can't speak to their system, but I do follow the NFL, which also has a hard cap. The NFL hard cap combined with some restrictions on free agency helps the NFL keep a competitve balance. A small market team like Green Bay can consistently field a top team. They don't have to worry about large market teams spending twice as much money . In the NFL, it's good team management, no simply spending the most money, that fields a competitive team. You could never build the Lakers, Celtics, or Heat in a hard cap environment. This means that the level of play of the absolute top teams is not quite as good as it could be. Teams tend to have less depth, keeping young cheap players rather than more expensive proven veterans. I'll take a league where every team can afford to be competitve over a league where a handful of great teams compete for the title every year and everyone else has no shot outside of the occasional one year wonder.
I know that some will say that a hard cap will reduce teams to one star and a group of roll players. This would be bad under this argument because getting lucky and drafting that one star player would control the destiny of teams. I respond to this two ways. First, that is already the case. Draft a Tim Duncan or a Shaq, and you are instantly a contender. Draft Kwame Brown, and your not. Second, if the cap and salaries are at the right number, this wouldn't have to be the case. I think a hard cap would be higher than the current soft cap. So if the soft cap is $60 million, perhaps the hard cap would be $70 million. Combine that with a much discussed reduction in maximum salaries, and a team could afford two max salaries, and a few Nene type salaries.
Or don't reduce maximum salaries at all - eliminate them. Then a team could decide. Offer Kobe Bryant $35 million to play for the clippers and build a team with role players, or spend their money any other way they might like. Maximum salaries could be viewed as part of the problem with todays NBA. They have essentially taken money out of the equation in deciding where to play. I'm going to make the same money no matter where I play, so would I rather play somewhere sunny and warm or in a place where it's 30 below all winter?
Anyway, it's a non-Melo trade topic that might be a nice break.