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No Leverage for Zion Because of Collective Bargaining

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Former Duke basketball star Zion Williamson. Photo: AP

By Evan Weiner |

It appears that Zion Williamson will be the top pick in the National Basketball Association’s annual draft and Williamson has just one choice. He will be selected by New Orleans.

Whether Williamson wants to be in New Orleans is a question open to debate and since he has little leverage, Williamson will more than likely be forced to work in New Orleans. Williamson, unlike virtually every other Duke University student departing college, has only one choice if he wants to make millions of dollars at the moment. He cannot shop his services around.

The NBA Draft is an illegal activity that is only made legal through the collective bargaining process and an agreement between NBA owners and NBA players. The draft, in theory, is supposed to level the playing field with the worst teams getting the best players in an entry process. The draft also keeps owners from bidding and overspending for top entry players. The players have to go to the team that selects them or force a trade or go to Europe or Asia to make a living. Williamson allegedly wanted to play in New York with the Knicks. Apparently the national sports media wanted the same thing. The only NBA teams or cities that matter to a good chunk of the national media are New York and Los Angeles. There are 25 other United States markets and a Canadian outpost. Apparently those 26 cities don’t count all that much.

A league is only as good as its smallest market.  But the NBA is made up of 30 franchises not nine or ten as it was in 1966. The league needs cities like San Antonio. San Antonio won five championships in 15 years and no one complained, including Spurs stars David Robinson and Tim Duncan, about small market San Antonio.

This article was republished with permission from the original publisher, Evan Weiner.

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