NBA Realignment Part Four

By Gary Norris Gray BASN Staff Reporter
Updated: July 31, 2011

OAKLAND, CA. (BASN)—The Four Wise men (I mean the Four Commissioners of Major League Sports) now have the opportunity to realign and improve their leagues.

Divisions and conferences might look different in the future. I have taken it upon myself to help save the four leagues money, travel expenses, gas prices, enhance local rivalries, and provide early local television time.

Today it’s Commissioner David Stern and the Association taking its turn at making the game profitable and enjoyable. The National Basketball Association and Major League Baseball will be the toughest sports to realign because of the number of teams.

The (NBA) National Basketball Association is turning over another leaf, opening another chapter in its 82 year history. The Dallas Mavericks beat the Miami Heat in the 2011 championship series.

But there are issues with the beautiful fast pace game. The owners and players are in a serious contract dispute. The owners have locked out the players just as the National Football League employed the same tactic this past spring. The NFL is the most populair sport in America while the NBA struggles with their new populaity. This current lockout could dismantle the gains made the past 20 years.

The Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers have won over half of the leagues championships, Boston 17 – Los Angeles 16 and have been in 52 championship series. No other team can match that record.

The Chicago Bulls and the San Antonio Spurs are undefeated in championship series but they have only been in six and four respectively. This should be a warning to the league that there needs to be diversity.

The Basketball Association of America and the American Basketball League merged in 1949. This was done to eliminate the confusion between the leagues who promoted two champions the Baltimore Bullets (ABL) and the Minneapolis Lakers (BAA) winning both

titles.

The league started with 17 teams. The league would follow with contractions twice to the more known eight in the 1950′s. These teams were The New York Knicks, Boston Celtics, Philadelphia Warriors, Minnesota Lakers, Cincinnati Royals/Kings, Detroit Pistons, Syracuse Nationals/Philadelphia 76ers and St. Louis Hawks. These teams are still in existence but some are playing in different cities.

The first re-expansion started in the middle sixties with the entrance of the Chicago Bulls, Seattle Supersonics, San Diego Rockets, the Milwaukee Bucks and Phoenix Suns. The League put the Chicago Bulls, Seattle Supersonics, San Diego Rockets and Phoenix Suns in the Western Division and the Milwaukee Bucks in the East even though they were geographically farther west than Chicago. The Bulls created the classical western conference finals with the Los Angeles Lakers who moved earlier from Minneapolis, Minnesota to Hollywood, California.

The New York Knicks led the way in breaking the color barrier with Japanese-American basketball star Watari Misaka in 1947.

Most NBA historical record books credit African Americans -Chuck Cooper of the Boston Celtics, Nat “Sweetwater” Clifton of the New York Knicks- and Earl Lloyd of the Washington Capitols in 1950 for this fete.

The NBA had to fend off a new upstart league called the American Basketball Association (ABA) in 1969-1970. This was a very serous threat because the ABA allowed teams to sign college undergraduates.

The biggest name Julius Ervin played for the Virginia Squires. The ABA also signed Rick Berry from the Golden State Warriors. The ABA used the colorful red, white, and blue ball and employed the three point shot. ABA teams were never out of a game like the old rival NBA.

In 1974-1978 the NBA returned to its original size, 18 teams with the addition of the Portland Trailblazers, Buffalo Braves, Cleveland Cavilers, and New Orleans Jazz.

In 1977 the NBA won a year long protracted court battle with the ABA and settled on a merger. The NBA enrolled four more teams. The New Jersey New York Nets, San Antonio Spurs, Denver Nuggets, and Indiana Pacers.

In the 1980′s and 90′s the NBA expanded throughout the south and would installed a team in Canada. It seems like the NBA hit the saturation point and might not be adding another team in the immediate future.

The NBA also has a current problem with four teams in the Western Conference who happen to be geographically in the east and southeast. These are the teams Minnesota Timberwolves, the Oklahoma City Thunder, Memphis Grizzlies, and the New Orleans Hornets. This is not fair to the loyal fans who have to stay up late at night when their teams make their west coast trips. It is also not healthy for the players to change their biological clock to the Pacific Time Zone.

It’s very simple to reorganize the NBA. The league should create a fourth division. The division winners would automatically qualify for the playoffs. The other playoff spots would be filled with the next four best records.

There would be two divisions with three teams but it would level the divisions to four instead of three (odd number).

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Atlantic

Boston

New Jersey

New York

Philadelphia

The East Coast power division continues. The Toronto Raptors moving to the Midwest Division would be the only change. These four teams are within a one hour plane ride from each other.

Midwest

Chicago

Indiana

Cleveland

Toronto

The Toronto Raptors would replace the Milwaukee Bucks, and Detroit Pistons. The Pistons and Bucks are further west. The goal is to cut down on travel expenses, and create geographical rivals this completes the task.

Central South

Charlotte

Washington

Memphis

This is the NBA version of NASCAR EAST creating hard core fans. One of these three teams would finally win a division after many years.

Southeast

Miami

Orlando

Atlanta

New Orleans

This is the Sunshine Division. Teams within a one hour plane trip of each other with the Miami Heat vs. Orlando Magic keeping their rivalry intact. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh would battle Dwight Howard.

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Central North

Milwaukee

Detroit

Minnesota

This could be the NBA’s version of the Black and Blue Division, The Norris Division. These teams are trying to regain the respect of the league. It’s been a long time since the Lou Alcindor/Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bobby Dandridge and Oscar Robertson days in Milwaukee and the Bad Boys days of Isiah Thomas, Vinnie Johnson, and Bill Laimbeer in the Motor City. The Minnesota Timberwolves have to surround Kevin (the new Mr. Double-Double) Love with basketball players that will help him on the floor and improve their lot. He cannot win games by himself.

Southwest

San Antonio

Dallas

Houston

Oklahoma City

This is the Texas Three Step Division. Moving the Oklahoma City Thunder into this division closer to their cross state boarder rivals. This could be called the Rock-em Sock-em Robot Division. For those who don’t know it’s the old battery powered kids boxing toy by Mattel. Kevin Durant might be the new star of this division.

This Division already has three NBA champions, Oklahoma City could be joining them soon. Seattle Supersonic fans are not happy.

Northwest

Denver

Portland

Utah

Phoenix

This would be the new wild, wild, northwest moving the Suns from the Pacific. A new division created from four states Colorado, Oregon, Utah, and Arizona. All of the teams are west of the Rockies which helps with traveling expencies and time.

Pacific

Golden State Warriors

Los Angeles Clippers

Los Angeles Lakers

Sacramento Kings

This is another no brainier. The California division would remain the same except with the exclusion of the Phoenix Suns who would move to the Northwest Division. Some would state the Phoenix Suns should stay in this division because of the proxcimity to the Los Angeles area. The winner could be crowned the California State Champion. Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers would love this revamped division.

Hope some of these ideas help the National Basketball Association, National Football League, National Hockey League, and Major League Baseball.

This four part series is an attempt to cut down expenses, create new rivalries, and manufacture a new fan base. As Science Officer of the Starship Enterprise, Mr. Spock would state “Its only logical”.

©Copyrighted Gary Norris Gray @ Gray Leopard Prod