Impose a hard cap
Right now, the NBA operates under a soft cap, which allows teams to exceed the cap for many reasons, including re-signing most of their own players. A cap like this only enables superteams and encourages tanking in pursuit of building one. It’s time to impose a hard cap instead.
The way things stand right now, teams can build through the draft and then spend big on free agents right before their draft picks finish their rookie scale deals. Then they can go over the cap to re-sign their picks, and they can finally compete.
This is just wrong, and not only for enabling superteams and encouraging tanking. It also prevents parity by forcing bad teams to be bad for upwards of five seasons before they can even make the playoffs. And it gives a significant advantage to teams in desirable cities like Los Angeles who can convince any free agent to come play for them.
By putting a hard cap in place, teams wouldn’t be able to go over the cap to re-sign their own players. This would make the draft less important and discourage tanking. It would also limit the inherent advantage teams like the Lakers and Warriors have just from playing where they do.
It’s time for the league to make changes that give teams like the Phoenix Suns a better chance to compete. Abolishing max contracts and imposing a hard cap would be a great start toward creating parity in the league. Unfortunately, it’s unlikely the league even considers these changes any time soon.