(Sorry Jermaine. I know you had nightmares about this one.)
I think it’s safe to say Billy Hunter prepared NBA players for the worst. Amare Stoudemire is already discussing what he will do if the lockout last one or two years: He will band with other players and they’ll start their own league. (New York Post)
“If we don’t go to Europe, we’re going to start our own league, that’s how I see it,” the Knicks forward said. “It’s very serious. It’s a matter of us strategically coming up with a plan, a blueprint and putting it together. So we’ll see how this lockout goes. If it goes one or two years, we’ve got to start our own league.” …
“We want to play NBA basketball but if it doesn’t happen, what are we going to do?” Stoudemire said. “We can’t just sit around and not do anything. We’ve got to figure out ways now to play basketball at a high level against top competition and have fun doing it, so that’s the next step.”
If the players ever did start a league, which seems like Antoine Walker’s hypothetical four-pointer (an incredibly long shot), just like the lockout lasting one or two years seems like a long shot, they would have to do it right. The Impact Basketball League was supposed to be relatively competitive, featuring all NBA players and former NBA players. But, well, it devolved into this: Sebastian Telfair and WNBA player Cappie Pondexter effectively playing one-on-one while the four other competitors all picked their wedgies.
The new league would need coaches, training camps, and probably general managers. It would practices every day, refs (established ones), and it would need money to advertise. It would need stats to be kept, a national TV deal, and a number of owners (or one enormously rich owner) with the money to pay all the players, unless the players wanted to share all the ownership stake themselves and tie their salaries to the league’s profits.
Bill Simmons and Jay Caspian Kang wrote a fun column earlier this offseason about how they envisioned a players-led league would look. Of course, the whole thing’s probably as preposterous as the thought of Sasha Pavlovic winning MVP next year. But Amare brought up the idea, so I figured I would entertain it.