Friday, February 13, 2009

Money and a Championship

There are a lot of sports superstars out there who proclaim that their one goal is to win a championship.  Since that is their stated goal, why do so many who want to win sacrifice that ideal for the almighty dollar?  I'll take Utah's favorite power forward, Karl Malone (hereinafter referred to as Kamalone, as he would say it), for an example.  Kamalone always wanted a championship.  He even went to the Lakers as a third fiddle to Kobe and Shaq to try and get one.  At the same time, Kamalone wanted Kamalone's money during some of his prime championship years.  All the stars do this, and in baseball, that's fine.  You can get deep pocketed owners who will pay whatever and there's no penalty.  In football and basketball though, it's a different matter.  There's a good salary cap on both of those sports, and if a superstar really wanted to win championships and be considered one of the best ever, they should take the pay cut.  Take LeBron James.  If he cared about sticking around with the Cavs and winning a boatload of championships, he'd take a cut and get some other stars to come there for the same reason.  It's similar to what did happen in Boston.  KG went to Boston and along with Ray Allen and Paul Pierce and they didn't require max contracts to stick around.  As a result, they won the world championship.
It's one of my few beefs with Deron Williams.  I know that D-Will wants a championship, but his contract will make that more difficult than if he took a lesser salary.  Because the Jazz won't pay the luxury tax, we'll have to say goodbye to either Paul Millsap (most likely), Carlos Boozer, Memo Okur, or Andrei Kirelinko this summer.  If all of our high cost players would renegotiate their contracts down, say AK goes down to a much more reasonable 8 million per (which is a 50% pay cut) and D-Will, Okur and Booz take a trim down to 8 million as well, that would give the Jazz brass an additional $20 million to roll into new contracts.  If they were able to use their pull to add some good complimentary players - keep Millsap at the mid-level exemption, maybe trade Harpring and his bad knees (or buy out the contract) for a solid 3 so that we can keep AK as the 6th man.  We could still get a solid backup for D-Will or keep Korver behind Brewer or do some other creative things to send out a team that 1-10 is the class of the league.  Isn't that worth it, just once, for some superstars to give up a little (okay, a lot) of their money in order to be known as part of the best team ever put together?

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