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NBA Summit 2010

On Thursday, impending free agent Dwyane Wade announced that before he makes any decision about where he’s going to play next season, he’s going to consult his partners in crime (Yeah, it’s a crime how much they’re going to yank from their teams next year) LeBron James, Joe Johnson, and Chris Bosh.

The nature of this conference is, and will remain, largely confidential, for the most part, but let’s call this what it is: a conspiracy to take all the power away from the GMs and reserve it for themselves.

They’re going to say that they will debate the merits and drawbacks of each team (the prospects of winning, the market, etc.), but the purpose of this meeting — and, more accurately, the announcement of this meeting — is to stir the pot, develop baseless “conditions” for signing one of these stars, and give the notion that there’s some semblance of a super team under construction.

Hey, maybe we’ll even hear that one of them will be willing to sign for one dollar under the maximum!

This whole deal stinks of corruption and misplaced sense of power. The closest comparison I can draw is Elaine, George, and Kramer’s collective demand for $1 million per episode for Seinfeld’s final season. Unfortunately, this is a lot more fishy.

The NBA has all kinds of strict rules about when and how teams can engage and discuss potential free agents in anticipation that a wheeling-and-dealing GM might secure a top player before anyone else has a chance. In effect, it is to protect the players.

Why, then, is this sort of meeting acceptable? Sure, you can say it’s simply freedom of speech for them to talk to one another, but if the league is going to go out of its way to ensure protection of the players, shouldn’t it do the same for the teams? The free agents have a lot more impact on this offseason frenzy than a lot of people would expect, so why the league allow them to wield even more in this de facto manipulation of teams in pursuit?

To put it simply, the league shouldn’t. But they’ll never change anything. This process has become way too much of a publicity stunt, and the NBA doesn’t want to see that dissolve.

Already we have the mere speculation that LeBron might leave, and its headlines dominate the press landscape on a daily basis. Hello? There are two competitive playoff series going on right now, and all most people care about is where “The Chosen One” will land next season. Granted, it could have implications far greater than one NBA title, but let’s save the analysis for when things are little more concrete, huh?

This meeting is going to boil down to just this: “Hey, guys. How can we get these teams to sweat a bit more and brighten the spotlight on us? I don’t even care about winning, just give me the fame!”

Well, that’s just great.

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