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NBA Free Agency- One of These Teams Is Not Like the Others

David Liam Kyle/NBAE/Getty Images
The NBA's version of silly season (aka Free Agency) is heating up, with most of the focus on two of the players at the top- LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony. Did you notice anything unusual about the teams in the running for their services? There's an oddball- the Cleveland Cavaliers. What makes the Cavs an oddball? Cleveland is not in New York, Chicago or Los Angeles (the Big 3 major markets) and Ohio is not an income tax-free state, like Florida, Texas and Tennessee.

That is significant, because 22 of the last 24 NBA championships have been won by teams in income tax-free states or the major markets (specifically the Lakers & Bulls). Whether they are admitting it or not, both James and Anthony and the people in their camp are well aware of this fact. If you want to win an NBA championship, you need to go to one of those teams. Is it any surprise then, that the teams on Anthony's short list are the Knicks, Bulls, Rockets, Lakers and Mavericks? All of those teams fit the profile of where the top-tier NBA free agents want to go, because they have the best chance (moving towards the only chance) of winning an NBA title.

What about LeBron? Sure Cleveland is being mentioned, but is that in an effort to make amends for the way he departed for Miami? Are the meetings with Dwyane Wade and Pat Riley in Las Vegas all part of an elaborate ruse to make fans outside of the chosen few teams believe they actually have a legitimate shot at attracting and/or retaining top NBA talent? Maybe not specifically targeted at the fans, but it wouldn't surprise me at all if an agreement was already in place with the key players in Miami. 

The rest of the speculation and rumors about who might go where is just good PR for the league. It keeps the NBA on the ticker and in the newsfeed on Sportscenter and in the headlines in newspapers around the country. When the dust settle and people stop following the movements of Dan Gilbert's jet, the NBA's rich will have gotten richer and the teams like Cleveland? They may get a little better, but their chances of winning a title still remain at less than 10% and shrinking.