NBA Needs To Add An Ownership Rule

Feb 12, 2020; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks executive chairman James Dolan watches the game during the first quarter against the Washington Wizards at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The National Basketball Association has an owner problem. There are a handful of owners that are seemingly too involved in their own personal gain rather than their own franchises. Something needs to be done that ensures every organization a chance of success with capable people at the helm. 

The NBA and its governing body needs to add a rule that involves removing incapable owners from organizations after a certain period of time. The NBA is one of the largest growing sports associations. Basketball is second-most popular among world sports, and the NBA is the cream of the basketball crop. This rule should be placed to kick out any owner that does not provide the organization with any form of success or promise for improvement within a ten-year window. 

This would imply that if an organization is seemingly tanking for a long period of time or is unable to provide a roster that can compete for the playoffs, then the owner must forfeit their stake in the organization. The reason this rule needs to come into fruition is because of a few owners that are blindly leading their organizations into the ground. 

James Dolan of the New York Knicks, Michael Jordan of the Charlotte Hornets, Robert Sarver of the Phoenix Suns, and Tom Gores of the Detroit Pistons are chief among those who would be axed if this rule were put into place. These owners have shown very little interest in their organization’s success. The past decade alone for these organizations have been brutal to witness. Whether they are being too cheap to build a competitive roster, or they are just too incompetent to find success in the ever-adapting NBA, it has led to disastrous results. 

Mikhail Prokhorov, who used to own the Brooklyn Nets from 2010-2019, is a great example of how the NBA should run its organizations. Prokhorov bought the struggling New Jersey Nets and decided to relocate them to Brooklyn. After the relocation, Prokhorov started making large roster changes. He even promised a championship within the next few years. 

However, all the roster changes and moves that Prokhorov and his front office made were terrible. This caused the Brooklyn Nets to become one of the worst teams in the NBA for most of the decade. Due to the misfortune and horrible management of the team, Mikhail Prokhorov decided it was best to move on from the Nets. He would then sell the remainder of his stake in the franchise to Joseph Tsai. 

Prokhorov saw no success as an owner, and after about a decade of failure, he sold the team. This is how the NBA should work for all 30 franchises. If an owner has not proven that he is capable of putting a competitive roster together within a decade, then that person should sell the team to someone who is more willing to try.

Obviously, building a team is difficult. Front offices can never always pick the perfect guy in the draft, or always sign the big-name free agents. But this rule would be to target owners who show no incentive to build even playoff contenders. 

An example of an organization that has not seen too much success but has put forth a competitive roster is the Orlando Magic. The Devos family, who own the Magic, have done a decent job in building a roster that could compete for the playoffs.

It is not a roster that can win a championship, but the team in recent years has been able to make the playoffs. The DeVos family would be able to keep their franchise under this rule, as they have shown the capability to build and sustain competitive teams. 

This rule would allow the NBA to become more balanced as more owners would have to try and stay competitive to keep their team and keep owners accountable instead of letting their marquee teams melt down like Dolan has done to the Knicks. 

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