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LeBron James: NBA Might Be Better With Fewer Teams

Dec 23, 2010 – 11:43 PM
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Brett Pollakoff

Brett Pollakoff %BloggerTitle%

PHOENIX -- With the NBA's collective bargaining agreement set to expire after this season, one of the things commissioner David Stern has put out there in the early stages of the negotiations has been the possibility of contracting one or more of the league's small-market teams.

LeBron James doesn't necessarily think that would be a bad idea.

Speaking before his Heat faced the Suns on Thursday -- initially in response to a question about whether or not the forming of the latest "big three" in Miami might actually be good for the league, considering the amount of hype surrounding the Christmas Day matchup against the Lakers -- James didn't come right out and say that he's in favor of contraction. But he did talk about a time when there were fewer teams in the league, with each team featuring more star-quality players.

"Hopefully the league can figure it out one day to go back to the situation it was in the '80s, when you had three or four All-Stars, three or four superstars, three or four Hall-of-Famers on the same team," James said. "The league was great. It wasn't as watered down as it is. You had more (All-Star) players on a team, which made almost every game anticipated -- not just a Christmas Day game, not just a Halloween game."

When asked specifically about contraction, James deferred the responsibility of making that decision.

"Not my job -- I'm a player," James said. "But that is why it was so great."

James then continued on, though, and described what contraction might be like -- by mentioning some of the current teams and players who might benefit if indeed the league were to eliminate a few of its teams.

"Just imagine if you could take Kevin Love off Minnesota and add him to another team," James said. "Or, looking at some of the teams that aren't that great, you take Brook Lopez or you take Devin Harris off these teams that aren't that good right now and add them to a team that could be really good. Not saying let's take New Jersey, let's take Minnesota out of the league. But hey, you guys are not stupid. I'm not stupid. I know it would be great for the league."

And about that initial question: does all of the hype surrounding the Heat's upcoming game in Los Angeles somehow validate LeBron's decision to join Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami?

"I don't ever think it's bad for the league when guys decide that they want to do some great things to better what we call a team sport," James said.

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