Most Likely Candidates for NBA Contraction

November 1, 2010

In order for the Miami Heat to pull off what they did this past off-season, two other franchises had to lose their biggest stars. The NBA is a definite have, have-not league. The smaller, less desirable markets have very little chance to succeed. Recently David Stern has begun talking about possibly contracting up to 4 teams. So who are the most likely teams to be contracted?  

Cleveland Cavaliers Cleveland is still in a hangover after the departure of Lebron James. Many people around the league forget about how miserable the team was prior to the arrival of Lebron James in 2003. If Lebron, who is a native of Ohio, won't stay with the Cavaliers, who ever would?
Charlotte Bobcats The Charlotte Bobcats made the playoffs last season. This is the first time for the 2004 expansion team. For a team filled with slightly above average talents, their journey will probably once again land them just bad enough to draft another lower end lottery pick. Not good enough to make a big difference, but not bad enough to land a superstar talent is a death by a thousands paper cuts for small market franchises. A big time free agent won't land there, so a long journey to the middle seems likely. North Carolina is more concerned with the Tar Heels. After only six years in Charlotte, would anyone notice if the Bobcats were gone?
Memphis Grizzlies The Memphis Grizzlies were one of the surprise teams in the NBA last season. They have great young talent at almost every position. So why are they on this list? What seems to be a total lack of indifference from the Memphis fans. The Grizzlies had the third lowest attendance in the NBA last season. They were able to re-sign Rudy Gay in the Off-season by over paying for him. But when their other young talent become free agents, who would be affordable, and who would want to stay?  Unless a successful season can get some fans into seats, there will be another Gasol-like exodus of talent in the next couple years.  
Minnesota Timberwolves The Minnesota Timberwolves have been the laughing-stock of the NBA since Garnett was shipped to the Boston Celtics. Attendance has waned, and missteps in the draft have set the franchise back a few years. Recently owner Glen Taylor has publicly stated that the Wolves will not be contracted, but that doesn't mean they won't be a prime suspect. The Wolves fans have supported this team in the past, but it is tough to show up for a 15 win team. The Wolves need to make some progress in the Win/Loss column this year, and hope for Ricky Rubio to arrive next season to potentially save the franchise.