This plan introduces incentives to make every game interesting. It would also ensure that players get what they deserve. If a player sits on the bench and offers nothing, does he deserve a high salary based on past success? How about getting paid for each success, then having to strive to repeat it in order to maintain that high level of pay?
Here is my plan to make every game mean something.
If everything was equal and all teams had a chance to compete in every one of the 82 games all teams would finish with 41 wins and 41 losses. So lets use that number. Now let's decide on a number as the incentive for a win. How about 1 million dollars. That isn't bad for a team of 12 guys to split.
So if every team won and loss equally, each team would earn 41 million dollars. Better teams would deserver more money, and they would get it, and worse teams would deserver less and they would get it. But they would all know that they had the chance at the beginning of the game to win the million for that game.
So at the beginning of the season each team would deposit the 41 million into an account, or as each game passed. This money is the incentive money. This puts every team on equal footing. No big spending team or cheap owner can get away with spending more or less. They can only control things like coaching, drafting and strategy in order to win games. They can't just buy the most talent. They have to run their teams as best they can.
If a team won only 10 games, they would have ONLY 10 million to split, so we need to give the poor players some protection. So each team has an additional 15 million to distribute among the players as the base salary. But there is a slotting system, so the to player can be offered the highest salary, with a cap of 5 million. The second best player can get 4 million and so on. The starting five is the most important, so the bench will still be paid very well, but not millions that they don't deserve. Plus there will only be two year contracts, so there could be plenty of player movement, but it would not be the star players as they would want to stay as the top dog with the chance to earn the largest slice of the pie. This way, one player is the top dog and it is clear, and the best players would be distributed more evenly throughout the league because they want to get the high base salary.
Here is how the incentive changes the game.
When a team wins a game, they get to split the 1 million between them. But that 1 million is split up amongst the team based on how much each player contributed to the win. The first and easiest way would be to split the money based on percentage of the points scored. But that doesn't take into account players who contribute in so many other ways. If John Hollinger's GameScore statistic was used, the player with the highest game score would receive the largest chunk of the million. So if a player had a game score of 35, and that was 20 percent of the total game score of all players on the winning team, they get a full 20 percent of the million, or $200,000 for the win. This would ensure that player would both play hard. If a player had a crazy game and went off they would get more. Doesn't a player deserver something for having a career game? In this system they would.
If a player was suspended or was injured they wouldn't be able to earn their share of the money. They would still get the base pay, but if the won the money would be split up amongst those guys who played. So every now and again a player would have a breakout game and really contribute to a win, or in a blowout the bench players could get some playing time and earn some of the extra money. But in the end the best players are the ones playing the most minutes and doing the most to lead the team to the win. They would be the ones earning the most money. It would also keep guys from earning huge salaries when they couldn't win. Winners get paid!
The fans are there to see the stars, so they would be playing their hardest, because they would want to win for the money, not just pride.
Let's look at this season. The Bulls would have split 62 Million bucks as the best team. Derrick Rose often led his team in Game Score, so he would usually get the most money. He did miss one game, so during that game, if the Bulls won, another player would have the chance to earn the big dollars.
The Timberwolves would split 17 Million as the worst team.
If a star player averaged a 20% contribution to each of 60 wins, they would earn 12 Million in incentives. Will the 5 Million in base pay, they would earn 17 million for the year. Pretty good money. If a player averages a 20% contribution to each of 10 wins, they would only earn 2 Million. Seems fair doesn't it?
Also, a dunk bonus! For every dunk, the player gets $1500.
With this system we have all players killing themselves to win every single game and dunk whenever they had the chance.
This system would never be enacted, but let me know what you think.