How to Fix the NBA Tanking Situation

Posted by: Steve Toll
01/09/14 9:52 am EST

pingpongballsMuch has been written on the Internet about the plague of NBA tanking.

Most recently, the 76ers poor level of play during their last two games has brought the #WinlessFor Wiggins and #SorryFor Jabari campaigns back to the front burner on this site.

Without being overly harsh, tanking is a joke.

Outside of a few bright spots: the development of Michael Carter-Williams; Spence’s trade value bolstering 3-point shooting; and Thad’s career best level of play, the 76ers have been a train wreck during the tanking process.

They have sucked the joy out of the NBA season for me.

Rather than have a number of teams tanking every year, I’d much prefer a full NBA redraft each season with a strict salary cap that can’t be exceeded.

A special panel led by Bill Simmons and Haralabos Voulgaris would set the salary for every player in the League each offseason.  All 30 teams would draft 12 players. Each team would have 30 seconds to make a selection.  There would be no commentators, commercials or anything of the sort.  Just the picture of the team’s logo and then the selected players name would flash on the screen.  Every year there would be a 30 team lottery for draft position, total randomness.

The draft would go ABBABBBABBBB.

For example, the team with the first pick would have 1, 60, 90, 91, 150, 180, 210, 211, 270, 300, 330, 360 and it would be amazing.

But I digress…..

The issue with tanking is billionaire owners pay millionaire players via money the owners make off of fans who on average make $35,000 a year.   It’s actually significantly less when you factor in the under 18 fans who essentially make $0 each year. Sports continue to be the rare business where failure can be profitable.  The only way to ease the pain of tanking is to create a FAN TAX.  This would directly benefit people who buy tickets and go to watch the worst of the worst in the NBA

Starting next season, every person who comes into an NBA game has their fingerprint scanned into a system with their ticket.  Only tickets scanned for the game with a fingerprint are part of the FAN TAX.  At some point before the lottery after that season, fans must register their information at a teams venue.  For fans under 18, they must be registered by their parents and any funds from the rakeback system will be put into an interest bearing account that they get access to at age 18.  Below are the “tax” charged to lottery teams depending on what pick they end up with.  Whoever enters the arena with the ticket and gets their fingerprint scanned owns that tickets FAN TAX.

$25,000,000 for the 1st pick

$23,000,000 for the 2nd pick

$21,000,000 for the 3rd pick

$19,000,000 for the 4th pick

$17,000,000 for the 5th pick

$15,000,000 for the 6th pick

$13,000,000 for the 7th pick

$11,000,000 for the 8th pick

$9,000,000 for the 9th pick

$7,000,000 for the 10th pick

$5,000,000 for the 11th pick

$3,000,000 for the 12th pick

$1,000,000 for the 13th pick

$0 for all other picks

For example, Cleveland now owes $25,000,000 to it’s fans.  We will assume that every ticket was accompanied by a fingerprint scan and properly registered.  That money is evenly split among the 663,882 tickets that were purchased and entered the Quicken Loans Arena.  Now a registered ticket is worth $37.65.  For a full season ticket holder, that is a grand total of $1543.65 that you will be getting a check for if you attend every game.

As you sit hear reading this, 15 owners currently have a net worth of at least $1.3 billion.  The other 15 won’t go broke if the FAN TAX is passed, even if by some chance the same team had the #1 pick 20 years in a row.

So don’t worry about them, and if they don’t like it, they can sell the team for an insane amount of money.  There will be no shortage of billionaires who want to join the NBA as owners even with the FAN TAX.  The NBA would have to do things like raising the salary floor, making sure lottery teams can only increase the tickets prices by the % the salary cap is raised and other issues that may arise from implementing a thing like this.  Adam Silver and the owners could make this work, it what would also be a ridiculously good publicity machine for the League.

This is the answer to tanking, FAN TAX.



Steve Toll is a scribe for

You can follow him on Twitter @BasementGM.

You can follow us @philadunkia.


4 Responses to “How to Fix the NBA Tanking Situation”

  1. Matt
    9. January 2014 at 12:11

    Personally, I think the best way to avoid the tanking is to use a points and bid system. Meaning, every non-playoff team would be awarded 25 points and every playoff team would get 10. Then the teams bid on the players they want with the highest bid getting that player. Points would also be tradable and able to carry over from year to year. I’m sure their would be some other rules to make it fair but it’s a good start.

  2. Steve Toll
    10. January 2014 at 13:32



  3. Alex
    10. January 2014 at 15:22

    “WinlessFor Wiggins and SorryFor Jabari” You need to come up with one for Embiid. He is right there with the rest of them.
    I have watched lots of college games this year, more so than last 5 year just because Sixers will have 2 first round picks and perhaps more (thanks to Turner, Haws, and Young).
    With the exception of Jabari, the rest have not impressed me too much so far. For the sake of comparison, I would say MCW is perhaps right there in top 3 or 4 given what he has done so far. And I assume Noel would be special as well.
    Therefore, Sixes have got perhaps the best two draft picks in 2013 and may get another 2 good picks depending on where they and Pelicans fall at the end of the season, enough young talents for a good turn around assuming we keep at least 2 of the big three next season.
    I am not sure why the media talks so much about getting rid of Young, Turner and Haws so fast. With the exception of first 5 to 6 picks, nobody on the 2014 draft board justifies getting rid of Turner Haws or Young unless we get multiple picks for any one of them.

  4. clubberlangphila
    10. January 2014 at 20:28

    Off topic: Too bad we cut Daniel Orton. I think he is better than Arnett Moultrie will ever be. I hope I am wrong and Moultrie is the perfect combo-backup for Noel and Randle next season – yeah I said it. I think Orton would fit with the Blazers well OR EVEN package Allen and Young for McCollum or a pick.

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