By Yoni Selbiger, Special for The Sports Rabbi
Imagine these lineups: Mike James, Will Clyburn, Darrun Hillard, Tornike Shengelia, and Nikola Milutnov for CSKA. De Colo, Datome, Sloukas, Williams and Vesely for Fenerbahce. In all of these lineups there’s at least 3-4 Top Euroleague players. On the other hand, look at lineups and rosters of teams like Alba Berlin, Zalgiris and the like. Can you name a top player in the Euroleague on those teams? The answer is no, perhaps one.
Salary caps are a format that limits the total amount of money that teams are allowed to pay their players. For example, the NBA has a salary cap to control costs and benefit parity, defined by the league’s management. This does not exist in the Euroleague. The idea had been brought up in the past to the Euroleague but it was dismissed.
Why does the Euroleague need to institute a salary cap and limit spending across the league? Unfair Competition.
Teams that have a large sponsor such as Armani, CSKA or Fenerbahce allow those clubs the opportunity to access tens of millions of dollars, limitless amounts of money thereby creating unfair competition. For example, the top 3 teams this season (Efes, Real Madrid and Barcelona) all have sponsors with deep pockets allowing them to sign players to contracts that other teams just can’t afford.
Whether it’s Real paying Walter Tavares $3M, Sergio Llull $2.2M or other players who are earning over a million dollars. Barcelona is paying Mirotic over $5M, Abrines $2M and Higgins almost $2M as well. Why would these payers want to sogn for any other team such as Valencia when they can earn double the amount of money. Their highest paid player according to Google is Bojan Dubljevic and his salary is roughly $1M. Although he had a breakout season with Valencia, he is not at the level of Mirotic or Jan Vesely who make double his salary. Most teams can’t afford to sign a player to a large contracts which makes finding players to sign that much harder. When most of the top players land up on a superteam, there is much less Euroleague talent available for any of the other teams.
There are those who will say that if a team can find the right sponsors or investors, then it is their right to spend their money as they see fit. However, I believe that not every team can attract a company such as Armani that will allow a team to spend as much as they would like. That may be each and every club’s own issue, but the implementation of a salary cap will allow for more investors and sponsors to join up with a club understanding that there is a level playing field. The salary cap will attract more brands to get involved when they see that each team has a chance to compete for the Euroleague title which in turn will make the league expand its reach and its popularity.
Information taken from:
Google, Eurohoops.net, Brainbasketball.net and Wikipedia.
® All rights on this opinion article belongs to the writer Yoni Selbiger, Israel