Traditionally, each decade had seen the dominance of at least one exceptionally strong team built on Star power.
The Los Angeles Lakers of the late 1990s to 2000s, the Miami Heat of the 2010s and the Golden State Warriors since 2014 till date.
This rare phenomenon is starting to show the potential to have a greater frequency of occurrence with recent developments around the NBA.
The following factors contribute to the incubating reasons for their rise.
Team Cap Space
The NBA has prominently shifted their players’ fortunes in the brighter direction since the Team cap space was lifted. With each team being allowed to spend more to acquire players and salary limits being adjusted, each team is now able to woo elite players by offering either maximum contracts to super maximum contracts, depending on the player’s stint with the team or accolades.
That means that more elite players can be assembled in the same team. All-NBA talents can now think of teaming up without sacrificing too much in the salary department.
Since the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the NBA has seen the balance of power tilt in the favor of NBA players, taking more control from the owners.
Teams are now allowed to land advertisers on their jerseys, opening the door to more money.
With more of the media advertising money being allowed to flow into players pockets, players are now able to seek better paychecks and teams can lure more talent to build stronger teams.
This levels the playing field for 30 teams to each have a shot at quickening their path towards a Championship through Star acquisitions.
The current commissioner of the NBA has shown that he is a man of the modern times. From his way of open communication with the players union to his diffusing of tricky controversial situations during the New York Knicks-Charles Oakley fiasco to his receptive stance to changing the All-Star Game selection format, it showed that Adam Silver is one commissioner who values new ideas. What better time to cultivate many Superteams in the league than now with such a forward thinking man at the helm of the NBA?
Players are increasingly savvy of the financial value that they can get from their playing career.
Apart from chasing Championships, players are also looking for higher salaries, better endorsement deals, more affluent market cities, stronger fanbases and more side gig opportunities.
Take Golden State Warriors, for example, the proximity to Silicon Valley means that players have the advantage of direct access to some of the most lucrative tech companies and investment opportunities into cutting-edge blockchain companies, which are in vogue now.
Greater and more affluent markets such as New York and Los Angeles attract players to congregate not just to win but also receive better endorsement deals and monetary compensation due to the higher tiered ticket prices, premium merchandises and team royalties.
Everyone loves a good rivalry. Currently, the Warriors sit atop the hill as the title favorite.
Make no mistake, the other peripheral contenders are making strides and sharpening their tools. Each team has a vested interest to raise their game in an attempt to have a chance to duel the best in the playoffs.
Just look at the Cleveland Cavaliers, for instance. Just in 2014 to 2017, their television ratings were through the roof just because they made it annually to their duel at the Finals against the Warriors. Their national televised schedule was league-leading, resulting in many commercial advertising opportunities and income for the owner, Dan Gilbert.
Just a few months into the exodus of LeBron James, we see the schedule tilt in the favor of Los Angeles Lakers, who received the league-leading most nationally televised games for the 2018/2019 season. Look at Cleveland now, they have plummeted to a league-low of single-digit national games.
As you can see, any team with the ambition to earn more through better television ratings and opportunities that follow would do their utmost to groom their own version of Superteam.
Remember the good old days when rival teams are like enemies for life?
The Piston Bad Boys will never speak to the Chicago Bulls players. The New York Knicks Patrick Ewing will never be seen hanging out with the Boston Celtics Kevin McHale. Kobe from the Los Angeles Lakers will literally fight Reggie Miller from the Indiana Pacers on the court.
Times have evolved and player relationships are very much cordial and the camaraderie is improved with annual Team USA basketball training camps.
Gone were the days when players only knew their teammates. Just check out YouTube and you can see the plethora of videos of NBA players from different teams working out together or playing in the same Drew League teams or attending events with other NBA stars. That should create a conducive breeding ground for players to moot their next Superteam notion.
Social media exposes all the fun-loving and playfulness of players who bond over preseason workouts to Fort Nite game sessions to outings to the dance club.
Now all players can see for themselves that the new norm is friendship between any player from opposing teams. The famous ‘Banana Boat’ photograph showed how players can keep close relationships despite team differences. Who knows what goes on in those private conversations and who are we to decide if its cool for players to team up with their friends?
Superteams are here to stay and they might spring out more frequently and earlier than we think possible. Stay tuned as the NBA becomes bigger, better and branded as Super.