Relegation Can Save The Day

I attended a secret Midcoast Blogger Summit yesterday in Ellsworth, Maine with two of the FreeDarko crew who are up in the Mount Desert area at the moment. Talk naturally turned to How to Save the NBA. Unfortunately, I forgot to present my actual idea on this before leaving. My thought, though, is that the intrinsic competitive imbalance problem driven by the short supply of tall people (see also here or, more briefly, the reason you pick Greg Oden with the number one pick) would best be addressed by adopted a European-style system of having multiple tiers of play with teams promoted or demoted according to how they fare.

Obviously, the details could go in a few different ways, but in broad outline you might do three different divisions -- Division A, Division B, and Division C -- each with 12 teams. At the end of the season, the two worst teams in Division A would get demoted to Division B for the next year. The two worst teams in Division B would be demoted to Division C. But Division C's two best teams would get promoted to Division B, and Division B's two best teams would get promoted to Division A. The result is that almost every team would have "something to play for" throughout the season.