What Might Have Been?

Ever since two one-sided deals sent Kevin Garnett to Boston and Pau Gasol to Los Angeles, I've been thinking about how pleased the NBA central office must be about the prospect of reviving the storied Lakers-Celtics rivalry with a meeting between two historic large market franchises in the NBA finals. It occurs to me, however, that there's a very plausible scenario in which the league gets something catastrophic like a New Orleans—Detroit matchup. Especially out West, we've got closely matched teams in quality and huge gaps in marketability between squads like LA, Phoenix, Houston (think of the China market -- and, yes, they've learned to love T-Mac over there) and laggards like New Orleans and Utah. Look for conspiracy theories to abound if the officiating in the playoffs seems to smile upon the more marketable squads.

Photo by Flickr user TheMikeLee used under a Creative Commons license