NBA commissioner Adam Silver understands how some fans are upset that Kevin Durant was able to sign with an already loaded team, but he gives the Golden State Warriors credit for working within the rules to make it happen.
That doesn't mean Silver isn't already thinking about tweaks that can be made in the next collective bargaining agreement to make the NBA a more level playing field.
Appearing on ESPN Radio's Golic and Wingo show on Wednesday, Silver was asked about the league's perceived lack of parity.
"I get it in terms of Kevin Durant going [to the Warriors in 2016]. It was a bit of an aberration in our system; we had a spike in our cap, it enabled them to have additional cap room. The Warriors will tell you they would have figured out a way to get it done anyway," he said.
But he added that the Warriors, who won their second straight championship this season with Durant, should be given their due.
"I've said repeatedly, let's also celebrate excellence. Ownership, the job Bob Myers has done as a GM, Steve Kerr, of course, one of the great coaches in our league. Steph Curry, drafted; Klay Thompson, drafted; Draymond Green drafted 35th by Golden State Warriors," Silver said.
Silver said the NBA doesn't "want to go about breaking up teams just to break them up, just to force some sort of parity that is kind of unnatural," but he said the league and its players can talk about changes to the player-movement system. The current CBA runs through the 2023-24 season, but both sides have the option to opt out after the 2022-23 campaign.
"There's always a next collective bargaining agreement and over the years we've talked about a harder cap than we have now. The NFL has a much harder cap than we do; ours is somewhat soft. Obviously, it allows teams to go significantly above the cap and the tax level and that's the case with both Golden State and Cleveland. They are significantly above where our tax level is right now," he said.
He said fans aren't the only ones he hears complaints from.
"The 28 other teams, they're the biggest complainers that these two teams have met four times in a row [in the NBA Finals]. Ultimately, collectively our 30 teams are in charge with what system we have, along with the players. And by the way, the players on 29 other teams want a system regardless of where they are drafted or where they sign to be able to compete for championships, and that's what you want," he said.
He pointed out that this isn't the first time a team had people asking if their dominance was good for the NBA.
"There have been dynasties forever in this league," Silver said. "There's an old Sports Illustrated cover you guys should look up from 1997 and there's a picture of Michael Jordan on the cover and it's saying, 'Are the Bulls bad for the NBA?' It's kind of the same storyline right now.
"I don't remember the same conversation back then, I think because you didn't have the Kevin Durant factor. That sort of bugs people a little bit, because a team that was already a championship team gained Kevin Durant. There wasn't quite the equivalent with the Chicago Bulls. From a system standpoint, I'll take that as an issue for the league because we always -- through collective bargaining -- can be sitting down with our players association figuring out what's the best way to design competition throughout this league."