• A salary cap in the National Basketball League will prompt players to gravitate to franchises where they can potentially double their income, thus making it difficult for the smaller franchises to retain them, according to Taranaki coach David Bublitz.
• Rangers mentor Jeff Green says a pay ceiling will inflate the worth of some Kiwis who already "are getting paid some very stupid money and they aren't worth it" while Jets counterpart Tim McTamney believes it's a wait-and-see approach into the unknown.
Slapping a salary cap on the National Basketball League isn't necessarily going to bridge the fiscal disparities between the haves and have-nots, according to the perennial strugglers in the New Zealand competition.
Some of the minnow NBL coaches believe any such constraints may exacerbate the problems that tend to give cash-rich franchises, such as perennial champions Wellington Saints, the Southland Sharks and the Canterbury Rams, too much clout.
If anything, the resource-poor franchises believe they need to hoist themselves to the benchmark the recently-crowned Saints have been setting rather than trying to drag the 11-time NBL kings down to their level.
Taranaki Mountainairs mentor David Bublitz says the $200,000 for the ceiling and a 20 per cent top up for a marquee player are still too high for teams like his, the Manawatu Jets and the Supercity Rangers who tend to operate closer to or even under the $100,000 threshold.
"The argument is whether it's better for the bottom teams to work harder each year to get up there," Bublitz says, emphasising the need to retain the quality of players in the NBL because decreasing the cap even more will trigger off an exodus.
"The problem is you get to the $200,000 threshold and then work around the potentially lower salary bracket to become a bit more higher quality."
Players, he says, will gravitate to franchises where they can potentially double their income, thus making it difficult for the smaller franchises to retain them.
"For the bottom teams to remain more competitive means they'll need to generate more income so I don't think it's going to change a whole lot."
Saints eventually find step to snip net for 11th NBL crown
Hawks beat Canterbury Rams at their own game in playoffs
Hearts say Hawks but heads Ramming it home in NBL Final 4
Bublitz isn't sure if the salary cap will necessarily bridge the yawning gap between the campaigners.
"You have to rely on the integrity of the people running the franchises not to pay players in other ways so the policing of it will be very difficult."
In any professional league in any code around the world, he says it's about the haves and have-nots so it isn't about bringing the former down to the latter's level but vice-versa.
"If the cap's at $200,000 and we're still at $100,000, not much is going to change."
Bublitz says rugby has a firm grip on the lion's share of sponsorship in Taranaki where there is a community focus so the basketball franchise board has its work cut out, which isn't too different from the Bay.
Overall, he feels it's a step in the right direction provided it doesn't push away top-end players who have the propensity to chase contracts abroad.
Jets coach Tim McTamney doesn't feel a ceiling will prevent the elite players from plying their trade but believes it's imperative to have a floor as well.
"You know, we've got a bit of work to do in order to reach that floor so it remains to be seen whether that's going to have the desired effect," says McTamney.
"I've got to be honest because our organisation actually thrives on the challenge of competing with these higher-budget teams with personnel that we have," he says, alluding to the 18 to 20-year-olds Manawatu have in their mix. "We aspire to be in the same category as the Sharks, the Saints and the [Southern] Huskies in terms of financial resources but, in the meantime, we're very happy battling and trying to build a structure that will allow us to compete in the long term."
McTamney says the salary cap issue is a wait-and-see situation because the impact it'll have on NBL is unknown but he hopes they won't lose elite players through a lack of finances to keep them.
His major concern is the robust franchises will start preying on the quality home-grown talent if there's an exodus of the elite.
"It's very possible that the very best players who are playing now may feel there isn't enough money for them to warrant continuing to play for them — even if we lose three or four — and start looking else where."
With the Otago Nuggets returning next season, he says, the talent will start to spread even more.
"I'm not convinced that it's going to work but then I could be wrong so we'll just have to wait and see."
Many fans, McTamney says, are of the view that it'll be "a leveller" for teams of the ilk of the Jets, Airs and the Nuggets.
"I prefer us to aspire to reaching the bar rather than lowering it for us and that's what I feel is happening at the moment so we'll see."
Rangers counterpart Jeff Green says he's been on both sides of the Libran scale of the Auckland franchise — loosening the purse strings and bracing for a fiscal butt clench.
"There's no secret — you spend the money and you get the results but if you don't then you don't get it [crown]," says Green, seeing merits in a salary cap but echoing the sentiment of his peers that someone has to audit that process.
He juxtaposes that with the predicament of the NRL rugby league competition in Australia where a cap has driven salary payments into the underground.
"I don't believe that the policing aspect is in place, which just makes the richer teams get novel in the way that they spend their money on their players."
Green says the imposition of a pay ceiling will boost the clout of home-grown talent who will become more expensive.
"Some of those Kiwis don't deserve or aren't up to getting paid that much for what they do so that's queue for the way people will get paid so, like it is now, some Kiwis are getting paid some very stupid money and they aren't worth [it]."
While capping income is a way, he feels, tailoring rules pertaining to restrictions on certain types of players on eligibility rules will be more pertinent.
"If you play in the NBL in Australia even for 10 minutes you should be classed as an import," he says, adding that should be applicable to those who ply their trade in Europe, even if in lower-tier leagues.
"If you're a paid professional you should be classed as an import because that's where you make your living."
He says the Saints are doing that, albeit within the rules, and good luck to them but that area urgently needs to be addressed.
Green, whose Rangers are undergoing a review process with the NBL on pay issues with their imports this season, says regardless of whether the Kiwis earn $5000 or $500 abroad the NZ league is a semi-professional stage.