Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is always thinking outside the box ... I appreciate that ... and his latest idea is rather interesting.
He is tired of the Western Conference being so much better than the East. For example, his Mavericks finished as the 8th seed last season in the West, though they'd have been the No. 3 seed in the East. His idea is to swap teams around. Send the Bulls, Pacers, Bucks and Pistons to the West and the Mavericks, Spurs, Rockets and Pelicans will move East.
Sure, those three Texas teams plus New Orleans would look a bit silly east of those Great Lakes teams. I also don't understand why Memphis wasn't included in this since they are the easternmost team in the Western Conference. But it would solve some of the problem. The Spurs have won five championships since 1999 and is a title contender this season. The Mavericks won a title in 2011 and have been a routine playoff team. The Rockets won titles in 1994 and 1995 and have an outstanding core of Dwight Howard and James Harden. The Pelicans are young and talented and feature the next big star in Anthony Davis. Not to mention those three Texas teams have outstanding front office leadership.
They would replace the Bucks, who have been insignificant for quite a while, the Pacers, Pistons and Bulls. Since 1989, the Eastern Conference has won 13 titles. Those four teams (okay, the Bulls and Pistons) have won 9 of those.
I'm not a big fan of realigning just because of competitive balance. That changes very quickly for a lot of reasons. Look no further than the plight of the Cleveland Cavaliers since 2003. They stunk, then drafted LeBron James and went to the Finals. He left and they stunk again for four years. LeBron came back and now they are back as contenders.
The Lakers won titles in 2009 and 2010 and now they are god-awful. The Bulls had the first pick in the NBA draft right after they three-peat in 1998. The Spurs could watch Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili retire and the franchise may take a while to get back among the elite.
If you really wanted to have this "fair", then do one of three things:
1) Don't do anything.
2) Forget the conferences. Just have all 30 teams in one "division" or "conference". You play 24 other teams three times and 5 teams you play just twice. Then just have the top 16 teams make the playoffs and go from there.
3) Totally realign. Do what the NFL and MLB does and have different conferences that aren't West and East. Then you can just divide the leagues up and split up the talent (and geography). Something like this:
EAST: 76ers, Celtics, Hawks, Heat, Knicks
CENTRAL: Bucks, Grizzlies, Mavericks, Pistons, Rockets
WEST: Jazz, Lakers, Thunder, Trail Blazers, Warriors
EAST: Hornets, Magic, Nets, Raptors, Wizards
CENTRAL: Bulls, Cavaliers, Pacers, Pelicans, Spurs,
WEST: Clippers, Kings, Nuggets, Suns, Timberwolves
Or you could split it up any other way. Maybe just divide the current divisions up among the two conferences and just rename them East, Central, West
EAST: 76ers, Celtics, Knicks, Nets, Raptors
CENTRAL: Bucks, Bulls, Cavaliers, Pacers, Pistons
WEST: Clippers, Kings, Lakers, Suns, Warriors
EAST: Hawks, Heat, Hornets, Magic, Wizards
CENTRAL: Grizzlies, Mavericks, Pelicans, Rockets, Spurs
WEST: Jazz, Nuggets, Thunder, Timberwolves, Trail Blazers
Whatever. But that would divide these regions up;