The association is in trouble because nobody cares about the actual season. The draft, trades, free agency and hell even the Ball family have been way more exciting than the NBA finals, which were the only games some fans watched all season long.
The whole super team thing sucks because not only does it make games predictable, but when you factor in the way the cap is structured, guys are signing short term deals and teaming up with other stars as if team loyalty never existed. Why have the Cavs and Warriors played in the past 3 finals? Because they are in a different stratosphere in terms of quality talent compared to the rest of the league. So even when the Cavs were struggling during the regular season we all knew they would be back in the finals. And the Warriors went 16-1 during the playoffs and did so effortlessly. Another reason why the actual season isn’t what it used to be is guys resting. Star players are sitting out games in the back end of back to backs to be at full speed come playoff time. Well the regular season already sucks as it is and now guys can take nights off so we’re left watching backups play? I understand the reasoning, you want to win come playoff time so you need healthy guys, but the league needs to do something so these stars aren’t sitting out double digit games during the season because it’s making regular season games mean nothing. I’m not sure the solution is shortening the regular season for this, but something has to be done. When you look at the most popular league in America, the NFL, all 16 games pretty much mean something in the regular season.
This current free agency period has teams trying to form their own super teams which has been somewhat exciting. The draft was fun, there was anticipation on where Hayward, Jimmy, PG, CP3, Blake, and other stars would go, people were actually tuning into summer league, and seeing the Ball family talking trash to the 76ers has been entertaining. There will be a little bit of excitement for a week or two when the league tips off this fall. We will tune in to see how good Lonzo and the other rookies are, if the stars on their new teams can coexist with their star teammates, and maybe for the big games such as Spurs/Warriors and Cavs/Warriors, and the smaller games with interesting storylines like Lakers/76ers. However, at the end of the day none of it will matter because it will be the Cavs and Warriors in the finals for a fourth straight season and nobody will watch anything aside from the few things mentioned above, until the finals.
The bottom line is the most exciting part about the current NBA is the off season. Having story lines that are more exciting than the actual product sounds like WWE rather than a professional sport. Until the NBA does something to fix this, it is in serious trouble.