Originally posted on Fox Sports Ohio  |  Last updated 12/2/11
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It took all of about, oh, 27 seconds after NBA owners and players reached a tentative deal for the rumors to start their spin. Chris Paul longs to play in New York. Dwight Howard aches to play in L.A. Every other available body is craving a large-market or warm-weather or generally happening city of his own. This is the NBA, man. This is the steak-and-jet set. The fact both Paul and Howard already play in trendy towns is beside the point. New Orleans aint New York, insist the NBA-writing scribes. Disney World aint no Disneyland, declare those who view pro basketball as more of an amusement park ride than an actual athletic event. And yes, this is exactly the kind of chatter the league had hoped to avoid when it reached a collective bargaining agreement a little more than a week ago. Especially since the new CBA, while decided upon, has yet to be made official. But thats OK. This is the NBA today. This is a world ruled by social media, where quick and often meaningless chirps take priority over real facts every time. And in this world, the NBA pretty much stands alone. Seriously. No other sports league is as dominated by gossip-mag style headlines and highlights as the NBA. Twitter, it seems, has become more significant than the All-Star Game and Finals combined. Its loads of fun, for sure. At least, it is for so many who write and read about such things. It is for those who dont care how many points Lamar Odom scores or how many rebounds he grabs -- provided he hooks up with a Kardashian. Problem is, a lot of what were hearing today is based on yesterdays CBA. Problem is, a lot of folks just picked up where they left off long before the lockout ever began. Problem is, the NBA is no longer just about NYC and TNT and ABC. Oh, most of the big-time reporters still live and work there, and most of them do a bang-up job. Most also still like to think they remain at the center of the basketball universe, and most will tell you everyone else thinks so, too. And you know what? Most are right. Who wouldnt want to play in Madison Square Garden? Who doesnt want to take the court in the same uniform as their celebrity pals? Honestly, though. Nothing wrong with any of that. And any of it can still happen from time to time. Its true. Chris Paul really could end up with the Knicks. In fact, if the Knicks sent Carmelo Anthony to the Hornets in return, it could happen tomorrow. Sound ridiculous? Of course, but no more unlikely than the idea of the best players continuously congregating in the same town to form their own version of the Superfriends. This is about to become a devastating new reality for some players and fans and folks who live to tweet. They are about to find out that this NBA has little in common with that NBA. None of this is to say the Heat and Lakers are headed for the commode. None of it is to imply Charlotte and Milwaukee are locks to meet in the conference finals. But the CBA has changed things. I repeat: The owners won. Small-market franchises really do have a better chance. The playing field really is level. OK, maybe not as level as small-market fans would like, but its a lot closer. And it will only get nearer as we move along. How this has happened can be explained in one short and simple sentence. You can even call it a tweet if it helps you understand. Either way, here it is: In order for owners of teams located in big-market or warm-weather or generally happening cities to stockpile superstars, they will have to pay out the wazoo. Then they will pay some more. They will be nailed with penalties, all financial -- or the kind that businessmen hate most. They will be severely limited in their ability to make additional roster moves. They will end up hating their lives. And for those owners and their teams, thats pretty much the good news. So go ahead. Keep dreaming. Keep listening to the folks who insist the NBA remains a four- or five-team league. For a while, they might be right. But it wont be long before those folks need to make a choice: Shut up, or suffer a fate far worse than Dwight Howard playing center in Orlando. It wont be long, rest assured, before those folks are laughed right off Twitter. Follow Sam Amico on Twitter @SamAmicoFSO
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