Memo to NBA players:

In the wake of The Decision and Melo's March and Amare's Big Apple Adventure and the inevitability of more custom-made superstar teams, you must be congratulating yourselves on this new era of player freedom.

The best of the best can leave Denver for New York, or Cleveland and Toronto for Miami, or Phoenix for New York or Utah for Chicago and claim endless endorsements, riches and rings.

Just one question: What else can we small-market teams do to help? Is there anyone else we can send your way? Just let us know. We are there for you. Just tell us who you want. Kevin Durant in Oklahoma City? Chris Paul in New Orleans? Steve Nash in Phoenix? Tony Parker in San Antonio?

Help us help you.

(Sorry, Utah has been picked over like a Thanksgiving turkey and there really isn't much left, now that Kyle Korver, Carlos Boozer, Ronnie Brewer, Wesley Matthews and Deron Williams have been plucked off the roster. We ask for your patience. Just give the Jazz time and they'll develop some other star who's to your liking.)

Just one warning: You're killing the golden goose. It might seem like a good idea now to have superstars building their own teams, but in the long run it's bad for the future of the league and the next generations of players.

Nobody said anything dumber on the subject than what LeBron James said: "Hopefully, the league can figure out one way where it can go back to the '80s where you had three or four All-Stars, three or four superstars on the same team. The league was great. It wasn't as watered down as it is (now)."

Talk about short-sighted. How long will the league last if there are a handful of powerhouse teams and everyone else plays the role of the Washington Generals, the hapless opponent set up for failure to make the other team look good?

Look what's happening in the NBA now.

LeBron James built his own super team in Miami by joining Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade. Now comes word that James made a recruiting pitch to Mike Bibby, who arranged a buyout with Washington to become a free agent, apparently so he can sign with Team LeBron. James spoke with Bibby after a game last week, but was coy with the details.

"I gave him the eye," James said. "And I guess the eye worked." Great.

Amare Stoudemire is creating his own super team in New York, with one down (Carmelo Anthony) and one to go (Chris Paul, Deron Williams or, at one time, Tony Parker).

"I've talked to Carmelo Anthony and (told him) that he needs to come here," Stoudemire said last year shortly before leaving the Suns to sign with New York. "I've talked to Tony Parker. Both guys are ready to join me if I decide to come here. So we'll see if we can work it out."

Not that the players are doing all the arranging. The Celtics assembled their own trio of stars years ago, with Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen joining Paul Pierce.

The Lakers hoarded an embarrassment of NBA riches after Pau Gasol left Memphis to join Kobe Bryant and Lamar Odom and the rest of them in L.A. If that weren't enough, Ron Artest left Houston to join the mix.

The Bulls raided the Jazz roster to obtain Boozer, Brewer and Korver and put them on the floor with Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah.

Employee movement in sports is different than it is in other businesses. Freed of restraint, it creates dynasties and destroys competitiveness. That's why there's a draft; that's why there are salary caps and luxury taxes, although both seem ineffectual (anyone for a hard cap yet?).

More than any other major sport, the NBA already suffers from a concentration of power in the hands of a few.

Two teams — the Lakers and Celtics — have won 33 of the NBA's 54 championships, or 61 percent. The closest the NFL comes to a two-team dominance is the Cowboys and Steelers, who have won 11 of 45 Super Bowls, or 24 percent.

Five teams — the Lakers, Celtics, Spurs, Bulls and Pistons — account for 24 NBA championships in the last 27 years, or 89 percent.

In other words, the rest of the league has very little chance of winning an NBA title, and given the current trend and the frenzy created by James' departure from Cleveland, it could get worse.

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Small-market teams are increasingly playing the role of the Washington Generals to a half-dozen teams.

How long will fans in Utah, Denver, Sacramento, Memphis and other smaller markets continue to buy tickets and follow the league when their team has no chance?

So far, teams have been reluctant to make the kind of preemptive move that the Jazz pulled off last week when they sent Deron Williams — who refused to commit to the team when his contract expires next year — off to NBA Siberia (New Jersey) in exchange for first-round draft picks and other players. But it seems only a matter of time until Williams winds up in New York and the Jazz's future draft picks grow into stars and move elsewhere.

e-mail: drob@desnews.com

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