I agree Bear,
What about a half way of each
ie Rosters of upto 12 players, soft salary cap of 700k, you may sign one player outside of that, ie 11 within the 700k and then sign 1 player for upto say 400k, but no minimum spend, do not have spend above the 700k cap, so hard cap of 1.1 million. Teams are allowed to sign upto 3 imports.
For every dollar spent over say 950k, you pay a luxury tax of say 50c, which is distributed to the teams under the 950k, which are likely to be the community teams.
If say teams are currently spending on average say 900k, they could still afford a 200k 'marquee player' without spending any more than they currently are, teams like Perth who look as if they could spend a bit more could sign a 400k guy, total spend of 1.1 mil, that could be enough to even keep Lisch around for them, which is also great for the league.
Make the 11th and 12th spots, part time and pay around 20k.
I'd keep the points cap, but increase it to say 85, to accommodate an extra import and a roster of a total of 12 guys, ie you could add a new import and a player of upto 5 points to any current roster.
Would this achieve sort of the best of both worlds, without forcing anyone to spend more than they are already, but adding a little bit of extra for those who want to, plus forces the clubs to spend a little more say 200k on one guy rather who is at a higher quality, ie every team ends up with a Ervin/Deleon type import, who lets face it are more exciting than most Aussies without really spending any more.
Thinking of current rosters if these rules where in place.
36ers (spend at current levels say around 1 mil)
Basically replacing Teys with Farley, who even at his age is likely the better player and would put more bums on seats, and Daly and Pero keep there spots.
Ervin has the Marquee spot, and being able to pay him 200-300k would more likely lock him in for a couple of years in the NBL atleast which is great for the league and if its with the 36ers even better as it allows the fans to keep a longer term import a bit like what used to happen, when guys like even Brooks, Mee, Farley play several seasons at 1 club, which doesnt happen as much these days, especially the top line imports.
Crocs (Community team, so fitting roster under say 700-800k, no real 'marquee player'
To me that team is so alot better, isnt a starter short as the current crocs are at C, and would be far more competitive. So this would help the more community teams without spending much/if any more than they currently are.
Hawks (another cheaper roster, along the same lines as the Crocs)
PF Forman/2 young Aussie bigs
SF Import (Jordan Gregg)/Coenraad
SG Hurdle/Demos/ young Aussie guard
Ie can have a import sg and sf which they need to have a strong starting 5 imo, and not really spend a cent more than they currently are, as Hurdle/import sf would be cheap. Also keeps a fan favourite in Hurdle around, also great for the league/club.
Perth (plenty of money, will spend the full 400k on Lisch to keep him, roster of 1.1 mil)
C Knight/Will Hudson/Jervis
Lisch, marquee player on 400k, decides to stay in the NBL.
So it would allow the Wildcats to keep Lisch, still grab Ennis and get a import big man (Hudson) to help out Knight/be insurance if he gests hurt, which are things they currently cant do, would only cost them an extra 100k, also likely give them the points to keep R.Carter (even though i doubt the points are really the issue)
So to me adding the extra import and a slight increase of the hard cap, improves all of the above rosters, a cheap (Townsville/Wollongong), Medium spend, ie no more than current cap (36ers), big club (Wildcats, they dont have to chose between a import sg and C, they can have both which it seemed like they wanted to)
All should be more entertaining to, even if only a player off the bench, ie Farley for Teys, Perth keep a stud in Lisch, Townsville/Wollongong end up with a propper starting 5.