i think part of it is a good story line and the other is that fact that they want to have a "big name player" in that market so they don't have to relocate every nba franchise everytime that franchise is on its downward spiral. mind you if you look at these teams, orl, clev, SA, your right the are not big town markets (maybe orl), so if the nba doesn't do something to help right the sinking ship, those franchises probably wouldn't last till this day. you have to also realize that the Raptors
will make money no matter if we have a star player or not. i am guessing that we are top 15 in the league in attendance, where would SA CLV and ORL be if they didn't have their star players?
the reason why markets like toronto, ny, & bos don't regularly get #1 picks is because they can make a large enough profit even without star players being there. there will always be close to sell outs every home game in these markets, you don't think the nba knows that?