They declined before that because teams were tired of seeing GSW win 5 straight Western Conference Finals. Also, before the Raptors ended the streak, GS and CLE met in the finals for 4 consecutive years. That is about as boring and predictable as one can get. Now, given it was pretty easy to predict the Lakers would be in the Finals this year at the beginning of the season, but it was supposed to be Milwaukee on the other end, not Miami. I don't think many people saw Miami winning the East. That is good, in retrospect, to help promote parity (and of course Miami being only the 4th team in NBA history to be seeded 5 or below and show up in a Final) NBA ratings have been skyrocketing downwards for many years. Three point shooting and lack of defense aren't exactly must see TV. Combine that with a woke agenda and competition in terms of MLB and NFL, and NBA ratings are a disaster this year as they should be. They will NOT get better until the NBA changes the way they play the game. They would have to overhaul the game completely and teams would have to stop shooting so many DAMN threes per game. Teams like the Kings and Wizards would actually have to be given fair opportunities to contend for a championship, and there'd be no superteams or blatant collusion. It is VERY sad that a superteam is the only way teams can win titles now.