Blog Entry

David Stern: NBA to look at contraction

Posted on: August 14, 2011 7:32 pm
Edited on: August 15, 2011 1:17 pm
Posted by Ben Golliverdavid-stern

The NBA currently has thirty teams, but the league's commissioner, David Stern, seems open to the possibility that that number of franchises could shrink in the future.

Speaking on an podcast, Stern stated that there is some interest in contraction from both the league and players sides and that the subject will be picked up after the current Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations are completed.

"[Contraction] is not a subject that we're against," Stern said. "In fact, when you talk about revenue sharing, a number of teams have said that if you have a team that is perpetually going to be a recipient, aren't you better off with the ability to buy them in? Because between the revenue sharing and the split of international and the TV money, we could almost buy them in with their own money.

"The players actually have been heard to suggest that as well, which was interesting because that means they are suggesting that we eliminate 30 jobs, or the potential for 30 jobs. So we've said to the players, you know, 'Give us the right to contract, let's agree upon what the basis will be. Let's make this deal and then let's continue to look at that subject.'"

One obvious hurdle to contraction, Stern acknowledged, is the selection of which team or teams would be put on the chopping block.

"If you look for volunteers," Stern said. "There aren't many teams raising their hand."

Stern explained that folding a team is not something that he could unilaterally decide to do and that any such decision would have to take into account the interests of the ownership groups.

"I do represent 30 owners," Stern said. "[Saying to an owner] 'I'm here to tell you that I think you should go out of business and no longer own a team' is something that needs to be done pursuant to a plan. We'll see how that works after we make a [CBA] deal and the revenue sharing deal."

Three oft-discussed contraction candidates are the New Orleans Hornets, which the NBA itself runs, the Sacramento Kings, whose ownership group is struggling and recently failed to relocate to Anaheim, and the Charlotte Bobcats, who have struggled financially after the city's previous tenant, the Hornets, relocated.

Stern argued that the Hornets will continue to be a profitable franchise and New Orleans will be a viable city going forward.
"New Orleans is actually going to be a top-15 grossing team when it has its 10,000 season tickets and the like," Stern said. "Together with an expression of support from the state [of Louisiana], it's going to be an interesting team that I'm not sure is a candidate for contraction." 

Stern also said it was simply too early to render a verdict on Sacramento and the Kings.  

"I just don't want to get involved in discussion of individual teams," Stern said. "Right now we're working very hard with Mayor Johnson who has put together a plan that seems to suggest that a new arena would be a huge economic incentive -- $7 billion over 30 years -- and has been able to generate support for the project from the entire region. So let's see how that goes before we start talking about contraction."

He also noted that Sacramento has until April 2012 to put together an arena deal. 

Stern made the Bobcats sound safe as well.
"We have a long-term lease of a brand new building and we have a very unfortunate launch of that expansion franchise," Stern said. "Michael Jordan is leading... what's the opposite of an excavation? He is digging out, but he's building up the franchise. Sponsorships are up, tickets are up, an unfortunate TV deal is being reworked on an ongoing basis. I think Charlotte will be a candidate for revenue sharing in its current format, no question about it. North Carolina -- we're going to abandon it and say they're not supporting basketball?"

Lastly, Stern mostly dismissed the possibility of merging two current teams into one.

"We'll examine all of that but our individual owners are very committed to their cities," Stern said.

Since: Aug 15, 2011
Posted on: August 15, 2011 7:12 pm

David Stern: NBA to look at contraction

now i get it.... the owners are bellyaching about losing tons of money, but none of them want to get out of the business. Go figure! Isn't that funny. if my business were losing millions of dollars I would look for another business. So what is really going on here?  could it be that these millionaire and billionaire capitalists  are looking for a corporate handout? which they like to euphemistically call "Revenue Sharing". if they put up a weak product in a city that has no interest in their business/product, then they deserve what they get. Let them contract, then the competition will improve a bit and we can have deeper rosters and better games to watch. I'll bet many of these same owners are in favor on the US Government contracting. I say if the business is failing then they should close up shop, and lower the comissioners salary to boot!

Since: Jan 9, 2007
Posted on: August 15, 2011 4:37 pm

David Stern: NBA to look at contraction

The City of Minneapolis apparently also thinks the Target Center is dumpy because they've proposed a $155 million renovation.  I guess what I'm smoking is called TRUTH SERUM.  Look!  They've even got their own website!   


I read your link, still doesn't prove anything.  The stadium needs some additional upgrades, you're acting like it's Key Arena in Seattle or Arco in Sacramento.  Just because it needs some touch up doesn't mean it's a again, what are you smoking?  And since when is 20 years considered old?  This is part of what's wrong with professional sports.  I guess Camden yards and Coors Field need to be replaced soon since they're both coming up on 20 years...sigh

Since: Apr 22, 2009
Posted on: August 15, 2011 12:06 pm

David Stern: NBA to look at contraction

The old baseball trick.  NBA is fixed! I say put all the teams in the hat and contract the first 2 teams pulled. hahaha  Could be Boston and LA Lakers! hahaha

Since: Sep 20, 2006
Posted on: August 15, 2011 10:51 am

David Stern: NBA to look at contraction

The NBA has more problems than just too many teams.

Salaries have to be restructured, and that's not going to go over easily. It's not even the mega-bucks stars, it's the scrubs drawing $40 mil contracts that is drowning the NBA. Trades have become bad re-financed contracts instead of talent building moves.

The NBA's commitment to New Orleans is as much the ongoing political pressure to support rebuilding a devistated city as it is a basketball move- The truth is, New Orleans has NEVER supported an NBA franchise, ask the Jazz. Similarly, the NBA's patience in Charlotte is simply a long odds bet on the marketablitlty of Michael Jordan, rather than facing the reality that the Bobcats are more in competition with the NCAA and Nascar than with other NBA franchises. The Kings have been working their failed franchise west for 50 years, and unless they move to Bejing, they're out of geography. Cleveland's draw is going to fall faster than the Stock Market when those pre-LeBron season tickets expire.

NONE of these teams have good business prospects for existance. That's FOUR teams...Shrinking the 60 worst NBA players in the league will also improve the quality of the teams that are left...not to mention the savings of up to $300 million in contract expenses for those not ready for prime time players that should have played a few more years in NCAA, or retired by now.    

Since: Dec 10, 2006
Posted on: August 15, 2011 10:50 am

David Stern: NBA to look at contraction

Not enough talent for 30 teams. 24 or 26 is the way to go. That way teams will have a decent 8th man.

Since: Jan 1, 2007
Posted on: August 15, 2011 10:39 am

David Stern: NBA to look at contraction

The teams that need contracting are out in Cali. No need for 5 Cali teams. Contract the G.S. Warriors, L.A. Clippers, and Sacramento Kings. Follow them up with the Milwaukee Bucks and Charlotte Bobcats. Thats all.

Who is the 5th? LA, LA, Sacramento, Golden State.....

Since: Aug 18, 2006
Posted on: August 15, 2011 10:08 am

David Stern: NBA to look at contraction

The teams that need contracting are out in Cali. No need for 5 Cali teams. Contract the G.S. Warriors, L.A. Clippers, and Sacramento Kings. Follow them up with the Milwaukee Bucks and Charlotte Bobcats. Thats all.

Since: Jan 1, 2007
Posted on: August 15, 2011 9:35 am

David Stern: NBA to look at contraction

Portland was actually 2nd in overall attendance and Cleveland was 3rd at over 20000 a game and I agree with you about the moron who had to be drinking.Cleveland had the second worst record in the league and was still third in attendance and then picks up 2 top draft picks, yeah contract them, how stupid.

I was going off percentage of arena rather than numbers. That's why I had Portland 3rd. One city the guy didn't even list was Sacramento, someone who does actually fit the criteria he listed.

Since: Jul 27, 2007
Posted on: August 15, 2011 9:05 am

David Stern: NBA to look at contraction

To be fair, Charlotte only really bombed once. The Hornets led the league in attendance for 7 straight years in the 90s until the owner, George Shinn, PO'd the entire city by demanding a new arena after barely 10 years and sexually assaulted an employee.

Since: Jul 27, 2007
Posted on: August 15, 2011 8:59 am

David Stern: NBA to look at contraction

The first thing the NBA should do to save money, is to CONTRACT the WNBA. They've been subsidizing that league for years and it's done nothing but lose a pile of money. Someone made the comment that the Cavaliers had the worst record record in the league but still had about 20,000 average attendance. Anyone that's bought season tickets to a team knows that the majority of those tickets are purchased in the spring of the previous season. So most people bought Cavs tickets when LeBron was still wearing his Cleveland jersey. They've been bleeding season ticket holders since "The Decision". 

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