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Tag:lockout
Posted on: July 12, 2011 2:56 pm
Edited on: July 13, 2011 3:29 pm
 

NLRB investigating NBPA's claim

Posted by Matt Moore

Back in late May, the NBPA got out in front of things and filed with the National Labor Relations Board, charging that the NBA failed to bargain in good faith. That was two months ago, and since then we haven't heard a thing about it, distracted with the Finals, the Draft, and oh, yeah, this lockout we've got on our hands. 

But Sports Business Journal reports that the NLRB is still very much investigating the union's claim. From the SBJ on Twitter; 
SBJ: In recent weeks an NLRB investigator has interviewed 7-10 witnesses in @TheNBPA's unfair labor practices charge against the NBA.
via Twitter / @SBJLizMullen: SBJ: In recent weeks an NL ....

So the charges are still out there. If the players' perception that the owners have stonewalled them by barely negotiating (i.e. sending a counterproposal only after a prolonged delay, etc.) carries with the board, there may be some fire with the smoke. But the owners likely have a similar feeling about how the players have approached discussions. It's also not clear yet how a ruling would affect the lockout or negotiation process, but you can be sure it would be somewhere between "really bad" and "a disaster" for the owners.
Posted on: July 12, 2011 11:14 am
Edited on: July 12, 2011 11:36 am
 

Players organizing televised exhibition game?

Posted by Matt Moore

Sports Illustrated's Sam Amick was at the Compton-based Drew League this week, a summer league that features players every year, but is studded this year with no other summer leagues and no league-sponsored events due to the lockout. Plus, there's no team officials telling them they shouldn't play. Convenient. Amick spoke with what seems like everyone short of the maintenance guys and I'm sure those were just off the record conversations he didn't use. In a wide-ranging piece that lists half a dozen players who say they're considering Europe (at this point, pretty much every NBA player is "considering" Europe), Amick also discovered that Kevin Durant and his agency are working to set up an exhibition game between the Drew League and the D.C.-based Goodman League. There are so many star players involved, reportedly, that television is actually getting into the talks. From SI:
In other words, the Plan Bs and Plan Cs are quickly becoming Plan As. The perceived hopelessness of the labor situation is at the root of these ruminations, with players eager to find alternate outlets for their competitive juices. Durant did just that this week, when his plan to create an East vs. West streetball championship came to fruition in the form of an Aug. 20 faceoff between the Drew League and the D.C.-based Goodman League.

...

Los Angeles natives Wright and Baron Davis are handling the logistics. Wright says he wants to make it a "huge, huge, huge deal," and the game is expected to take place on the court where the likes of Durant, John Wall, Michael Beasley and DeMarcus Cousins so often play in the inner-city D.C. neighborhood known as Barry Farm. Smiley said ESPN has shown some interest in airing the game. The best NBA players from both leagues are expected to team up with some non-NBA players. The trash talk already has begun.
via Kevin Durant, other NBA stars busy playing during lockout - Sam Amick - SI.com.

It's a genius idea. Every summer there are players constantly playing in pickup summer league games but the television rights can't be had due to the players' contractual obligations with their teams who are part of the league's negotiated television rights. Plus teams would freak out over the possibility of their players getting injured in such a game. 

But with the league having locked the players out, which very much is a slap in the face, this allows the players to do what they want, when they want, how they want. The players can set up this exhibition, sell the television rights for a one-off, star-studded event, and make a little lockout cash. It's yet another in a series of initiatives from the players to prove to the owners they can survive without them, which is what this whole thing comes down to.

Plus, we'll get to see dunks like this.  

One side note to these things, or rather a question. Would a player getting hurt really be the worst thing for the union's efforts? First and foremost, there's the pain, which everyone always seems to overlook when discussing a player. Getting injured in any form sucks. And these are often severe. Then there's the treatment, which would have to come out of the players' own pocket, and would be expenesive. And then there's the impact on his career, which could be damaged without constant professional treatment like he'd receive from his team.

But beyond that, wouldn't a severe injury be the best thing for the union? The owners can't void his contract. They can't sue, they're the ones who locked him out in the first place. If the players make it clear that they're going to keep doing things which endanger their ability to play under the lucrative contracts the teams have signed them to, and which they'll still have to pay them, as a response to the owners' approach, isn't that a huge gun put to the head of the owners? It's basically asking, "Do you really want to risk losing a Kevin Durant or a John Wall for a whole year and possible damage the rest of his career after all you've invested in him for merchandise and the hope of the franchise to win this lockout?" Most owners will say yes. But planting those seeds would help the union. I'm not saying anyone should get injured on purpose or that it would be worth it. Neither of those things are true. But it's something to think about it as this chess match continues.
Posted on: July 11, 2011 2:08 pm
Edited on: July 11, 2011 2:19 pm
 

KFC offers Dwyane Wade a job during NBA lockout

Kentucky Fried Chicken has reportedly offered Miami Heat All-Star guard Dwyane Wade a job during the NBA lockout. Posted by Ben Golliver. dwyane-wade

Back on June 30, when the NBA Lockout went from dreaded future event to reality, Miami Heat All-Star guard Dwyane Wade posted some messages on Twitter that he thought were pretty clever.

"Any1 hiring?," Wade asked his 1.4 million followers. "My strengths: work well with others..My weakness: I sometime get fatigue... I'm available for all bar and bat mitzvah and weddings..but my specialty is balloon animals."

TMZ.com notes that Kentucky Fried Chicken, the fast food chain, replied to Wade's open Twitter question with a formal letter dated July 11 and signed by John Cywinski, General Manager. The letter notes that Wade was an employee of the company prior to joining the NBA and offers to donate $250,000 to charity if he agrees to work for the company during the lockout.

Here's an excerpt of the letter.
Dear Dwyane Wade,

We couldn't help but notice your recent tweet about looking for a new line of work in light of the lockout. We're always looking for folks with precisely your qualifications -- initiative, teamwork and the ability to make buckets in a hurry.

We've always been proud to call you a former KFC employee and, it goes without saying we'd love to have you back on our team dishing out the World's Best Chicken, like you dish out assists on the court.

Our offer: Come serve as an honorary captain at a local KFC drive-thru window. And, while we can't match your most recent salary, we'll honor your KFC service by making a donation in your name to Colonel's Scholars, a charity providing young people with much needed college scholarships, if you accept. How's that for a slam dunk?
Those references to basketball were worked into the letter so smoothly, like Wade finishing a fast break.

Blatant publicity stunt or not, Wade pretty much has to do this now. The joke is on him and the charity stuff only makes it that much harder to refuse. The Players Association should find a way to turn this into a "We're still giving back!" marketing campaign and then everyone wins.
Posted on: July 11, 2011 10:35 am
Edited on: July 11, 2011 3:30 pm
 

Paul Pierce makes second day at WSOP

Posted by Matt Moore

Players are looking for all sorts of income opportunities during the NBA lockout. Ron Artest is shopping his stand-up comedy wares. Deron Williams is taking his talents to Turkey. And Paul Pierce? Well, he's mostly just having fun. But he's still got a shot at making some money from non-basketball sources.

CSNNE reports that Pierce has made the second day at the World Series of Poker main event.

Why is Pierce in the tournament?

Well, it's pretty obvious it's not just a totally fun endeavor, considering the $10,000 buy-in. From CSNNE: 
"The prize," Pierce told ESPN when asked why he was taking part in the Texas Hold 'Em tournament in Las Vegas. "Who wouldn't want to try and come and win that?"

Pierce calls himself an amateur poker player, but he has survived as about half of the more than 2,000 players who entered the tournament have been eliminated. Former WSOP main event champion Chris Moneymaker is one of the professionals already gone.
via Pierce advances in World Series of Poker tourney.

Now Pierce has a long way to go to win the title.  But even if he places, he's made a great return on his investment. And the key to getting out of the first day is just to avoid the mammoth number of donkeys and wild-eyed kiddos who come in with a dream doing things like re-raising a dead pot. Then again, Pierce could be one of those players. Hopefully, he makes Final Table so we can get an idea of his playing style. He's got a great shot at lasting with where his stack position is. 

How many wheelchair jokes do you think he has to sustain? Also, there's also always an inordinate amount of Lakers fans at these events because of the proximity of Vegas to L.A. and the number of pros that come over from the California casinos. Fun times.

As someone who's spent a lot of time in poker rooms over the years, based off what I know of Pierce's personality, I'd probably play him aggressively to try and goad him into a big move. Pierce's penchant for bravado could be used against him if played correctly. I would not let him bully me out of pots. Of course, that depends on stack position. 

I also would keep him away from the right elbow of the table. He seems pretty dangerous there. 
Posted on: July 9, 2011 12:17 am
Edited on: July 10, 2011 10:21 pm
 

What teams risk in a lockout: Atlantic Division

Posted by Matt Moore



Talk of losing an entire season is a bit ridiculous to us. There's just way too much at stake. Money, momentum, fan support, money, loyalty, money -- it's just hard to imagine losing any games much less a whole season.

But it's a possibility. And with all this hardline talk going on, it seems like neither the players nor the owners are wanting to budge. There's incentive for teams to get a deal done and not just for the money, but because a year without basketball and more importantly, basketball operations, could greatly affect each and every NBA franchise. We continue with the Atlantic Division.

Boston Celtics

The Celtics have already started keeping an eye on the future past this core. Their trade of Kendrick Perkins for Jeff Green and the Clippers' draft pick were both aimed at the future. In 2012-2013, the Celtics have less than $30 million comitted. But their best shot at a title is now. Losing 2011-2012 ends the Big 3 era in Boston. Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen's contracts would expire just as their ability to anchor a championship team also goes the way of the dodo. Losing next season means they wind up with a single championship for all that money invested, all that excitement created. 

On top of that, no city needs the current structure to hold as much as Boston. The ability to outspend the small markets under a flex-cap, using its big market status combined with its superiority as a historical powerhouse are both tied to the current luxury-tax system. Savvy spending, reasonable contracts, creative maneuvers? Does any of that sound like the team whose current core is the product of Kevin McHale pitching his old team a favor?

New Jersey Nets

Mikhail Prokhorov did not get into this business to lose an entire season, the last he has Deron Williams under contract before an extension he hopes to sign him to, and then begin to build a contender under a system which negates every advantage moving his team to Brooklyn provides. But that's the reality that faces the Russian mogul.

Deron Williams is the big key for the Nets. They sent a fortune in the trade for Williams, with the understanding they would convince him of their grand vision and build around him on his next contract. It was a gamble. But they need the 2011-2012 season to convince Williams that the plan works, that the vision is in place, that they can succeed as the team Williams wants to commit to. Without the 11-12 season, Williams will end up entering free agency with his only time as a Net filled with failure. He may wind up with more wins with his team in Turkey than he won with New Jersey.

From there, Prokhorov would actually be better suited to a system that allows for overspending. If small market teams succeed under the new CBA, his advantage is leveraged. And in such a scenario, New York's power would be amplified within the market. If you're getting paid the same amount regardless, going to the team with the most cache is the best idea.

New York Knicks

Speaking of the Knicks, they have quite a bit to lose in this scenario. A harsher cap drives up the likelihood they won't be able to build effectively around Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire, if at all. They're already struggling to fill in the gaps (as Donnie Walsh put it in his conference call after stepping down), with a lower spending ceiling that job only gets more difficult. Dolan has failed to succeed when he's broken the bank open. What happens when he can't spend his way out of a problem?

Bigger than that, however, are the risks of the actua lockout. Amar'e Stoudemire is an injury risk. Despite the fact that he's had no problems since microfracture surgery five years ago, scouts and execs are still hesitant about him. Stoudemire is talking about heading to Israel to play during the lockout. Any uninsured play could wind up wiping out time for Stoudemire which devastates the Knicks' prospects for contention. They need to have the stars available so build around, and another year to see what direction they need to go to build a complete team. Losing the season is a disaster. 

Philadelphia 76ers

Hey, look! They could spend a whole year thinking more about whether to trade Andre Iguodala! They haven't really done enough of that so far.

The lockout could actually help the Sixers on two fronts. First, their attendance was terrible again last season despite making the playoffs. They need the kind of financial overhaul the lockout aims to create. Second, losing the 2011-2012 season means they lose out on a year where they are on the books to pay Elton Brand, Andre Iguodala, and Andres Nocioni (remember him?) over $37 million next season. They can probably do without that with a fanbase that still hasn't bought in.

Elton Brand has an early termination option for 2012-2013, but he is unlikely to exercise it. Instead, the Sixers will be hoping for the amnesty clause to allow them out from under that final year of Brand's contract.

If any team could use all of the ramifications of the lockout, it's the Sixers, big market or not.

Toronto Raptors

The Raptors won't be winning the title any time soon. Their huge contracts won't be moving off the books any time soon. Their fanbase is still angry over giving Andrea Bargnani his extension and the damage done by Chris Bosh's departure.

So pretty much the Raptors are fine with however the lockout works out. Lose the season, they get Jose Calderon into a contract year, and have more time to come up with inventive ways to ditch Andrea Bargnani, plus Jonas Valanciunas is available to come over from Europe. A new salary cap may mitigate the uphill climb they face with their market and location.

They're pretty much fine with however this shakes out.
Posted on: July 8, 2011 6:15 pm
 

Friday 5 with KB: Looking back at "The Decision"

Posted by Matt Moore 



In this week's return edition of the Friday 5 with KB, we look back on "The Decision," the future of Chris Paul, how a hard cap affects trades, and who among the owners could end this insanity.

1. Well, it's been a year since "The Decision." Beyond the context of the lockout, how does the Decision look to you now?

KB: It still looks as self-serving, tone-deaf, and poorly orchestrated as it did then. But I think everyone's sensitivities have been muted -- even residents of the great state of Ohio. You can't be mad forever, right? Plus, LeBron managed to carry himself even worse during the Finals than he did during the Decision, so there's that. As far as your caveat, it's impossible to look at anything in the NBA through a prism other than the lockout. The way free agents flexed their muscle last summer, I think, was at least part of the motivation for owners to put the hammer down with this lockout. They want cost cutting, but they also want control back from the stars who owned them last July. One important point that bolsters the players' argument for a flexible system with maximum player movement: Look at how much revenue and interest were generated by last summer's player movement. If the NBA wants to maximize both, wouldn't it want a fever-pitched free agency period every year?

2. Compared to the relative calm of the lockout, how do you look back on the insanity of last summer's 2010 free agency period?

KB: With horror. I mean, from a coverage standpoint, it was one of the most challenging things I've ever had to deal with as a sports writer. I'm not whining or complaining, but we're talking about three hours of sleep a night, days without shaving or seeing family members, just a flat-out bunker mentality in a small bedroom in our apartment, talking, texting, and emailing until well past 3 a.m. every night for weeks. There are a lot of incomparably good things about the job, but the first two weeks of July last summer were pure hell.


3. You unloaded The Berger Plan Part II late this week. One question for the hard cap. How's that going to impact trade movement? In the NFL we hardly see trades at all, and in basketball, that flexibility is crucial as you said. How does a hard cap influence that kind of player and contract movement?

KB: Trade restrictions are one area I didn't get into too much, but I agree, it's an important topic. I favor doing away with base compensation and other impediments to trades. I think the Sept. 1 cap-casualty deadline will add to the player movement as sort of a second wave of free agency. But I also believe for competitive balance to be maximized, teams need to have as much flexibility to trade players as possible.

4. Lot of talk about the fact that if David West leaves, CP3 will be right behind him. What's the temperature of the water in New Orleans right now?

KB: Hard to say, because everyone is in lockdown mode for the lockout. Personally, I've always believed that CP3 was going to leave New Orleans anyway -- provided the new CBA allows it -- so I don't think having David West or not having David West was going to make a whole lot of difference.

5. If there was one owner we could put in charge to get a deal done to end the lockout, who do you think it should be?

KB: I think Peter Holt, the chairman of the labor relations committee, is reasonable and has enough clout to bridge the gap between high- and low-revenue owners. Mark Cuban is the smartest, the most creative, and the best businessman, but he's too much of a radical hard-liner to get any sort of consensus or compromise with the players. Clay Bennett is indebted to David Stern for helping him move from Seattle to Oklahoma City, and his clout is on the rise. I'd probably say Holt, who gives you the best and worst of both worlds -- a small-market owner for a team that carries a high payroll and, at least in terms of gate receipts, brings in big-market revenues.
Posted on: July 7, 2011 5:08 pm
Edited on: July 7, 2011 6:05 pm
 

Report: Nets books show major losses

Posted by Royce Young

The NBA hasn't just been fighting the Players Association over a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. It has also been fighting a pretty major PR battle against the media and public over how truthful all these claimed losses are.

The league says 22 of 30 its 30 teams lost money last season. The league says in total, it lost about $370 millon, give or take. The league says owners are currently operating in a broken system that makes it extremely difficult to turn a profit, especially if you're not in a major market.

Some are having a hard time believing that. After a NY Times piece earlier in the week questioned how true some of the league's claims were, things only ratcheted up another notch. The league responded with a rebuttal, providing more facts and numbers in an attmept to quell some of the skepticism. The league claims $1.8 billion in losses over the past six years, but as many have noted, it's kind of hard to just take the league's word for it. We need to see stuff. Like open books.

Well, CNBC's Darren Rovell got ahold of the New Jersey Nets' books from last season and according to the report, the Nets suffered substantial losses over the past few years. (Click here to read the entire document.)
For the 2008-09 season, the documents reflect that the Nets lost $77,227,184. The team earned $78,783,677 in operating income, including $26 million in ticket sales and $32.5 million in total broadcast revenues. Operating expenses were $147 million, off mainly $66 million in salaries and $33.3 million in "amortization of intangible assets." When the team's $13.3 million interest expense is added, the Nets loss for the 08-09 season hits $77.2 million.

So there's that. According to the audited books, the Nets lost almost $80 million for the 2008-09 season. That's a lot of money. But there's still some skepticism over it all because sometimes bookkeepers are creative with their accounting. Rovell explains:

Now let's break it down for you. Assuming the operating income is accurate, there are three questionable line items within the operating expenses that are worth exploring. The most important is the $33.3 million amortization, since it's the largest number and often the number that the players union says is creative accounting.

So let's explain it first and then how it's reported. When a person buys a team, the price paid is distributed throughout various expense lines, the amortization line is one of those places. It's not voodoo accounting, it's actually part of generally accepted accounting practices. But the point is, that the NBA doesn't include that line item when it breaks out the losses to the union. So subtracting that number, the Nets loss that season, as the owners reported to the union, is probably closer to $44 million.

Rovell also notes that two other numbers could be disputed. That includes the $2 mllion in depreciation and the $13.4 million in interest. The union claims neither of those should be included in losses. But while the players dispute those being included, reality is, those are real losses. The value of the franchise is part of it all because it reflects the cost of expenses related to growing revenue. In terms of interest, that's actual money out of the owner's pocket so of course it should be included. It might not be a "real" loss in the same terms of expenses being more than revenue but as part of the whole pie, it counts.

One more note by Rovell to wrap it up though:

Finally, let's explore the bigger number. For the 2008-09 season, NBA owners told the players they lost a single-year record $370 million. Not only that, a record 24 teams lost that amount of money. Consider that amount of money an aggregate loss. Sources have told me that those 24 teams lost approximately $485 million, which leaves the six profiting teams with a net gain of $115 million.

So now take the Nets loss of $44 million that year. That means that the Nets share of the losses were nine percent of the total losses. If all teams used generally accepted accounting practices, is it possible that 23 other teams lost an average of $19.1 million that year? Of course it is.

What we have is another team where the financial picture is becoming clear. But that doesn't mean it's still not blurry. This is one of 30. There's a reason the league is locked out and it's because the players aren't buying everything the owners are selling. Like I've said before, the system has issues. No one would deny that. The players accept that as they've flexed on being willing to roll back their percentage of Basketball Related Income.

The matter is how deep the problem goes and how much give there has to be to fix it all. But the more information there is, the better things will get. Better PR for the league, better information for the public to digest, more pressure to make something happen.

Posted on: July 7, 2011 5:08 pm
Edited on: July 7, 2011 6:05 pm
 

Report: Nets books show major losses

Posted by Royce Young

The NBA hasn't just been fighting the Players Association over a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. It has also been fighting a pretty major PR battle against the media and public over how truthful all these claimed losses are.

The league says 22 of 30 its 30 teams lost money last season. The league says in total, it lost about $370 millon, give or take. The league says owners are currently operating in a broken system that makes it extremely difficult to turn a profit, especially if you're not in a major market.

Some are having a hard time believing that. After a NY Times piece earlier in the week questioned how true some of the league's claims were, things only ratcheted up another notch. The league responded with a rebuttal, providing more facts and numbers in an attmept to quell some of the skepticism. The league claims $1.8 billion in losses over the past six years, but as many have noted, it's kind of hard to just take the league's word for it. We need to see stuff. Like open books.

Well, CNBC's Darren Rovell got ahold of the New Jersey Nets' books from last season and according to the report, the Nets suffered substantial losses over the past few years. (Click here to read the entire document.)
For the 2008-09 season, the documents reflect that the Nets lost $77,227,184. The team earned $78,783,677 in operating income, including $26 million in ticket sales and $32.5 million in total broadcast revenues. Operating expenses were $147 million, off mainly $66 million in salaries and $33.3 million in "amortization of intangible assets." When the team's $13.3 million interest expense is added, the Nets loss for the 08-09 season hits $77.2 million.

So there's that. According to the audited books, the Nets lost almost $80 million for the 2008-09 season. That's a lot of money. But there's still some skepticism over it all because sometimes bookkeepers are creative with their accounting. Rovell explains:

Now let's break it down for you. Assuming the operating income is accurate, there are three questionable line items within the operating expenses that are worth exploring. The most important is the $33.3 million amortization, since it's the largest number and often the number that the players union says is creative accounting.

So let's explain it first and then how it's reported. When a person buys a team, the price paid is distributed throughout various expense lines, the amortization line is one of those places. It's not voodoo accounting, it's actually part of generally accepted accounting practices. But the point is, that the NBA doesn't include that line item when it breaks out the losses to the union. So subtracting that number, the Nets loss that season, as the owners reported to the union, is probably closer to $44 million.

Rovell also notes that two other numbers could be disputed. That includes the $2 mllion in depreciation and the $13.4 million in interest. The union claims neither of those should be included in losses. But while the players dispute those being included, reality is, those are real losses. The value of the franchise is part of it all because it reflects the cost of expenses related to growing revenue. In terms of interest, that's actual money out of the owner's pocket so of course it should be included. It might not be a "real" loss in the same terms of expenses being more than revenue but as part of the whole pie, it counts.

One more note by Rovell to wrap it up though:

Finally, let's explore the bigger number. For the 2008-09 season, NBA owners told the players they lost a single-year record $370 million. Not only that, a record 24 teams lost that amount of money. Consider that amount of money an aggregate loss. Sources have told me that those 24 teams lost approximately $485 million, which leaves the six profiting teams with a net gain of $115 million.

So now take the Nets loss of $44 million that year. That means that the Nets share of the losses were nine percent of the total losses. If all teams used generally accepted accounting practices, is it possible that 23 other teams lost an average of $19.1 million that year? Of course it is.

What we have is another team where the financial picture is becoming clear. But that doesn't mean it's still not blurry. This is one of 30. There's a reason the league is locked out and it's because the players aren't buying everything the owners are selling. Like I've said before, the system has issues. No one would deny that. The players accept that as they've flexed on being willing to roll back their percentage of Basketball Related Income.

The matter is how deep the problem goes and how much give there has to be to fix it all. But the more information there is, the better things will get. Better PR for the league, better information for the public to digest, more pressure to make something happen.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com