Tag:ownership
Posted on: August 7, 2011 11:43 am
Edited on: August 7, 2011 11:54 am
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Alex Meruelo reaches agreement to purchase Hawks

By Matt Moore

The Atlanta Hawks finally, finally have an owner. After years of internal strife amongst the myriad owners involved in the team's ownership group, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports today that Los Angeles pizza chain owner and diverse business mogul Alex Meruelo has an agreement to become majority owner of the Hawks. The Hawks can finally move on. From the AJC:
Although his primary residence and business will remain in Southern California, Meruelo said he plans to spend a lot of time in Atlanta and to buy a home here.

"If you look at my previous ... business ventures, I'm very hands-on, and this will be no different," he said.

Asked if there is any scenario in which he would seek to move the Hawks out of Atlanta, Meruelo said: "Absolutely no. None."

Owning an NBA team, he said, "has been a dream of mine and a passion, and you'll definitely see that as I become, hopefully, the owner in a short period of time."
via L.A. businessman buying majority stake in Hawks  | ajc.com.

The Hawks have been handcuffed by a minority group that allowed them to conduct business and make deals but had no long-term leadership plans due to their desperation to end the agreement that caused a rift amongst the various owners. Meruelo won't take control of the Hawks for another few months while the Board of Governors works through the lockout and tries to get themselves into one place, which is really difficult all of a sudden. But when he does, Meruelo told the AJC that there's no risk he'll try and move the team to Los Angeles or anywhere else. The plan is to keep the team in Atlanta. 

All of this comes as a relief for Hawks fans, who not only had to be concerned about the team moving out like their co-tenants the Thrashers did, but have become increasingly frustrated with what is perceived as a lack of organization to the team's approach as it has stalled in the second round of the playoffs. Larry Drew actually took the team the furthest it has gone with the current core, but showed a number of tactical errors, and the contract of Joe Johnson is so expensive and so long there has to be concerns about the team's viability as a contender in a few years. As a result, Josh Smith has been on the block for the past few months, and that will likely only increase after the expected lowering of the salary cap. 

With new ownership and a clear, unified voice in the way of a central owner, Hawks fans have reason for hope. Now the only question is whether Meruelo's hands-on approach will be for the benefit of the team, and exactly how much change this will bring to the franchise.  

Also notable is the fact that Meruelo becomes the first Hispanic majority owner in the NBA, a sign of the increasing diversity of the ownership in the league, even if it has been slow developing.
Posted on: July 21, 2011 9:39 am
Edited on: July 21, 2011 9:49 am
 

Report: Hawks sale is 'moving fast'

By Matt Moore

Last we heard, the Atlanta Hawks' disaster of an ownership group had taken the team off the market. It looked as if there would be no movement for the foreseeable future, which was disappointing, as current ownership had mucked up the works for years. It's an ugly, untenable arrangement that needs resolution for the owners, the teams, the players, management and fans. And it looks as if, all of a sudden, there's significant movement toward new ownership. From The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
The people familiar with the situation, speaking exclusively with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, would not identify the potential bidder because of confidentiality agreements, but described the process as moving fast. They said no offer or exclusive negotiating agreement is in place but that the potential bidder, who might have partners, has the financial wherewithal to complete a transaction.

The potential buyer has accountants and lawyers working extensively on the matter.
via No offer, but potential majority buyer in talks for Hawks, Philips Arena  | ajc.com.

There's no telling what "moving fast" means, or if that's weeks or months. But any progress is promising. Hearing the owner has "the financial wherewithal" is a nice thing to hear, as well. You'd think it would be a prerequisite for purchasing a NBA team, but then, look around at the men orchestrating this absurd lockout and you'll find that's not the case. 

How the Hawks sale could impact the lockout isn't known. How the Hawks sale could impact the Hawks' cap situation or the long-term contracts tied up in an only-above-average roster isn't known. But if there's progress and if the new owner brings energy and innovation, it could signal a move toward a sustainable future.
Category: NBA
Posted on: July 15, 2011 5:52 pm
Edited on: July 17, 2011 6:59 pm
 

So you want to win people's support: NBA Owners

How can NBA owners win the public relations battle during the NBA lockout? Posted by Ben Golliver.

silver-stern

On Thursday, Matt Moore took a look at how NBA players can curry favor from the general public during the ongoing NBA lockout. His plan included circling the wagons, being honest and educating fans and taking the high road. All great ideas for any negotiation, especially one as high-profile and public as the NBA's.

With the players' PR plan in place, how about the owners? What can this group of billionaires due to help gain support, if not sympathy, for their plight? 

Let's start off by acknowledging that this is an impossible task. The common man cannot relate to the billionaire. It's impossible. The gap is too wide, the lifestyles are too different, the realities are too disparate. Likewise, the billionaire, no matter how hard he tries, cannot put himself in the common man's shoes. Once your income hits the eighth or ninth digit, a bubble forms around you that is impervious to real, everyday struggles.  When people are hired to pick up your dry cleaning or answer your telephone or manage your Twitter account, it's over. There's no going back.

The goal for the NBA owners, then, shouldn't be unrealistic. They don't need to come off like Santa Claus. Instead, they just need to appear a little bit less like Montgomery Burns. Right now, the general air from ownership and the league is that it doesn't much care for the public relations side of this battle. It has remained very quiet, refused to open its books publicly and responded to only a few accusations with prepared statements. Otherwise, pretty much total silence. 

In that vacuum, the players have shined. They've put together funny spoof commercials, shown off their skills in pick-up games and camp across the globe, continued their massive presence on social networking sites and done a very good job of communicating their desire to not miss any games. Put all of that together, and the owners have a tough uphill battle to climb.

Here are five things they should do to get started on the public relations war:

1. Pledge To Protect All League Jobs

The No. 1 complaint against any professional sports team owner who locks out players is that he is greedy. That's the No. 1 complaint because it's pretty much always true. There's no good, direct answer to that question. The owners have made it clear they want more money, significantly more money, and that makes them look greedy.

A good work-around solution: Do what you can to make the players look greedy. Put all the pressure and attention on players' salaries -- they make millions to play a game -- while doing whatever you can to make yourself look like a philanthropist. Encourage your teams to increase their efforts in the community. More camps! More hospital visits by team employees! More everything! Then, to cap it all off, pledge to protect all jobs -- within the team and at the league level -- throughout the duration of any work stoppage. 

See what that would do? It would isolate the players, making them look like the bad guys. "We're all over here doing our jobs and protecing our hard-working employees and their families while you guys make so much money it threatens to put us out of business!" The general public highly values loyalty and commends those who put their employees' interests before their own. 

Oh, wait. Wait. You're telling me the NBA announced less than two weeks into the lockout that it's laying off 11% of its workforce and then said it was due to a desire to cut costs? In other words, because the league wanted to keep more of the money it was generating? Oh boy. We're off to a rocky start here. 

2. Don't Make Idle Threats

Appearing tough is very, very important during a negotiation. You can't blink first. You've got to make it clear that every word that you speak is to be taken seriously and every demand you make must be met or the entire deal is at stake. Those are basic negotiating principles. Whatever you do, owners, do not make idle threats. If you say that you will take an action if something happens, you have to take that action when that something happens, or you look both soft and like you're blowing smoke. Your credibility gets crushed and the other side has no real incentive to take any of your other demands seriously. 

Unfortunately, the NBA has failed this one too. As soon as the lockout went into effect on July 1, the league made it very clear that a gag order was in place. No team employees were to make public reference to a current player or they would risk a $1 million fine. In addition, the NBA scrubbed its website of references to current players. 

Granted, that's a fairly ridiculous and petty decision, but it was their decision. What's happened since the gag order went into effect is even worse. Minnesota Timberwolves president David Kahn mentioned multiple players during a press conference streaming live on his team's official website. Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle mentioned multiple players during a radio interview. Both were clear violations of the supposed gag order and yet the NBA has tap-danced around whether it will fine the offenders as threatened. Guess what? Until someone gets fined, and fined big, violations of the gag order will continue ad nauseum. Each time a coach or team executive accidentally steps out of line, the NBA looks less and less in control and united.

In the public's eye, they start to look like they're full of it. Why should the Average Joe believe the NBA is losing millions of dollars a year if the league won't follow through on its promise to fine people? Say what you mean and mean what you say. Hammer the offenders or offer a really, really good explanation for why you didn't. Otherwise, the impression is that you're tough-talking bullies who don't need to be taken seriously.

3. Take The Lead On Meetings

This is an easy one. Fans do not want to miss games whatsoever. The players seem committed to doing whatever it takes to not miss games. At least some portion of the owners seem content to miss a whole season. That's a huge public relations black eye.

The best way to fix it? Go way above and beyond to make it clear that you're willing to meet to negotiate at any time and place. No two-to-three week breaks after the lockout is imposed. No waiting until the players start to feel a pinch in the fall. No delay tactics. If you're seriously committed to potentially losing a season, you absolutely have to be able to point to your track record and say, "Look, we did everything in our power to prevent this from happening. We killed ourselves to make a deal." Get up early, stay late, use videoconferencing tools, use subcommittees. Whatever. It. Takes. If you want a new, restructured economic system then you must do everything in your power to prove your commitment to the goal. 

Missing a season would be a bitter pill to swallow, but it will be 10 times worse if it happens without continued negotiations and contact between the sides between now and the start of training camp. The general public hates billionaires and millionaires arguing over money. But the general public really hates billionaires and millionaires who can't even be brought to the same table to argue over money.

4. Use The Past As A Guide For The Future 

The NBA just completed a Collective Bargaining Agreement that both sides, obviously, signed off on. The owners chose to lock the players out because they felt an overhaul was necessary. Other than repeating a desire to guarantee a profit to its teams and increase competitive balance, the owners have not done a good job of communicating exactly what portions of the framework need to be reworked, and why. An important ingredient in this communication is explaining what didn't go according to the owners' plan at the time.

While the league has maintained that it won't conduct negotiations in public, finding a way to present the flaws or unexpected outcomes from the previous deal would help the general public have a much better idea of where they are coming from. Just about everyone can relate to changing interest rates on their mortgage, car loan or credit cards. No one likes to pay more after the fact than they were expecting, especially if it's something that is out of their control. The owners would be wise to own up and lay out the areas where that occurred. "We didn't anticipate this" or "This wound up costing way more than projections" or "This competitior came in and influenced this revenue projection" or whatever.

Lay those out as mistakes or needs for correction. Then, and only then, provide the remedies and explain why those remedies protect the league from future risk. Belts have been tightened across the country. People have spent more conservatively on discretionary items. Connect your goals to that behavior and you've got a real chance to make some headway.

5. Paint A Pretty Picture 

As any GM worth his salts knows, you absolutely must sell hope. There needs to be a pot of gold over this rainbow. All the dreary talk about losing money gets people down. Nobody cares if you're losing money. Again, you've got to flip this for fans. What is in it for them? 

The owners must start painting the dream. How great will the NBA be in three years if you get your way? How many homes will be watching games then compared to now? How many teams that would have had to move will be safe in their current locations? How many teams won't have to be contracted? How many jobs will be saved and/or restored? How many hours of community service can be added? What cool new events can be added to All-Star Weekend? What preseason showcase tours will pop up on the schedule? What interactive TV or internet programming will now be possible?

Sell. Sell. Sell. You made millions selling products or services. Do not stop selling the future of your league in your vision. People want to hear it. Just make sure it sounds better than the status quo for someone besides yourselves.

Conclusion

When it's all over, offer the fans a blatant kickback. Discounted tickets or jerseys. Public autograph sessions. Free NBA League Pass for an extra few weeks. Whatever. Have a goodwill gesture on tap because, regardless of how long the lockout extends, you'll need it. 
Posted on: July 14, 2011 4:49 pm
Edited on: July 14, 2011 10:56 pm
 

So you want to win the people's support: NBPA



Posted by Matt Moore

Imagine you're the players of the NBA. You've known this was coming, you've hoped it could be avoided, you've even made a few compromises to try and avoid it. But here you are, locked out of the league you tried desperately for years to get into, staring at whatever the Istanbul version of Craigslist is. You know it's going to be a long fight, but it's one you're committed to winning (you even had T-Shirts made and everything!).

And while you understand that the people, the fans, the public have no real bearing on who ends up winning this thing, that neither side is going to look good in this lockout, every little bit helps. So how exactly are you going to get the public's support on your side of this ugly little spat with the powers that be?

Here's a five-step plan.

Step 1: Circle the wagons. And that means wrangling a few wild horses. You want the public to sympathize with you? Playing up the human interest angle isn't going to work here. You make zillions of dollars playing basketball while most people work in an office with a coffee machine that makes sludge and a terrible boss who likes baseball or something. But you don't need to engender sympathy, you just need to engender respect. And that means staying out of trouble.

It's the offseason. Guys aren't even under the leashes of their respective teams during workouts or events. But if the players want the public to take them seriously as a group of professionals fighting to protect their earning potential and wage-earning, they need to represent themselves as such. And respected professionals aren't arrested. When that happens respected professionals become disrespected (often former) professionals. DUI, assault, even things like speeding in extremely fast cars, all of these things contribute to an image the NBPA needs to keep at bay. This goes for every member of the union, regardless of age, race, or background. It's one thing when a player's irresponsible actions hurt himself, but now it can damage the collective efforts of the union.

Whether it's applying pressure to the right people, making personal pleas, or just downright babysitting, the player's union needs to make sure its athletes come across as suit-wearing professionals who are being prevented from going out and doing their job. That's harmed if it looks like they're having the time of their life, blowing the money they supposedly need to protect and getting in trouble.

Step 2: Spin the Euro bottle. Right now players escaping to Europe seems like a vacation. Fans feel like their favorite players (or Zaza Pachulia) are skipping out to go make money somewhere else while they're stuck without a team. The players need to first commit to who's going to go and who's not going to go. A decent combination of stars and role players should go, with players who have planned well enough to survive the lockout on their own staying home. Then the trick is to push this publicly as something they were forced to do. "Well, I need to play and I'm not allowed to here, so I went elsewhere." It should be made about staying in shape for their careers (for the NBA fans) and not about the money. In fact, players should pledge a certain amount of their income to charity, and a certain amount to a collective fund for the union.

The worst thing that can happen is this looking like a selfish avoidance of the problems here in the States. Every player is affected by the lockout, and every player should be working to bring it to an end. Pitching their European defection as an effort to do just that, to get the owners off their gulag-prison-guard-like stance, is the best way to go about it. Don't pretend your "family needs to eat" is the reason you're going. Make it about basketball.

Step 3: Level with the fans. A certain amount of PR in ugly situations like this involves saying things and taking stances you know make you sound like a moron. But those are often things to keep you out of trouble, a defensive position. What the players need to do is capitalize on the fact that they were the ones locked out, not put on strike, and level with the fans about how this looks.

When I asked Kevin Love about the lockout earlier this week, he said that fans "don't want to see billionaire owners and millionaire players bickering over money." This was a golden quote that could be dangerous if Love distanced himself from the rest of the union. But he didn't. He's firmly behind the union's efforts, but recognizing that people aren't going to feel sorry for the players, no matter how upset they are with the league's approach.

Being honest with the fans and acknowledging that there's a certain amount of ridiculousness to this process considering the amount of money involved doesn't hurt the players' case. They're not asking for change. They're just asking for things to stay the same. That should remain firmly in their wheelhouse of approach.

Step 4: Educate as much as possible. Your average person is going to be offended that players are doing anything but being grateful for the money they earn playing a game. Once again we return to the fact that so many people's jobs suck. It's offensive that someone who's life is awesome is saying his life isn't awesome enough.

So instead, focus on putting things in terms people can understand. "If your boss walked in one morning, even though your company has experienced record growth and critical success in the past year, and asked you to take a significant paycut, how would you react?" While spending time and resources on investing the public isn't going to win you anything with the players, it does remove something from the owners. The players aren't directly beholden to ticketholders and sponsors. The owners are. So the players need to spend some time to make the average season ticket holder understand that the players want to play, they aren't being allowed to.

No one needs to hear about BRI, or the difference in a hard cap. Just make it plain, that "billionaire owners made poor decisions and now say they want more money, and they want it from us, their workers, while they've fired their staffs until they get what they want." That's the reality of what's going on with the owners, and it paints them in about as bad a light as possible. If you really want to get in the trenches, release some information about how much some of these owners are actually worth, compared the amount of money they're squabbling with the players over.

But above all, follow Step 5.

Step 5. Be the better men.

This "negotiation" process quickly turned into one of prideful bickering and overdramatic gestures. The owners refuse to provide a counterproposal. The players release statements about how ridiculous the owners' proposal is. The owners bully up and take a hard line. The players show up in synchronized t-shirts. The owners let Stern do the talking. Kevin Garnett yells in a meeting.

This is not how business should be conducted.

This is not "Norma Rae." There's no moral high ground to be won. This is a business deal between two entities, both of which are doing exceptionally well in life. The players have every right to stand and fight for what they believe they deserve and protect the future earning potential of those in their profession. Anyone would do that, from plummers, to software designers, to middle management, to media members. No one wants to be sold up river or sell future people who will share their position up the river.


But behave with superior class. Don't get dragged into the mud. Peel back on the rhetoric. The public isn't sold that the players are greedy, they just haven't been sold on their requests being reasonable yet. By being the bigger men and taking the high road, they let the owners hang themselves by looking ridiculous and petulant, all the while the union is earning income through exhibition games and European contracts. The world's a smaller place, which means voices can carry more loudly. All the more reason to speak quietly, but firmly, and simply let the owners' red-faced bombastic approach peter out as the tide turns against them.

The union needs to be vigilant, reasonable, and clear. Do those things and their chances of putting the pressure back on the owners to crack will improve significantly.

Check back tomorrow for Part Two of our series and how the owners can crush the union's public support.
Posted on: April 13, 2011 6:08 pm
Edited on: April 13, 2011 6:26 pm
 

Here They Stay.

As the Kings get set to play what is likely the last pro basketball game in Sacramento, California, the NBA Board of Governor's needs to think long and hard about what it wants its legacy to be. 
Posted by Matt Moore



Somewhere in the old and tired seats of Arco Arena, a kid's going to watch his last NBA game as a Kings fan.

Yes, we're going there. I'm not pulling out the emotional tale to rattle your bones or just to make my point. I'm pulling the kiddo card because in these instances, we look at these events through the eyes of "business" despite most of us not being multi-billion dollar titans of industry. We like to analyze these things from afar under the guise of perspective, but in reality, it's to avoid sentimentality. Which to be honest, in this context, is a little absurd. Sports is sentimentality. It's entirely sentimental. It's about feeling, it's about the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat and the anxiousness of playoff hopes and sometimes, just sometimes, the sheer joy of a championship. Okay, that's mostly just Lakers and Celtics fans, but you get my point. 

It is not about what the Kings faithful will experience tonight. That kid's going to have to watch as his team walks out on him, as it's ripped away from him because the market politics of the NBA have created this culture. You want a pragmatic reason to avoid this? That kid will grow up having turned his back on the NBA for turning its back on him. That's a fanbase, lost to the league, who won't know what makes the game great, because they'll be too spurned to enjoy it. You can't watch your team in someone else's backyard. Not like this. After the league has issued statements and weathered the PR storm and we in the media have found something else to freak out about, those fans will still be there, trying to understand what happened to their team.
For original season ticket holders such as Lindow, emotional – and financial – ties to the team run deep. So, apparently, does the hurt.

Before he died, Frank Prentice, a steel products salesman, told his family to never give up their Kings tickets. Anne Prentice, a vascular surgeon, remembers her father taking her and brother Gary, now a high school teacher, to Kings games "back when we thought it was the greatest thing in the world."

She plans to take her mother, Lu Prentice, to the last game. And she muses about whether she'll wear "a black armband."

She is furious about owners Joe and Gavin Maloof contemplating moving the team to the Los Angeles media market, home of the Lakers, adding "insult to injury." In a recent letter to The Bee, she castigated the Maloofs "for ripping the hearts out of countless Sacramento fans."

"My dad said, 'Don't let the tickets ever leave the family,' " Prentice reflected in an interview. "I don't think he ever dreamed that they (the Kings) would leave us."
via Longtime Kings season ticket holders reflect, prepare for likely last game - Sacramento Sports - Kings, 49ers, Raiders, High School Sports | Sacramento Bee .

Here they stay. 


Consider everything that Kings fans have tried to do. They've petitioned, they've called, they've written. They're organizing a sit-in , they have campaigns and slogans and pleas and cries and outrage and desperation and nothing is going to stop what's happening because this is what the NBA has decided is in its best interest. Five to six markets with all the power. Everywhere else is just a system of rotating Washington Generals. Sure, the NBA backed moving the Sonics to OKC. But that was about arenas, about the league's ability to pressure cities into ponying up the dough. It set the precedent. "Don't want to pay for a new arena? We'll go somewhere else." But be sure, the league's priority is for its biggest markets to succeed. It won't interfere. It just won't protect the others. Meanwhile, we know even large markets can have their hearts ripped out. Kevin Durant knows, he was there. 
"But it was cool man to see that," he added, speaking of Sonics fans' passionate in-game plea to keep the team.

Durant's rookie year, his single season in Seattle, was merely a stepping stone to his present-day success.  Unfortunately for disenfranchised Sonics fans, they've had to painfully watch the now-Thunder forward tap into his potential in Oklahoma City.

"It was kind of tough on the players to go through the whole move and everything," Durant said of packing his bags after only one year in Seattle.  "But everything happens for a reason I think."

Though it's been three seasons since his last game in the Emerald City, the reigning scoring champ still misses his first NBA home.  Especially considering how dedicated he felt Seattle fans were while there.

"It was tough," said Durant of leaving the Sonics fanbase. "But we didn't know for a fact that we were leaving.  It was up in the air with us."
via Thunder Players Contrast Seattle Departure to Sacramento's Pending Fate - SB Nation Bay Area

Those Sonics fans are still around, still trying to get basketball back in their city. But how are they ever going to trust a league that turned its back so hard on them again? How are they supposed to deal with stealing someone else's team, causing someone else the same pain they went through? They will, because they don't have any choice. If there's one thing that's become apparent through the transitions of Seattle to Oklahoma City and Sacramento to Anaheim, it's this. The Fans don't have any say in the matter. They're just there. 

Here they stay. 


The real issue here is that sports do mean more than just dollars and cents. It's more than just a billionaire's play thing. It builds families, friendships, brings communities closer together, helps foster good works, drives the economy, helps the city be a better place to live. So why do we treat it with such a removed sense of inevitability? Because it's happened before? What, we've never affected change? We've never as a society decided that something wasn't in our best interest and moved to correct it? 

The NBA Board of Governors have to make the best decision for their respective businesses. But the NBA as a whole has to do what's best for its business, and that business is what is best for basketball. Abandoning a city that has shown to have incredible fan support just to move into an already overly-saturated market and attempt to siphon off the scraps of the Lakers and, heaven help us, the Clippers, is not in the best interet of basketball.

Protecting small markets, big markets, all markets that care about basketball should be in the best interest of the league. Keeping one of the best environments in the league in place should be in the best interest of the league. Working with willing cities to keep their teams in place should be in the best interests of the league. Failing fanbase after fanbase just to make sure the league gets its Lakers-Celtics payoff every few years is not in the best interest of the league. 

There are basketball fans in all parts of this country, and they are not irrelevant because of their cost of living of population. If they are, the league is failing in its duty to do what's best for basketball. Even as the team heads towards Mickey Land, the fans haven't abandoned it. Instead, they've grown closer.

Kings Anaheim relocation
The last month and a half has been one excruciating slow descent into madness, punctuated by the fact that when the season ends we won't know whether or not to say "Goodbye" or "See you next year". The question we've all been asked a million times is "What are you going to do if they leave?" I honestly don't know. Sure, I'll get on Twitter all full of piss and vinegar with claims of boycotting the NBA and the city of Sacramento, but the reality is I have no fucking clue what I'm going to do. I'm too emotionally invested in this team to give up at this point.

I've watched Cisco grow into becoming the backbone of the team. I've seen DeMarcus bitch slap the naysayers with his flashes of brilliance that point towards him fulfilling the manbeast potential we all know he has in him. I saw Geoff Petrie pluck Marcus Thornton from obscurity on the Hornets bench and gleefully ran all over the living room when he transformed into the clutch shooter we've been begging for for years. I've watched Tyreke...oh my God have I watched Tyreke just be Tyreke. The glory days Kings will always have a special place in my heart, but they were a collection of established players that came together at the right time to take the city by storm. This team? This is our team that we've carefully watched over the recent lean years, patiently waiting for them to realize their potential and return to prominence.

That's the most frustrating part about this ordeal. We're on the cusp of something great. Fair-weather fans may have abandoned this team (justifiably or not), but those with the passion/insanity to stick around know what this team is capable of even though our W/L record deceives that notion. That's not to say it would be easier to let them go if the team sucked, but the fact that they might move just as they're finally putting it all together is a swift kick in the nuts on par with even the most devastating moments in franchise history. Yet, in the face of all of this, my passion hasn't waned. Hell, it's somehow grown.
via An increasingly rambly, possibly historically inaccurate post about the Kings and how they taught me about passion - Sactown Royalty .

These are the real, flesh and blood people the NBA is abandoning. These aren't just numbers and figures. If we want to say stats aren't all that matter in basketball, as so many owners do? Guess what? They shouldn't be all that matter when we talk about the future of the National Basketball Association. At some point in there should be a discussion about these fans, this community that's shown it can break decibel barriers and sellout game after game after game. Those fans don't just disappear when you move to Anaheim to pick up the craps. They're still there, only they're not supporting your product. 

Here they stay.


Chris Webber wants to help.



Kevin Johnson has tried to help. Players, coaches, legends in this game have been clear. The very team that drives the NBA gravy train doesn't want the team to move. So why is this going through? The NBA has bailed out the Hornets. They've said they want to commit to keeping these teams in place.  But they're again standing idly by while the Kings try and escape their debts while keeping their plaything. 

Ray Ratto breaks down the immaturity of the Maloofs  in all this, and lays out how awkward it will be if the vote fails. Imagine that, a team's owners, who siphoned money from the fans in every way possible actually has to deal with the spurned, as opposed to simply running away. Funny what happens when a fanbase doesn't just give up. When it doesn't just evaporate. Those people, that kid, is still there. 

Here they stay. 


The NBA Board of Governors has an opportunity not to simply look out for their own well being, but that of the game they've become shephards of. Long after their profit margins are gone, the decisions they make will impact the lives of thousands of people. But if they have a hard time dealing wth the enormity of the crowd, of the idea of a group of people versus any other, I'd ask they remember that kid. Is it a cheap ploy? Sure. But it's a very real human being who will have more going on in his life than just basketball. But it'll still be a big part of him, as it's been his whole life.

Sacramento deserves a chance. Local leadership is willing, financial groups are trying to make it happen, the fans are doing anything they can think of or have been asked to make an impact. The NBA needs to do its part. It just takes three little words. 

Here they stay. 

Posted on: April 13, 2011 10:24 am
Edited on: April 13, 2011 2:01 pm
 

NBA not canceling Summer League? Updating...

NBA cancels Summer League, summer internships, and planning for European preseason games in advance of expected lockout. Yikes. 
Posted by Matt Moore

Update 1:26 p.m.: Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reports: 

While it's obvious that there would be no summer league involving NBA players or drafted rookies in the event of a lockout, two people with knowledge of the situation said the event has not yet been canceled. There have been informal discussions for months between summer league organizers and league officials about what to do with the scouting event if there is a work stoppage, and the ideas have included bringing international teams to the event, one of the people said. In addition, the D-League -- which will continue to operate during an NBA work stoppage because its players are not NBPA members -- is exploring the possibility of holding a Las Vegas event that would replace summer league. D-League officials, sources said, are exploring this hypothetical event without the assistance of Vegas summer league organizers.

But as of now, summer league is scheduled to begin July 8. Given the current labor climate, that would seem to be wishful thinking. 

Original Report:  Up until now, the NBA has kept its heart and mind publicly open to the idea that the labor dispute would be settled before June 30th when the current CBA expires, or soon afterwards, to avoid any disruption of NBA plans. A report from the New York Daily News  suggests the league is moving forward with facing reality. They are cancelling NBA Summer League for 2011, their summer internship plans, and are not planning for any European preseason games. Gulp. 

Summer League is an NBA tradition, used as an early showcase for draft picks, young players developing, and D-Leaguers and fringe players looking to break in. It was thought that Summer League would go on as planned, even in the event of a lockout, just without the draft picks or any player who is a member of the NBPA. It's not known at this point if the event was cancelled due to a perceived lack of interest that would make the event too costly, or whether this is belt-tightening by the league in advance of lost revenue. There will be jokes aplenty about how this doesn't really matter, but consider three things. 

One, if you don't think any talent comes out of this event, take a look at Gary Neal who made a strong case for a few Rookie of the Year votes in any year where Blake Griffin did not exist murdering unicorns.  That's a heavy rotation player who the Spurs invited to Summer League from Europe, watched him excel, signed him and then made him a consistent player who became a favorite of Gregg Popovich. And without Summer League, the Knicks may not have seen the promise of Landry Fields and what he brings to the floor. Want another one? How about starting two-guard for the Portland Trail Blazers, Wesley Matthews (via Twitter ). Summer League has a lot of washout talent, but the diamonds in the rough are found by some of the best GMs and coaches in the league. 

Two, this is the first real breeding ground post-free-agency for trades. The vast majority of general managers and executives make it out to Vegas for a few days of sun and bad basketball, and that's where conversations start that lead to trades. Without it, all of that is set back. The lockout's got to end sometime, this just sets everything back a few months more. 

Three, there's been discussion of replacement players, conceivably using players from the D-League, and the D-League season is slated to go on regardless of the lockout next season. This was a showcase for teams to see those players. Without it, we'll be seeing more of the Collins-brothers-type signings in the future. 

Outside the box of the event itself, however, the cancelation of Summer League, the internships, and the preseason games in Europe makes for a pretty bleak future. We're not talking just July here. The NBA is makig contingency plans for October, here. This is one-step shy of going ahead and planning for games not to be played. There's no surprise, but it does provide a sobering reality of just how long and painful this lockout will be. As the NBA heads into what many feel will be one of the best NBA postseasons ever, the dark clouds of the impending lockout continue to rain on our parade.
Posted on: March 31, 2011 12:57 pm
 

The Pistons sale is frustrating for all parties

Pistons ownership remains in flux.  Posted by Matt Moore

The Pistons are officially that beat-up Camaro at the end of the street that's been on the block for two months. The "For Sale' sign has faded with dust and things are starting to grow around the wheels. Despite Tom Gores having been the sole negotiating party with Karen Davidson's ownership group for months, the team has still not changed hands. From the Detroit News
Nearly 15 months after Bill Davidson's widow began talking about selling the Pistons, Gores and her agent, Citi Private Bank, still are negotiating.

In fact, some close to the negotiators say that not only is no agreement imminent, Karen Davidson's fatigue and frustration are growing.

One source close to Davidson last week said the process is so utterly problematic, she feels as though she has lost control of it. Her concern, in part, is that while Gores continually requires more information, too few details of an agreement are in place, despite more than two months of exclusive negotiations.

While the NBA is looking for a purchase price that reflects its valuation of the franchise, $420 million, the negotiations have yet to yield a path to that price or one more agreeable to Gores.

Much remains in play, sources say, including whether Davidson and Bill Davidson's children will retain a portion of the franchise or are paid significant revenue from the entertainment properties, including the DTE Energy Music Theater.

"It just shows how complex these dealings remain, even after all that has been discussed," a source close to the negotiations said.
via Frustration grows as talks drag on between Pistons, Tom Gores | detnews.com | The Detroit News.

The Pistons need this thing to end from about a billion angles. It's a PR nightmare, it's bad for business, it looks bad to the fans. It also handcuffs Joe Dumars from being able to make basketball decisions as ownership needs as stable an environment as possible for the move to go through. You have to wonder how all the strife in the Pistons would have gone down this season had the ownership situation been different. 

Meanwhile, the NBA continues to remain involved in the process, complicating the process. 

Why is it that the league has so much involvement in a situation like the Pistons', and so little involvement in situations like the sale of the Sonics to Clay Bennett, the continuing antics of Donald Sterling, ore the ongoing negotiations between Anaheim and the Kings despite the Kings still owing Sacramento over $70million? 

Just a question. 
 
Posted on: March 28, 2011 8:10 pm
Edited on: March 28, 2011 8:21 pm
 

Sacramento official issues letter to Anaheim

City manager for Sacramento sends a letter to his counterpart in Anaheim, discussing money that would be owed to Sacramento if the city of Anaheim does not "cease negotiating" with the Kings
Posted by Matt Moore

Enter the lawyers. 

The Sacramento Bee reports that officials for the city of Sacramento have sent a letter to officials in Anaheim ordering them to "cease negotiating with the Kings", and repeatedly brings up the $77 million the Kings owe the city of Sacramento:
Sacramento city officials have sent a letter to Anaheim telling that city to cease its negotiations with the Sacramento Kings, and asking the Anaheim City Council not to vote on issuing $75 million in bonds Tuesday or take any other actions to induce the Kings to move to Anaheim.
The letter, issued minutes ago by assistant city manager John Dangberg, says if Anaheim insists on continuing negotiations with the Kings, Sacramento "must contractually require" the Kings to pay off the estimated $77 million the team owes the city of Sacramento.
via Kings Blog and Q&A: City of Sacramento directs Anaheim to stop negotiations with Kings.

Kaboom. 

The letter has three requests for Anaheim. One, to not authorize issuance of Bonds for the renovation of the Honda Center. Two, to cease negotiations with the Kings. And if they choose to continue such discussions, to make any move dependent on the Kings repaying the $77 million to Sacramento. That of course dwarfs the money the Kings would owe in relocation fees and the $50 million loan Samueli has discussed loaning the Maloofs. 

This letter is of course the precursor to suit in the event that negotiations continue and the Kings do file for relocation. The city's latest proposal fell flat on its face, but this letter makes it apparent they have little intention of going down completely quietly. What, if any, merit this course of action will garner in court isn't known at this time, but it's definitely a scare tactic to try and get the crows away from the soon-to-be carcass of professional basketball in Sacramento. 
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com