Posted on: December 15, 2010 8:33 pm
Edited on: December 15, 2010 8:34 pm
Commissioner says he expects NBA teams in Europe by end of the decade.
Posted by Matt Moore
David Stern is in Memphis tonight, speaking to Grizzlies fans (yes there are those people, har-dee-har-har). And during that conversation, Eli Savoie picked up this interesting comment:
Um, wait, what?
This from the Commissioner who is considering contraction, who just had to purchase the Hornets in order to stabilize their ownership group. This in a league that is claiming massive losses across the board for its franchises in its current CBA battle. And he wants to move teams to Europe?
Setting aside the logistical issues of incorporating European teams into the NBA schedule and the problems with free agency, this really isn't the time to be mentioning it. and if you're going to mention it? Are you going to mention it in Memphis, which is a target for possible relocation and/or contraction in favor of said European teams? A curious situation, and that's before you look at the idea of trying to get it done in the next nine years.
Stern's bold, you have to give him that much.
Posted on: December 14, 2010 4:17 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 9:35 pm
National Basketball Players Association executive director Billy Hunter discusses the possibility of the players union decertifying. Posted by Ben Golliver. On Monday, we noted a report that players on multiple NBA teams had voted to authorize decertification of the National Basketball Players Association. Decertification is a step that can be used by a union to complicate labor negotiations and potentially avoid a lockout. However, Billy Hunter, the executive director of the NBPA, told the New York Times on Tuesday that decertification wasn't necessarily on the players' agenda.
“Decertification is just one of the options that the union would have in the event of a protracted lockout, that’s all,” Hunter said. “When you look at what your options are, you’ve got to look at everything. It’s just one of the things we may have to contemplate, but it’s pretty far off. It’s nothing immediate. If you anticipate that there is going to be a lockout, then it’s appropriate as far as timing, to discuss it now so that the players understand it so they begin to incorporate that with their thinking, as well as everything else.”Many observers have called the decertification talk another bit of posturing, and I tend to agree. But if commissioner David Stern and the league are going to put proposals like contraction of franchises, salary rollbacks and a hard cap on the table, you can't blame the players for meeting fire with fire. The New York Times also noted that decertification votes will continue this week. Once those votes are in, we'll be better able to determine whether the decertification talk has real legs.
Posted on: December 13, 2010 11:15 am
Edited on: August 14, 2011 9:33 pm
The Sports Business Journal has released its 2010 top 50 most influential list and here's a look at the NBA people who made the list. Posted by Ben Golliver.
Every year, the Sports Business Journal ranks the top 50 most influential people in sports business, a somewhat subjective but fun to debate list of the powerbrokers that govern the games we enjoy watching, listening to and talking about. The list is usually a who's who of commissioners and television network executives, but team owners, agents and apparel company executives can also find their way onto the list. The NBA is well represented on the 2010 list, with commissioner David Stern leading the way, as expected. "As the dean of professional sports commissioners, David Stern continues to pull all the right strings as the NBA enjoys a renaissance not seen since the Jordan era," Sports Business Journal writes. "This year, though, puts Stern under the spotlight as he pushes for huge changes in a new labor deal with the players that could lead to a lockout. But few, if any, can handle the glare as well as Stern." The three central figures that have controlled the public discussion of NBA labor relations for the last year -- Stern, deputy commissioner Adam Silver and executive director of the NBA Players Association Billy Hunter -- all make the list. Stern checks in at No. 3, the second highest ranking for a league commissioner, trailing only the National Football League's Roger Goodell, who sits in the list's overall top spot. Silver ranks No. 27 on the list, with Hunter not far behind at No. 30. The only NBA owner to show up is something of a surprise. New Washington Wizards owner Ted Leonsis, who also owns the National Hockey League's Washington Capitals, is listed at No. 37. Sports Business Journal writes that Leonsis was included because he "became one of an exclusive group that owns two major professional sports teams and an arena in a top-10 market." Other high-profile NBA owners -- including billionaires Mark Cuban, Paul Allen, James Dolan and Mikhail Prokhorov -- were not included. The NBA's television partners are also well represented. ESPN/ABC President George Bodenheimer placed at No. 2 and Turner's President of Sales and Sports David Levy checked in at No. 13. The two apparel companies most closely associated with the NBA, Nike, who supplies a majority of the players with sneakers, and official partner adidas, both placed executives on the list. Charlie Denson, President of Nike Brand, and Mark Parker, CEO of Nike Inc. shared spot No. 14. Herbert Hainer, Chairman & CEO of adidas, ranked No. 23. President & CEO of AEG Tim Leiwieke, a powerbroker across multiple sports and an important voice in bringing the 2011 NBA All Star Game to Los Angeles, ranks No. 12. Multiple agents with ties to the NBA and other sports also make the list, including Casey Wasserman, Chairman & CEO of Wasserman Media Group, at No. 24, and the Co-Heads of CAA Howard Nuchow and Michael Levine, who rank No. 36. Given CAA's influence over player movement and executive placement in the NBA over the last 12 months, Nuchow and Levine may have the best case for being underrated.
Posted on: December 10, 2010 9:32 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 9:28 pm
Former New Orleans Hornets minority owner Gary Chouest expresses his support for basketball in New Orleans. Posted by Ben Golliver. The Associated Press is reporting that soon-to-be former minority owner of the New Orleans Hornets, Gary Chouest, remains interested in keeping the franchise in New Orleans. The Hornets, it was announced earlier this week, are set for takeover by the NBA after a deal between owner George Shinn and Chouest collapsed after months of negotiations.
Outgoing Hornets minority owner Gary Chouest says he remains as interested in keeping the NBA in New Orleans as he was when he first invested in the club.
Chouest attended Friday night's home game against Oklahoma City and says the reason he bought into in the Hornets "hasn't changed from Day 1." A Louisiana native whose company supplies vessels to the offshore energy industry, Chouest became a part owner when the Hornets returned to New Orleans from Oklahoma City in 2007. Last spring he neared a deal to take full control, but negotiations with majority owner George Shinn stalled, and Chouest won't comment on why.In the NBA's move to take over the Hornets, Chouest will relinquish his minority ownership share to the league. This makes sense, because there would be all sorts of red tape if the NBA had tried to purchase only Shinn's share. More importantly, Commissioner David Stern and NBA will eventually be charged with selling the team, and they would rather have full control over that process than split control with a minority owner involved. Chouest, therefore, is free to either become part of a local investment group or get his money and financing together and proceed with a full ownership bid as was originally expected. But the NBA is not obligated in any way to commit to Chouest and they will certainly open up the sale process to all interested parties. Friday's news, then, boils down to a vaguely positive end to Chouest's recent silence, and nothing more. Chouest had been ripped in New Orleans media for not commenting about his failed bid to purchase the team, as it left so many unanswered questions, opening up the possibility of relocation. By saying now that he still supports the Hornets, New Orleans now has at least one wealthy investor in the picture. Unfortunately, it's the same investor they've always had, and he apparently doesn't have the financial wherewithal to manage full-time ownership and sustain the organization's heavy financial losses. Of course, one interested local investor is better than no interested local investors. But there's a huge difference between supporting the Hornets in theory and committing to financially support the Hornets, and this week's news make it clear which side of that divide Chouest currently falls in.
Posted on: December 8, 2010 4:53 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 9:20 pm
All sorts of theories are flying about the future of the New Orleans Hornets. Posted by Ben Golliver.
Given the mess that is the New Orleans Hornets, you have to feel bad for three people: new GM Dell Demps, new coach Monty Williams and all star point guard Chris Paul. The three met over the summer and apparently hashed out a workable relationship, one which kept Paul happy in the short term and led to a strong start to the season, delivering a whole bunch of promise to start the season. Now, with the team's financial records being leaked and a sale to the NBA underway, their hard work and attempts to keep things in house and under wraps are getting blown up in a big time way. It's only been 48 hours since the NBA announced it would take over control of the team, and the speculation and rumors about possible relocation have kicked into full gear. Here's a rundown, in no particular order. The Times-Picayune reports that Morris Bart, a New Orleans attorney is ready to become a minority partner and hoping for a 10% stake.
"I grew up in New Orleans and I went through the bitterness of the Jazz pulling out and leaving New Orleans,'' Bart said. "I would like to do my part to save the new generation of kids from having to go through that same experience. I'm living here and I think the team has to have local ownership. You've got to have a big fish that can come in and buy 50 percent and then the minority investors can follow along. I feel the NBA strongly wants to keep the team in New Orleans.''Fletcher Mackel, a sports anchor for WDSU in New Orleans, tweets that he is "hearing rumors about David Filo buying Hornets. He's Co founder of Yahoo!, worth 2.9 billion." Filo has ties in the region, having been raised in Lake Charles, Louisiana and attending Tulane University. KMBZ radio in Missouri is reporting that Kansas City Mayor Mark Funkhouser "says he's been involved in talks to bring the Hornets to Kansas City." Kansas City, of course, has an NBA-ready arena and has been short-listed by multiple media outlets as a possible relocation home for the Hornets. Finally, HoopsWorld.com writes that contracting the Hornets is an option that hasn't been discussed enough.
Commissioner David Stern has refused to rule out contraction as a possible option when the owners meet with the NBA Players' Association to hammer out a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) this summer.
The first and perhaps hardest part of the process is finding an owner willing to sell their team to the NBA for eventual dissolution. With the acquisition of the Hornets, the league has already completed that step.What to make of all of this? That there is local interest cropping up immediately in Louisiana is a good sign. Silence in the short term would have been deafening, and a death blow to hope for basketball fans in the Bayou. That people are interested in saving the team is a crucial first step. As for contraction, it seems like a very unlikely possibility in this situation, given the strong interest from other markets and reported interest from overseas owners regarding buying into the league. By purchasing the team from previous owner George Shinn, the NBA committed significant resources (reportedly $300 million) and will be looking for a return on that investment. It's difficult to see commissioner David Stern wanting to swallow that loss whole, especially if there is foreign demand for the right to enter the NBA. Finally, we come full circle and return to our sympathies to those currently working for and playing for the Hornets. Single-minded focus is one of the highest virtues in professional basketball. Being able to tune everything out and carry out the task at hand is what separates winners from losers, above-average teams from average teams, and champions from the rest of the pack. What's being asked of the Hornets and their staff between now and whenever the team is sold -- remember, there is no set goal for that to happen, as Stern is preaching patience -- is a nearly impossible task. Focusing amidst such a storm is simply not a workable, functional reality.
Posted on: December 7, 2010 5:25 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 9:19 pm
The New Orleans Hornets' audited financial records have leaked online, and they paint a horrific financial picture of the franchise's ownership group. Posted by Ben Golliver. Audited financial documents concerning the New Orleans Hornets have been published by Deadspin.com, and the numbers are not pretty. Earlier this week, commissioner David Stern and the NBA stepped in to purchase the Hornets after a long-anticipated sale to Gary Chouest fell through. As Ken Berger of CBSSports.com noted yesterday, the move may wind up being a death blow to basketball in New Orleans, because the Hornets were such a money pit and because deep-pocketed owners would be more likely to find a sustainable business model in a different market, as happened when the Seattle SuperSonics moved to Oklahoma City. The documents published by Deadspin, an audit conducted by KPMG, only reinforce these grim predictions. They show that, despite turning a profit from June 2008 to June 2009, the ownership group led by George Shinn was up to its eyeballs in deficits. This sheet, for example, shows the ownership's total deficit on June 30, 2009, topping out at more than $83 million. Deadspin also notes...
The team's net cash in operating activities, which represents the "measurement of money [owner George Shinn] is being asked to take out of his pocket to keep operations going," according to sports economist Andrew Zimbalist. In 2008, that amount was $7.4 million; in 2009, $1.4 million (slide 12). Zimbalist points out that "things got much more problematic for the franchise" the following year.
The two obvious questions that arise after reading this document are...
1) Did George Shinn just fleece the NBA by selling this franchise for, reportedly, up to $300 million?
2) Can any prospective buyers in Louisiana reasonably be expected to do so much better than Shinn that these huge deficits could be avoided?
To the first question, the league has a vested interest in propping up its franchise sale prices, keeping the buy-in price high to ensure maximum milking from the overseas billionaires who represent the league's future owners. The Hornets might not be worth $300 million, especially after reading these documents and after all star point guard Chris Paul inevitably skips down, but the right to own one of only 30 NBA teams surely hovers around that price. Contingent, of course, on being able to relocate.
To the second question, these numbers paint a pretty grim reality, one that was always assumed, and probably known by those who needed to know or who were interested in purchasing the team. For the general public, however, it casts a cold cloud over the city's chances to enjoy NBA basketball indefinitely into the future.
The only hope for basketball in New Orleans now is for an ownership group to arise that is not only happy to keep basketball in New Orleans out of the goodness of its heart, but is willing to do so while sustaining heavy losses while playing in front of hit-or-miss fan support. Good luck with that.
This team is as good as gone.
Posted on: December 6, 2010 4:29 pm
Edited on: December 6, 2010 4:45 pm
Posted by Royce Young
It's official: The NBA now owns the New Orleans Hornets.
NBA Commissioner David Stern announced Monday that the NBA is proceeding with the purchase of the New Orleans Hornets, following Gary Chouest’s decision not to proceed with the acquisition of the interest of majority owner George Shinn. The transaction is subject to a vote by the NBA’s Board of Governors, which will likely occur next week.
Stern, in a press release said, “George Shinn has been an exceptional owner for New Orleans and Gary Chouest has been extraordinarily supportive as a minority owner. However, in light of the uncertain economic situation in New Orleans and Louisiana, Gary has decided not to move forward with the purchase of George’s majority interest although he was prepared to remain an investor in the team. In the absence of any viable purchaser seeking to own the Hornets in New Orleans, I recommended to the NBA Board of Governors that the best way to assure stability and the adequate funding of the franchise would be for the league to step in, and complete the transaction and assume control."
The franchise was valued at around $300 million and that's the ballpark in which the league paid, according to Stern in a teleconference.
The league has been dedicated to the franchise since Hurricane Katrina. Following a two-year stint in Oklahoma City, many thought it would be best for the franchise to remain there because of the issues in New Orleans. Instead, the NBA and Stern committed themselves to keeping the team in New Orleans, despite there being buyers ready to purchase the team from Shinn (current Thunder owner Clay Bennett being one).
Obviously the league doesn't want to control the Hornets for long, so as soon as a suitable purchaser steps up, the team will likely be sold. Whether that's someone from out of town or someone that wants to try and keep the Hornets in New Orleans is to be seen. But no franchise is more of a prime candidate to be moved than the Hornets right now because of a clause in their lease agreement that lets them out if attendance figures aren't met. And right now, those numbers are way off.
According to Shinn, “When we were unable to complete the transaction with Gary, I suggested to the Commissioner that the league consider the purchase of the Hornets. I wanted to ensure that the team remained in New Orleans, if that was possible, and recognized that the league could provide the necessary funding while a new owner was sought in New Orleans and negotiations with the city and the state could continue.”
Chouest said, “New Orleans owes a debt of gratitude to George for bringing NBA basketball back to the city. I have greatly enjoyed the experience with the Hornets and, of course, will continue to support the team.”
The league has recruited Jac Sperling, a sports executive and New Orleans native, to be the team’s chairman and governor, with Hugh Weber serving as president and alternate governor. Sperling – who founded Grit Rock Ventures, LLC, an investment company focused on sports, media and entertainment business, and is Vice Chairman of Minnesota Sports and Entertainment (MSE), the parent company of the National Hockey League’s Minnesota Wild – will bring his more than 20 years of sports-industry experience to the operation of the Hornets.
Despite the spin from the statements, this is a serious situation for professional basketball in New Orleans. The team may be winning, but the franchise is losing, in a big way.
Posted on: December 1, 2010 9:58 pm
Edited on: December 1, 2010 11:18 pm
The Miami Heat are being investigated by the Cavaliers regarding tampering charges. We look at the burden of proof and the possible fallout. Posted by Matt Moore
And boom goes the Comic Sans.
As Ken Berger elucidates , this is a sticky situation that 's going to be awfully difficult for Cleveland to prove. The burden of proof is obviously on Cleveland and you're trying to not only prove that the meetings took place but the conversations that occurred without recording or documentation and the context within which the conversations took place.
Still, if the Cavs do plop down the "binder" on Stern's desk, he's going to have to proceed with caution. He was already viewed as a willing participant in the Heat's summer shenanigans. With a thorough report on his desk he'll have to give it the consideration it requires. Not because Dan Gilbert levied it, but because word is that Gilbert wasn't the only owner concerned that something was amiss.
Fines aren't really going to be a big problem for the Heat were they to wind up guilty as charged, so to speak, since they're producing so much revenue thanks to the Big 3. Front office suspensions are hard to see as troublesome since Pat Riley is really the only one in charge, he's pretty much done his job for the year, and it's not like ownership is going to make a change away from Riley.
Which leaves draft picks. The Heat have traded or swapped the most picks they can over the next four years. Removing draft picks would mean losing high first round picks who aren't likely to get playing time on a team obviously committed to the veteran role player approach.
I believe the phrase is, "Worth it."Whether it was moral or not, that's another, and possibly irrelevant question.
Boy, the owner talks about the CBA are going to loads of fun when Micky Arison and Dan Gilbert show up at the same time. Awkward.