You think you don’t want a lockout because you don’t want to miss Kwame Brown getting to shoot more, imagine how much the suits at ABC/ESPN and Turner Broadcasting (TNT) are dreading it.
A lockout could cost $1 billion in ad revenue, according to Ad Age (via the legendary Nate Jones). That is billion. As in not Kobe Bryant money but Mark Cuban money.
Television ratings are up this season about 30 percent (attendance at the gate is flat). ESPN could really feel the pinch, the story notes.
TNT clearly has the programming to fill the void if there is no NBA next season, but sports-centric ESPN would have to scramble. Unlike the NBA lockout in 1999, ESPN no longer has the National Hockey League to fall back on. And, according to a report prepared by analysts from RBC Capital, Disney derives 55% of its revenue from sports, primarily from ESPN.
There are a number of companies that base their marketing around those games — Nike and Adidas are selling a lot of shoes, for example, and would not have the showcase for new lines or hot endorsers. Then there are league sponsors, like the recently signed BBVA (A Spanish banking group) and American Express. They will be scrambling for other venues to get the word out.
The lockout is coming — Carmelo Anthony says so. But the money doesn’t really start to be lost until games start being lost and that is the ultimate key. Lockouts in the dead of the offseason are one thing; ones that cost games are another thing entirely. And if it costs games, it’s going to cost a lot of money.
For the second consecutive year, the Warriors have lost their lead assistant to another team. When the Pelicans hired Alvin Gentry during last year’s playoffs, Steve Kerr promoted Luke Walton to associate head coach and added former journeyman big man Jarron Collins to the bench. Now that Walton is headed to the Lakers as their next head coach, the Warriors will go outside the organization to find a replacement, according to ESPN.com’s Marc Stein. And one name that will likely not be in the mix is David Blatt, who very nearly became an assistant under Kerr in 2014 before being offered the Cavaliers’ head job.
Given Walton’s success this season as interim head coach while Kerr recovered from back surgery, this will undoubtedly be the most attractive assistant job in the league.
In the last few years, NBA head coaching salaries have skyrocketed, and new Lakers coach Luke Walton is no exception. According to the Los Angeles Times‘ Mike Bresnahan, Walton is getting $25 million over five years, which is the same as Steve Kerr’s deal with the Warriors, now-former Knicks coach Derek Fisher’s deal in New York, and Fred Hoiberg’s deal with the Bulls.
This kind of money has become standard for head coaches who don’t also have front-office power. Tom Thibodeau and Stan Van Gundy both get between $7 and $8 million annually to do both jobs. Given how good Walton’s current situation with the Warriors is, the Lakers probably had to be on the high end of the coaching spectrum to get him to leave.
On Friday night, the Lakers announced that they’re hiring Luke Walton as their next head coach, effective as soon as the Warriors’ playoff run is over. It’s a good hire, but it’s especially interesting given Walton’s close relationship with Phil Jackson and the rumors that never seem to go away, that Jackson might be set up to return to the Lakers to run the team alongside fiancée Jeanie Buss after next season, when he has an opt-out in his contract with the Knicks.
But that doesn’t mean Walton will be running the triangle, as he said in his first comments to reporters since the news broke.
Via the Orange County Register‘s Bill Oram:
Regardless of whether Jackson eventually gets back in the picture in Los Angeles, Walton has been a successful assistant in Golden State and has the right temperament to lead the Lakers into the post-Kobe era.
Stephen Curry might be back sooner than expected. It’s been one week since he suffered the sprained MCL in his right knee that led the Warriors to rule him out for at least two weeks, but head coach Steve Kerr said Saturday that there’s at least an outside chance he could play Tuesday in Game 2 of Golden State’s second-round series against the Portland Trail Blazers.
Via ESPN.com’s Marc Stein:
Obviously, the smart money is on Curry not playing this early in his timetable. But the fact that it’s even on the table would seem to indicate that, barring a setback, he’ll be back for at least some of the series, which tips off Sunday.