The split among the owners — and there is a split among the owners on what should be in the next labor deal — is not as clean and not along all the lines most think.
The conventional wisdom goes that the profitable big market teams oppose a hard salary cap because they like their advantage of being able to outspend their small market brethren (so long as they are willing to pay the luxury tax).
But that is not really the case. We told you Lakers owner Jerry Buss is good with a hard and increased revenue sharing. Guys like Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and the front man for the Celtics ownership group Wyc Grousbeck are considered hawks.
Why? Chris Broussard broke it out well at ESPN. It’s about profits. Same as it ever was. Same as it ever was.
The reason for this seeming contradiction is related to the enhanced revenue-sharing system the league will implement. The big-market owners will bear the brunt of the new system and, according to sources, some of them are adamant about having a hard cap so that if they must share revenues, they’ll have more money from which to pull.
“The big markets want to revenue share but not with their current profits,’’ one of the sources said. “Instead, they want to share from the profit they would get from a harder cap.’’
Some owners also want to phase in the revenue sharing.
At last Thursday’s Board of Governor’s meeting (made up of the owners) revenue sharing took up half the meeting, Stern said. It’s expected the new revenue sharing deal will redistribute upwards of $150 million a season (last season the luxury tax redistributed about $60 million).
Smaller market owners claim they want a hard cap for competitive balance reasons, but really there will never be that kind of parity in the NBA. What they really want is a hard cap and few guaranteed contracts so they can get out of their bad decisions more quickly. They want a system that protects them from themselves.
But whatever the reason, owners are more united behind the idea of a hard cap than the players and many fans seem to think. That may be negotiable with a few more percentage points of “basketball related income” but it will not be easy to get the owners off the idea.