So much of the recent NBA lockout was really about small market owners trying to rein in the spending of big market owners in the name of mythical “competitive balance.” (I would say a lot of that was misplaced anger at bigger markets having better management, but we can debate that another day.) The Lakers and their $90 million payroll had to be stopped, so the group of Republican owners put a bunch of socialist rules in place — luxury taxes and forced revenue sharing — to slow the Lakers spending down.
But in the case of the Lakers, the question starts to become will any of that matter?
You know that the Lakers signed a massive new television deal to be the anchor of a regional sports network in Los Angeles to be launched by Time Warner in 2012. (Why the Lakers didn’t get equity in that deal confuses me, it seems a mistake on their part.) Here is a reminder of just how massive it is and how it could lead to them spending like always, via Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register.
That $5 billion is over 25 years – or it’ll be merely $4 billion over 20 years if the future option isn’t exercised. It has been widely and wrongly reported as less.
Let’s pause and appreciate how much money one club, starting next season, will get per year all to itself just from local TV: $200 million … when Forbes values the entire Milwaukee Bucks franchise at $258 million.
It leads to a very good question: whether the NBA’s new supposedly prohibitive luxury-tax penalties to start in 2013 are really going to stop the Lakers from continuing to throw money at their problems – because they’ve solved a lot of them very well that way without having this new billionaire boys’ club.
Revenue sharing plays into this — the final details of it are not yet finalized among the owners, but the Lakers are likely to have to kick $60 million a year or more to small market teams. Plus the increased luxury tax could kick the Lakers’ tax bill from $20 million to $45 million in a couple years (at last year’s spending level. That’s an extra $100 million a year or more going out the door.
But the Lakers’ annual income from local television revenue is about to jump more than $150 million a year. So what’s to stop them?
It’s good to have the Lakers’ problems.
There’s this overplayed angle talked about by some fans and pundits suggesting the Warriors just got lucky last season — for example, they faced a banged-up Rockets’ team in the conference finals then a Cavaliers’ squad without two of their big three through the Finals. Then there was Clippers’ coach Doc Rivers saying the Warriors were lucky not having to play the Clippers or Spurs in the postseason.
The Warriors are sick of hearing they were lucky.
Friday Klay Thompson fired back at Rivers, via CSNBayArea.com.
– “I wanted to play the Clippers last year, but they couldn’t handle their business.”
– “If we got lucky, look at our record against them last year (Warriors 3-1). I’m pretty sure we smacked them.”
– “Didn’t they lose to the Rockets? Exactly. So haha. That just makes me laugh. That’s funny. Weren’t they up 3-1 too?”
– “Yeah, tell them I said that. That’s funny. That’s funny.”
Warriors big man Andrew Bogut phrased it differently.
If you think the Warriors just won because they were lucky — you are dead wrong.
They were the best team in the NBA last season, bar none. They won 67 regular season games in a tough conference, then beat everyone in their path to win a title. Did they catch some breaks along the way, particularly with health? You bet. Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, and Kobe Bryant didn’t win a title without catching some breaks along the way, either. Nobody does. Luck plays a role, but it was not the primary factor in why the Warriors are champs.
All this talk of them getting lucky is fuel for the fire they needed not to be complacent this season. Way to give the defending champs bulletin board material, Doc.
Dwyane Wade has earned his status as an elder statesman, the E.F. Hutton kind of veteran who speaks and everybody listens.
Rookie Justise Winslow is listening.
Winslow (who should have gone higher in this draft) is a perfect fit for the Heat and he’s going to be part of their rotation off the bench from the start of the season (along with Josh McRoberts and Amare Stoudemire). Wade has already fully stepped into the mentor role with Winslow working with him on post moves, reports Jason Lieser at the Palm Beach Post.
“As his career develops, hopefully he’s able to do multiple things on the floor, but right now there’s gonna be certain things (Erik Spoelstra) wants him to do, and some of those things I’m good at,” Wade said. “I’m just passing down knowledge to someone who I think could be good at things that I have strengths at. It’s gonna take a while, but if he figures it out at 21, he’s ahead of the curve. I figured it out at like 27.
“All of us are where we’re at because someone before us helped us. They helped by letting us sit there and watch film with them or having conversations with them. If he’s a student of it and he really wants to know, I’m a pretty decent teacher in certain areas.”
This is what you want out of a veteran leader and some of the young teams out there have done an excellent job adding this kind of mentor — Kevin Garnett in Minnesota may be the best example. Someone who can pass on his wisdom and show the team’s young players how to be a professional and win in the NBA.
It’s a little different for Winslow, he and the Heat are more in a win-now mode, but he should be able to contribute to that.