NBA owners to discuss ads on jerseys at next meeting

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It’s common in Europe — when you picture a Manchester United jersey you picture the AON on the chest. Same with any soccer or basketball team, the sponsors’ name where we expect to see the team name is expected.

What about ads on NBA jerseys? Patches somewhere promoting whatever company shelled out the bucks?

The NBA owners are going to discuss it at their next meeting, according to the Sports Business Journal (via Sporting News).

It’s a touchy topic, one that involves balancing some of the most influential league constituencies and addressing some thorny questions: Would uniform patches be league or team inventory? Will NBA broadcasters TNT and ESPN/ABC, or even uniform rights holder Adidas, want a piece of the action? Would the league take a PR hit as the first to accept non-endemic ads on uniforms?

Of course, the most important issue is also the most basic. “The most appropriate question and the answer we’re all waiting for is, ‘What is it worth?’” said Golden State Warriors president and COO Rick Welts, who did the WNBA’s first uniform advertising deal between the Phoenix Mercury and LifeLock in 2009. “I am not suggesting this is an easy issue, but I feel like it is inevitable. We just have to agree on value and what it would look like.”

One study last year said if you replaced a team name with an advertiser on a jersey it would be worth $31 million in exposure — and that was a conservative estimate that didn’t think about things like ESPN and other shows putting together nightly highlight packages. That’s a lot of money. It’s already been done on  practice jerseys used only on a practice court at a training facility by a couple NBA teams (Suns for one).

What about something as simple as Adidas — the league’s uniform maker — moving its logo into a prominent place on the jersey (the name is not on the jersey now)?

My feeling is this is coming — first with a patch for a company with a recognizable logo. For example, the league sells the rights to McDonalds to put a patch with it’s arches on every jersey, then that money is distributed to teams. Just a guess, but I could see that coming in the next few years. I don’t have to like it, but it feels inevitable.

Watch Pacers fan boo Paul George during introductions (video)

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Paul George – who told the Pacers he’d leave in free agency, prompting them to trade him to the Thunder – expected boos in his return to Indiana.

Pacers fans delivered.

They’ve also booed him every time he has touched the ball, which will certainly persist.

John Wall returns for Wizards-Grizzlies

AP Photo/Nick Wass
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WASHINGTON (AP) — Point guard John Wall was in the Washington Wizards’ lineup Wednesday night against the Memphis Grizzlies after missing nine games with a sore left knee.

Coach Scott Brooks said Wall would play in the mid-20-minute range, perhaps a bit more.

The Wizards (14-13), currently in first place in the Southeast Division, went 4-5 in Wall’s absence.

“He such a force offensively,” Brooks said of Wall. “He’s a two-way player and he’s one of the few guys in the league that can find open 3-point shooters going 100 miles an hour in transition.”

Wall, 27, is averaging 20.3 points and 9.2 assists per game.

Pacers president Kevin Pritchard likes tweets critical of Paul George trade

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Pacers general manager Kevin Pritchard was widely panned – including by me – for trading Paul George for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis.

Oops.

Oladipo and Sabonis are killing it while George has underwhelmed.

Upon George’s return to Indiana, Pritchard took the opportunity to gloat. The Pacers general manager recently liked these tweets (hat tip: Matt Ellentuck of SB Nation):

This is petty – and I love it. Pritchard earned the victory lap.

Report: Rival executives still expect Paul George to leave Thunder for Lakers

AP Photo/David Zalubowski
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Paul George has been pretty open about his plans.

He told plenty of people – including the Pacers – he planned to leave for the Lakers in the summer of 2018. Even after the Thunder traded for him, George spoke of the lure of playing for his hometown team.

Of course, George also left the door open to re-signing with Oklahoma City. He proclaimed he’d be dumb to leave if the Thunder reached the conference finals or upset the Warriors.

So far, Oklahoma City (12-14) doesn’t even look like a playoff lock, let alone a team capable of knocking off Golden State or reaching the conference finals. So, cue the inevitable speculation.

Sam Amick of USA Today:

Rival execs still expect Paul to head for the Lakers in free agency

Do these executives have inside information into George’s thinking, or are they just speculating based on already-available information? Some executives are incentivized to drum up the Lakers threat, because they want to trade for George themselves now. If these executives insist George will leave for Los Angeles regardless, they might pry him from Oklahoma City for less.

There’s also a theory George is hyping his desire to sign with the Lakers so a team would have to trade less for him. That got him to the Thunder for what looked like a meager return (but hasn’t been). It might get him to a more favorable situation before the trade deadline without hampering his next team long-term. Of course, this theory isn’t mutually exclusive with George actually signing in Los Angeles. It could just get him better options to choose from this summer.

Surely, the Thunder are trying to parse all this noise. If their season doesn’t turn around, they should explore flipping George rather than risk losing him for nothing next summer. But they should also be wary that he’ll bolt for Los Angeles at first opportunity just because rival executives predict it.