Author: Dan Feldman

Adam Silver
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Adam Silver: Parity precluding jersey advertisements

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Update: To clarify, the parity concern is most likely one of many hurdles to getting advertising on NBA jerseys. Just because that’s the only issue Adam Silver spoke about here doesn’t make it the primary issue.

In fact, the other hurdles could be more substantial. Who buys the advertising and for how much? Is it sold league-wide or team-by-team? How does the NBA ensure jersey ads generate new revenue as opposed to just diverting existing advertising dollars already spent on theleague? How does the uniform maker play into this? How does the shift from Adidas to Nike next year affect decisions? How do TV contracts factor (though there’s reportedly at least some resolution nationally)?

I’m still intrigued by parity and revenue-sharing elements, but it’s important to keep this discussion in the proper scope. If parity is only one hurdle of many, concerns about parity are just part of a bigger picture.

So, keep that in mind when reading below. I’ve added a couple notes of clarification.

 

 

NBA commissioner Adam Silver has been calling advertising on jerseys inevitable since at least 2014, and the league’s popularity continues to rise.

So, why hasn’t any team put an ad on its uniform?

Silver, via The Lowe Post podcast:

Part of the reason we haven’t moved forward is complications over our revenue-sharing system, that if certain markets did exponentially better than other markets, then it gets complicated.

But the way our revenue-sharing system works, it would be a net reduction in revenue for other clubs. And your listeners could say: “Why does that matter?” And the issue is, end of the day, most importantly, we’re trying to create parity in this league. And we don’t want a system where some teams can afford much higher payrolls than other teams.

And that’s the biggest concern, that there are a group of teams that feel they will somehow be left behind, that certain markets – and presumably some of the larger markets – will be much more successful in selling – we’re calling it a patch, a logo on a jersey, not the full-out control of the jerseys that you see in European soccer. But they’d be more successful in selling a patch. They would generate more revenue.

Those lower-revenue-generating teams would not get a substantial enough increase in revenue sharing, and therefore, they would not be able to spend as much on players, on practice facilities, on all the other enhancements necessary to compete for championship teams.

And that’s going to be my biggest concern as we continue to address it, ensuring that it doesn’t have any effect whatsoever on teams’ ability to compete.

Why sell local TV contracts? Big markets can generate more revenue there than small markets.

Why sell merchandise? Big markets can generate more revenue there than small markets.

Why sell tickets? Big markets can generate more revenue there than small markets.

Jersey ads seem like a relatively arbitrary place to draw the line.

Large markets have advantages. That’s just how it is. The league must find a suitable revenue-sharing formula, but large markets will have always have some advantage. It’s just a matter of how much, and it seems small markets are hijacking the process to stake a bigger claim. Any dollar a big-market team generates through jersey-ad sales that is shared with a a small-market team is a money that small-market team wouldn’t otherwise receive.

The players union should take exception to the league (clarification: by the league, I mean an NBA driven by a bloc of small of small-market teams) voluntarily rejecting available revenue – about half of which would go to the players. It’s not their problem that the owners can’t agree how to share their slice of the pie.

This could also explain why the league could get ads on All-Star jerseys but not regular-season jerseys. That doesn’t directly affect any group of teams over others.

Knowing (this is one of the reasons) why team jerseys don’t have ads makes me only more convinced Silver is correct about their inevitability. I expect this to get sorted out for the next Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Refusing to accept money just because someone else might get more is not a sustainable stance – especially when your business partners, the players, want that revenue coming in.

LeBron James on Johnny Manziel: ‘I don’t go to Vegas much, but when I do, I’m myself’

Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James, right, talks with Cleveland Brown quarterback Johnny Manziel at the Browns training camp in Berea, Ohio, Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014. (AP Photo/The Cleveland Plaindealer, Chuck Crow) NO SALES MANDATORY CREDIT TV OUT ONLINE OUT
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Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James and Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel share a city and a marketing firm. They’ve attended each other’s practices and games.

So, LeBron was asked about Manziel, who reportedly no-showed a team meeting Sunday after going out in Las Vegas the night before while wearing a blonde wig and fake mustache.

LeBron, via Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com:

“I think it’s more concern for him individually,” James said Wednesday before the Cavaliers’ shootaround in preparation for a road game against the Wizards. “And I’m not quite sure, I don’t know all the details on it, I really kind of even haven’t been all up on it, but I’ve heard a little bit of it and it’s just a distraction for not only himself but for everyone that’s around him, including family, people that represent him, the people around him.

“And he’ll figure it out at some point, we all hope,” James said.

“I don’t go to Vegas much, but when I do, I’m myself,” James said.

Stephen Jackson: Byron Scott ‘the worst coach at communicating with young guys’

2 Dec 2000:  Stephen Jackson #24 of the New Jersey Nets dribbles the ball during the game against the Orlando Magic at the TD Waterhouse Centre in Orlando, Florida.  The Magic defeated the Nets 83-80.   NOTE TO USER: It is expressly understood that the only rights Allsport are offering to license in this Photograph are one-time, non-exclusive editorial rights. No advertising or commercial uses of any kind may be made of Allsport photos. User acknowledges that it is aware that Allsport is an editorial sports agency and that NO RELEASES OF ANY TYPE ARE OBTAINED from the subjects contained in the photographs.  Mandatory Credit: Andy Lyons  /Allsport
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Byron Scott removed D'Angelo Russell and Julius Randle from the starting lineup and cut their minutes.

Then, the Lakers coach announced he hadn’t even talked them about their demotions.

Matters got worse Sunday, when Scott benched Randle and told him, “You’ve gotta grow up.” Randle didn’t appreciate that.

This all sounded familiar to former NBA player Stephen Jackson, who spent his rookie season with Scott’s 2000-01 New Jersey Nets.

Jackson, via 120 Sports:

D’Angelo Russell and Randle, do not pay attention to Byron Scott.

I made the Rookie All-Star Game at the end of the break, and after the break, he did not play me no more.

He is the worst communicator for young guys. I would not advise a young player to even listen to Byron Scott, because he is the worst coach at communicating with young guys, and I’m living proof.

Here are Jackson’s minutes during his rookie year. Starts are red. Games off the bench are blue. DNPs are black. The silver line represents the All-Star break.

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That’s pretty up and down – emphasis on down after the All-Star break.

For what it’s worth, Jackson hasn’t always gotten along well with other coaches. See his complicated relationship with Gregg Popovich.

But I’m not sure Scott would debate the facts here, merely the characterization. Scott seems to believe ignoring young player isn’t poor communication, but forcing them to take their lumps and get tougher.

I agree there’s value in overcoming adversity. I just don’t think this much self-imposed adversity on a team makes much sense.

Mitch Kupchak: Lakers could retire both numbers, 8 and 24, for Kobe Bryant

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Will the Lakers retire No. 8 or No. 24 for Kobe Bryant?

Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak, via Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times:

“I don’t know the answer. Obviously it’s going to be 8, 24 or it could be both,” said Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak

Retiring both numbers initially feels excessive. No franchise has ever retired two numbers for the same player. Does Kobe – an all-time great, but not the greatest nor even the greatest Laker (Magic Johnson) – really deserve the honor?

But how many players have accomplished so much in different numbers for the same organization? Kobe has spent 10 years in each number, winning three titles in No. 8 and then two titles and an MVP in No. 24.

There isn’t precedent for anything like that.

It might seem strange to retire both numbers, but it’d also be strange for another Laker to wear No. 8. (If the Lakers retire only one, it’ll almost certainly be Kobe’s preference of No. 24.)

There’s logic behind either path. But the sooner Kobe’s number goes to the rafters – and I suspect it’ll happen next season – the more likely he gets both numbers retired in the hoopla of his retirement.

Report: Jason Kidd is Bucks’ de facto general manager

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When the Bucks hired Jason Kidd as head coach before last season, speculation immediately turned to whether he’d take control of the front office. After all, he had just attempted a power play to become the Nets’ president.

But the Bucks insisted they hired him only as coach.

With Kidd out due to hip surgery, that claim is getting revisited.

Adrian Wojnarowski on The Vertical Podcast with Woj:

Jason Kidd has left the team for apparently six weeks to two months to have hip surgery. A lot of people around the league and people I talked to in the aftermath of this wonder, given Kidd’s penchant in the past to bail on things when they get difficult – could this be the beginning of Kidd’s escape hatch to maybe just moving up to a full-time role in the front office, whether he finishes up coaching this year and then tries to move up next year?

He goes to Milwaukee with the title of head coach, but since the day Jason has arrived there, he’s been in charge of personnel. That’s not a secret.

Drafts Rashad Vaughn when I know that the front office there would’ve liked Bobby Portis

They’re in the process of identifying some potential GM-in-waiting candidates to eventually work with John Hammond and Jason Kidd.

How do long do they entrust Jason Kidd with the future of this organization. Will they allow him here just to move into a complete front-office and maybe hire his own coach?

John Hammond is the Bucks’ official general manager, and they extended his contract through next season. That wouldn’t preclude a change, though. And it sounds as if, regardless of Kidd’s title, Milwaukee wants Hammond to groom his replacement.

As for Kidd, the Bucks have a shaky record of transactions since hiring him. Trading Brandon Knight at last season’s trade deadline wasn’t necessary a mistake, but I’d rather have the top-three-protected Lakers pick that went to the 76ers in the three-way deal than Michael-Carter Williams. A first-round pick was a massive overpay for Greivis Vasquez on an expiring contract, and Milwaukee also included a second-rounder in the trade with the Raptors. Dumping Jared Dudley, Zaza Pachulia and Ersan Ilyasova made sense if Kidd was willing to get younger and take a possible step back in the short term, but his reliance on Jerryd Bayless and O.J. Mayo suggests otherwise. Even smaller moves – like waiving the younger Nate Wolters to sign over-the-hill Kenyon Martin, a former Kidd teammate – look suspect.

And there’s drafting Rashad Vaughn over Bobby Portis with the No. 17 pick last year. Vaughn is represented by Jeff Schwartz – the agent who came under fire for counting both Kidd and players as clients. While Portis is pushing for more playing time in a crowded Bulls frontcourt, Vaughn is struggling to find his footing (though it’s far too early to cast final judgments on the rookies).

Kidd’s relationship with Schwartz also has positives for the Bucks. Another Schwartz client, Khris Middleton, surprisingly re-sign for less than a max contract with the Bucks. Add Kidd luring David Falk client Greg Monroe to Milwaukee, and it appears Kidd deserves credit for successfully selling his vision to free agents.

Still, Kidd’s connection to Schwartz should concern the organization (not to mention Schwartz clients – why did Middleton accept less than the max so quickly?). In addition to Vaughn, Schwartz represents current Bucks Carter-Williams, Bayless and Tyler Ennis.

But whatever reservations Bucks owners – including Kidd’s friend, Marc Lasry – had about empowering Kidd, it appears they’ve already gotten past them.