Tag: NBA lockout

Billy Hunter

Billy Hunter made $3 million last year, landed a 25 percent raise during lockout


USA Today discovered a department of labor filing with regards to Billy Hunter’s salary with the NBPA last year, much of which was spent during the lockout of the NBPA by the owners in the labor dispute. Mr. Hunter did quite well for himself.

National Basketball Players Association executive director Billy Hunter was paid $3 million from July 1, 2011-June 30, 2012, a $600,000 — or 25% — raise over the previous year, according to NBPA documents filed Friday with the United States Department of Labor.

via NBPA filing with labor department details Hunter’s salary, payments to family members.

Just to review this, the NBPA paid Hunter $600,000 more last year so that they could lose 5.8 percentage points in BRI just in the first year, with more in subsequent years, and lose 16 games worth of pay. That’s clearly money well spent.

USA Today also outlines all the exorbitant legal fees paid to various consulting law firms during the lockout, including those who hired Hunter’s children. The union doled out some serious cash in a losing effort. Hunter has been under scrutiny, particularly from ousted NBPA president Derek Fisher over where the money went over the last several years, with an investigation still pending.

This certainly doesn’t make Hunter look good, but there’s no telling how much Hunter donated during the lockout, and it’s hard to gauge whether Hunter did  a good job during the lockout or not. The players lost a ton of money, but the owners also had massive leverage. There were reasons for the loss, and Hunter deserves to make a living like anyone.

But $3 million dollars? During the exact period where the union got squashed, the very thing Hunter’s paid to prevent? Not a good look.

Quote of the Day: If you don’t think we’ll have a lockout again…

Mavericks owner Cuban waves to fans before the start of Mavericks versus 76ers NBA basketball game in Philadelphia

“We certainly didn’t achieve all we needed to achieve. I’ve said it multiple times that in the old CBA, financially, teams were drowning in 10 feet of water, now we’re drowning in two feet of water. It’ll be interesting. Obviously the Nets just went out and spent a boatload of money. It’ll be interesting to see if that works for them or against them.”

— Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban talking about the lockout that almost cost the league last season, on ESPN Radio in Dallas (an interview we’ve already quoted a couple times), via Sports Radio Interviews.

The NBA owners want more money — no matter how much they have they will want a bigger slice of the pie. In the last lockout they got a lot from players and really tried to shift the finances of the league. But as Cuban pointed out the Nets will have a massive, long-term payroll and the Lakers next year (and likely the next couple years) will spend $17 million more than anyone else to field a team. You think small market owners think they can still compete? You think that will not fuel them to push for more changes that will not benefit players?

We don’t know what the financial landscape of the NBA will be in five years when either side (owners or players) can opt out of the current CBA. But you can bet one side will. And as Cuban says, the owners don’t think they got enough yet… although if they are drowning in two feet of water, that’s on them.

NBA owners not going to make profit this season, league says


If you believe the league’s numbers — and we’re still skeptical, to put it kindly — the NBA was a long way from turning a profit, they predicted a $300 million loss last year.

A few months into the new collective bargaining agreement that is far more favorable to the owners (no matter what Mark Cuban thinks), the league has not turned those losses around. At an All-Star Weekend press conference Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver said that the league will not turn a profit this year and may not next year.

It seems odd to say that at a time when NBA television ratings are skyrocketing and attendance is up overall. The players have taken pay cuts to lower costs. So costs are down, the NBA’s popularity is booming and profits are not?

Henry Abbott went into more detail and shows why there is some logic to that at TrueHoop.

The explanation from the league is that the cuts in player costs roughly match the losses from last year. But this year the league says there were an additional $200 million in losses related to the lockout, for instance due to lost ticket revenue and corporate sponsorships that didn’t happen.

More importantly, popularity only equals big changes in revenue over years. The most obvious way that happens is with more lucrative national TV deals, but the old deals are still in place for two more years. High TV ratings have not meant new TV revenues for the league. Corporate sponsorships similarly take time to develop.

Where the popularity will really show is in local television and other media deals, particularly the national broadcast rights which are up in 2016. But the league is right, it’s a year or several years before those eyeballs can be converted to cash. Now, if we’re having this same discussion if five years, if the league can’t turn all those additional eyeballs into profits, then they are doing it wrong.

Details emerge of league’s new revenue sharing plan

AP Money Found

Revenue sharing was a big part of this summer’s Collective Bargaining Agreement talks, but the most secretive part. The owners wanted it to be something separate from the CBA itself, the players wanted it included, but what was going to be included was vague.

Even when the deal was finalized and the lockout lifted, the details of revenue sharing were not finalized and unclear. But now they are starting to come into focus. In part due to a story in the Sports Business Daily on Tuesday (hat tip to IamaGM).

Looks like the NBA is going with a “pool” system for revenue sharing, something that is dramatically different in both style and amount than it was in the last labor deal.

Sources said that the core of the plan calls for all teams to contribute an annually fixed percentage, roughly 50 percent, of their total annual revenue, minus certain expenses such as arena operating costs, into a revenue sharing pool.

Each team then receives an allocation equal to the league’s average team payroll for that season from the revenue pool. If a team’s contribution to the pool is less than the league’s average team payroll, then that team is a revenue recipient. Teams that contribute an amount that exceeds the average team salary fund the revenue given to receiving teams.

So, what does that really mean? Well, if you’re a small market team it means a lot of money.

For example, one high-revenue team could contribute 50 percent of its total revenue, minus certain expenses, for a total of $70 million put into the pool. A low-revenue team could contribute total revenue of $45 million. After allocating to both teams the average team payroll of $58 million, the low-revenue team would receive $13 million in revenue sharing to make up the difference between its pooled revenue from the league’s average payroll. The high-revenue team would be contributing $12 million to be distributed among receiving teams, adding financial balance between the markets.

Remember we are talking about the local revenue — money from ticket sales, concessions, parking and local television deals — not the national television deal revenue which is already split evenly between the teams.

There are caps on the percentage of revenue so that the big market teams — Lakers, Knicks, Celtics — get to keep a good percentage of their money. Jeanie Buss of the big-revenue Lakers toes the company line in the SBJ article. Of course, they have so much money coming in starting next year from their new local television deal this isn’t fazing them. At all.

It may seem like it, but lockout does not equal more injuries

Curry injured AP
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You knew this would come — the talk around the league that the lockout and shortened training camps had led to more injuries, more sprained ankles and more traumatic injuries. anecdotal evidence seems to back that up. Al Horford is down for the season after surgery to repair his pectoral muscle Tuesday, a similar injury to what Kwame Brown suffered. Dwyane Wade, Derrick Rose and others are out, and Kobe Bryant should be but is too stubborn.

Here is what Rick Adelman told NBA.com.

“I just find it unusual that you see so many,” said Wolves coach Rick Adelman. “Maybe because the season is so compressed that you dwell on it quicker and more often, since you don’t have time to rest. But it just seems rash. Someone told me that between now and February (the Wolves) have two days off. That’s not a lot of time to rest or get healthy.”

Adelman is on to something — it’s not the lockout, but the compressed schedule makes it look worse than it is. More games in a tighter space makes the normal number of injuries per game appear increased, and when players do get hurt they miss more games while recovering than in the past.

Sports injury blogger and guru Will Carroll did a study on this for a team and wrote for Sports Illustrated about it before the season.

Traumatic injuries are random in when they occur, but predictable in how often they occur, according to a proprietary study I did for an NBA team two years ago… The gist of the study is that certain events make a player more likely to be injured traumatically and that traumatic injuries predict chronic ones. Players have a greater chance of suffering a traumatic injury if they persist in doing certain athletic activities over a long period….

Which brings us back to the lockout and injuries. There’s simply no evidence that the lockout or even just a time away from the paternalistic embrace of a team increases the risk of injury.

Wade is out — this is a guy who attacks the rim aggressively and is reckless with his body in the process. It is part of what makes him great, but it does lead to injuries and we have seen that in his past. He rolled his ankle — that’s a common, every season occurences with players. Rose also attacks aggressively and puts his body at risk (although he draws less contact than Wade). Did you really think Rose was never going to suffer some injuries?

Big men having random injuries that cost them the season, we see that every year, too.

The difference this year is that because of the compressed schedule the injuries appear to happen more often. A player tweaks his ankle and might normally have a day or two off to rest it before he plays again, but now he tries to play through it during four games in six nights and the result is it gets worse. That’s not the fault of the lockout — that’s the fault of the NBA owners and players union trying to make as much money back this season as they could by compressing the schedule.