Tag: owners


Louisville is totally serious about getting an NBA team


Louisville’s basketball crazy, and they want more of it. The Louisville Courier-Journal reports that a group of business owners met with the mayor and other government officials recently to talk about the possibility of the city bringing in an NBA team. And they sound pretty psyched about the idea. From the Courier-Journal:

A group of community leaders convened by restaurant franchisee and former professional basketball player Ulysses “Junior” Bridgeman met with Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer on Friday to discuss the possibility of a National Basketball Association team coming to Louisville, Fischer’s office said.

In a statement, Fischer said the meeting gauged the “level of interest” and the “conditions necessary to attract a team.”

“There was a lot of excitement in the room about what an NBA team could mean for Louisville’s global recognition and as a job attractor and economic engine. There are many elements involved in a journey such as this,” the mayor said. “This must be a win for the University of Louisville, as well as other stakeholders. I’m excited to be part of the dialogue and I continue to believe we should be ready if an opportunity presents itself.”

via Mayor, community leaders discuss NBA possibilities for Louisville | The Courier-Journal | courier-journal.com.

Here’s the deal. I think it’s awesome that Louisville wants a team. I’m not being patronizing there. I genuinely think it’s great to see a community actively excited about bringing the prospect in, especially when so many current locations have such a lackluster response to their own teams. Louisville knows basketball, it would have a great, excited fanbase, no doubt, and it would allow the NBA to make strides in an area that  has been absolute death for them over the years, the Southeast (outside of Florida… /awkward glance towards empty Hawks games).

But this won’t happen.

I love the idea of expansion teams. New talent, more teams, more exciting basketball, more rosters to consider. And I’m of the opinion that if the NBA did a better job with its development, they could support more teams. But they don’t, and the overriding sentiment towards people on the East Coast (or as I like to call them “apparently the only people who matter”) is that the league is watered down and we need fewer teams, not more. So expansion’s out.

And if expansion’s out, Lousiville goes on a list that includes Seattle first and foremost, Kansas City, San Jose, Anaheim, Vancouver, another Chicago franchise, and a few other places. They probably land somewhere between the California markets and right around, if not above, Kansas City. The big problem? Their arena. The city wants to use the KFC Yum! Center (which I will never, ever call it if they do get a team) which is owned by the University. They want the pro franchise to use the college kids’ court. This is not going to fly with a modern NBA owner who will want their own arena, subsidized by the taxpayers (because that makes sense), with all the modern styling and accouterments.

So this is not likely to happen. If it does, good on Louisville. But they’ve got a ways to go for this to actually become a reality.

Hunter references a shifting power structure within ownership.

Mark Cuban, David Stern

Billy Hunter provided enough soundbytes on his appearance on Bill Simmons’ podcast to keep folks entertained for a few days. The “we don’t want to be totally exploited” is the header. Also of note is the reveal of Mark Cuban’s “Game Changer” proposal which proposed no cap and just an aggressive luxury tax. The union and big spender owners of course loved the idea, the small-market guys vommed on it, Hunter said. 

But lost in all this was a quiet story Hunter provided which gives more information into the dynamics of the lockout than maybe anything else that has come out. It’s begins at around the 23-minute mark of the podcast

Two quotes of importance from the segment where Simmons asks Hunter about 

“We did a deal at the twelfth hour, but it was only at the twelfth hour that David and the owners were willing to compromise. I think now there’s a different group of owners that make up NBA so consequently I think they’re a lot more dug in. And they don’t owe their success I think as much to David as before.” 


“I think the reason why  David is being so stubborn is because David has a new crop of owners. He’s got all these guys who have come in who are extremely successful, who have made billions of dollars, who have a different perspective. … With the downturn of the economy in 2008, I think some of the owners probably suffered some significant losses in their ancillary businesses and so consequently they think they should make it up on the backs of these franchises.”

Those two bits are going to quietly slip by in the midst of the conversation about leverage, and his relationship with David Stern, and whether the owners were sold on losing a season from the beginning. But then, these two quotes tell us more about the dynamics inside the room than anything else we’ve heard. 

A common element in previous shifts within the Board of Governors resided in the fact that so many of the owners went with Stern. Jerry Buss has seen David Stern build him an empire, and vice versa. There’s a mutual trust there. Donald Sterling was brought into the league by his friend Jerry Buss, as told in David Halberstam’s “Breaks of the Game.” Peter Holt has lead the BoG for years, and has always followed Stern’s leadership, which is what made his recent appearance as a mega-hawk so surprising. Glen Taylor is a long-time friend of Stern’s. In short, during the last deal, there were owners who had seen their investment triple under Stern’s watch and his growth of the league in the 80’s and 90’s. 

But the new owners are entirely different. Many of them are younger, many of them are more cutthroat, and most importantly, none of them owe Stern anything. Instead, they look at the system he’s helped build which has resulted in financial losses on top of the beatings they’ve taken in other areas and resent it. Players have more earning power than ever, but franchises are losing money. If you don’t trust in Stern, if you don’t believe that David knows best, what do you do? 

You revolt. 

There should be one voice in the room, one head, one leader for the league’s efforts, the man who knows more about the league and its issues than anyone. But instead, versus the boogeyman image some, particularly agents through their favorite outlets, are pushing, Stern is being undercut. He was taken out because he was sick. But those meetings went on and Dan Gilbert and Peter Holt were not only allowed but encouraged to put the hammer to the union in last Thursday’s trainwreck with Stern on the sideline because of this new push. In essence, it’s no longer “Father knows best,’ it’s “Stern will get us what we want or we’ll go get it ourselves.” 

That, pieced together with the appearance of Paul Allen, paints a dangerous picture for the future of these talks and the league. 

If you want peace in a troubled region, what you first need is political stability. If you want success and profit in a business, what you first need is leadership and direction. But instead, the NBA is a cartel acting as a group. And within that group there are competing interests within competing interests. There are hawks who just want revenue sharing, doves who want revenue sharing, hawks who want system changes without revenue sharing, and doves who want everything to stay the same. 

Now, Hunter’s statements are spin, meant to prod the media into interpreting the league as unstable and plagued by infighting. You know, articles like this one. But this wouldn’t be written if the events of the past six months hadn’t come through. Everyone outside of the room knows that losing a season is suicide, it’s a lose-lose situation and worst of all, unnecessary. But it’s being pursued, and, again, according to Hunter, it has been pursued since 2007. 

This lockout is about a lot of things. It’s about LeBron. It’s about ego. It’s definitely about money. It’s about opposing paradigms. It’s about business. But it’s also about shifting paradigms and a league which Stern no longer rules with an iron fist. The owners may be confident in Stern’s ability to do his job as commissioner. But they’re more confident in their ability to exert their will and make the world they want it to be. 

Look at their wealth. Why wouldn’t they?

The common refrain is that this is small-market vs. big-market. Hunter was very particular to use the market terms, especially with Simmons who is a big market fan who most often supports big market initiatives. But this conflict is more aligned with new money vs. old money, and suddenly moderates like Jerry Buss are advocating revenue sharing, and both Mark Cuban and Wyc Grousbeck have conflicting reports about their status as hawks or doves. They smell the winds of change, and they want to be on the winning side. 

They just haven’t figured out that everyone’s losing this. 

Report: By the way, the revenue sharing plan is also a fail

Suns Robert Sarver
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Lost in the madness that was Thurday’s breakdown in CBA negotiations and the subsequent tommy-gunning by the union was the fact that the Board of Governors received those proposals on revenue sharing Thursday. Sometime in between evening coffee and deciding to let Paul freaking Allen and Dan freaking Gilbert be their representatives to the union (the single dumbest decision in this lockout – and I’m counting JaVale McGee denying comments he gave to reporters with recorders in front of his face and Matt Barnes shoving someone in an exhibition game), the owners heard the revenue sharing plans.

And according to Yahoo! Sports, one of them is not so good. It is a fail.

What’s more, Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck presented a revenue-sharing plan that, sources said, left some in the room confused and uncertain. There was hardly a united front walking out of the room on how that would work, on how it would benefit the league.

via Blazers’ Allen sets fire to labor talks – NBA – Yahoo! Sports.


You’re familiar with the Saturday Night Live sketch series involving Harry Caray, yes? (Miss you, Harry.) For this episode, allow me to bring you a rundown for this as if I were Will Ferrell. That’s right, this is me, being Will Ferrell, being Harry Caray. It’s a Saturday morning during day eleventy-billion (not a number, yet) of the lockout. What do you want from me? Forget it, I’m rolling. (At this point this post is just a pop culture reference generator. Let’s just move on.)


Hey, next time, why don’t we have someone who actually needs the revenue sharing money work with someone who has the money to come up with a plan. Stick Jeanie Buss and Robert Sarver in a room and get a plan. OK, to be honest I’m just suggesting Sarver so he’s pre-occupied while negotiations continue. My next plan is to task Dan Gilbert with planning the meals for the Board of Governors for the next… let’s see… ah, yes, seventy years.

Lockout talks have stopped, things looking extremely grim

David Stern, Adam Silver

Just when things were starting to look up — federal mediators! Marathon bargaining sessions! Small concessions from both sides! — it’s starting to look very, very grim for NBA fans once again. According to Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski, talks between the owners and the players have stopped, and the lockout has suffered what Wojnarowski calls a “huge setback”:

Talks on a 50-50 BRI split broke down, and labor talks have ended, source tells Y! No new meetings scheduled. Huge setback in this lockout.

We’ll keep you posted on any new updates as they come in, but things are not looking good at all right now.

Really quietly, the NBA approves Sixers sale

Sixers Happy Family Time

We’d like to congratulate billionaire Joshua Harris and his partners on the successful purchase of the Philadelphia 76ers basketball team which actually doesn’t play basketball at the moment. From the Philadelphia Inquirer:

The NBA Board of Governors has approved Comcast-Spectacors sale of the 76ers to a group of investors led by New York billionaire Joshua Harris, an NBA source confirmed.

The sale is expected to officially close early next week; the new ownership group is expected to hold a news conference, possibly as early as Tuesday.

Terms of the sale were agreed upon in July: $280 million for 100 percent of the franchise. Completion of the sale has been pending league approval for more than two months while the league is mired in a labor dispute with the NBA Players Association.

via NBA approves sales of 76ers to Harris and partners | Philadelphia Inquirer | 10/16/2011.

Now with the sale officially approved and set to go through, the Sixers’ new owners can get to work on owning a basketball team that doesn’t play basketball, working with management who don’t have players, and getting their plan for the future together since they don’t have a present.

It’s a good thing for Sixers fans that they have new ownership around their theoretical basketball team, because if we ever get the actual league back, the Sixers are in for some big decisions regarding Andre Iguodala, Evan Turner, and Thaddeus Young. Change is good and with Ed Stefanski already looking for a new gig, it seems big changes are planned for the franchise under new leadership.

The Sixers do not kick off their season at the beginning of  next month.