Does it make anyone else sad when a famed pro athlete auctions off a lot of his memorabilia?
Julius Erving — who you remember best as Dr. J. doing a scoop shot in the finals for the Sixers — is doing just that, according to the Atlanta Journal Consitition (via Ball Don’t Lie).
The majority of the story is about how Erving bought a golf course that seems to be a huge financial drain and has led to a bank suing him. Then comes these to paragraphs.
In an unrelated matter, many of Erving’s basketball memorabilia items, including his 1983 Philadelphia 76ers World Championship ring, will be up for bidding Friday, SCP Auctions said Tuesday. Other items on the auction block include Erving’s ABA championship rings from 1974 and 1976 with the New York Nets, MVP trophies from both the NBA and the ABA, and jerseys.
The minimum bid is $25,000 for the NBA championship ring, and $20,000 for each ABA title ring and the NBA MVP trophy, the auction house said. In a statement released by the auction house, Erving said he plans to donate a portion of the auction proceeds to the Salvation Army.
Unrelated. I can’t prove otherwise, so you make your own call.
But if you want some vintage Dr. J and Sixers memorabilia, there is an auction for you coming up. And the cause could be a good one.
Elton Brand has been a let down to fans in Philadelphia. A max deal guy not playing up to his standards in a tough town. His first year there he played just 29 games due to injury. His second season he was back for 76 games but was just average, not fully recovered and stuck on a bad team. Last season he was good — not the very good Brand from his Clippers years, not the very good Brand the Sixers paid top dollar for, but still Brand was good and his 15 points and 8 rebounds a game was one reason the Sixers made the playoffs.
That said, he is owed $35 million over the next two years and is seen by many fans as an anchor on the team’s rebuilding effort. So, when the NBA finally gets its labor mess together and that includes an amnesty clause — where teams can let a player go and write down his salary off the cap — is Elton Brand the guy sent walking?
No, says Kate Fagan of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Not even close.
First, if the NBA does lose this season because of the ongoing labor negotiations, Brand will only have 1-year/$18 million remaining on his contract. At that point, he becomes a great trade chip, if nothing less. But more to the point, this amnesty clause is there to be used on players producing at very low percentages of their contract value. It’s true that Brand is no longer worth a max contract or $17-18 million a year, but last season (81 games played, 15.0 points, 8.3 rebounds a game) he was probably worth 70-80 percent of that money. The franchise would be waiving a double-double player and only saving a few million dollars (if you consider that they’d have to sign a player to replace him, anyway). It’s just not worth it to the Sixers to lose Brand’s services, when he’s producing at a solid level. In addition, Brand isn’t a trouble maker. You could make the argument for waiving Brand under this clause if he was a disruption or if he was a liability in the locker room. But nothing could be further from the truth. Brand might make up for (some of) his diminished on-court value with his leadership skills and steady presence….
So what move would make more sense if you took this approach to using the amnesty clause? Waiving Andres Nocioni. This is assuming the league and union agree to a new CBA this season because Nocioni has 1-year/$6.7 million remaining on his contract (and a team option for the 2012-13 season).
Fans across the nation will feel like the fans in Philly — they will see the amnesty clause as a way to punish players that frustrate them, that haven’t lived up to expectations. But Fagan is spot on — it’s better to overpay a player who is giving you some value and let go of a player who makes less but doesn’t add as much.
There will be surprises. Remember back in 2005 the amnesty clause was referred to as the Alan Houston Rule — and the Knicks kept Houston. Of course, that was the Knicks 2000s, so logic need not apply.
Now we have four rappers who are part owners of NBA teams. Still only one that anyone talks about, but four total.
Will Smith — rapper, actor, the Fresh Prince himself — and his wife Jada Pinkett are now minority owners of the Philadelphia 76ers, it was announced at the introductory press conference for the ownership group. He did not attend the press conference because, well, he’s Will Smith. “Men in Black 3” and all. But he’s all in.
Smith was born and raised in West Philly, if you didn’t know. That was before he moved to Bel Air. But he didn’t forget how to play hoops — we have the video footage.
Smith is part of the new ownership group headed by Joshua Harris, who came in and made a splash at their first public introduction. That started by slashing ticket prices for the majority of seats in the building.
The new owners also set up a Web page where fans can leave thoughts and suggestions for ownership. Just don’t tell them to trade Elton Brand (they already know).
As for the other rappers in the ownership game, there is Jay-Z and his one-percent of the Nets, Usher with the Cleveland Cavaliers, and Nelly with the Charlotte Bobcats.
The new Sixers owners also officially let former GM Ed Stephanski go, which was the humane thing to do rather than watch him twist in the wind. He was on his way out with Rod Thorn and others being called in. Stephanski is in the running for the Portland GM job and started to have serious talks with Toronto but those have apparently run into a snag.
I had thought that when Arte Moreno bought the Anaheim Angels (as they were then called) and at his introductory press conference announced a cut in beer prices, that was the best start ever by an owner.
Well, it is. But this is a close second.
Sixers owner Joshua Harris came in at his introductory press conference and started slashing ticket prices, reports CSNPhilly.com.
“I’m announcing today that going forward, we are slashing – and I mean slashing – ticket prices on individual game tickets on just under 9,000 seats at the Wells Fargo Center for each and every Sixers home game,” (new chief executive officer Adam) Aron said. “Indeed on thousands of seats each night, our ticket prices will be cut by 50 percent or more. This is not a sale or a promotion. These are our new ticket prices.”
To be clear, these cuts are for individual tickets, not season tickets. Aron said tickets in the lower bowl of the arena will go for as low as $29 – last season the cheapest lower bowl ticket was $54. That’s a 46 percent decrease. What’s more, a center court ticket in the eighth row of the mezzanine bowl will cost $20, down from $45 last season – a 56 percent cut.
That’s about as good a start as fans could hope for, outside of finding a taker for Elton Brand and his contract. (The owners could not talk about players or plans on the basketball side of the operation, due to the lockout and fear of the wrath of David Stern.
Here’s the video, in case you think we’re just toying with your emotions, Philly.
We told you over the weekend that the NBA’s other owners had approved the sale of the Philadelphia 76ers to New York billionaire Joshua Harris and investors.
Now the league has made official what everyone already knew, sending out an announcement of the sale Tuesday morning.
“We are delighted that the NBA’s Board of Governors has approved Josh Harris and David Blitzer’s purchase of the 76ers,” said NBA Commissioner David Stern in a released statement. “Comcast-Spectacor, led by Ed Snider, has been an exceptional owner for the Sixers, continuing the team’s rich history and tradition. Josh and David bring vast business experience that will greatly benefit the team as it continues to grow both on and off the court.”
“My partners and I are thrilled to have become owners of the Sixers,” Harris said in a statement released by the team Tuesday morning. “It is an honor to become part of this storied franchise. We have a lot of work to do, but we have a rich history, a strong foundation and a bright future.”
Congratulations Mr. Harris on the purchase of your team that cannot play basketball right now. That must feel special.
Sixers’ fans will welcome the new owners — former owner Snider (through his company Comcast-Spectacor) was seen as a hockey fan who happened to own a basketball team. It was good for the building he owned (the Wells Fargo Center, where the Sixers will remain tenants) and the cable station, but it was not his passion.
Harris has Philly ties, he graduated from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.
We’ll see what kind of owner Harris will be. He takes over a team that took some steps forward last season under Doug Collins and has some young talent, but also has questions about direction and how to build. And what to do with Andre Iguodala.