Projecting future NBA salary caps under new national TV contracts

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The new national TV contracts will reportedly pay $24 billion over nine years.

That is game-changing money.

The rules as we know them are all on the table, owners and players interested in modifying the system.

So, it’s more difficult than ever to predict future salary caps and what they’ll mean.

Maybe the cap gets smoothed. Maybe max salaries are eliminated. Maybe… anything.

The NBA and players could drastically re-write the cap rules at any point between now and the impending 2017 lockout/strike. The current Collective Bargaining Agreement was written before the league was so flush, so now, essentially everything could change.

But based on the system as we know it…

The salary cap is determined by the NBA’s Basketball Related Income (BRI), which includes national TV money and other revenue.

The current national TV contracts reportedly pay $930 million per season. For these purposes, I assume that’s an exact amount each season.

Of the $24 billion coming in the new national TV contracts, the NBA is slated to receive $2.1 billion the first year and $3.1 billion the last year, according to Zach Lowe of Grantland. As far as those middle seven years, I use straight $125 million annual increases to bridge the gap between $2.1 billion and $3.1 billion. That still leaves us $600 million short of the contract’s total value, so that $600 million was applied equally across the deal’s middle seven years.

What about other revenue?

If the current national TV contracts pay a constant $930 million, the NBA – based on its current salary cap and projected 2015-16 salary cap – is predicting a 6.6% increase in other revenue from this season to next. I apply that 6.6% growth in non-national-TV revenue for each future season. Maybe that’s too low – the increase from last season to this season was 9.8%, and the league’s early cap projections tend to be conservative – but I have little data on the NBA’s revenue streams, and I’m using 6.6%.

Here’s what all that would mean for the salary cap –a with this and past season’s actual cap, the NBA’s projection for 2015-16 and my projections for future seasons. Years under the current national TV contract are blue, future national TV contracts orange.

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  • 2009: $58,680,000
  • 2010: $57,700,000
  • 2011: $58,044,000
  • 2012: $58,044,000
  • 2013: $58,044,000
  • 2014: $58,679,000
  • 2015: $63,065,000
  • 2016: $66,300,000
  • 2017: $87,196,327
  • 2018: $94,013,221
  • 2019: $99,793,454
  • 2020: $105,831,199
  • 2021: $112,143,389
  • 2022: $118,748,073
  • 2023: $125,664,483
  • 2024: $132,913,117
  • 2025: $139,237,538

Obviously, the further into the future we project, the less reliable the prediction. And remember, these are rough estimates of a system that could destruct any moment after Michele Roberts settles into her role as National Basketball Players Association executive director.

Until then, these are baseline estimates for what lies ahead.

Report: Multiple NBA players giving up No. 8 and No. 24 to honor Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant, Spencer Dinwiddie and Kyrie Irving
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Kobe Bryant’s outsized career warranted outsized recognition, and the Lakers found a perfectly fitting honor. They retired both his No. 8 and No. 24 in 2017.

Now, people are searching for the appropriate way to commemorate the unprecedented basketball giant who died so young. Many tributes – including teams opening games with 24-second then 8-second violations – have focused on his numbers. Hawks guard Trae Young wore No. 8. Any 8, 24 or 81 appearing in a box score have become a topic of discussion.

Now, Spencer Dinwiddie – who was particularly proud of Bryant telling him last month he’s playing like an All-Star – is the face of another movement to memorialize Bryant.

Shams Charania:

Marc Stein of The New York Times:

Beyond Dinwiddie, players who wear No. 8:

Players who wear No. 24:

Anyone who wants to honor Bryant giving up No. 8 or No. 24 should. Who’s anyone to tell them that’s the wrong way to grieve and pay tribute?

But other players will want to wear No. 8 or No. 24 to honor Bryant. That’s just as respectful. I hope they aren’t peer-pressured out of doing so.

Some players who want to wear No. 8 or No. 24 in memory of Bryant might even be among those giving up the number now.

In 2009, LeBron James – who was wearing No. 23 with the Cavaliers – said the NBA should retire No. 23 for Michael Jordan. He pledged to kickstart the movement the next season by changing his own number. He signed with the Heat – who already retired No. 23 for Jordan despite him never playing for them – and wore No. 6.

LeBron returned to Cleveland in 2010. His number during his second Cavs stint? No. 23. His number with the Lakers now? No. 23.

People change their minds on these things – especially when the cloudiness of grief subsides. Individual players should choose their number as they see fit.

So, I hope this doesn’t turn into a formal league-wide retirement of Bryant’s numbers. It seems more fitting – outside the most extreme cases, like Jackie Robinson in baseball – for that to remain a team honor.

Bryant is headed to the Hall of Fame. That’s the way to ratify his legacy through all of basketball.

Report: Allen Iverson had backpack containing $500K of jewelry stolen

Allen Iverson
Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images
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Allen Iverson, like the rest of us, has been dealing with the incredible shock of Kobe Bryant dying. Iverson released a statement that includes a story that truly captures both stars:

“Words cannot express how I’m feeling today. The only 2 words that ring in my head — devastated and heartbroken. I cannot seem to shake this feeling no matter what I’ve tried to do since hearing this yesterday.

“People will always remember how we competed against each other in the league, but it goes so much deeper than that for me. The story of us being drafted in arguably the deepest class of its kind ever in the NBA can be debated for many years to come. However, his generosity and respect for the game is something that I witnessed first-hand every time we stepped on the dance floor to compete.

“It’s one memory of him that I can’t stop thinking about. It was our rookie season and my first trip to LA for a game against the Lakers. He came to my hotel, picked me up and took me to a restaurant. When we returned before he left, he asked me, “What are you going to do tonight?” My reply was, “I’m going to the club, what are you going to do?” He said, “I’m going to the gym.” That is who he always was, a true student of the game of basketball and also the game of life. He prepared relentlessly. There is something we can all learn from the “Mamba” mentality and from the way my brother lived his life. He will always have my respect as a competitor, as a friend, as a brother.

“My thoughts and prayers are with his wife Vanessa, their children and the families of all of the victims of yesterday’s tragedy. As a father, I cannot wrap my head around how they must feel.

“We are not okay. But we will find the strength to pull through this together because that’s what Kobe would want us to do.”

Amid his grief, Iverson now has another issue to deal with.

NBC Sports Philadelphia:

Police are searching for a man accused of stealing a half-million dollars’ worth of jewelry from Philadelphia 76ers legend Allen Iverson.

Police said the unidentified man entered the Sofitel Hotel at 120 S. 17th Street Monday around 10:30 a.m. and snatched a backpack containing jewelry valued at approximately $500,000. NBC10 later confirmed with sources that the jewelry belonged to Iverson.

I can’t imagine many people in Philadelphia helping someone get away with stealing from Iverson.

Gordon Hayward: I didn’t step into lane to help Kobe Bryant score 60

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Kobe Bryant scored 60 points in his final NBA game – an incredible sendoff for a great career and, tragically, a moment with added significance considering its proximity to his death.

Bryant’s final point came on a free throw with 14.8 seconds remaining in the Lakers’ win over the Jazz in 2016. Before Bryant attempted his free throw, Utah forward Gordon Hayward stepped into the paint. A story swirled in the last day that Hayward deliberately committed the violation so Bryant, if necessary, would get an extra free throw to score 60.

Hayward – now with the Celtics – set the record straight:

Did the Jazz, who were already eliminated from the playoffs, play their absolute tightest defense on Bryant? No. Do players sometimes help opponents – especially a revered star like Bryant – reach milestones in otherwise-insignificant moments? Yes.

But unintentional lane violations happen somewhat frequently (and are often uncalled). There was just a big one last night. It’s not an area where players or referees stringently follow the rules.

It’s totally believable Hayward didn’t have some deeper meaning behind his step into the paint.

I’d take him at his word.

Report: No teams requested Sunday’s games be canceled after Kobe Bryant’s death

Kobe Bryant tribute at Spurs-Raptors
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Kobe Bryant’s death devastated the basketball world.

The NBA even postponed the Lakers-Clippers game originally scheduled for tonight. That led to the question: Why didn’t the league postpone games Sunday, the day Bryant died? Obviously there should be special consideration in Los Angeles, where Bryant spent his entire career. But nobody – from those involved to onlookers – had their hearts and heads in Sunday’s games.

Marc Stein of The New York Times:

I wonder how many teams thought to request a cancellation. I bet many awaited guidance from the league office.

Likewise, I wonder how many players felt they could step away. Kyrie Irvingwho was quite close with Bryant – missed the Nets’ game for personal reasons.

Eight teams hosted games Sunday:

  • Nuggets (vs. Rockets)
  • Spurs (vs. Raptors)
  • Hawks (vs. Wizards)
  • Grizzlies (vs. Suns)
  • Pelicans (vs. Celtics)
  • Knicks (vs. Nets)
  • Clippers (vs. Magic)
  • Trail Blazers (vs. Pacers)

Postponing games (finding makeup dates, extra travel) or canceling games (refunding tickets, unbalanced schedules) would have created different headaches down the road. Maybe it would’ve been better to deal with those issues than playing. But playing also gave teams an opportunity to honor Bryant, find distraction amid grief and start the process of moving forward.

I wouldn’t get too hung up in the debate of whether the NBA should have canceled games Sunday. Whether or not games were played, Bryant was gone. There was no good solution here.