NBA AM: Is China Trying To Block Kenyon Martin?
Not So Fast Kenyon: Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports is reporting that the Chinese Basketball Association has filed an objection to FIBA, protesting their letter of clearance granted to Kenyon Martin.
Martin apparently signed a document stating that he would not be eligible nor seek clearance from FIBA until his Xinjiang Guanghui Flying Tigers’ season concluded.
The Flying Dragons have roughly six games and two weeks left to go.
The Chinese Basketball Association contends that the timing of the filing with FIBA was deliberately done during the Chinese New Year holiday, a window in which all parties involved knew there would be no response.
FIBA has a long-standing policy that if a team does not respond to their request in seven days, they will act as they see fit.
In Martin’s case FIBA granted him his letter of clearance, after which the NBA notified its teams that Martin was an eligible free agent and could sign with NBA teams.
It’s unclear if FIBA will reverse its decision; however, league sources say NBA teams have not been told they could not sign Martin, who has met with several teams over the past few days.
It’s believed the Clippers have the best financial offer, which is a prorated mid-level deal worth $2.5 million for the balance of the season. The Miami HEAT, Atlanta Hawks and San Antonio Spurs are also in the running.
Martin is expected to make his decision this weekend and could join his new team as early as Monday, assuming things don’t change with FIBA and the NBA.
Fun With Numbers: As Henry Abbott of ESPN’s True Hoop so astutely pointed out last night, business in the NBA, especially on the broadcasting side, is very good.
• ABC has had just three games, so it’s hard to say anything conclusive, but the audience is up five percent compared to a year ago.
• ESPN viewership is up 23 percent.
• TNT viewership is up 50 percent.
• NBA TV viewership is up an insane 66 percent.
• NBA on regional cable sports networks are up 12 percent.
• Local over-the-airwaves broadcasts are up 36 percent.
This is especially interesting considering the shortened season, the late start to the season and the overall malaise fans raised about the NBA lockout.
The NBA’s national TV deals were extended in 2007 and run through 2015-16 season. The total value of the combined TV deals comes out to roughly $930 million a year.
During the NBA lockout this summer the Players’ side fought hard to obtain an opt-out in year seven of the labor deal, which puts negotiations on a new labor deal on the other side of a new TV pact.
Sports remains one of the few “watch-live” events on television, making them more desirable for advertisers in the DVR-age. Soaring ratings for the NBA won’t hurt when it comes time for renewals, especially considering the billions networks have poured into the NFL in the recent months.
It will be interesting to see where the trend goes as some of the leagues’ superstar begin to age and break down, as the NBA’s next wave of stars isn’t nearly as captivating as the current crop.
Details On Revenue Sharing: John Lombardo of the Sports Business Journal reported the details of the new NBA revenue sharing plan last week, and while on the surface the plan is expected to move some $140 million per season to lower producing teams, it also creates an interesting structure by which teams will share monies.
According to the report, NBA teams will share up to 50% of “locally generated” revenues, minus certain expenses. Every team will participate and every team will be able to withdraw funds from this new revenue pie equal to the average NBA team salary.
In short, every team tosses money in, and every team gets to pull out the average team salary.
The scenario the Sports Journal paints is like this:
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.
As it stands each NBA team receives between $30 and $40 million per year in shared national revenue from marketing deals, TV and broadcasting contracts and various rights fees sold at the league level.
Teams then generate “local revenue” from their own local broadcasting deals, advertising and box office sales.
Forbes Magazine’s latest NBA valuation projects the New York Knicks to be the highest revenue generating team with $244 million generated last year on the high side. The New Jersey Nets generated just $89 million on the low side.
Forbes also projected 15 NBA teams lost money last year with the Nuggets losing $1.2 million on the low side and the Charlotte Bobcats losing $25.5 million on the high side.
While the NBA’s new revenue sharing plan will help narrow the gap between the high profit teams like the Knicks and Bulls. It’s the new collective bargaining agreement which really kicks in in 2013 that will swing more teams to profitability.
The NBA’s plan is not perfect, but considering the gap between the haves and have-nots, it’s a very good place to start.
No Blake In Dunk Contest: According to Arash Markazi of ESPNLosAngeles.com Clippers forward and All-Star starter Blake Griffin plans to skip defense of his Dunk Contest title this year in Orlando. It also sounds like he will bow out of the Rookie-Sophomore game, too.
“As of right now I don’t plan on being in it,” Griffin said. “Those dunk contests aren’t my thing, I said that last year. There’s a lot of guys that can put on a great show and do some good stuff.”
“Last year was hectic and it kind of made it unenjoyable,” Griffin said. “So this year, we’ll see what will happen, but I will try to tone it down a bit and get a break instead of being so busy.”
The NBA typically announces the Dunk contest participants in January; however, with the lockout-shortened season things are being compressed.
The normal order of things is the Dunk Contest is announced, then the Three-point Shootout contestants, and then the Shooting Stars roster.
Those announcements are expected in the coming days.
NBA All-Star gets underway in Orlando on Friday February 24th, with the All-Star Game set for Sunday February 26th.
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