NBA AM: More Than Staying Busy
More Than Staying Busy: Over the weekend a group of NBA players staged an exhibition game in the Philippines part as a brand showcase, but also in part because for the first time in most of those players’ career they could be paid for their off-season services. Normally NBA players cannot receive payment for playing in games outside of the NBA while under contract to NBA teams, but with the NBA in its 25th day of its Lockout; all prohibitions are off the table.
Word is players like Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant and Derrick Rose, who all played in the game, pocketed close to $400,000 each for their time on the court in the Philippines. And there is growing interest from other spots around the globe for a similar exhibition format featuring several of the NBA’s biggest stars.
As Sam Amick of Si.com points out, more and more agents are taking international offers seriously and as more and more of the NBA’s stars open up to idea of playing abroad, the dollar values possible are becoming more than just a passing fad, it’s becoming a real threat in the NBA’s lockout plans.
Sure there won’t be dollars for every NBA guy, especially the lesser known guys that make up the rank and file of the NBA, but as more and more players ink International deals and as more and more players find huge paydays for a weeks’ worth of work, the financial squeeze of the lockout is becoming less and less for a greater number of players.
The NBA and its Players have agreed to begin new labor meetings in the coming days, it’s been almost a month since both sides sat down and really talked about labor issues, so hopefully the cool off period helps both sides get some perspective.
With the National Football League expected to reach a labor deal with its players today, hopefully the NBA will follow suit.
NBA Training Camps are currently set for the first week of October, meaning the NBA and its players have less than 68 days to reach a deal before the threat of lost pre-season games becomes real.
If the NBA Owners hold their stance, don’t be surprised to see more exhibition games like the one in the Philippines, especially if the dollar amounts remain significant.
The Wolves Coaching Search: The Minnesota Timberwolves have started interviewing potential head coaches and according to Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune the Wolves have interviewed Bernie Bickerstaff, Terry Porter, Mike Woodson, Rick Adelman and Don Nelson. The Wolves have plans to interview Larry Brown in the coming days.
Wolves’ president David Kahn says he is looking for an experienced coach with a proven track record for up-tempo play on both ends of the floor. Kahn says he is also looking for a coach with a proven and successful track record with young players.
With that criterion in mind, it is hard to see how Larry Brown fits. Sources close to the situation say Don Nelson was interviewed out of courtesy and to make sure the process was thorough, but Nelson’s camp is pushing for him a lot harder than Minnesota is.
Bernie Bickerstaff has been a favorite among the Wolves for weeks before this process started. Terry Porter and Mike Woodson are not considered real options.
Rick Adelman is an interesting candidate, mainly because he does fit the mold the Wolves are looking for. Sources close to the situation say Adelman may command more money than the Wolves are willing to pay and that his contract terms might remove him even though he may be the best option. Rick will want security and with the Minnesota already eating the two remaining years on Kurt Rambis, Adelman’s price tag and contract length may be prohibitive.
Sources close to Adelman have maintained since he left the Rockets earlier this offseason that Rick would still like to coach. Those sources warned that Rick was not chasing a job, saying it would have to be the right situation.
Roster wise, the Wolves have everything Adelman has said he wanted. The question remains can the Wolves reach a deal or is Bernie Bickerstaff the favorite in the clubhouse and everyone else is going through the motions?
The Wolves are working this process diligently and are looking at every viable candidate. It’s unlikely the Wolves make any quick decisions, but there is a certain amount of urgency in filling out a coaching staff so the Wolves won’t be dragging their feet because of the ongoing lockout in the NBA, but they will be deliberate with this hire.
Fun With BRI: Last week the NBA and the Players’ association concluded their annual Basketball Related Revenue (BRI) audit and a few things came out of that meeting.
#1, the NBA and the Players Association released their numbers to the press, which hasn’t been done before.
#2, the NBA owes the Players a sizeable chunk of change.
Under the currently expired deal, the NBA and its Players agreed that the Players would receive 57% of Basketball Related Revenue, which according to the audit clocked in at $3.817 billion. The Players’ share of that is $2.176 billion in 2010-11.
In order to insure that total compensation does not exceed 57%, portions of each Players’ salary are withheld and placed in an Escrow Fund and are typically used to “pay down” that percentage in the event of overages. For the first time during the current labor deal all of those funds are to be returned to the Players.
The value of the Escrow fund this year is $160 million and will be returned to the Players based on how they paid in. So someone like Kobe Bryant who earned $24.806 million last season will be getting back roughly $1.98 million as an Escrow refund.
The other nugget that surfaced in the BRI audit is that the NBA Players did not receive 57% in negotiated salaries and benefits, meaning that not only did salaries and benefits not go over 57%, they clocked in some $26 million short.
So in total the NBA will be writing the Players a check for $186 million.
Some will point to this situation and say this is proof that the NBA is not in as bad a shape as they want people to believe, but keep in mind that teams for the last two years were loading up on ending contracts to get into the free agent bonanza of 2010, and those teams got so far under the cap they could not exceed it like they had.
Teams also held back on spending knowing full well the economic environment would change in the next labor deal, so factor in almost half the league signed free agent deals last summer and teams were more judicious with money and you get a total salaries and benefits figure below the 57% agreed in the labor deal.
Regardless of how either side spins this information in the press, the truth of it is even guys who made the NBA minimum this year, like Golden State’s Jeremy Lin, will be getting a $37,000 refund check, so assuming he manages that money wisely, he should be able to pay his bill throughout the summer.
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