NBA AM: Playing The Waiting Game
Playing The Waiting Game: It is expected that the NBA will announce the cancellation of more games today with at least two more weeks of games expected to be chopped off the current 82-game schedule.
As the labor impasse continues, NBA players continue to hold star studded charity games with Kevin Durant’s game last night in Oklahoma City being one of the higher scoring affairs of the month.
Durant, who played host for the event with Blake Griffin still recovering from a foot injury, put in a triple-double last night scoring 42 points and grabbing 26 rebounds to go with 11 assists to lead his team to a 176-171 victory in overtime.
After the game players in attendance talked a lot of about the labor situation with Hornets’ star Chris Paul having the most to say about the lockout, mainly because he has been in the room with the owners trying to negotiate a deal.
“We’re going to find a way to play — any way possible. We want to just keep giving our fans the opportunity to see us because if not for the fans, we’re not who we are,” Paul said to Associated Press.
“Guys don’t get paid to play in these games,” Paul said. “Guys come out here because of how much respect they have for KD and what he does for the community and for kids and giving back.”
“We just want them to know that we still want to keep working toward a deal because it’s not just about us. It’s about the fans; it’s about the employees, all the people that make our game happen. We want to play — just make sure everyone understands that.”
“We just want a fair deal. At the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about,” Paul said. “We want a system that works and we want a split that’s doable. So, we’re not being greedy or anything like that. We just want a fair deal.”
Not everyone was a diplomatic about where things stand as Paul with Wolves’ forward Michael Beasley saying he didn’t understand the hold up any more than fans do.
“Fighting over 3 percent, that’s kind of retarded to me,” said Beasley. “But it is what is. We’ll come to an agreement.”
“The quicker we can get a deal done, the better,” he added. “Like I’ve been saying before, the main ones suffering are our fans.”
“It’s for the fans. Basketball’s a getaway, a getaway for a lot of people, and right now with the lockout, they can’t get away,” Beasley said. “We’re going to do games like this for as long as possible as much as possible.”
Beasley did his best to put on a show kicking in a game high 56 points on 25-for-35 shooting.
Durant, who gave Single Parents Support Network of Oklahoma City the proceeds from last night’s game in the form of a $100,000 check, says his game won’t be the last, pledging the NBA’s stars will keep staging events until the lockout is complete.
“We’re just trying to work to get a deal done. We’re going to continue to keep playing these games and showing the fans that we love the game and we want to play,” Durant said. “Hopefully we get something done.”
Orlando Magic star Dwight Howard is organizing an event for mid-November in Orlando. New York’s Carmelo Anthony is trying to arrange an event in New York/New Jersey. While plans are being finalized for a six-game, four-continent exhibition tour featuring Derrick Rose, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade which seems likely in late October.
NBA Players are trying to stay active; however exhibition games are kind of like replacement players it’s not nearly a fulfilling as the real thing.
Are The Small Markets Controlling The Deal? It’s been well publicized that the ongoing labor fight between the players and the NBA owners is about more than just money, it’s about spreading around the balance of power in the NBA to help the smaller markets in the NBA compete both financially and competitively with the larger market owners.
Roger Mason, Jr., is on the NBA Players’ Association Executive Committee and has been part of the labor process for the last two years. As Mason explains it, a deal is being held up in large part because of the owners desire to level the playing field for themselves.
“You can look at it and say the majority of owners don’t want a deal,” Mason told Marc Berman of The New York Post. “But there are owners eager to get a deal done. At this moment they are overshadowed by a contingent of owners who are trying to get everything they want in a new CBA.”
The NBA has already lost the first two weeks of the season due to labor strife and its believed at least two more weeks could be gone later today.
Mason wouldn’t put a percentage on when NBA games would be played, mainly because the sides are not scheduled to talk again.
“It’s hard to put a percentage on it,” said Mason. “We’re not at the table with them. We want to get back and start getting with the league again. I couldn’t say 50 percent, 40 percent. At this point, I don’t know where the owners are. If they’re going to impose a completely different system and try to get more money than we’ve already offered them, as a union we stand united together. We can’t take the league back to what it was in the 1960s.”
Mason said Knicks owner James Dolan has been an obvious proponent of reaching a deal and getting the league back up and running, but admitted his voice wasn’t carrying as much weight as others.
“He’s definitely one of the owners who’s ready to get back to work,” said Mason.
“There are a committee of owners, and their voice is going to be as one. But you know [Dolan] has put a lot into renovating the Garden and put a lot into the team. He had a lot of tough years and there’s a lot of promise now. He wants to get back out there.”
League sources wouldn’t put a timeline on when the sides would meet again, however there is some belief that an attempt to reconvene could be made this week.
Both sides of the rift are not nearly as far apart as they proclaim to the media, and if you track the amount of progress made from meeting to meeting, the next wave of meetings could finally close the gap if both sides want to make a deal.
The problem there is that neither the Players nor the Owners seem overly interested in making a deal just yet, so more games and days may have to fall off the calendar in order for this to get real enough to force a compromise.
Revenue Sharing And Franchising: A common question that has surfaced through this labor process is the concept of larger market teams sharing revenues with smaller market teams.
Some have questioned this concept as un-American or that it is a flawed business model to prop up a struggling business with profits from a profitable one.
All of which may be true if the NBA were a typical business, but the truth of the matter is the NBA and pro sports are not typical businesses and there are a couple of reasons why revenue sharing is not only smart business, but necessary business.
First, the appeal of the NBA is its national and sometimes international footprint.
Brand marketers like the NBA because it reaches almost every segment of American society. Advertising and marketing in and around basketball reaches a diverse group that not just the major markets.
Second, playing an 82-game schedule with just major market teams would get old fast.
The fact that the NBA has 30 sale points and a variety of different storylines is what has helped the NBA grow into a $4 billion business that has eclipsed Major League Baseball in TV ratings.
The Lakers cannot play themselves and the variety of teams and matchups is what has made the NBA a primetime draw. Sharing the wealth on those games is not only reasonable, it’s smart. Two teams play in a game; both teams should share in the proceeds of that game. That’s not currently how it’s constructed.
Lastly, and this one gets skipped over a lot, the NBA collected a franchise fee and collects other expenses from the owners in the room.
At some point the franchise in the room paid a fee to be part of the collective. They also contribute to fees and expenses at the league level from the network deals and advertising sold on behalf of the member teams.
A share of the NBA’s global business was sold to a market and in exchange there are certain rights and protections that they gain when writing that check.
The biggest is assurances they can compete and profit in the system, which is why the various owners – power of industry types – allow the NBA to control so much of the game.
The NBA is not 30 individual businesses, although at times it seems that way. The NBA is a collective of franchises, each has rights and protections and assurances as part of their deal.
You may not like the idea of revenue sharing, but the truth of the matter is games are not played one market at a time. The league is not sold one market at a time and the league is not consumed one market at a time.
There are clearly some markets that can charge and monetize their end better than others, but the truth of the matter is the NBA is one business and sharing revenues with its franchises only enhances the overall value of each part.
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