NBA AM: The Magic’s New #12 Paying Off
Harris Wanted To Play: There is a new number 12 in Orlando and unlike the last one who wanted out, the new #12 in Orlando couldn’t be happier to have the opportunity to play.
Tobias Harris was the 19th pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, and while he had some moments for the Milwaukee Bucks, he was really eager to get a chance to play. Acquired as part of the deadline trade that sent J.J. Redick to the Bucks, Harris now finds himself on a much younger, less successful Magic team, but a team he feels like he fits in better with, especially given the massive increase in playing time he’s seen in his first group of games.
Harris talked with HOOPSWORLD about his new team, and how much he’s looking forward to the new opportunity in Orlando.
The D-League’s Value Increasing: As the NBA’s luxury tax kicks into high gear next season the value of the NBA’s Development League is only going to increase.
One of the wrinkles inserted into the new Collective Bargaining Agreement is how NBA teams can use the D-League. Under the old deal there were limits on how frequently players could be sent up or down to the D-League and it completely removed the D-League as an option for veteran players.
The new CBA allows for more freedom in using the D-League and it allows for veterans to be sent there with their consent. As NBA teams try to find lower-cost talent or find minutes for the players they are trying to develop, the D-League is going to play an ever increasing role for the NBA.
There are currently 16 D-League teams all of which share affiliations with NBA teams. At its inception most D-League teams shared an affiliation with more than one NBA team but in recent years there is an ever increasing number of single affiliation teams either owned out right by their NBA team, or being run in a hybrid relationship where the NBA team simply runs the basketball operations side while an individual owner handles the business and sales side.
Sources close to the process peg the affiliation cost at $250,000 per season for a team to simply be affiliated with the D-League, while teams that are running their own teams see a cost at under $2 million, the real cost varies by team.
When you factor in that some teams have millions of dollars in salary sitting on the ends of their benches, the costs to operate a D-League team seems somewhat minor in the grand scheme and as more and more teams begin using the D-League as it was intended – to develop future assets, the league is gaining a lot of traction not just in the number of players it produces, but also in the number of coaches and executives that have come up through the D-League.
Since the 2010 NBA draft, 81 players drafted by NBA teams have logged minutes in the D-League. Fifty two of those 81 players have logged minutes this season.
The D-League still has some significant hurdles to overcome before every team has its own team, namely a strong enough revenue channel to support higher player salaries, but as more and more teams see the value of a development channel, and with luxury tax and the ability to spend your way out of roster problems decreasing as the teeth of the new CBA kicks in, you can expect the D-League to play a bigger role on a lot of front and its influence on the game will increase as well.
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Did Money Change Hands?: Yesterday Central Florida talk show host Dave Baumann dropped a bomb on the Sacramento Kings possible move to Seattle, suggesting that the Hansen-Ballmer group did not make the agreed $30 million non-refundable deposit that was due on Feb. 1 as part of the sale agreement reached between the Maloof family and Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer.
Baumann suggested that the NBA unwillingness to insure the move to Seattle stopped the payment:
“The Seattle investment group was supposed to deliver a non-refundable $30 million dollars to the Maloofs (by Feb. 1), but it never happened. The Seattle group wasn’t going to make that down payment without the NBA’s approval to move the team.”
Dale Kasler of the Sacramento Bee reached out to both the Hansen-Ballmer group and the Maloof family regarding the report and got a mixed response. The Hansen group declined comment, which has been typical from their side; however Joe Maloof said the family has received the payment as scheduled.
The Sacramento Bee is also reporting that the long awaited ownership group that Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson has been assembling could be announced today along with a new revised arena plan. Mayor Johnson’s ownership group is said to be comprised of billionaire Ron Burkle and 24-Hour Fitness mogul Mark Mastrov along with several new minority partners. The Burkle-Mastrov offer for the Kings could value the franchise at more than the $525 million offered by the Seattle group.
As if things on the Kings front were not interesting enough a third suitor for the Kings has emerged. John Kehriotis, owner of JMK Investments and current minority owner of the Kings has tossed his hat into the ring with his own plan to buyout the Maloof family and build a new $400 million Sacramento arena.
The Bee is also reporting that sources close to the process say the Maloof family is now open to “backup” offers to sell the team should the NBA squash the idea of moving to Seattle.
The NBA has a March 1 deadline for teams to file for relocation, which the Hansen-Ballmer group has already done. Some have viewed this deadline as the timeline for Mayor Johnson and Sacramento to respond to the relocation bid, however, league sources say there is no established timeline on Sacramento, although any counter-offer would have to be vetted by the NBA Board of Governors’ Relocation committee, making time of the essence.
The topic of Sacramento/Seattle dominated All-Star weekend in Houston two weeks ago, with an informed league source explaining that while the Seattle offer is attractive for a number of reasons, at its core the NBA looks at moving a team as a last option, not a first one.
More than a few sources connected to this process say that a very clear road map has been drawn for Mayor Johnson and Sacramento, and that assuming they follows it and deliver a viable ownership group, a sale price that values the Kings at more than $525 million and can compile the necessary business support required to be sustainable the NBA’s first option is always for their teams to stay where they are. The only reason Seattle is on the table as a viable option is because Sacramento has not yet delivered despite years of efforts. The basic assumption is that if Mayor Johnson can deliver all of the items on the checklist, the Kings would, more likely than not, be kept in Sacramento.
NBA Commissioner David Stern said repeatedly during All-Star weekend that until all parties complete their portion of the process it would be hard to predict how the Board of Governors would view the situation, but Stern was clear that the Board of Governors would have final say and they are expected to meet on this topic in mid-April after all situations have been thoroughly vetted by the committees assigned to this issue.
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NBA Chats: There are two NBA chats today starting with my weekly NBA Rumors Chat at 10:30am EST. Get your questions in now as the chats do fill up fast. Senior NBA writer Joel Brigham will host his weekly NBA Chat at 1:00pm EST. Joel covers the Central Division for HOOPSWORLD. You can always find the next chat here: Upcoming NBA Chats. If you are looking for a completed chat, check the Chat Archive.