NBA PM: Financial Questions Linger
It’s the players’ salaries, right?
The reason the NBA owners have put their own business on hiatus has nothing to do with revenue, which continues to pour in to the wildly popular league, or the business practices of each franchise. The problem, we’ve been lead to believe, is that the last collective bargaining agreement gave the players too large a share of the basketball related income (57%) and a majority of teams can’t be sustained on the leftovers.
Of course, that line of thinking is being thoroughly tested these days.
Recently the league’s claims of poverty have been put into question by Nate Silver’s blog post on The New York Times’ website—a piece the NBA rebutted the following day on its own website. But even if the league was in fact losing money, could the owners’ liberal spending—and not players’ salaries—be at the heart of the problem?
Cork Gaines of The Business Insider posted a chart Friday, which showed a 12.7 percent increase in spending on things besides player salaries over the course of the current CBA. Oddly enough, the players’ compensation has grown only 5.4 percent (adjusted for inflation) during that time. Since revenue is up 5.3 percent, that seems to be a wash.
The Business Insider chart is only a snapshot and it does use the data provided from Forbes.com (which the league referred to as “incorrect” in its statement), so this shouldn’t be taken as gospel. But even if the numbers are a bit off, the league might want to address the issue before more fans start leaning toward the players’ side. Why has the cost of running teams gone up nearly 13 percent in five years, allegedly, and could that be the real reason 22 of 30 NBA teams claim to be losing money?
Ibaka Reigns in Spain
Oklahoma City’s shot-blocking, rim-rattling power forward Serge Ibaka is no longer a citizen of the Republic of the Congo. According to an Associated Press report, he is now a Spanish national, and that means he is eligible to play for the Spanish National team in the European Championships this summer.
“Spain is a country that has given me a lot,” said Ibaka, who played for two Spanish professional teams before joining the Thunder in 2009. “It will be an honor to give Spain back all that it has given me on the court.”
The report says Ibaka “must swear loyalty to the Spanish crown and constitution to complete the nationalization process before he can team with Los Angeles Lakers center Pau Gasol and brother Marc of the Memphis Grizzlies in a formidable front court for Spain.”
“Pau is possibly the most talented center with the best fundamentals in the [NBA],” Ibaka went on to say. “It will be a dream to play with him.”
So, if you’re scoring at home, the Spanish national team now consists of both Gasol brothers, Ibaka, Mavericks guard Rudy Fernández, Timberwolves guard Ricky Rubio, former Jazz guard Raúl López, former Grizzlies guard Juan Carlos Navarro and other players who were drafted by NBA teams such as Sergio Llull, Fran Vázquez and Victor Claver.
And considering the interior size of Spain—both Gasol’s, Ibaka and Vázquez all stand at least 6-10 and carry some bulk—the United States will need more than just Magic center Dwight Howard if they’re going to take gold in London next summer. Tyson Chandler’s defense and Kevin Love’s rebounding might be vital to any success the Americans have.
Rick Carlisle, It’s Your Turn
ESPN Dallas’ Jeff Caplan is reporting that Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle is the latest person to risk a $1 million fine by the NBA.
In a Thursday radio interview with Oregonian beat writer John Canzano, Carlisle joked about only being able to discuss the FIFA Women’s World Cup, but wound up mentioning names of current NBA players, which has been strictly forbidden by the league during the lockout.
Carlisle mentioned his own players (Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd), four Blazers (LaMarcus Aldridge, Brandon Roy and Wesley Matthews) and one former Blazer turned Maverick (Rudy Fernandez).
Under normal circumstances, Carlisle’s interview would have gone over well (suddenly he isn’t afraid to be himself, which is a refreshing change from the stoic Rick Carlisle of years’ past), but during today’s oh-so-touchy labor unrest, he may have risked a serious fine.
According to Caplan, 11 minutes into the interview Carlisle abruptly said, “John, I’m sorry, I’ve got to run. I’ve got something I’ve got to do here.”
Later Canzano reported that he took a text message from “an NBA executive who is listening to the show” who wrote “You better believe that Carlisle got a call immediately from someday at the NBA office or the Dallas Mavericks.”
Moments later Carlisle reportedly confirmed by text message that he was reminded not to discuss any players, but that he was not, in fact, in any trouble.
Keep in mind, the Portland media—and the Blazers to a lesser degree—must still be snickering over acting Blazers GM Chad Buchanan, who was allegedly threatened with a $1 million fine for replying “yeah” to a question about the canceled NBA summer league. Of course, all of these things are funny until you discover you’re on the hook for $1 million.
If commissioner David Stern is hoping to avoid comparisons to comedian Mike Myers’ character Dr. Evil, a $1 million fine is not the way to go.
Vujacic Follows D-Will
Another Nets guard is headed to Turkey. After point guard Deron Williams guard signed with Istanbul’s Besiktas, Nets free agent Sasha Vujacic has signed with Anadolu Efes (better known as “Efes Pilsen”), which is also based in Istanbul, according to a report by the Associated Press.
The 27-year-old Vujacic has reportedly agreed to a one-year deal with an option for the second, but it’s still unclear if Vujacic has the right to return to the NBA if the lockout is lifted. Remember, unlike Williams, Vujacic is not under contract with any NBA team.
Interestingly enough, Williams, a former All-Star, may have signed with the least-prestigious team in Istanbul. Yes, Besiktas previously employed Allen Iverson, but it has only a 3,200-seat arena, while Efes and Fenerbahçe both play in the 16,000-seat Sinan Erdem Dome. Fenerbahçe, which has won four of the last five Turkish championships (Efes won in 2008-2009), currently has forward Bojan Bogdanovic, who was acquired by the Nets in a draft-night trade in June, as well as former Grizzlies guard Tarence Kinsey and former Raptors and Bucks guard Roko Ukic.
Check Out: John Calipari
Kentucky is the Bluegrass State, but since John Calipari became the Wildcats head coach it’s been more like the Blue Chip State. John Wall, Brandon Knight, Terrence Jones, Michael Gilchrist and Enes Kanter all gave Coach Cal a commitment over the past few years.
Now, Sporting News beat reporter Mike DeCourcy writes, after netting eight McDonald’s All-Americans and five NBA first-round picks in his first three recruiting classes, Calipari is still waiting on commitments from the class of 2012. But Calipari isn’t sweating it. He thinks recruits are suddenly more patient with their decisions and he’s perfectly willing to wait it out.
“The way it’s going now, kids want to wait,” Calipari said. “I’m fine with that. I don’t know why. It might be NBA—who’s leaving, who’s staying. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. Obviously, I’d rather have guys sign early, so I know who I’m getting.
“I know who I like,” he continued. “The funny one right now is, people will tell kids what I’m thinking: ‘He thinks you’re the fourth-best guard or the fifth-best guard.’ Do I? Then commit to us, and I’ll take you.”
Another good read from Mike DeCourcy that is definitely worth your time.