🗣🗣🗣 AND WE BACK. AND WE BACK. AND WE BA–
Fine, fine, fine… we’re not back yet. I’m full steam ahead on NBA prep right now but that’s because it’s my job. I’m not gonna sit here and pretend that we’re back back until at least next Monday. Once the players talk to the media Monday and training camp opens Tuesday then we’ll really be back back.
But a lot went on yesterday. Sure, there’s always a lot happening in the NBA/basketball universe. 12 month sport, offseason just as exciting, game is international, everyone wants to talk about the NBA because the NFL is trash. You know all the tropes.
But yesterday really was newsworthy for a number of reasons and this intro is already long so let’s get it going…
14 Of The NBA’s 30 Teams Lost Money Last Season
(Fair Warning: if you don’t care about revenue sharing and competitive balance and just want the fun stuff then skip this whole section)
ESPN.com (Lowe and Windhorst) — Despite a flood of new national television cash, 14 of the NBA’s 30 teams lost money last season before collecting revenue-sharing payouts, and nine finished in the red even after accounting for those payments, according to confidential NBA financial records obtained by ESPN.com.
I’ll start this by saying that if you are genuinely interested in this, it’s worth reading the whole piece from Lowe and Windhorst (after you finish this blog). They lay out the entire situation in more detail and it’s worth reading if you really care about this stuff.
To give you the broad strokes: 14 teams lost money this season before revenue-share payments were distributed, and 9 teams were still in the red after receiving those payments. Ignoring the revenue sharing for a minute, that means that those 14 teams spent more (on player salaries, employee salaries, operating costs, travel, promotions, etc) than they got back (from local TV deals, national TV revenue, merchandise, advertising, sponsorships, ticket sales, etc.). I know… no shit.
The revenue sharing model is supposed to help offset the gap between the most profitable and least profitable teams – a gap that’s almost entirely due to the size of the teams market. New York and LA are going to make money that Memphis and Indiana just can’t.
The problem is that even under the league’s current revenue sharing model, there’s still an enormous gap. Teams like New York and LA are nine figures in the black despite putting out an awful on-court product, while one of the best-run franchises in all of sports like Memphis lost $40 million dollars despite running an extremely competitive, likable team and fostering one of the most impressive team-to-community connections in the NBA.
Is the league in dire straights because of this? No. And nobody is going to cry for the billionaire owners taking a loss here. It’s important to note that these numbers are strictly in regards to basketball operations. Most of these guys own their arenas, and are undoubtedly offsetting most of these “basketball losses” through concerts, other sporting events, conventions, and other non-basketball sources of revenue.
But this does matters for the competitive balance of the league. Big market teams that are turning an eight-to-nine figure profit from local TV money and ticket sales during their worst seasons simply have an easier time housing a payroll past salary cap. The Warriors and Lakers and Knicks and Bulls can soar past the luxury tax line knowing that their market easily allows them to generate enough revenue to offset the price tag of… say… keeping Durant, Curry, Draymond, and Klay on the Warriors. Whereas a small market owner is highly disincentivized from passing that luxury tax number when he doesn’t have the guaranteed profits of a big market to offset those costs.
The owners will discuss and likely vote on a change to the revenue sharing model next week at the Board of Governors meeting. And with only a 16-14 majority needed, it’s likely you’ll see a change that gives greater revenue sharing to the smaller market teams.
Is that good? I don’t know. The answer is probably yes and no. You’ll see some teams put that money to good use and sign better players and invest more into fan experiences. And you’ll also probably see some owners just enjoy the extra profits and take no steps to fix their team. I’m sure there may even be a few teams that take the money and feel even less of an obligation to put a good product on the court if they’re already guaranteed a profit from revenue sharing. That’s just the way the world works.
There’s more to come on this for sure. So we’ll get back to it down the road. On to the fun stuff…
Michael Beasley Is Your Favorite Player’s Favorite Player
God damn is it gonna be fun to have Super Cool Beas on the Knicks this year. And by fun I mean probably the widest range of emotions we’ve dealt with since the J.R. Smith era. Sometimes he’ll leave us infuriated. Sometimes he’ll leave us elated. Sometimes he’ll simply leave us incredulous. And you know what, I’m here for all of it.
Not here for this though… goddammit I can’t believe Kurt Rambis is still employed by this franchise.
Kevin Durant “Apologized” For Getting Caught Using Burner Accounts
I haven’t written about this whole story yet because to be honest I don’t even know how to. I don’t know what to make of Kevin Durant at this point. He’s made it this whole crusade of his to be open and to criticize the way the media talks about players and to clap back at the loser anonymous internet trolls and here he is using secret twitter accounts to argue these same “media-created narratives” he was so quick to laugh about.
It’s not quite the homophobic politician getting caught soliciting dudes in the bathroom. But it’s pretty hypocritical, and it’s another example in a long line of examples of why you always have to be wary of the people who care a little too much about a certain issue.
Also I know this goes without saying but dude you are KEVIN DURANT. Go have sex and do fun shit and live your life. Stop fighting on twitter with fat losers like me. Shit, I don’t even get into twitter fights like this. God damn is this dude lame.
You know what one of the weirdest things about basketball is? More than any other sport, basketball is filled with people who have to learn to love the game. Think about it… how many NFL or MLB or NHL players had to learn to love that sport? If they didn’t love it they would’ve either stopped playing or never played in the first place. Sure, there are guys who fall out of love with it as time goes on. But at some point that spark was there.
But basketball… basketball is a little different. Height matters so much in basketball, that you end up with a lot of really tall kids who play… well simply because they’re tall. And they might not love the sport, but they keep playing because they’re tall. They’re 6’4 in seventh grade and maybe they’re a little self-conscious of their height and they want to do other things but they’re so big and they don’t know any better and maybe they feel a little bit of an obligation so they just keep playing basketball. And they like their teammates and they like the camaraderie and they like the feeling of getting praised for their success and so they keep playing, even if they don’t really have a burning passion for jump hooks or post footwork or help defense. And they work hard and they compete and they care and they improve. And all of a sudden they’re getting scholarship offers because they’re 7’0″ tall and can run and jump and every coach in the country is begging to get them on their team. Yet all this time, they may have never even fallen in love with the game. And sure they’ll make all this money. But I can’t help but feel bad for that guy. He got shoehorned into a career he never wanted and because of that he was never able to fit in. The money is great, sure. But that money can’t buy happiness.
That’s Greg Oden. All Greg Oden wanted to do was be a dentist and live a normal life in Ohio. But Greg Oden was seven feet tall and cared too much about his friends and coaches and providing for his family to ever quit or to not work hard. It took a bevy of injuries and a million surgeries for a shy, nice guy like him to finally be like “I’m sorry guys never wanted to do this. I’m done.” Greg Oden never loved the game – which is totally fine. He was never supposed to be a basketball player. And that’s kind of sad.
Who were we talking ab– oh yeah Dwight. Yeah what’s going on here? He wants to be a donkey farmer? What? Goddammit I hate that guy.
And Last But Not Least An Interesting Look From Rovell At The Numbers Behind How Much Each NBA Star Actually Makes…
Ahhhhh I’m just kidding nobody cares, Darren.
Seasons right around the corner baby. God damn I can’t wait to get back to these every day. Until then…