Lockout Hiatus

Money
Get away
You get a good job with good pay and you’re okay
Money
It’s a gas
Grab that cash with both hands and make a stash
New car, caviar, four star daydream
Think I’ll buy me a football team
Money. 

Pink Floyd

I’ve had second thoughts about doing my draft analysis, although I’ve already written it several times in my head.  I think I may just save it until after the lockout ends in a year, so that it will be more available for everyone to analyze and critique as the season begins.

Or perhaps that’s just rationalization, and I’m giving in to my lockout doldrums…

I don’t expect to write much, if anything about the lockout. I don’t expect it to provide much interest, perhaps because I’ve already forecast the result in my mind. Here are my predictions, colored by what I learned practicing my previous twin disciplines of the law and the markets:

1) The lockout will end as these things always end, with the stronger party (the owners) prevailing. The NBA is a virtual monopoly, and there is no place for labor to escape (Europe and the other leagues have little room, and less money).

2) The players will capitulate to the owners’ demands at the very moment that the most expansionary world economy in history kicks into high gear.

I will of course continue sniping and carping in the comments section, and enjoying whatever conversation ensues in this, the summer, fall and winter of our discontent.

256 Responses to Lockout Hiatus

  1. CBA: I don’t pay attention to such things because they’re not my idea of a good time. I did a little poking around and realized that the CBA is much more complicated than most of us realize. It’s hard to have great sympathy for either side, but I sure can’t take the side of the owners or Stern, and odds are good the players’ side won’t get fairly represented, especially as the months wear on.

    If anyone has good insight anywhere, I’d like to hear it.

    But man. No football, I’m not into baseball this year, no basketball, and FB had to stop his poker blog because of the DOJ ruling. What am I going to do with myself? Maybe I should spend more time with the wife and kids.

    Let’s see–what were their names?

  2. I’m predicting the lockout ends around Halloween, give or take a few weeks.

    And speaking of Halloween (rgg, hopefully this will pick up your spirits)…..

  3. Silver lining to the lockout: I read that Curry has just enrolled at Davidson to finish his degree. (I’m a Davidson grad and college teacher to boot.) Shame he won’t be able to play for the team.

  4. Zirin on lockout…
    http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/sportingscene/2011/07/nba-lockout-can-players-save-owners.html?printable=true&currentPage=all

    Dean Baker on when the most expansionary world economy in history will kick into high gear:

    “At this pace, it would take more than a decade to get back to normal levels of unemployment. Moreover, there are more factors pointing to slower growth than faster growth going forward.”
    http://www.cepr.net/index.php?option=com_content&id=5306&view=article

  5. For those whose sympathies lie with the players (as do mine), whenever you hear someone disgustedly refer to the players being on strike (some will), please don’t hesitate to remind them: The players are not on strike. The owners are.

  6. Great piece gm. The specifics on the CBA are hairy, but Zirin’s comment may say it all:

    “In other words, they [owners] want the union to help them exercise the fiscal discipline they are unable to exert themselves.”

  7. GM, love the pushback on the economy. I take my tells on the economy from the market, and not from the talking heads. The market has always been smarter than the smartest academics, as Long Term Capital and this housing crisis have reminded us.

    Right now long-term rates are at historic lows while corporate profits are expanding. Unemployment is a lagging indicator, as it has always been. The markets are headed higher, forecasting growth.

    Why do I feel it will be the greatest expansion in world history? Three words: China, Brazil, India. In that order.

    As for the lockout, you and Zirin hit the nail on the head. Another pet peeve of mine is when the owners bring up “bad contracts.” They of course never refer to good contracts, such as the contracts that Jordan and Pippen labored under, or the ones all of the rookies labor under (with the collusion of the vets), or pitiful contracts such as the one Bob Myers locked his client Dorell Wright into, just before accepting his GM-in-waiting position with the Warriors. (I wonder if those around Wright now will ever wake up and realize he has legitimate grounds to void his contract?)

    It’s ridiculous to me that owners are not willing to take full ownership of their contractual decisions, particularly when they are the most powerful and sophisticated party in every negotiation.

  8. FB: The US is a nation of consumers with steadily decreasing purchasing power. And we still haven’t seen all of the effects of government cuts (=lost jobs, lost bucks to spend), especially in California. How is this relevant? Maybe the Warriors will move to India or China. Which means having an Indian owner or Jeremy Lin on the squad is a good idea.

  9. The market didn’t seem to see the bursting of the housing bubble coming (or, of course, the bursting of the stock bubble that led to the 2001 recession). Neither did the vast majority of talking heads, but Baker did. If he qualifies as a talking head he is one that almost no one was listening to.

    Now if one contends that corporate profits in themselves, as opposed to the health of the economy as a whole, is what will end the lockout, I suppose that is another matter:
    “…the treatment of the stock market as a measure of economic well-being results from a peculiar obsession with finance…In (some) sense rising stock prices could be viewed as positive for everyone…However, investors may expect higher profits because they anticipate a redistribution of income from wages or taxpayers to corporate profits. In this case, there would be no reason for the vast majority of the public, who own little or no stock, to be celebrating an increase in the stock market. Growth of that sort would imply lower, not higher, living standards for them.”
    http://www.bostonreview.net/BR36.1/baker-fcic-housing.php

    (apologies to those who hate this stuff – such is sportslife in a lockout era)

  10. “The market didn’t seem to see the bursting of the housing bubble coming”

    GM and rgg, I completely disagree with this. The market was months into its decline before the real crisis hit. Those months were filled with propaganda and reassuring noises from both the guilty parties, and the great majority of economists and talking heads. I was completely out of my longs, and short the banks, when people were talking about what a “value” BofA was at $50. Why? Because I believe in what the market is telling me, and not in people who are paid to tell me something different. I don’t give a hoot about “fundamentals,” because those fundamentals are always told to me by people who have an interest in lying. This is very analogous to my attitude to things that are told to me by NBA “experts” and statisticians, and by my opponents at the poker table. When it comes to markets, poker and basketball, I trust my eyes, and little else.

    Guys like the ones you are quoting me are always wrong at market inflections. They are always trying to make sense of what has already happened. Always trying to fight the last war. Giving me the “fundamentals.” By the time they realize the fundamentals have changed, it’s too late.

    If we are truly headed into a second great depression, you will know it FIRST by this: the market will take out the lows of July 2010. As of now, we are still resolutely marching in the other direction, despite the Republicans’ best effort to cripple the market’s progress with debt ceiling scares.

    I’m willing to bet money (and am) that the market will take out the highs of April (that it’s now challenging) before it takes out even the lows of the Japan nuclear crisis in February (200o points above the 7/10 lows). And I’m willing to bet a lot of money that the market will be significantly higher than it is now when the NBA lockout is finally resolved.

    And if the market is higher, employment will inevitably follow. Why? I won’t quote you any fundamental reasons, such as “wealth creates jobs.” I’ll simply tell you the thing that counts with me:

    Because that’s what ALWAYS happens.

    • You certainly know a lot more about the market than I do. My focus has always been on justice, when I’m not distracted by the beauty of great basketball (not to mention a few other great beauties). I certainly hope that your prediction of better times soon comes to fruition!

    • OK, we all need something to do here. How about stock tips, FB? I’d listen. My broker used to be E. F. Hutton, and when E. F. Hutton spoke (remember those ads?) everybody—

      What happened to E. F. Hutton, anyway?

      • I don’t bother with individual stocks anymore, rgg. Too much of a pain to keep up with. I simply own and trade ETFs now, which are like index funds.

    • More bad news from Baker:
      “What is most striking…is that there are no sectors showing robust growth…Furthermore, there is no evidence in this report of any momentum for a turnaround…With wages not keeping pace with inflation and hours falling, workers’ purchasing power and consumption are likely to lag. On the whole, this is one of the most negative employment reports since the recovery began. It indicates that the economy has made no progress whatsoever in re-employing the people who lost their jobs in the downturn. Even more discouraging is the fact that there is no reason to expect anything to change for the better any time soon. The pace of job loss in the public sector is likely to accelerate, with no evidence of an offsetting pickup in the private sector.”
      http://www.cepr.net/index.php/data-bytes/job-bytes/2011-07

      Unemployment may, indeed, have always been a lagging indicator, but it is the indicator where the rubber meets the road. The reason the U.S. economy is unlikely to be healthy anytime soon seems pretty simple to me. The “leadership” is focused on reducing the budget deficit during a depression, when it should be doing just the opposite.

  11. What I’m wondering is if we aren’t waiting for another bubble. We’ve already gone through four major corrections in just 25 years, two quite serious. We’re still sitting on a mountain of fixed-income assets, other monies, looking for a safe place to park, and there isn’t any. Will all that money go to the next big thing that “looks good”? Shrewd, clear-eyed investors (it’s amazing how few of these there have been) will know how to play it. But will there be significant, long lasting changes to the economy structurally?

    Up or down, I’m wondering–and I’m new to this–if the NBA doesn’t have to go to revenue sharing now just to stay flexible:

    http://www.aolnews.com/2010/01/28/nba-needs-stronger-revenue-sharing/

  12. rgg, the superrich are not motivated by doing the right thing. the league’s upper crust with the humongous revenues, becoming ever bigger, feels no need to share with the have nots when the salaries they themselves inflated can be squeezed downward. the bottom revenue teams can always be auctioned off like NO, relocated as was planned for Sac, or rubbed off the ledger. the smaller markets will always have less to operate with as long as only a small portion of broadcast revenues are pooled , i.e. from the national broadcasts on espn/abc or TNT ; all the stuff from regional superstations and cable/satellite conglomerates stays with the individual franchises .

    a huge factor that will be hidden away from public scrutiny will be the influence of the militant faction within the owners. six teams have owners who also have n.h.l. franchises and would have little reason not believe in remaining dark an entire season to contain salaries for the long term. with no revenue lost yet, and winning the p.r. campaign thus far, hardliners among the owners are probably in a large majority at present.

  13. moto–

    Yes, I know of their resistance and thanks for spelling it out in detail. What I wondered is if revenue sharing, that aside, would solve some problems. I don’t know.

    Actually, I’m curious what Lacob’s views are. He hasn’t said anything and I assume can’t speak? I accept all the criticism against him that has been leveled on this blog, but I don’t think he fits in the mold of those guys you describe. He is intelligent and might have much more sense on these matters. Also I like the drift of many of his decisions lately–buying a D league team, many of his recent hires, his building an organization, and (with Feltbot’s help) his selection of a head coach.

  14. rgg, the revenues for some of the mega-corp’s involved are virtually beyond calculating, which is intentional to keep the tax collectors neutralized. the n.f.l. keeps its small market teams quite healthy by putting all broadcast revenue into the common pot, but they also collect more from national networks and mega sponsors. some of n.b.a.’s richest teams, like NY, contributed more than their share toward the runaway maximum contracts for variable, injury-prone talent that the owners now cite as a reason for major changes in the next agreement.

    lacob took part in the league’s board of guv’nors meeting just days before the shut down. his fortune in venture capital was partly based on identifying the companies that would thrive during product and market changes, that could push aside those with antiquated goods or business models. just when he’s really getting started, it’s not likely he’s happy to suspend activities, mainly to insure the survival of the weakest franchises with no encumbrance on the rich, poorly managed or not.

  15. “When the lockout ends……” (Now, if you’re interested in a high risk/high reward penny stock I’ll be back later. :))

    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?page=5-on-5-110704

  16. The estimable Nate Silver (a former poker player) of 538.com on the NBA’s Hollywood accounting:

    http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/07/05/calling-foul-on-n-b-a-s-claims-of-financial-distress/

  17. From FB’s NYTimes article:

    “Growth in non-player expenses has outpaced that of salaries, having increased by 13 percent over five years and 43 percent over 10 years.”

    I’m curious about that 43% non-player expense, how much of it is healthy or necessary. The cynic in me says top heavy organizations with exorbitant salaries and extravagant expenditures. But while players’ salaries are visible, we don’t get to see these numbers do we?

    What exactly does profit mean for a NBA team and how much is healthy? NBA teams don’t sell public shares, thus have to pay dividends, show growth, keep the value of the stocks rising for investors, etc. (do they?). If a team shows a profit of one buck in a season, everyone still gets paid, including the FO. Some money is needed for expansion and projection of losses over a period of time–or is this included in non-player expenditures?

    So does the rest of the profit go to owners, whatever amount makes them happy, rewards them for their investments? What is right here? Do we ever see these numbers? (Some owners, I understand–many?–use franchises for tax write-offs?)

  18. OK, we’ll have to make do with what’s available. Watch the game below, then:

    1. Discuss which player/players we should trade for Monta Ellis.

    Should be good for several months.

    2. Study the season stats for all players and debate endlessly.

    Ditt0.

    3. Review the obvious problems of “small ball” on both sides, consider Don Nelson’s influence, his corruption of youth and the American way.

    Still not a dead horse.

    4. Watch the turnover at :50 by the point guard in blue. Explain why he should be benched, then after the game go home and be sent to bed without supper.

    Might still have some legs.

    5. Compare #30 (white) with your favorite Warrior big.

    I might join in here.

    6. Create a salary structure for all the players, then estimate each player’s worth to deadbeat franchises (round off to the nearest million).

  19. “It’s ridiculous to me that owners are not willing to take full ownership of their contractual decisions, particularly when they are the most powerful and sophisticated party in every negotiation.”

    James Dolan is sophisticated?

    In general, I’d say the player agents are a tad more sophisticated than the owners. It’s not like the owners are actually doing the negotiating anyway, that falls to someone else. For every Sam Presti, there’s a bunch of Robert Rowell, Bryan Colangelo, David Kahn, Mike Dunleavy, Rick Sund, Jeff Bower, Otis Smith types. NBA GM’s get out classed by players agents all the time.

    More than asking the players to save them from themselves, they appear to be asking the players to help save their goofy management suits, from getting swindled by the player’s agents. Either way, they’re still not taking full ownership of their contractual decisions, I just wouldn’t give them credit for being the more powerful and sophisticated party at the table.

  20. JP, the owners are more “sophisticated” (which is a term of art) because they have full information at their disposal (regarding the team’s true income, the team’s true plans, the team’s true opinion of the player, etc.), while the agents on the other side are working from surmises. The owners, of course, also have an army of GMs, attorneys and accountants on their side, whether they take their advice or not. Clearly the more sophisticated party as that term is used in legal contexts.

    The NBA has emailed the Times with its rebuttal to Nate Silver:
    http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/07/05/n-b-a-disputes-forbes-analysis-suggesting-league-is-profitable/?src=tptw

    rgg, some of those shorties could press Jeremy Lin for a roster spot. I saw a couple of killer crossovers.

  21. Thanks for the well reasoned response, FB. For all the advantages you give the owners side at the negotiating table, they’re still in the dark compared to the player agents when negotiating player contracts. I know you know all of the following information, I’m not presuming to be educating you, I’m simply explaining my argument.

    Players agents aren’t Franklin & Bash against the Ministry of Truth, it’s more often BDA Sports Management, Wasserman Media Group, Priority Sports and Entertainment, and CAA, with their own armies of lawyers, accountants, statisticians and analysts, outwitting the management groups of the Robert Sarver, Glen Taylor, Michael Gear, and Donald Sterling of the league. Come on, at this table, when is Dolan not the fish?

    While the owners are often guesstimating what the market is for a particular player, the agents are negotiating with multiple teams and know what the true demand and market is for their players. Unless the owners are colluding, they can’t know what other teams are willing to pay. Too often teams (owners) are convinced by agents to negotiate against themselves and overpay. When it comes to salary negotiations, the player agents are the more sophisticated and informed party.

    It may just be a difference of opinion, but I think you give the owners too much credit. I am only talking about the salary negotiation process. When it comes to the lockout negotiations, unless the agents groups are supplying the ammo, the owners do appear to be the more sophisticated party…you know as a term of art (TIC).

  22. Good points!

  23. Comments from Curry (Yahoo Sports)……….

    Curry said he, Ellis, Lee and Dorell Wright, who lives in Los Angeles, plan to meet in each other’s cities for workouts. The Warriors have tried to downplay speculation they want to trade Ellis. Jackson has claimed to be a big fan of the Warriors’ leading scorer.

    “I don’t know about the talks he had with the front office or where they ended before the lockout, but as of right now, he’s still a Warrior,” Curry said of Ellis. “We want him with our team. He makes us better. And I think with a fresh start and all the new faces with the organization that will help him forget about the past and not really affect what is going on right now.”

    “I know there has been a lot of turmoil with him and the organization in the past. I can’t speak for him, but I think the new look of our organization will help him make a difference.”

    “I like the hiring,” Curry said of Jackson. “He knows the game, and the only knock against him right now is he doesn’t have any coaching experience. For him to hire Pete Myers and Michael Malone behind him [as assistants] helps start a great staff. From what I can tell from the meeting with [Jackson] and Mike, they had a great chemistry just from the start. It’s going to be a work in progress day to day with the coaching philosophies he wants to implement for us and get us to where he wants us to go.”

    “I don’t know how I can get information to them about my progress,” Curry said. “It is basically on me to make sure I stay on my rehab. The doctor here really can’t bounce any ideas off our team doctor. The communication lines have been cut off between us and them.”

  24. I recently found out that the NBA has a sweetheart tax loophole that allows them to depreciate player’s contracts. You know, because players depreciate like houses. This allows owners to generate completely fictitious losses to set against their profits. I’d like to see someone post the league’s net income figures with that deduction backed out.

  25. stern and cohorts don’t often respond to sports bloggers so promptly and lengthily ; silver must have hit some vulnerable spots close to the truth. the league’s main contention, that forbes didn’t see the ‘real books’ was substantially refuted by the ‘real books’ leaked from the NO team sale.

    the players will have to make substantial concessions, but the concern about how many and how deeply teams are in the red is a smokescreen. two of the teams that went to auction in recent times, Phx and GS, went for well above their book value, and the struggling NJ franchise attracted a mega-billionaire oligarch. the league wants to pimp an operating model that it can promise to deliver nearly guaranteed profit with high rates of return to new investors, some of whom will be in Asia.

  26. For lockout-niks, Bill Simmons’ solution to the lockout:

    http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/6749669/if-ruled-nba-world

    My eyes glazed over about halfway through. But not before I noticed in footnote 9 that Simmons believes Ellis and Lee’s contracts are fair. An opinion I share.

    • I’m not on Twitter, I just read some of it, but I would add Fredric March as President Jordan Lyman in Seven Days in May (screenplay by Rod Serling!) to yours and Simmons’ list.

  27. As an A’s fan as well as a Warriors fan, I note that the A’s have a poor record, a pathetically weak offense, and now that they’re out of the pennant race, the talk is they should trade their best RBI guy, Josh Willingham. This has been Billy Beane’s MO for years — trade a valuable guy for yet another prospect, a la the recent trade of Mark Ellis. And look what it leads to — one mediocre season after another.

    I’m reminded of this when I hear those who say we should trade Monta Ellis. The reasons why this is incredibly stupid are numerous (unless, as Mark Jackson said, someone offers us Dwight Howard), but life is too short to spend time trying to persuade them otherwise. Just be an A’s fan and you’ll understand why.

  28. Very interesting economic and basketball discussion above on this thread. Nice work, guys.

  29. MWLX, I totally agree about Monta. Some people say he’s flawed because he doesn’t play D well, but a) neither does Steve Nash or any number of other great players, b) neither of his coaches truly emphasized D, c) when you’re averaging 40 minutes/game something’s gotta give.

    The thing is, Monta is not just a great player right now, but he has continued to improve long after most players have plateau’d and settled into a role. He comes back after every summer break with new stuff. It makes you wonder just how awesome someone with his athletic ability and motivation could become.

    Before the dubs get serious about trading Monta, I hope they’ll try teaching him some defensive concepts to see if he can grow in that area. I ‘d bet that he could, and would.

  30. One of the reasons I don’t trust statistics and other evaluations is that they largely tell us how players perform with certain teams in certain situations, with particular coaching. Monta Ellis hasn’t had a lot around him, at least in the first regard, and does not stand high in national recognition. Russell Westbrook, however, has received national praise, was an All Star, and played for a team that went deep into the playoffs.

    Now imagine that somehow we had Westbrook the last two years and OKC had Ellis—and I’d take Ellis over Westbrook in a second. A conservative guess would lead to the same results this year for Ellis and OKC, but I wouldn’t have been surprised if Ellis came through in the clutch against Dallas. Someone’s going to cry defense, but I’m skeptical and we don’t know what kind of defense Ellis might have played with the Thunder at point.

    Now imagine what we would have been saying about Westbrook as a Warrior the last two years. . . .

  31. Looks like some extra lockout-cash for players……

    Escrow money withheld from all NBA players’ paychecks each season will be returned to them this offseason for the first time, providing a $160 million infusion of cash in the midst of the league’s labor lockout. The escrow funds — representing eight percent of each NBA player’s salary — are held back each season to ensure that the players’ share of basketball-related income does not exceed the contractually agreed-upon percentage, currently 57 percent. This year, for the first time since the system was introduced in the collective bargaining agreement that came out of the 1998-99 lockout, the cut to players will fall short, sources with the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association confirmed.

    When a final audit is completed later this month, the players will have been paid less than 57 percent of BRI and will be due the entire $160 million. It’s the first time the players will have the full escrow returned, a union spokesman said. That cash could ease or delay the point at which some players begin to feel financial hardship from the lockout. Based on the “average” NBA salary of $5.7 million, the escrow rebate would be worth $456,000. A minimum-salaried player ($473,604) would be due $37,888 while a $16 million superstar could expect $1.28 million coming back. NBA.com

  32. This Nellie story is picking up steam. Apparently Nellie likes a few of the pieces the TWolves have: Rubio at the point , Love and Tolliver as the 4s who shoot 3s.

    I have some doubts. Does Nellie really want to put himself through a Minnesota winter at his age? And is Rubio really a point guard he wants to work with? I’m not sure they’d get along. Rubio can’t shoot.

  33. FB – I think your point about the “sweet tax loophole” for the NBA teams is mistaken. From an accounting point of view –the purpose of accounting is to match expenses occurred with revenues in a specific time frame. The question is whether the cost of tangible property must be capitalized or whether it can be fully deducted as an expense for the current year. For an asset that is purchased, capitalized and used for many years, the corporation gets to deduct a depreciation expense each year as an annual expense. For example a crane. The purchase price of the crane does not make it into the income statement, only the balance sheet. To match that dollar amount for the purchase of the crane to the useful life of the crane the company gets to deduct the purchase price of the crane divided by the number of years expected to be used to get an annual expense deduction. In the case of the NBA they are not purchasing an asset in a players contract. They are agreeing to pay an annual amount for the service of the player. So the annual pay of the player fully hits the income statement as an expense that can be deducted. There would be no reason to utilize a depreciation expense as the yearly salary is clearly an expense for that year. I could see a signing bonus as either a one time expense or an annual percentage expense dependent upon the payment terms, but again this is not any sweetheart deal for the NBA.

    To me the interesting question for each side is what is their defeat the other party strategy. If you enter into a contract negotiation of this type you should have your winning(i.e. defeat the other side) strategy completely laid out. In the case of the owners – it would be hire replacement players and start play. This was effectively used by the NFL and stars like Joe Montana crossed the picket line. Are you tellling me that players like Jeremy Linn, and Reggie Williams who are always on the bubble wouldn’t seriously consider crossing that line. For players – the strategy would be to ban together have a replacement league where the basic teams get together without management and stage their own season. They would have to hire some new facilities but there are many unused stadiums around and could easily run a league without management. Players have tried this approach but it has never really worked… But I think a strong union could make this happen. Really – what are the assets of an NBA team besides its players, the rights to the NBA franchise and its contracts with facilities. The great players leave and who wants to come watch.
    So the really boring aspect to me is that these two parties are not really trying to beat each other, they just want to hurt each other. Clearly the NBA has deeper pockets and they do not have to pay their major expense during lockouts, the players contracts. I want to see one or both sides go all out to win this deal. I think the Joe Montana picket line crossing and the tv/radio revenue the teams could get even if they fielded a bunch of replacements like the NFL did was a big factor in the NFL never giving in to guaranteed contracts. Something I love about the NFL. If the NBA teams fielded dleaguers(finally an advantage for the W’s) and held games with the media televising it the league gets essentially all of its revenue – season ticket holders still pay regardless of the players on the team, this would really beat the union into submission. On the other hand, what if the union really had the total commitiment of the players and the same teams started to play in alternative areanas with slightly differnet names. Don’t you think we would be watching and wouldn’t there be some media oulets ready to televise these?? Can you say Spike network.
    To me it is a joke that with this much money flying around neither side is playing to win…

  34. FB – thanks for the interesting read. You are completely correct – the NBA teams enjoy an unbelievable tax break. The RDA which was modified in 2004 allows NBA teams to depreciate 100% of the purchase price of the team over a maximum of a 15 year period at any annual rate they want. So in effect, Cohan spent $125 million for the Warriors, gets a tax write off of $125 million over the 15 years of his ownership and then gets paid $450M for his team and will only pay long term capital gains on the sale of the team. I have never heard of a similar accounting concept where the whole value of the business is a deductible tax amount particularly for appreciating assets like NBA franchises. This RDA figure, depending upon how much of the RDA is used in any one year will understate the true profit of the team by the full amount of the RDA claimed for that year. Man, no wonder Ellis was pissed he got outbid for this team, it is worth it as a tax shelter alone…..

  35. Speaking of money, anyone ever heard of Beth Raymer? Fascinating woman who has written a book (“Lay the Favorite”) about her life that ran the gamut from in-house stripping to collecting bets for her bookmaking bosses. So fascinating, in fact, that her book is being made into a movie starring Bruce Willis, due out next year.

    http://www.gelfmagazine.com/archives/beth_raymers_risky_business.php

  36. Steve, just added the Beth Raymer book to my Amazon cart, thanks. I know a couple of the guys she worked for — if I’m not mistaken, they’re well-known poker players.

  37. Nellie REALLY wants the TWolves job:

    http://www.startribune.com/sports/wolves/125673128.html

    Interesting that he identifies Derrick Williams as his “favorite” and “the best” player in last years draft. I think you can put that in the bank.

  38. Felt, you knew that Nelli wouldn’t be content just laying around Maui the rest of his life. I hope he gets the job. And if so, I wonder which team he trades Randolph to? LOL

  39. Potential opening montage (from https://twitter.com/#!/reallisa ):
    Nellie walking past iced-over Lake Calhoun, tossing his hat in the air.

  40. Udoh’s back in school as well:
    http://www.hoopsworld.com/Story.asp?story_id=20407
    “I have to get that degree,” said Udoh, who is currently chipping away at the final 14 hours of his undergraduate degree at Baylor University.

  41. Nellie as Patton:
    Well now you know what I’m going to do? First I’m going to go to Minnesota, and I’m still gonna beat that Lacob son-of-a-bitch to the playoffs if it’s the last thing I ever do!

  42. Warriors Schedule Released

    http://www.nba.com/gameline/20111102/

    Get your calendar out boys…Warriors schedule is released! Woo hoo!
    Wednesday November 2, 2011, vs Lakers! Let the countdown begin!
    Woo hoooooo!!!

    …what?

  43. Coaching updates:

    Of greater interest: Nellie interviewing w Twolves in next few days:
    http://www.startribune.com/sports/wolves/125862878.html

    Of lesser interest: Lacob steals away a Celtic assistant coach for the Warriors:
    http://www.boston.com/sports/basketball/celtics/extras/celtics_blog/2011/07/celtics_lose_as.html

  44. Reactions to the numbering and reduced font in the comments section? My own take: it’s a little harder on my eyes, but easier to navigate.

    Trying to figure out why it’s harder to read than MT2′s blog…
    http://www.ibabuzz.com/warriors/2011/06/27/joe-lacobs-very-exciting-and-significant-announcement-is/

  45. Thanks for the links, Steve. Love the take on Nellie @58. Could it really happen? Will I have to start another blog?

  46. Among the reasons Wolves should choose Nellie over Adelman (to reiterate):

    I believe Nellie wants to beat the Warriors to the playoffs. Badly, I would think.

  47. Pingback: Kein Blogout trotz Lockout: Golden State Warriors | FIVE Basketball-Magazin - NBA Blog

  48. From the pingback, #66:

    Feltbot’s Warriors Blog – Als professioneller Pokerspieler, Broker und Anwalt macht Blogger Felbot sein Geld und betreibt nebenbei ein ganz nettes Warriors-Blog. Man merkt, dass der Mann Nellie-Fan ist, Sportwetten liebt und klare Vorstellungen vom Ablauf des Lockouts hat. Dabei kommt das Team aber trotzdem nicht zu kurz – Notenvergabe, umfangreiche Spielberichte und Einzelbewertungen werden regelmäßig rausgehauen…

  49. Regarding the font, it would be more readable if the font size were bumped up by 1 point or maybe 2. It’s too small now. It looks like you’re using verdana, which is good. MT is using a different font, but it’s more readable because of the size, not the font itself. Spacing between each line is good.

    I like the numbering. Makes it much easier to keep track when I return to read new comments after a few days.

  50. Ditto on font size increase.

  51. Thanks for the feedback, working on it now…

  52. Got my hands dirty this time, changing the css in the stylesheet of my theme myself. I’m pretty happy with the result, how about you guys?

    I didn’t increase the font size, but changed the family to Verdana, made the letter coloring darker, and adjusted the line spacing. I think it’s a lot easier to read now, don’t you? Please compare with MT2′s blog:
    http://www.ibabuzz.com/warriors/2011/06/27/joe-lacobs-very-exciting-and-significant-announcement-is/

    I find his comments section readable and I’m pretty sure our font sizes are now identical.

    Now if I could only figure out how to code the zebra-ing…

  53. OK, I did nudge the font size up 1 digit. Influenced by that other blog:

    http://blogs.mercurynews.com/warriors/2011/06/24/warriors-2011-draft-better-than-cohan-but-not-good-enough-yet/

    Does this work for you guys?

  54. OK, if this is a three bears thing I think we’re still stuck at the first bowl of porridge. I can’t see a change. Too small! But get more votes here–I think it depends on our machines and their settings.

    (FB–when you change font size in the style sheet, it won’t change incrementally with each change of a number, e.g., if you have it set at 90% or .9 em, whatever measurement you’re using [they're both proportional and relative, not fixed] the font won’t change with 91 or 92%, or .91 or .94 em. You have to experiment–keep adding small numbers until there is a change to get the next size.)

  55. Trust me there was a change. The difference was between MT2′s font and Adam’s. My comments are now slightly larger than MT2′s and identical to Adam’s, as you can confirm by opening two windows and placing the text side by side.

    At least that’s how it looks in my browser (Chrome).

  56. Felt, your first change was too small but this looks good.

  57. WheresMyChippy

    I think this looks great right now.

  58. feltbot,

    You can alternate the background colors of the comments by defining the background color of the “odd” and “even” comment classes in the style sheet. I take it that is what you meant by zebra-ing.

  59. Think I’m hard on coaches? Check out Charlie Rosen’s grades:
    http://blogs.hoopshype.com/blogs/rosen/2011/07/25/grading-the-coaches/

    I’m completely perplexed by 2 grades: Nate McMillan and George Karl.

  60. First, let me say the verdana font and bigger point size are an improvement in readability. Now, I’m going to go techie on you in order to explain why I think the font size should be bumped at least one more point and the previous line spacing should be restored.

    A typography guru long ago said that the most readable line is one that contains about an alphabet and a half’s worth of letters. That is, if you set the alphabet in verdana font, then one-and-a-half of the alphabet — 39 characters — would be the ideal length from the standpoint of visual comfort — the eye’s ability to read and comprehend stretches of text without tiring.

    Your line length, with the current type size, appears to be more than 2.5 times the alphabet, which is tiring. To bring it closer to the ideal, your line length should be shorter (but this would waste space on the page) or your type size should be larger. I vote for the latter, since the current size is by no means too large in the first place.

    Secondly, line length determines how far the eye has to travel to get from the end of one line to the beginning of the next. If line spacing is too little, the eye can get confused trying to track from one line to the next. Visual discomfort results. For that reason, I think you should go back to the line spacing you had before, since your line length is considerable, about 5 inches.

    I’m not sure why you compare your blog to those of MT and AL, since neither wins any readability awards. I’ve worked with web designers in the creation of several major web sites, and I can tell you most web designers are under 35 and have no clue about readability because they’ve got young eyes and their focus is elsewhere (graphics, pizzaz, flash). I suspect your readership skews over 40, and for us, bigger type is better.

    The tough thing about this subject is that visual discomfort from a lack of readability is usually subtle and many people don’t notice it at a conscious level until the end of the day when their eyes are sore. If you make your site highly readable from a typography standpoint, readers will be more likely to return. It’s kind of like having an attractive stadium. People are more likely to come see your team if all the packaging details are done right, though ultimately content is the determining factor.

    Apologies for my wordiness. For a brief primer on this stuff, see the “Readability and Legibility” section of the Typography entry on Wikipedia.

  61. MWLX, in the NBA vernacular, I feel you. Particularly since I suffer from the same aging eyes as yourself, and getting eyestrain is a routine occurrence for me. I will contemplate enlarging the font if the majority of readers echo your sentiments (I think you already have rgg in your camp).

    I think there are a few points weighing in favor of mimicing the Merc’s comments sections, though. I have always felt they are eminently navigable, and that helps foster the discussion. Second, unless this blog blows up to ridiculous proportions (something I don’t anticipate), we’ll only be reading a couple of comments at a time, no? And third, I will continue to be posting in my easy to read font.

    I’d like to leave it like this for awhile, at least until everyone has a chance to weigh in.

  62. Just checked GSOM’s comment section, and they have a slightly larger font and line spacing…

    http://www.goldenstateofmind.com/2011/7/25/2292726/this-is-a-teaser-of-an-upcoming-post-that-i-have-planned-based-on-my#comments

  63. The real test for readability is to actually sit down and read a long post or comment, and mwlx gives us an example above. With the smaller text, my concentration is strained after a few paragraphs. His spacing between paragraphs helped. (I think web designers work under the assumption that most people don’t read much.) If you want another standard, go to the NY Times–not the front page type, but what you see when you click on a full article. You have to believe those guys researched the issue. I won’t scream if you bumped your post font size up a notch. Also, I like the size and spacing for comment entry, what I’m looking at now.

    Let’s hope all the talk of players going to China scares owners into settling the dispute. I suspect they don’t take good care of players over there. Yao, and who was the American who played in China and went into a game with an ice bag on his bad ankle (I saw the picture)?

  64. fwiw, on my browser it’s much easier to read the lauridsen blog’s comments than it is here — the letters are bigger and the lines are shorter. it’s also easier to read what i’m typing right here, than the comments right above it, for that matter, to reinforce rgg’s comment.

    we might not see any older, journeyman n.b.a. players (except free agents with no guaranteed $$ still on the books), or the just-drafted rookies who haven’t signed, going abroad to play. if they get injured, it’s possible teams will attempt to void their contracts, or with the rookies, make a severe downward adjustment with the contract. the players who are perceived as essential for the team’s success/marketing or more difficult to replace probably run a smaller risk of getting rebuffed by n.b.a. teams if they return from their sojourns dinged up.

  65. Here’s the picture:
    http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/blog/ball_dont_lie/post/Steve-Francis-checks-into-Chinese-game-with-iced?urn=nba-297966
    and yes, I had Curry in mind, and no, I may not have been fair to China.

    Actually the NBA doesn’t take good care of its players. At the risk of exposing myself as a wuss, I find the scheduling insane. They pay these guys multi-million dollar contracts, then run them relentlessly. The Warriors played five games a week for two weeks. And I still don’t understand the reasoning behind back-to-back games, which also creates an unfair advantage for home teams, who already have other advantages. Memphis played 13-14 teams coming in on a back-to-back, which is a huge advantage, while the Warriors only played 6-7 (from memory).

    Yet I never hear anyone complain about this. I don’t know how significant the changes in the NFL will be, but I was somewhat heartened they were trying to take care of players more. Hard to believe the NBA couldn’t do more itself. Teams shouldn’t play more than three games a week, with no back-to-back’s.

    I also wonder if the NFL settlement, which I understood wasn’t expected so soon from many quarters, will put pressure on the NBA to follow suit.

  66. On second look, Adam’s font was bigger, apologies to rgg et al. This is the next font up (12). Now it’s clearly bigger than Adam’s… apparently he’s got an in between font.

    I also increased the line spacing.

    So?

  67. Reinforcing moto’s point, I just read that the European leagues have no interest in mid-level players, just the stars. Unless the players are not currently under contract and are willing to commit to a long-term deal. Which makes sense: why disrupt your team for a half-season of mid-level talent?

    So of course, this hurts the players that are put under the most pressure by the lockout…

    The NBA has two axes of power in this negotiation: The rich owners vs. the poor, and the stars vs. the mid-level players. None of their interests are aligned, which makes this more of a quadrilateral negotiation than bilateral.

    rgg, I agree with you that the season is way too long, and the back-to-backs are brutal. It seems every year that the NBA championship is decided by injury and attrition rather than skill. As eg., just in the last two years: Perkins and Wade.

    Unfortunately, I don’t think this is on the table.

  68. felt-meister, the gap between the upper tier players and the rest was reflected in the change within the players’ union executive council between the last impasse and the present. last time, it was the high profile guys who were the front men, and it was they rather than the agents who brought up the de-certification gambit. of course, it’s the highest paid players who also serve as the foundation of the agents’ wealth and power. at present, d.fisher and other supporting role players are in the union leadership. [charlie bell is the woeyrs' player rep!]

    the elite stars aren’t really the source of the ‘salary stress’ that n.b.a. teams are taking a stand against. m.l. beisbol doesn’t have a salary cap, and their top paid stars are pulling down $$ comparable or greater than the top n.b.a. guys. in terms of how an individual m.l.b. player affects the success and revenues of his team, however, his impact is considerably less than a marquee n.b.a star. it’s the not-really-elite guys whose teams grossly overpaid (j.johnson, g. arenas et.al.) and the players on the next level down who snagged $50-90m. deals (too many to list, think of biedrins, ellis, al jefferson) who carry the weight of the salary-vs.-success/revenue maximization imbalance. those contracts can’t be blamed on the discarded c.b.a., but on the front offices who succumbed to hard sell from the players’ agents.

    when n.b.a. players go abroad, many will have to make big adjustments. the richest euro teams can contractually assure designated stars special treatment with free luxury housing w. domestic staff, private transportation usw., but many players will encounter hard courts with minimal shock absorption, long mandatory practices on off days, bus rides, and sometimes unreliable pay schedules. as physically stressful the n.b.a. regimen is, the players will find the differences in pampering and decreased rest time, added to cultural and linguistic frictions, significantly more stressful.

    the physical toll of the n.b.a. schedule was acceptable to the players with the salary guarantees of the previous c.b.a. — with 57% of the hoops related income going to salaries, they could rationalize accepting how the league chose to market the games. if players had to miss games with hurts, they still had the security of guaranteed deals, mostly multi-year for players drafted in the first round or in their prime.

    the prevalence of back to backs, and the home court advantage it reinforces, again points up how the n.b.a lags far behind m.l.b. or the n.f.l. in revenue sharing. the essential part provided by the visiting opponent du jour is acknowledged by the other major leagues in the only relevant manner, $$. the league’s goal of course is to assure that the teams get >50% of future hoops related income, and reduce both the guarantees in the player contracts and their duration, with minimal reforms in their revenue sharing.

  69. Hey, Felty, I think it looks good now, and it’s time to move on to another topic.

    Here’s an idea for a new thread: Bruce Jenkins had a mid-June rant in the Chronicle about “noise pollution” at Warriors games. I couldn’t agree more that the music has become piercingly loud, and the number of gigs during time outs is excessive. Sure, some of it’s okay, but too much of it is stupid. How about a blast from the Feltmeister regarding this assault on our ears and our intelligence?

  70. MWLX, glad to get a thumbs up from the aging eyes crew :> Everyone else down with the current sizing?

    I was with gswfan30 when he asked the exact same question of Peter Guber at a ticket holders function. He went on a long spiel, the jist of which was, if I remember correctly, that the ownership was in the process of reviewing everything (sound familiar?) but that they were dealing with a very real problem of attention deficit disorder among the youth in attendance (not to mention the adults). Alas, it seems the purists will increasingly have to watch the games in darkened living rooms, sound muted against Fitzgerald barbarisms, libation in hand.

    moto, I’ve never understood the argument that the contracts for mid-level players are what are hurting the owners. It seems to me that just as many mid-level contracts are of spectacular value (Monta, Chandler, Haslem) as are busts (Biedrins). And it seems to me that it is the bad max contracts that are the true cripplers of franchises (Arenas, Lewis, Johnson, Roy).

    I realize that there is some truth to the adage that it is the superstars that fill the seats. But doesn’t winning also fill the seats? There is no winning in basketball without a team. And the team is 2-12.

  71. Class Struggle on the Court:
    NYC journalist Ari Paul says NBA lockout “isn’t about losses. It’s about breaking the union.”
    http://www.thenation.com/article/162393/class-struggle-court

  72. Adam’s post on the lockout was good (and his font is hard to read for me but yours is good, FB!).

    This doesn’t look good:

    http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/news;_ylt=AnTmzr.Xxemb_cXVAgcWQxe8vLYF?slug=ap-nbalabor

    The latest legal action by the NBA–prelude for a standoff? I am reminded of how in the ’20s the Clayton Antitrust Act was used to break unions.

  73. Inspired by the Woj piece:
    The Autumn of David Stern
    http://bit.ly/o2wzgl

    Scathing.

  74. Woj is reserved. I can’t recall seeing him take such a strong stand before. This one could be decided in the court of public opinion, if it ever gets there. And in about a month, NBA owners are going to see fans and TV revenues flock to the NFL, their contract resolved on time. Everyone—owners and players and fans—will be in good spirits. The NBA will look bad and, as the #2 sport fall and winter, could take a serious beating if it perseveres.

    • I don’t even enjoy football (too much stop/start for me), but the the NFL players won their lockout and I’m psyched that they did! The #1 reason they won was solidarity. That seems much less likely in the NBA, but I’m still hoping the players stick it out for as long as they need to. I’ll miss my hoops badly (already do), but that’s on Stern.

    • The owners should be scared. The situation is different from 12 years ago. There’s all the online reporting and discussion now, special NBA pages, and these guys will have to write about something. They sure won’t have much nice to say about owners. If the big name players do play abroad, they will get coverage, and all they have to say is Hey, man, I just wanna play basketball. Would any of the cable channels pick up those games? And if Stern exposes himself, I can see a public burning, the owners bailing out on him.

      I can’t believe Lacob especially is happy with the situation and wonder if he and other similar owners aren’t waiting for their opening to step in.

  75. I guess everyone saw that Acie Law signed with Serbia, with no opt-out clause when the lockout ends. I want to wish all the best to him. He played his heart out for us and is fighting for his professional life.

  76. Heads up on the market: As I indicated above, but which may not have been clear because of my then-bullish outlook, my view on the markets, and by extension the economy, is based entirely on how the market is behaving. I am a technical analyst in all arenas in which I don’t get to see the hole cards.

    The market has misbehaved badly in the last couple of days. To whit, the S&P index has broken the lows of the Japan meltdown crisis, which is a bad indicator technically. Bonds have broken out above their recent highs, which is also a very bad sign: it forecasts a slowdown.

    Are we headed for a slowdown? I don’t know, and never will pretend to. But the market indicates a much higher risk for it now than there was a couple of weeks ago. Does this mean we should sell everything? Again, I don’t know (and would never make those kinds of calls for others, all of whom have different investment styles and timeframes). For now, other indices like the Nasdaq and Russell remain above the Japan crisis low. If they follow the S&P below that level, the market would look terrible technically and lead me to extreme caution.

    As for my own positions, without trying to get too technical, I trade in long-dated options. Which means 2 things: I have limited down-side exposure, which lessens as the market goes down, and theoretically unlimited upside exposure, which increases as the market goes up. Which is another way of saying that if the market goes lower, I won’t have to worry about getting out, I’ll already be out (with a loss equivalent to my option premiums).

    As I write this, the market looks like it is attempting a bounce. And it is certainly due for one. After 9 straight days of selloff, it is severely “oversold.” If we do bounce significantly in the next few days, the technical picture will again become murky. We would have simply re-entered the trading range that has existed for the last 6 months.

    And I will never utter another opinion of where the market or the economy is headed until that range is broken!

    Sorry to interrupt the lockout discussion, but I thought that now — as significant downside levels are being tested — was a good time to clear up any possible confusion about how I think about the markets.

  77. rgg@95: Unfortunately I find Stern’s analysis in the article you post to be very persuasive. Total overseas contracts will amount to a pittance compared to the total NBA contracts, and will ultimately serve to divide the players union.

    And I don’t believe Lacob nor any of the other owners are unhappy about where this is heading. They are playing for billions over a 10 year period, with the wind of a huge recession at their backs. They have been delivered the perfect opportunity at the perfect time to screw the player’s union, and I doubt they will let their current loss of millions cloud their vision of a future gain in the billions.

    I’m also doubtful that the owners or Stern will become unduly concerned about bad press. They’ve already been through this, 10 years ago, and the fans and media completely forgot about it within a year.

  78. Steve, this is for you:

    I’m just starting to read Tim Donaghy’s book, and came across this passage in the introduction:

    “It was clear to me that the league was complicit in the culture of fraud and often wielded its awesome power to steer and direct the way games were played, officiated and, worst of all, decided. Protecting superstars, ensuring marquee big-market matchups, and prolonging playoff series were of primary concern to NBA big shots, and the faithful throng of referees did its part to please the bosses in the league’s New York offices.”

    Dismiss this all you want as the self-interested rant of a convicted felon, but it cuts very close to home. Did this opinion originate out of thin air? From the fevered imaginings of a diseased mind? Or does it have a factual basis in the knowledge and experiences of a 12-year NBA insider?

    And it happens to corroborate the patterns I have seen with my own technical analyst’s eyes, for which I don’t require “factual” corroboration. But I certainly enjoy getting it… :>

  79. With the lockout, the league has resorted to the highest-possible-cost negotiating tactic. Ticket sales, broadcasting revenue, merchandising agreements and promotional deals have all already taken a hit, and that picture will get exponentially worse as game time approaches. At that time, it’s nuclear winter for the owners.

    And so the league now has to cover losses from the shutdown on top of any long-term revenue improvements they might have gotten simply from adjusting the previous CBA without a lockout. A marginal improvement is no longer an option for Stern personally, he needs a knockout.

    All I’ve read so far says that the NBPA is still negotiating as if they can tweak the terms of the previous CBA. Giving up a few BRI points would probably have been the best deal they could have gotten in today’s entertainment market, if the owners were willing. Unfortunately, that became a non-option to the owners the instant they closed the gyms. And the NBPA has limited options. Their membership can’t/won’t hold out indefinitely.

    Decertifying then negotiating with legal threats worked for the NFLPA, but they had time to pursue that approach without raising the stakes beyond recovery. The NBPA doesn’t have that option at this late date. That leaves them with just one option, requesting arbitration, which would typically place negotiations back onto some adjustment of the previous deal. However, given what the league has already sacrificed in the shutdown – and their secretive stance on team finances – Stern can’t agree to good-faith arbitration, he’d have to be forced into it. That won’t happen in time for the 2011 season.

    Stern and the owners are confident they’re going to win this round, and they have plenty of reason. We’ll almost certainly see shorter, smaller, unguaranteed contracts, higher player turnover and fewer player rights. “Contract year performance” could become a meaningless term. We’ll probably also see more level competition between teams who must all meet the same harder, lower salary cap.

    Most of that actually sounds better for fans, at least theoretically – more highly motivated players, no slackers on the court, fewer hopeless low-budget teams, and a lower entry barrier for newcomers. But the tradeoff is shorter average player tenure, fewer older players, and more demands overall on players who, at 82 games plus, already play too much for consistent quality. Big market teams who can afford to pay out more than today’s soft salary cap will not have the option to stack their teams with top players – LA will become more like the average team. Is that good? I don’t know. I LIKE excellence, even if it’s not ours. What’s the effect on the fan base when players change teams even more than they do now? Without guaranteed contracts, what happens to older (more often injured) stars, the players we know and relate to the best? In the end, the new deal could easily make the NBA game worse from the perspective of many fans.

    Personally, I’d like to see the league take a more creative approach to solving their financial problems instead of solely taking it out of the players, but even if they do, it won’t affect the current negotiations. They already threw the hardball. For their part, the NBPA should really start talking about forming their own league. It couldn’t realistically be profitable in under 3-4 years, but it could be playing by this January if they start organizing right now. If they teamed up based on their NBA affiliation, it would even help maintain the NBA’s value during the lockout – a good-faith effort to help the owners avoid financial ruin. And it could deliver the only real leverage the players can get in negotiating with the NBA monopoly.

    I’m a fan. I want to see SOME basketball this year. Bring back the ABA, anyone?

  80. Obviously I’m being overoptimistic about press and public opinion and its effects, always a mistake. And I’m hoping Stern is given enough rope to hang himself this time.

    But I don’t know. Stern cares about public image, and it will be put on the line. If an agreement is made that is at least perceived as being pro-owner and bad for basketball, there could be residual effect that might linger throughout the term of the contract.

    More importantly, if this perception holds even for a year or so and the nation loses interest in the game, the owners will really take the heat for a long time and get blamed. Picking up from what White Hat says above, this past season will be hard to repeat. Half the nation got what it wanted, the dominance of the powerhouses with superstars. AND the other half of the nation (including me) got what it wanted—to see those powerhouses lose in the playoffs. Miami will make noise for a while, but the other powerhouses are aging out and I see dissension in LA to boot. The nation is going to get behind OKC and Chicago? Certainly not if they beat teams once strong now in decline. I don’t know why the NFL stayed strong when they had so many so-so teams, but I don’t think the NBA can follow this act.

    NBA attendance for the last 10 years:
    http://misixanalytics.blogspot.com/2011/05/nba-lockout-2011-mo-money-mo-problems.html
    and I see a downward trend.

    Hard to believe the hard cap is not going to bite everyone in the butt. I’m not clear where the owners are on this now–a higher hard cap? Here’s one study with an interesting chart:
    http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2011/7/27/2297011/nba-lockout-2011-news-hard-salary-cap-the-hook
    The chart should be spread out horizontally–there’s a huge difference between $400m and 500m. And he concludes:

    “Consider that the Indiana Pacers aren’t profitable at the most recent cap of $58 million, and consider that if they paid $58 million in payroll every season they would be among the two or three cheapest teams in the league, and consider that to achieve a hard cap the NBA would have to raise that level significantly. That’s my concern with a higher, harder cap: in and of itself, it does nothing to help teams that already can’t afford to hit the cap.”

    One difference between the two lockouts: in 1998 we were in a boom mode. The DJ had risen astronomically with no end in sight (ha!). Costs be hanged. Now we’re in a time of uncertainty, with recession a likely candidate for some time to come (when did it stop?). Everyone is going to have to be in a survival mode, players and owners alike. Any side who appears greedy may this time pay the price.

    • rgg, just a couple of comments.

      Stern is a businessman first and last. If good PR earns the most, he’s for it. If bad PR pays better, he’s for that. Good PR usually wins, but not always.

      In light of the income disparity between teams, raising the salary cap wouldn’t solve the league’s real problem of unprofitable franchises being forced to floor less well-paid (and less competitive) teams. Whether it’s a hard cap or soft, better parity can only be achieved if the cap comes down.

      On the other hand, giving big-market teams the option to carry a bigger payroll is probably good for the league – overall revenue is better when big cities are winning. So I think the cap will drop, but it will stay soft. I’d argue that a percentage of the richer teams’ luxury tax payments should go to the less profitable teams, to keep them in the league, but I don’t really see that happening. The owners don’t seem to view each other as depending on each other. That’s too bad, too, because if they did cooperate better we might not be looking at a player lockout right now.

  81. Steve@99: With all due respect, Delaney doesn’t even begin to address the extensive and very plausible allegations that Donaghy makes in his book.

    And it’s not an either/or question of believing one or the other, particularly since Delaney refused to say anything at all. Delaney simply relies on the well-worn lawyer’s trick of painting every single thing Donaghy says as beneath contempt and not worth consideration because he’s a convicted felon. I beg to differ. When I am done reading the book, I am going to post extensive excerpts about playoff episodes that I know in my gut are true, because I’ve watched them happen with open mouth and a brain set on record for years.

    By the way, what did you think Bob Delaney would say? Do you think he’s actually free to comment on the contents of Donaghy’s book? There’s no doubt in my mind that any NBA employee who discussed the contents of the book would be fired on the spot.

    I’m not done reading the book yet, but I highly recommend it to anyone with a genuine interest in the NBA, and particularly to anyone who might want to place a bet on an NBA game or playoff series. Just as a for instance, do you want to know why the Mavericks lost the 2006 Finals? You’ll find the answer here.

    Mark Cuban, Bill Simmons and I already knew the answer, and published it in print. But it’s corroborated here, and I believe it, word for word.

  82. “During one particular summer game, Duke Callahan, Mark Wunderlich, and I made it to the three-minute mark in the first quarter without calling a foul. We were running up and down the court, laughing our asses off as the players got hammered with no whistles. The players were exhausted from the nonstop running when Callahan finally called the first foul because Mikki Moore of the New Jersey Nets literally tackled an opposing player right in front of him. Too bad for Callahan — he lost the bet.”

    Has anyone ever seen 3 refs, in any league, running up and down a court during game action “laughing their asses off”? LOL Obviously, a bit of exaggeration and embellishment by Mr. Donaghy. Which also just as obviously leads one to wonder what else, and to what degree, is exaggerated and embellished upon in Donaghy’s tell-all book. Wildly entertaining, indeed.

    http://deadspin.com/5392067/excerpts-from-the-book-the-nba-doesn't-want-you-to-read

  83. Thanks for that Deadspin excerpting @104, Steve. But I’m curious why you cherrypicked the most benign excerpt to pick apart?

    Everyone knows the Sacramento Kings were jobbed out of the Western Conference Finals in 2002. Michael Wilbon and Bill Simmons have written about it. Ralph Nader wrote an open letter to Stern about it. It created a huge black eye for the NBA.

    The link Steve provides explains what happened, in case you didn’t watch it live and play it back 10 times like I did. And please note, Steve: Your boy Bob Delaney was Bavetta’s wing man for that infamous game 6.

    • #105 and 106:
      Sheesh. This is explosive stuff.

      FB–A major house turned down the book for fear of legal suits. Also the book came out about two years ago. Was there a lot of flak then, did it have influence? Or was the timing bad, and in 2009 we just don’t care about corruption anymore, in fact assumed it? Another time, this would have been front page stuff with the nation outraged.

      As far as concrete evidence is concerned, there only has to be a general desire for such practice and a few words spoken by the higher ups for an environment to be created for such abuse, whether we can find the exact evidence or not.

      Refereeing is my second major complaint with the NBA, so inconsistent and apparently unfair. My gripe last season was with so many refs calling everything, willy nilly, especially some of the newer refs. There was one Warriors game where the ref team had a veteran (not Bavetta) and two young refs. Early in the first quarter, Fitz gave the score: new refs 8 called fouls, the veteran 1.

      • I think Steve’s view prevailed with the wider public, rgg, with an assist from Stern’s iron fist. I have been pointed by a friend to a forum discussion with one of the biggest and most successful NBA bettors in history, who is now a high-stakes professional poker player whom I have played with in tournaments, Haralabos (Bob) Voulgaris. He quit betting the NBA (perhaps naively) in order to try to get a front office job. I don’t see David Stern letting that happen. But that’s not why I bring this up.

        I will be posting his views on the Donaghy allegations as soon as I read them.

        • Felt, I’m curious as to what your thinking is in regards to my “view” of the integrity of NBA basketball, and more specifically, NBA refs?

          To clarify my position, I choose to believe the Bob Delaney’s of the world, which obviously includes the men and women of the NBA. Innocent till proven guilty is not nearly as titillating a mindset as the reads from books such as Donaghy’s can provide, but for me it’s preferable to the alternative of constantly, if not always, suspecting and looking for the worst in people and life.

          That doesn’t mean I consider Bob Delaney beyond reproach, not to mention his NBA colleagues. Could Delaney be “on the take”? Absolutely. His fellow refs? Twice absolutely. But for me to take that mindset into any particular night of watching NBA basketball would be just a complete waste of my mental focus and to a greater degree would serve no purpose whatsoever. Afterall, I don’t work for the FBI, I’m just your average everyday fan of the sport. AND, and it’s a BIG “AND”, I don’t bet on sports. Point spreads mean nothing to me outside of the normal curiosity of which team is favored to win and by how much? The end result is that whenever an umpire, official or ref makes a “questionable” call I don’t immediately become enraged from the thought of my money possibly going down the drain as a result. As I’ve stated before, IMO, the “conspiracy theory” mindset of sports fans is greatly influenced by the betting dollar.

          So, back to basketball refs. Has anyone ever tried refereeing a basketball game? Pro basketball once upon a time was a game of finesse, with only very occassional physicality. Nowadays you’re almost talking about a tall man’s football game, only in shorts and sneakers. To ref an NBA game today, given the size, speed and quickness of today’s players, is really an exercise in futility. If the refs called fouls based on significant physical contact short of falling to the court, both teams would foul out by halftime, if not sooner. Even allowing for more Tim Donaghy’s in today’s NBA, a ref’s work on any given night, by virtue of today’s game and it’s physicality, can always be picked apart and questioned. Personally, I’d rather waste my time doing something else.

          A friend of mine used to ref some college basketball and he told me there were times when he called a foul or technical on someone just because…….just because that player or coach was being a jerk. Hey, big surprise. We’re talking human nature here. Your like or dislike for someone will probably influence your actions. Your job might call for those emotions to be put aside but we all know there are times when “aside” just isn’t happening. A ref doesn’t have to be shaving points just because he lets his emotions temporarily get the best of him.

          Again, I don’t choose to be naive to the many ways of the world, or their possibilities. What I DO choose when watching the great stage of pro sports entertainment………..is to be entertained. And for that to be possible I can’t equate Warriors basketball with “The Sopranos”.

  84. Delaney as the proven undercover agent would of course be a perfect ‘manchurian candidate’ ref to help steer the results in the direction the league unofficially prefers.

    Bias can be institutionalized and implemented as a policy without any open recognition or acknowledgement, and perpetuators can be oblivious on a conscious level that they are even practicing it ; because it can effectively influence behaviour tacitly and even unconsciously, proving or discussing it is usually difficult. Powerful and wealthy institutions are adept at controlling their public image and saturating the discourse, so even if bias is suspected or demonstrated, the mainstream public will sympathize with the bias. Walmart continues to thrive with no shortage of labour eager to work for them after they’ve been shown guilty of insidious biases and unfair labor practices over and again for decades. t.v./spectator sports-addicted fans prefer having stars concentrated with the marquee franchises, and hoops offers a perfect combination because the best three or four players on each roster largely dictate the competitive quality of the teams, and revenues are shared to the least degree of any of the major team sports.

  85. Here’s a great article about HV, whom I mentioned above, and how the Donaghy scandal shook his confidence in his profession as an NBA bettor. He has spent a lot of time and resources proving that Donaghy did in fact fix games, contrary to Donaghy’s own testimony (and book), and contrary to the whitewash David Stern and the NBA conducted on the affair.

    Unfortunately, he wasn’t asked about other referees and the playoff series that Donaghy wrote about. I think he states elsewhere that he considers it a waste of his time to think about (echoing Steve), but the fact that his confidence was shaken even though Donaghy was out of the league is something that I think speaks for itself.

    http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/4966/a-professional-gambler-s-take-on-the-tim-donaghy-scandal

  86. Bill Simmons talks to David Stern about the current state of the league/lockout. Well worth the listen.

    http://espn.go.com/espnradio/play?id=6856992

  87. OK, I’m listening to the Simmons/Stern interview (thanks Steve). I still don’t get this shortened contract proposal from the owners. Yes, they could get rid of dead weight, but wouldn’t their real stars quickly get expensive and leave, thus destroy continuity? Take player x (Durant and OKC might be a good example). He has two great years and then his contract is up. Wouldn’t other teams compete for him, drive his salary up, maybe over the first team’s budget and/or salary cap? It still sounds like teams are trying to protect themselves from themselves, from some awfully bad habits.

    Hey, we’ve got a new picture at the top! Blog looks good, FB.

  88. Thanks for the Simmons link, Steve.

    rgg, glad you like it. My biggest goal was to make the comments section friendlier, and with the helpful input of you and my other blog friends I think we’ve done that. Now if we only had something to comment on…

    • “Now if we only had something to comment on…”

      I’m getting antsy. Maybe start a great books club?

      • Has anyone ever started a great books blog? I think that might be a great project for you rgg. Seriously.

        • Well, you did inspire me to start reading Simmons’ The Big Book of Basketball. His admiration for Stern is frank, and I suppose well deserved. I don’t believe half of what Stern says in the interview, though he obviously is doing PR for the media. His comments about making teams earn their way did give me pause. Stern was quite open about the possibility of dropping a few teams and didn’t counter Simmons’ comment about Sterling, of the Clippers.

          Simmons also got me to watch Boogie Nights, one of his top ten movie faves. Hmmmmm. Curious to hear comments here.

  89. Monta Ellis sounding more optimistic than ever before. Nice interview.

    http://www.slamonline.com/online/nba/2011/08/qa-monta-ellis/

  90. How long before the next NBA season is played? Ladies and Gents, here’s your average day before heading out to The Oracle.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=6Cf7IL_eZ38&vq=medium

  91. I still have a soft spot for Captain Jack:

    http://www.hoopsworld.com/Story.asp?story_id=20601

  92. Tim Hardaway now defends LGBT rights.
    bit.ly/nnEzhR

    • Impact Basketball:
      1. Assemble players into teams.
      2. Establish season schedule.
      3. Negotiate TV contract.
      4. “Localize” teams, set up playing venues, sell tickets.
      Result: Impact Basketball moves upscale, NBA starts talking with players again.

  93. Things to do for down and out, bored Warriors fans:

    1. Watch Inside Moves again (in the movie you get to watch old Warrior favs).

  94. Interesting article.

    500k-2 million per game in ticket sales x 30 teams x 41 arena games!
    + Playoff games
    + Allstar weekend
    + TV revenue
    + Endorsement and sponsorship revenue

    The article makes the NBA look like they’re holding a gun to their own head to “negotiate” with the union.

  95. Can’t say I wasn’t hoping Nellie got the job… But on the bright side I guess this means FWB will continue for awhile.

  96. The NBA is still holding firm on a player pay rollback which the NBPA cannot be expected to accept without evidence. But it may not even be possible for Stern’s office to open teams’ financial records to the players’ union, since the teams are separately owned and managed. And even if Stern’s office could produce those individual team records, it’s already too late for the union to review all the books before Game 1 of this season. “We’re losing money but we won’t prove it.” Right. As if that could possibly work.

    It’s worth noting that all previous CBAs were based on revenue (BRI), not profitability.

    Being a smart guy, Stern knows his negotiating position is nonviable. So why stick with a “dumb” approach? In his excellent article on the lockout, Bill Simmons pointed out that if league-wide profitability really is the critical issue, the NBA has lots of ways to both increase overall revenue and assist the weaker teams instead of simply cutting costs by strong-arming the union. But most of Simmons’ suggestions were variations on the theme of revenue sharing between teams, something that is, apparently, anathema to big-city winners like LA and Boston.

    So… maybe Stern’s stance with the union isn’t really about beating down the union. Maybe his ultimate goal is to convince the owners to cooperate with each other financially, presumably under the direction of his office. It’s possible that after the NBPA negotiations go nowhere long enough, Stern might gain enough leverage with the owners to do just that. That could be a very smart thing, good for all concerned.

    Maybe the question of whether there’s going to be a 2011-12 season rests more on Stern’s negotiations with the owners rather than with the union.

  97. Nicely put, White Hat, and I’m curious. What exactly is Stern’s motivation? What would he gain by siding with the owners, $ or else wise? Seems to me he would have a great deal of personal incentive to settle this thing–if he can.

    Note Wojnarowski’s take on Stern some months ago:

    “The lockout’s coming, and the NBA can thank Stern for it. He no longer leads the owners, but gets led. He’s lost his autonomy to operate, lost his ability to be sensible, understated and conciliatory. There ought to be givebacks in these talks with the players, but Stern has let the fringe element of NBA ownership dictate policy for the masses. He doesn’t want a second lockout on his Hall of Fame plaque, but it’s coming and the burden belongs on him.”

    http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/news?slug=aw-wojnarowski_nba_draft_labor_war062511

    I’m just guessing and projecting as I usually do, but the economy and mood of the country are different from a dozen years ago, and I can’t help wondering if the smaller market, smaller city teams might not get hit hardest by a long lockout–and it’s these guys making the biggest stink?

  98. I agree with you Whitehat. As I mentioned somewhere above, these are quadrilateral negotiations: Rich owners v. Poor v. Stars v. Role players.

    Here’s a story concerning Mark Jackson:
    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/09/01/SP4C1KU5EP.DTL

    Am I wrong to find some humor in this?

  99. Anyone want to summarize this Mike Malone interview for me? I don’t even have the energy to watch it right now. :>

    http://www.nba.com/warriors/michael_malone_interview_082411.html

    • Felt, after watching and listening to the two interviews I have to say I wouldn’t mind this guy being the Warriors head coach whenever they start playing again. Smart and straightforward, someone I think these guys will really work hard for. Heck, in less than 30 minutes he’s already got me convinced these Warriors will actually be a good defensive team next season. What a lousy time for a damn lockout.

  100. Totally agree, Steve. No platitudes, no braggadocio, just “here’s the program.” It sounds solid, too – teaching and training at an individual and team level, thorough game preparation, detailed, specific action plans for himself and staff, and a real commitment to make it all come together.

    Contrast that with Mark Jackson (“I’m a natural leader, etc., blahblah”) or Don Nelson (“Give me better players and we’ll play better”) – neither of them committed to specifics. Hopefully Jackson will take lessons.

    At the same time, Malone admitted that benching players is ultimately the only way for a coach to emphasize defense. So, just like Smart and Nelson, it’s going to be hard for Jackson/Malone to do what they say is necessary in that area. How would they bench Curry when the only backup still under contract is Bell? Udoh gives up 15 ppg + 10 rpg to Lee. Is he that amount better on D? Nope. Unless/until the Warriors build at least an average bench, the coaches are going to continue to run the first 6-7 players until they drop, and that’s the fact. It’s the only part of the interview that didn’t ring true.

    It was also interesting that Malone agreed that a lot of today’s NBA players never got the level of pre-NBA coaching that used to be the norm. He didn’t mention that Monta Ellis is a prime example, but it makes you wonder a) if Ellis can be coached at this point in his career, and b) if he did respond to coaching, just how awesome could Monta become?

  101. OK, Labor Day, the informal deadline, has come and gone. Anybody have an idea what’s happening? Seems like everyone is being awfully quiet this time, even the writers.

  102. rgg, here’s the latest. Looks like room for optimism if you’re hoping for a regular 82 game season.

    http://ken-berger.blogs.cbssports.com/mcc/blogs/entry/11838893/31770988

  103. Interesting comments from former Dolphins and Jets QB Chad Pennington on today’s media. Pennington is now part of that “media” as an analyst on Fox’s NFL coverage this Fall.

    SI.com: Are there any essential truths you learned about the media from playing in a big market?

    Pennington: In larger media markets, where there’s a lot of competition for the story and the scoop, there are shades of the truth that get reported. Reporters and journalists don’t want to have the same story and there is pressure on these writers to sell papers and broadcasters to sell newscasts. Players and organizations get frustrated when only parts of the truth are accentuated to be the whole truth.

    With a viewer or reader, it is hard for them to differentiate between a columnist and a news reporter. One is opinion. One is fact. Most things that are reported, be it news or opinion, get jumped into the fact category. This is where I think things can be better. But because of the competition — and I have talked to editors — the number one goal is to sell newspapers because of the Internet, television and the technology. The number one goal is to make money and sometimes the truth gets compromised because of that.

  104. I was always a fan of Belinelli. In fact, wouldn’t mind seeing him back in a Warriors’ jersey one day.

    http://www.nola.com/hornets/index.ssf/2011/09/marco_belinelli_working_on_bec.html

  105. Speaking of unconfirmed media statements, Zirin’s twitter (twitter.com/#!/EdgeofSports) from 3 hours ago:
    “Based on sources, discussion, I just had, we’re looking at a 50 game NBA season as best case scenario.”

    • For some reason I thought the sides, or at least the players, were going to try to win this in the media and public opinion, which would have been a bad idea.

      My other question about all this is who best represents the interest of the game itself, and I guess we’re left with Stern on this one.

  106. Jerry Zgoda tweets that Nellie has “lost 30 lbs on plant diet, says he quit drinking.”
    http://twitter.com/#!/JerryZgoda/status/111521173405306880

  107. Thanks for all the links, guys! I’ve been too depressed to follow much basketball news. That, and I’m locked in a death struggle for first place in my baseball fantasy league.

    GM, I’m now following Zgoda, thanks. What in the world could have possessed Nellie to swap Scotch for plants? Ugh! He must really, really, want that job.

    Perhaps of interest: Take this with a grain of salt, but I heard from an informed friend that Nellie’s poker group in Maui recently discovered that a regular player in the game was cheating. The guy was apparently an established and “reputable” member of the Maui community. The perp has since left the island.

  108. Chris Sheridan talks NBA with Mason and Ireland.

    http://espn.go.com/espnradio/losangeles/play?id=6944887

  109. It’s an utterly idle thought, but I wonder what kind of shape the NBA would be in if they hadn’t expanded so much back when. There would have been a larger pool of players and less competition for them. At least teams would have more depth, less competition for those midrange players who get such ridiculous contracts, and maybe salaries as a whole would have come down. There would be fewer dead horses in the league. Hard to believe the league wouldn’t have been even more profitable this year. AND come CBA time, the successful teams would have had more sway when owners counted votes–I’m assuming that expansion team owners are among the hard liners.

  110. Don’t the owners make a ridiculous amount of money every time the league expands? Franchise fees, or whatever? That would explain why it happened, no?

    Does anyone know how contraction would work? Would the owners get bought out or otherwise compensated, or just suffer a taking? Hard to believe, of course, that the league would go this route…. Bad for everybody.

    Another way to deal with the poor franchises is better revenue sharing. Which is the core of the players’ union position.

  111. Steve’s link at 152 is what got me started:

    “Our reporting finds that about 17 owners came into the bargaining process feeling hawkish — hence the league’s hard line in talks.”

  112. Is school/age part of the CBA (having players stay longer in college, etc.)? OK, it’s that time of the year again–school–and since we’re sitting on our hands, I have a proposal.

    The general idea is that, but for obvious exceptions, many pro players would benefit from doing something to mature and practice before entering the pros. John Wall and OJ Mayo may be good test cases. I suggest giving high school players two options:

    1. Require two years in the developmental league (Fitzgerald suggested this on the radio the other day). And while they’re there, institute programs that might benefit players later, especially for life outside of the NBA for those who don’t make it. There is plenty of money for this if priorities are set.

    2. Institute two year degrees at the universities, giving student athletes up to three years to complete them and three years of eligibility. These degrees would provide basic skills, general cultural knowledge, and a series of general, accessible courses that might be related to a career outside of the pros–coaching, public and private health jobs, etc. Health is big business now. This same education might be valuable in intangible ways to those who do make the pros. Students who don’t finish the degree could still turn pro after two years.

    I don’t know the numbers, but suspect the abuses in college are major, students sliding through school without doing anything or, worse, not graduating and ending their college careers without anything, a degree or education (not the same). The numbers of college football players who don’t graduate, I understand, are quite high.

    The trick is getting society to accept such a degree, but I would argue these degrees could be quite valuable, taken seriously. As to the objection that college education would be watered down, that is happening anyway, outside of athletics. Look at some of the degrees being offered, all the things the schools are doing to keep their enrollment full.

    It’s a minor benefit, but college sports would gain as well. I’ve lost interest in college basketball–so many one year players now, teams without any kind of lasting identity.

  113. @ Feltie

    In 1996, the Vancouver Grizzlies and Toronto Raptors both paid an expansion fee to the NBA of $125 million. In 2003 the Charlotte Bobcats paid an expansion fee of $300 million. Presumably the bulk of that money was divided among the other owners.

    Today many NBA owners are pleading near-bankruptcy in the player contract negotiations, yet for a number of reasons it would still be difficult for the NBA to reduce their expansion fee. But add an expansion fee like Charlotte’s to a dismal income picture for a new franchise, and a brand new NBA franchise looks like a pretty bad investment. So as lucrative as expansion has been for the NBA, I don’t think we’ll see any new NBA teams for a few years. Not until every team is safely in the black, at least.

    Here are some numbers: http://weaksideawareness.wordpress.com/2011/07/05/buying-nba-team-ownership-timeline-history-with-prices/

    Re contraction, I think Stern and the owners see the loss of any franchise as negatively impacting the market valuation of every NBA team. So the league has stepped in several times to help ailing franchises, they’ve purchased franchises themselves for recovery and resale, and they’ve played a big role in normal team sales in an effort to pump up the sale price – as with the Warriors, for example.

    There were numerous hints that Cohan was encouraged by the league to sell so that the franchise could be upgraded with more professional management to capitalize better on the huge bay area market. Also, that the league office had a hand in both establishing the sale price and selecting – not just approving – the winning buyer. Larry Ellison was quite vocal on that point.

    Stern et. al., are probably right about team valuation. Like homes, NBA team values are probably based to some degree on comparable sale prices. How else to explain the Pistons selling for (estimated, no figures publicly announced) over $400 million this summer? They’ve lost money for over a decade straight, with last year’s loss coming in at over $20 million. Unlike the dubs, the Pistons own their arena, but still, that’s an amazing price for a money loser in a terribly unpromising market.

  114. Very interesting posts guys.

    rgg: I also watch no college basketball. Hate that the top teams are dominated by freshman and sophomores with no idea how to play.

    I’m also disgusted by the whole spectacle of “amateur” athletics, both college and Olympics. These are professional endeavors that are raking in billions of dollars, with absolutely nothing going to the athletes. The crudest, most blatant kind of exploitation hidden behind the rubric of “love for the game.” Drives me nuts.

    WH: Re the Pistons’ $20 million “loss”: We already know that NBA teams benefit from the loophole of being allowed to depreciate their player contracts. They also benefit from shuttling money to off-the-books subsidiaries, as eg., the Pistons do with their wholly-owned arena. Did the arena also take a loss, or was that in the black? I think we know the answer to that. Did the arena get depreciated as well? We know the answer to that too. What is the value of the Auburn Hills real estate the arena sits on?

    Somewhere in the books the NBA is refusing to show the players is the reason for the Pistons’ $400 million purchase price. I’ll wager it has damn-all to to do with the reported profitability of the team.

    • The new owner of the Pistons is like an LA version of Joe Lacob – another successful investment fund manager. As such, he doesn’t need to focus on yearly P&L like Cohan did, he only needs to be convinced that there will be a worthwhile payoff from somewhere at some time. If NBA team valuation continues to grow at the rate the NBA has historically seen, that return could conceivably come solely from a future inflated sale price for the team. Or maybe the NBA launches an Asia Division and the original teams share the expansion franchise fees from it. In either case, the Pistons could lose money from operations but still be an excellent investment. That’s good because in the exact geographical center of the sickest and most hopeless urban area in the nation, the Pistons are unlikely to turn an operating profit again in our lifetime.

      In other words, projected operating revenue might be a fairly minor consideration to a savvy NBA owner. Profits from the sale of the team or from expansion franchise fees don’t fall under the category of “basketball related income” so they don’t factor into the CBA negotiations at all. No hidden books necessary. The teams really could all be losing real money year-to-year.

  115. I can’t find it, but there was a long piece analyzing Jeff Tedford’s success at Cal f-ball improving athlete academics. A large part of the problem was that students were embarrassed to go to class because of their performance, and Tedford addressed that first. Long piece at SF Gate, however:

    http://articles.sfgate.com/2008-11-30/sports/17128829_1_graduation-success-rate-academic-progress-rate-graduation-rate

    Bob McKillop, Davidson’s head b-ball coach, had a perfect or near perfect academic rate for many years—and Curry may have brought the stat down! Steph is working to correct this now.

  116. WH, It’s definitely true that the rise in franchise values has outpaced even the reported losses.

    But I simply don’t buy that the operating losses are real. We already have proof of that, don’t we, in the player depreciation loophole? We also have proof that they are shuffling money to subsidiaries (TV, radio, arena, etc.).

    Otherwise, why wouldn’t the owners open up their books?

    • It may not be possible for Stern to open the books of 30 separately operating businesses. Besides, I believe you once used the phrase “term of art.” “Profit” is an accounting term of art, almost meaningless in any “real” (i.e., non-accounting) sense. For example, if a CEO received a $20 million bonus over his salary, but his firm posted an annual loss of $10 million, would we say that company had a “real” loss? What if the bonus still left the CEO at a lower compensation level than the heads of other comparable companies? Would that make the loss more real? What if the boss kept a useless brother on salary? You get the idea. There’s a good reason why the NBPA has never fallen into the trap of negotiating on the basis of profit, but only revenue.

      The owners may actually have losses as defined by generally accepted accounting principles allowed by the IRS. It doesn’t matter. P&L will never be accepted by the player’s association as the basis for CBA negotiations because it’s too wiggly a concept. The players negotiate for a percentage of income instead. It’s more real. Gate receipts can’t be finessed.

      For what it’s worth, actors do the same thing, for exactly the same reason.

  117. It’s official: Rick Adelman gets the TWolves job.

    http://www.startribune.com/sports/wolves/129695988.html

  118. An economics prof weighs in on the CBA:

    “Currently the NBA would like its players to accept lower salaries. And perhaps from the beginning of time, rich people would like to pay less in taxes. Both of these demands are framed as follows: The people making the demand claim that if they are given more money, the people giving the money (NBA players and non-rich people) will be better off. Although such an argument could be thought of as clever, the empirical support for these claims doesn’t seem to exist.”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-berri/skepticism-and-solutions-_b_954524.html

  119. The owners probably have their own divisions. But if they’re keeping quiet, it’s because they have to. Michael Jordan just got fined $100k for saying this:

    “In an interview last month with Australia’s Herald Sun, Jordan said the NBA’s current model was “broken” and called for revenue sharing for small market teams such as his Bobcats. . . .” (Yahoo)

    It’s hard to believe he didn’t know he would be fined.

    • Now THAT is a deeply researched book. Hope there are more revelations. It would be fun if something saucy turned up about Kermit the Frog. Or maybe even Nancy Pelosi.

  120. ESS posts a short interview with Lacob from the season ticket holder’s doodah:

    http://www.warriorsworld.net/2011/09/15/season-tickets-lockout-crickets-lacob-jackson-interviews-included/

    • After following the link, a few thoughts: Steinmetz called Curry slightly stronger looking, but this pic makes him look almost Derek Fisher-like: http://www.csnbayarea.com/common/medialib/223/400655.jpg

      Steinmetz said Jeremy Tyler was a little behind the game. True enough, but most of that seemed to be from poor footwork, something that should improve quickly with his first exposure to real pro coaching. He was still impressive, though. Good aggressiveness. Imagine a W’s big who Looks For His Shot! At The Hoop!

      Dorell Wright did look to be trying to be more of a playmaker, but he won’t be a point forward any time soon. A little more mobility in his offensive game, a few more potential assists. Both good things, but not role-changing.

      Monta Ellis, Zen Perfect Master. Whatever his offseason training program, it would be great for his teammates to emulate. Once again, Monta comes back from summer looking super-ready.

      Agree with Steinmetz that Charles Jenkins will have to modify his game, but I suspect that won’t be a problem for Mr. NY Basketball. Shortest guy on the floor, but possibly the most buffed. A rookie, but a winner. Watch out, Jeremy Lin and (especially) Charlie Bell.

      BTW, Bell has another fresh start opportunity here if he wanted to take it. So where is he? Slacker.

  121. Assuming the eventuality of another NBA season will the Warriors make the playoffs?

    http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/page/5-on-5-110919/nba-pacific-division-debates

  122. OT: Just ran across this video. Nothing about the Warriors or the NBA but given the recent anniversary of 9/11, and if you love our great country (and sports), this video will give you goose bumps.

  123. So quiet around here……anyone for some oldies music while we wait for the lockout to end? Since Feltbot’s the place to go for something “different” I proudly present American oldies sung by a Japanese cover band called “The Grayhounds”.

  124. Traveling in the Southwest for the next week, will be putting up a new thread when I get back, for ease of navigation if nothIng else…

    Thanks for the musical interlude steve! Love the hair…

  125. While we’re admiring hair and having musical interludes, etc., I have to add this one if you haven’t seen it. The Leningrad Cowboys are a Finnish group, and, yes, that is the real Soviet Red Army Choir backing them up:

  126. “Growth in non-player expenses has outpaced that of salaries, having increased by 13 percent over five years and 43 percent over 10 years.”
    From #17, above, and elsewhere. I don’t think anyone has put serious thought into this. I have a few modest proposals:

    1. I like the jumbo TVs and they probably help keep refs honest, but let’s get rid of the rest of the crap, the super sound systems, special fx lights, whatever the hell they call that circle of running lights on the upper deck. I bet the teams could unload this stuff in China.
    But really, how many millions of dollars has gone into this junk?

    2. Don’t do anything Guber proposes. Worth millions.

    3. Chain nets. The teams must be blowing thousands replacing nets every season. I went to the playground today and they finally put up a net–a chain one. I love the crunch it makes. Might add a special bite to the game.

    4. Could they shoot dish towels out of those air guns instead of t-shirts? Probably worth thousands again.

    5. Have corporate sponsorship of individual players. This would help offset the money they lose. Each could wear a logo on his uniform and, when they go to the free throw line and the camera is on them, they could first do a commercial gesture (pantomime shifting gears for Toyota, pouring a Coke and drinking, etc.). Can’t get a good sponsor? Get your act together! You don’t think that if Biedrins could only find Roto-Rooter his FT percentage wouldn’t improve?

    6. Charge announcers a fee every time they repeat dumb, pat comments such as “Missed corner threes lead to fast breaks.”

    7. Have bench players take over cheerleading. It would keep them warm and show us they really care.
    OK, I don’t like this one. Maybe we could have dancers from local bars and clubs come in? They could wear their club dress, advertising their places, and vie for our attention. Or maybe show girls from the Vegas casinos could rotate, come in for one week stands. Great publicity for the casinos, great for us. I like this idea better.

    8. During the lockout, hold an East/West charity game between the owners. This wouldn’t make any money, but it would embarrass them and us so much that they might be more humble when they go to the bargaining table.
    Wait a second—Jordan is an owner, right? Maybe it would make a few bucks.

    I’m sure we can come up with more savings if we put our minds to it.

    • “Maybe we could have dancers from local bars and clubs come in? They could wear their club dress, advertising their places, and vie for our attention. Or maybe show girls from the Vegas casinos could rotate, come in for one week stands.” rgg, you’re hired!

  127. (186)Steve, the writer makes a reference to the ‘road to Hana’, probably implying he’s concerned with the slow pace of the negotiations . That road along northwest Maui requires a deliberate, cautious approach and rewards stops along the way, but the players probably aren’t looking at the route to the next c.b.a. as a leisurely, scenic, diversion to a beautiful place.

    • moto, never been to “The Islands” so I can’t say I was familiar with “the road to Hana”. Think maybe these guys are on the “other road to Hana”? Looks like an even more deliberate and bumpy/curvy trip. Maybe if they ran into Nelli he could help them out? :)

  128. The video clearly shows a Yellow (and Blue) Nellie Crossing Sign @2:53. Nellie could settle this strike and gettem running!

  129. Steve, Nelson’s home base in on the north side of the island, right where the more traveled route to Hana starts to leave the more developed side of Maui. the other route doesn’t have a nice paved surface the entire way, and is a bit more circuitous, but which route is easier or faster can just as much depend on weather conditions. when we were there, the more traveled route got washed out in a section by a storm on the day we were returning eastward, and we reversed to take the rougher and longer road. on that day, it wasn’t bad and its scenery made up for the extra couple of hours it required.

  130. From the “If I’d Only Known” department:

    Back in 1962 this stock sold for around $7 a share. A big enough investment at the time and you could’ve outbid Lacob & Co. for the Warriors (“Hey, Nelli, how about a new 10 yr contract to coach MY Golden State Warriors?” LOL).

    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Berkshire-Hathaway-to-buy-apf-3296033080.html?x=0&sec=topStories&pos=1&asset=&ccode

  131. “Goodbye mid-level, hello NBA season”………..

    http://sheridanhoops.com/2011/09/26/heisler-nba-lockout/

  132. 12 owners are worth $1.45 billion or more:
    http://www.thepostgame.com/blog/list/201109/nbas-richest-owners
    (Lacob is not on the list.)

  133. NBA Amnesty (“Cap-hogging stiff Biedrins”)……..

    http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/7026680/welcome-amnesty-20-nba

  134. Q & A session with Joe Lacob on the hiring of the new team president of the Warriors, Rick Welts.
    ———————————–

    Q: Was Welts’ public coming out an issue at all when you were discussing this hire?

    -LACOB: The truth is, we just wanted to hire the single best guy we could to be the president of the Golden State Warriors and the rest of it is what it is and people react however they react. And I can’t control that.

    -Q: Is there a chance of a positive marketing situation maybe with this area–did you think about that?

    -LACOB: No. We really didn’t discuss it. I mean, we had a frank and open discussion about the subject between ourselves and with Rick. But as far as how it affects marketing or anything like that, no.

    Honestly, all I care about and all Peter cares about is that we run a great organization. And we haven’t had a great organization. We’ve had a lot to fix.

    And so right now… this is the guy that can come in and make it work. Hire all the right people. We can’t be hiring every single person in the organization.

    He’s going to hire the rest of the people, marketing and so on, fill out the team. And I know he knows how to do it, and do it really well.

    If you look at Phoenix, in particular, over the last nine years, it’s one of the best-run basketball teams in the NBA, from a business standpoint. They do very, very well. I think they’re second or third in sponsorships in a market that isn’t even that… large of a market and has had its problems.

    He’s just a very, very capable man.

    -Q: What’s the hierarchy here–you, Peter, exec board, Welts, basketball ops… how is that going to work? Is basketball ops going to report to him Welts at all?

    -LACOB: No, no. He’s going to run the business operations and basketball reports to me.

    -Q: And the CFO?

    -LACOB: CFO will be a dotted line, (reporting to Welts) and I, both. Think of me as… I’m essentially the acting chairman. I’m not here every day. This is the way a lot of businesses run.

    Basically, I’m here to help (Welts) from the business side run this thing. He’s the guy that runs it on a day-to-day basis. I didn’t want to be doing that, but obviously I have been doing that.

    -Q: You’ve liked doing it, right?

    -LACOB: No. You’re wrong about that. It’s a lot of work. A tremendous amount. This has been a major turn-around and this is really not what I want to be doing. I want to be focusing on a lot of other things.

    We needed this. We needed a president day-to-day on business operations and that’s what he’s going to be doing. He’s goingi to be running marketing and sales and community relations and all those things. Sponsorships.

    -Q: Basketball ops reports directly to you?

    -LACOB: Yes, that’s correct. By the way, that’s not dissimilar from what goes on in many NBA organizations, if not most.

    -Q: You’ve made a lot of the business hires–CFO, some of the others…

    -LACOB: Well, there was nobody else to do it, quite frankly, since Mr. Rowell left in June. We’ve had to make some changes at the highest levels. You have to be able to function.

    So we did hire a CFO. I didn’t want to go so fara as to hire everybody out, so then he wouldn’t be bringing his people in. Peter and I both really felt it was necessary that Rick or whoever the new president was going to be could come in and bring in his own people, to the extent that he needed to do that.

    But we really couldn’t wait. We didn’t know when that was going to happen…

    We got very lucky here that Rick Welts became available. I don’t know how else to say it. He was on our shortlist from the beginning as the one of the top two or three guys, but he was unavailable, so we were looking other places.

    And then it was a rather stunning move when he announced he was resigning, and I got an immediate call from Robert Sarver. I said I’m going to jump all over this.

    And I knew of Rick of course certainly through the NBA. Made a whole bunch of calls. Called Steve Kerr, who used to work there with him. Called the NBA, David Stern. Called Adam Silver. Just went right through it.

    Everybody was incredibly positive. They said this was an amazing opportunity. Talk about luck, this is a guy who wants to live in Northern California. I said, couldn’t be a better fit.

    So we jumped into a meeting, and I think the big meeting was really last Monday. Found him to be a fantastic guy for this opportunity.

    -Q: Is Welts part of the big-picture planning now? You’re a big-picture guy, so is Peter, how does Welts fit into a lot of big-picturing going on here?

    -LACOB: He has an amazing amount of experience. Practical experience. He has been at the NBA. I don’t know if you know this, he was the guy who started the NBA sponsorship department. He was the first guy.

    When Rick went to the NBA, I think there were like 30-somewhat employees. And I don’t know how many there are now, over a 1,000.

    He has an incredible amount of experience at the team level. He has an incredible amount of experience at the league level. And we’re going to draw on all that. He’s going to run the business side of this operation.

    -Q: And decisions like hiring and firing GMs and coaches…

    -LACOB: I’ll repeat, he understands and he’s great with it, it’s the way it ran in Phoenix… the basketball side will report to me.

    -Q: You talk about the culture you want to create… what was the culture you inherited here?

    -LACOB: I really want to talk about the future going forward, as opposed to the past.

    Suffice to say, like a lot of organizations that have had the same people involved for over a decade, in this case, as many as 20 years, it gets stale. It’s not working properly.

    We came in and had to change a lot of aspects about the culture. Not only on the basketball side, but on the business side. It was pretty much throughout the organization.

    People ask me, well, what have you been doing this summer? Because of the… other activities…

    -Q: The L-word (lockout).

    -LACOB: Whatever. But I say, you have no idea, this has been the busiest I’ve ever been. From June ’til now, it’s just been immense. A lot to do.

    I’m actually pretty tired right now and I think getting Rick in at this point in time is just a godsend. Really, really excited about it.

    I can’t wait, and Peter can’t wait–we’re going to be the three guys at the top of this organization, essentially, that are making the key decisions and running it, along with whoever’s at the top of the basketball side, Larry Riley in this case.

    That’s the guys who are going to run this organization.

    -Q: Can you exhale and take a step back now?

    -LACOB: I think so. This allows me and Peter to focus on some other really important issues at the top. And we still have a lot of work to do. This team has not won. We need to win. And we need to develop a consistent winning record and attitude.

    We want to get out in the business community and the business side of things and we want tobe what the Giants are today. They’ve done a fantastic job.

    There’s no reason the Warriors can’t be that. And so there’s a lot of work to do and it’s going to take a number of years to do everything we want to do here, to have a first-class orgnanization throughout, basketball and business.

  135. Oh, These Poor, Billionaire NBA Owners
    http://bit.ly/mXhrNj

  136. OT: Andria, are you still checkin’ in? Just found this version of “Rainy Night in Georgia (David Ruffin).

  137. OT: Bill Simmons is a Red Sox lifer who watched last night’s epic conclusion of his team’s historic collapse with one of his buddies. Here’s his “diary” of the experience.

    http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/7033950/a-running-diary-game-162

  138. Here’s video of the Warriors’ press conference announcing the hiring of Rick Welts.

    The one thing that jumps out at me watching Lacob run the Warriors is his insistence on stockpiling very intelligent people to work within this organization. And I’m not just talking about (in this case) basketball-smarts. That, in and of itself, is an absolute prerequisite to building a championship franchise, IMO.

    http://www.csnbayarea.com/pages/warriorsvideo?PID=hXWM2-6cs3aW9R0KIN_RdZwK_BOns4Tc5P2PH_

  139. Sheridan told an LA audience today (Mason and Ireland) that he believes the lockout will end by next Tuesday.

    http://sheridanhoops.com/2011/09/29/nba-lockout-settlement/

  140. From Woj’s Yahoo piece today, and I’ve heard this before:
    “Stern lost his cool, and left them all stunned: He knew where the bodies were buried in the NBA, he said, because he had buried a lot of them himself.”

    Anybody know what he’s referring to, who these “bodies” are?

    • rgg, I would take that as Stern proclaiming himself as the victor in all previous NBA “wars” under his rule, and as such was left to bury the “dead bodies”. Either that or maybe him and Bob (Sopranos) Delaney have more in common than what we could have ever imagined. LOL

      • Stern’s threat is simply a statement that he doesn’t have anything to offer that the players union can gracefully accept. Given his excellent reputation, I was surprised to hear about Stern doing something like that. He knows as well as anyone that while using threats can sometimes lead to a deal, it’s won’t deliver a solid, workable deal. If the player’s union falls for this gimmick, they deserve to get screwed.

        • But who, specifically, has Stern buried? I’ve seen this remark before and it shows a different side. I assume it’s not Jimmy Hoffa.

          • Stern is just claiming to be a bad dude. If people believe it, he needn’t have ever hurt anyone. Like the Fonz.

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