Berger: Solution for NBA should be to get smaller
Old 07-16-2011, 01:52 PM   #1 (permalink)
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In Sacramento, Mayor Kevin Johnson -- a three-time NBA All-Star -- mobilized lawmakers and business leaders to stave off the threat of the beloved Kings moving downstate to Anaheim. He did it with promises of increased ticket sales and corporate sponsorships, as well as a new downtown arena -- the final price tag of which, and who's paying, remain a mystery. In Indianapolis, city leaders caved to the threat of the Pacers abandoning city-owned Conseco Fieldhouse for parts unknown and agreed to fork over $33.5 million to a team that loses money every year (while living virtually rent-free) and hasn't had a winning season in seven years.

And in New Orleans, the Hornets moved off life support and into the warm bosom of Stern's NBA last December when the franchise was taken over by the other 29 owners in a last-ditch effort to avoid having its relocation to the Big Easy in 2002 go down as an abject (and costly) failure. Leaked, audited financial statements from 2009 provided little hope any investor capable of understanding a balance sheet would want to buy the hopeless franchise, much less keep it in a market that features the smallest television audience of the NBA's 30 cities.

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Now, the latest boondoggle perpetrated on the tax-paying public is the shutdown of the NBA, a lockout that appears so nasty and irretrievable that there could be no pro basketball in any of those cities, and those far more viable, for a long time. In a search for compromise, we have explored altering the split of revenues among owners and players (Part 1), a new cap system that would restore competitive balance (Part II) and a revenue-sharing plan that could help struggling teams catch up (Part III). Now, we tackle the elephant in the room, the ultimate form of NBA taboo: the C-word, contraction.

And the question is: If the NBA is losing so much money -- $300 million last season and $1.845 billion during the six-year collective bargaining agreement that just expired -- then why continue to pour good money after bad into markets that have proved beyond any doubt they cannot support an NBA team without massive transfers of wealth that have failed to make them viable?
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Since its heyday as a 23-team league in the mid-1980s, the NBA has steadily expanded -- to 25 (Charlotte Hornets, Miami Heat), to 27 (Orlando Magic, Minnesota Timberwolves), to 29 (Toronto Raptors, Vancouver Grizzlies), and finally to 30 (Charlotte Bobcats). Of the seven most recently added teams, two (Vancouver and Charlotte) no longer occupy the cities they expanded to and only the Heat and Raptors are considered money-makers for the league. (The Magic have been successful on the court, twice advancing to the NBA Finals, but according to Forbes Magazine lost $23.1 million in 2009-10, their final season in the old Amway Arena before moving last season to the new, $480 million, city-owned and financed Amway Center.)

The Hornets are in New Orleans, where they may not survive, and the Grizzlies are in Memphis, where they have wallowed near the bottom of league gate-receipts tables -- though last season's run to the Western Conference semifinals could provide a spark, if not a cure-all.

The Timberwolves somehow are still in Minneapolis, where they have been a drain on the public coffers ever since the city agreed to assume the debt, operational expenses and renovation responsibilities associated with the 20-year-old Target Center in 1995.

"It was one of those gun-to-your-head kind of deals," said former Minneapolis councilman Paul Ostrow, who wasn't on the council at the time but subsequently was a frequent and strident opponent of the city going further into debt to support the team and its aging arena. "It was like, 'We're going to leave town unless you do something.' "

Though both the league and players privately acknowledge that contraction has been discussed during collective bargaining, it has not been seriously considered, according to sources on both sides. Thirty player jobs would be lost, an anathema to the union, and no one would wish job losses on the dozens of basketball and non-basketball staffers whose livelihoods would be harmed.

But job losses already are being incurred league-wide since the lockout was imposed. This week, the NBA laid off 114 employees across an array of departments and closed its Tokyo and Paris offices in what it described as an unrelated cost-cutting move aimed at saving $50 million. The Pistons (15) and Bobcats (seven) are among the teams that have laid off employees, with more cuts undoubtedly on the way.

Most logical fix for NBA would be simply to get smaller - NBA - CBSSports.com Basketball
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Old 07-16-2011, 03:23 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Can't disagree with too much in there.
The problem is Sterns head is so far up his ass that he's still managing to see out his month and think it's all good.

Yes, the players make too much money, too bad, you signed them to those contracts and wrote up that CBA.

Why owners allow other teams to consistently lose money out of each others pockets I'll never know.
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Old 07-16-2011, 03:59 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Psi View Post

Yes, the players make too much money, too bad, you signed them to those contracts and wrote up that CBA.
is it your assumption that the players union had nothing to do with the the development of the cba?
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Old 07-16-2011, 11:44 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Players would NEVER agree to a contraction, cut 3 teams and you basically fire 10% of the workforce ...
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Old 07-17-2011, 12:54 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I don't think the players have that much of a say regarding expansion/contraction, do they? Wouldn't that be a choice the owners of which two or whatever would have to decide to end their franchises?
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Old 07-17-2011, 10:50 AM   #6 (permalink)
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When have any of the 4 major leagues done contraction?
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Old 07-17-2011, 11:37 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Metallikid View Post
I don't think the players have that much of a say regarding expansion/contraction, do they? Wouldn't that be a choice the owners of which two or whatever would have to decide to end their franchises?
They probably don't, but the owners could use it as a negotiating tool.
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Old 07-17-2011, 03:40 PM   #8 (permalink)
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is it your assumption that the players union had nothing to do with the the development of the cba?
No, but it's the leagues fault for agreeing to it.
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Old 07-17-2011, 07:46 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Psi View Post
No, but it's the leagues fault for agreeing to it.
and it's not the players' fault for agreeing to it as well?
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Old 07-18-2011, 10:53 AM   #10 (permalink)
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and it's not the players' fault for agreeing to it as well?
When was the last time you got a raise and said to you boss "I think I should actually make LESS money then I am now"?
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Old 07-18-2011, 12:03 PM   #11 (permalink)
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When was the last time you got a raise and said to you boss "I think I should actually make LESS money then I am now"?
this is collective bargaining psi.
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Old 07-18-2011, 07:21 PM   #12 (permalink)
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this is collective bargaining psi.
Yes, and only in professional sports do employers ever ask to reduce salaries.
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Old 07-18-2011, 08:57 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I think the league should consider reducing the number of teams. The have been complaining that revenues have been hampered by league needing to hold some of its teams afloat. New Orleans and minny should be sacked if they can' t contribute by presenting themselves as a viable product. Why not cut the dead weight as opposed to punishing the the athletes for have big contracts which you in fact offered to them. Lets face it those buildings cost the NBA far more to rent and run then any NBA rosters salary. I also think you would far more parity in the entire league. And how amazing would it be to have a dismantling draft.
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Old 07-18-2011, 10:13 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Psi View Post
Yes, and only in professional sports do employers ever ask to reduce salaries.
No.

Unions and employers ALWAYS have this fight. It's not just limited to professional sports.

Also, in the past 3 years, I've seen more calls for a reduction in salaries (away from professional sports) than ever before.

At the end of the day both the owners and players are to blame for this mess.
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Old 07-18-2011, 10:31 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Is it actually collective bargaining? Locking out one side with the intent of breaking them doesn't seem all that much about collective bargaining. Again I say it's all sugar and no medicine. Neither side is interested in the medicine to any kind of extent that they are getting the most sugar they can.
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Old 07-18-2011, 10:35 PM   #16 (permalink)
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oh please...
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Old 07-18-2011, 11:07 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Ok.....

What have we seen so far besides over-the-top posturing and positioning. And the owners now seem to want a 10-year deal or nothing.

Collective bargaining usually takes place between a union and a particular employer. In sports we have dozens of individual employers acting in a way that limits actual bargaining. Note that the last time games were missed the lockout ended when the owners started to speak from the different perspectives that they actually have. There is not going to be any structuring that benefits them all, unless they in fact break the union, or fracture it. A 10-year deal would let them all surf on dough for a little while. But it's still short-sighted for a good number of owners that really are going to need more than just a bigger slice of the pie, and it's a shame that the weaker franchises are getting strung along as much as anyone. I would be very surprised if the stronger franchises give up anything. They will be quite happy to continue to feed off the weaker teams and make greater profits, as well as take some more from the players.

This is nothing at all like the auto makers where real bargaining with one company leads to deals with the others. It's a very different dynamic, and I think it's much more cynical, with so many interests getting herded only when it starts to hurt the weaker parties on each side. If you look at the most successful owners and the richest players you have two parties that have more in common with each other than they do their much lesser counterparts. And that is why I'm looking for some medicine that helps the game as a whole and maybe offers a chance for more sugar with more franchises having the chance to run a good business within a fair structure. The two parties involved in this mess can't do much beyond drawing lines in the sand and shitting away whatever advantages a successful season might offer.
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