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The Downbeat #1679: The NBA Owners Cry Poor ... Again

Deja vu.

Cue the violins.
Cue the violins.
Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA is nearing upon the end of the CBA.  It's two years away and the rhetoric is starting to build up.

There are projections that for next year we could be writing a check moving close to half a billion dollars to the [National Basketball] Players Association.  That's not of course the ideal outcome from our standpoint. It's not something we predicted when we went into this collective bargaining agreement. Now it's happened because the revenue we generated was much higher than we had ever modeled. But we're also learning that when you have all that money coming into the system, team behavior isn't necessarily predictable either.

Not to get all business-y with everyone here but the owners are readying their position and claiming poor.  But they're not and should not be seen as "poor".  Adam Silver is readying the claim that because the NBA is vastly more popular and profitable it's making it hard for the small market teams to keep up with their richer neighbors.  Please don't fall prey to this.

In January Forbes listed the most successful and highest valued franchises here.

When read in that format it's easy to look at the Utah Jazz or Oklahoma City Thunder as "small market" with their valuations being 20th and 13th respectively.  But that list does not show how successful they are.  Instead the list should be reworked to Operating Income.  For those who don't know what Operating Income is, that is the amount of money teams take home before Taxes.  The reason that's the key money differentiator instead of AFTER income taxes is there are always ways to hide that money away from the evil tax man.

Now here are the top teams in relation to Operating Income to Revenue %:

1 Los Angeles Lakers 35.5%
2 Chicago Bulls 32.5%
3 Boston Celtics 31.7%
4 Golden State Warriors 26.7%
5 San Antonio Spurs 23.8%
6 Utah Jazz 23.0%
7 Houston Rockets 21.7%
8 Oklahoma City Thunder 20.3%
9 Philadelphia 76ers 19.5%
10 Phoenix Suns 19.4%

Here's where Adam Silver's argument that teams can't afford their growing market falls flat.  The quick and easiest way to get fans on your side is to say how their small market team is struggling.  But that just isn't the case.  The reason teams lose money is not because they are in small or big markets.  It's whether they are well run or not well run.

Adam Silver and the rest of the NBA owners want to reap the benefits of a free market economy aka operating income, but want to limit their own stupidity.  That's why when Adam Silver talks about the shrinking pie, he'll say "revenue" not operating income or profits.  Because profits come from being well run.  That's why the Utah Jazz were ranked 8th in operating income.  BECAUSE THEY'RE WELL RUN.

[Sidenote: Remember when we discussed that the Jazz wouldn't go heavy in free agency?  This is the reason why.  They operate on a lower revenue level than other teams but they still make money.  Being smart with salary is the reason for that.]

That's why there will most likely be a lockout because Adam Silver does not have a CBA in place that can prevent owners from pulling stupid moves like the Brooklyn Nets and running at a negative 46.9% income to revenue %.  The Nets lost almost $100 dollars.  Which to a billionaire owner is a drop in the pan but if that is a stupid billionaire owner in a small market that is suicide.

So get prepared.  The NBA Owners want to make the CBA their personal contra code.


The standard for stretch bigs for Utah seems to be how many 3 pointers you can make in a workout with few eyes watching.

During an extensive shooting drill, Pleiss hit 66 of 90 3-pointers on his first day in Utah despite not feeling 100 percent health-wise.

- Jody Genessy, Deseret News

Dennis Lindsey goes on to say they are hopeful that his touch can translate to the NBA game.  But we should not expect too much from Pleiss in his first year.  It'll be a rough transition but if he has a Joe Ingles type year where we see improvement toward the end of the season it will be a success.

The division crown is not going to mean a lot going forward.  Thank the basketball gods above.

But if a recommendation out of the Board of Governors meeting Tuesday in Las Vegas gets enacted as soon as this autumn, division titles would lose more than cachet. They wouldn't carry the guarantee of a Top 4 berth in the Eastern or Western conference playoffs.

Instead, the qualifying teams in the East and West would be seeded 1 through 8 according to regular-season records. That is the likely outcome, based on NBA commissioner Adam Silver's comments after the annual summer meeting of the league's owners.

"It wasn't voted on yet," Silver said, "because we wanted all the owners to have an opportunity to go back and discuss that recommendation with their general managers and their coaches, and we'll vote on it before the beginning of the season. It's my expectation that that change will be adopted."

- Steve Aschburner,

It's about time.  Now the last thing that stands in the way of a great postseason is a full seeding of the best 16 teams in the NBA.  We're so close.  WE'RE SO CLOSE.

Does this sound familiar at all?

"I am not a real patient person," Sarver says. "You don't have the kind of success that allows you to buy an NBA team by being a patient person in business. But it's just a personality trait, and you try not to make decisions based on that."

It's no secret that Sarver desperately wants to make the playoffs again, and the team's basketball operations staff has done well satisfying that hunger without mortgaging the future. They're straddling two paths at once, something a lot of teams that chase free agents — like the Mavs — haven't managed.

"Most of the time, to play the cap space game, you have to strip down your roster," McDonough says. "That won't be the case for us. We want to win quickly, but we also want to build something sustainable."

- Zach Lowe, Grantland

Remember when the Jazz were not patient and tried be in two places at once?  Halfway with a developing team and halfway with an aging roster?

The hard part about being competitive is you have to know who you are stick to your guns.  Right now the Suns don't know who they are and have been throwing poor Coach Hornacek curveball after curveball.  Hornacek is a good coach and he'll figure out a way but I don't see the Suns suddenly being good this year with that roster.

The Jazz had a real turnaround once they doubled down and stayed in one segment.  THE GOING YOUNG SEGMENT.  That doesn't mean every team has to go young, but they do need to know who they are.  The Suns don't know who they are.

This is just so weird.