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League says 22 teams to lose money, $300 million total this season

Apr 15, 2011, 3:08 PM EDT

David Stern AP

As the lockout comes and through the summer (and beyond) of NBA collective bargaining agreements negotiations take place, a lot of numbers are going to be thrown around.

Only one number matters — the percentage of Basketball Related Income (BRI) that comes in that has to go to the players. Soft cap, hard cap, non-garunteed deals, rookie scale — all of it is only how the money gets spent. What the owners want is a larger part of the pie.

Currently 57 percent of all BRI goes to the players. And that is what has led to 22 teams losing money this year, NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver said at a press conference Friday. Those teams will lose roughly $300 million total, Commissioner David Stern said. Which is better than the $340 million in losses last season and $370 million the year before that.

The NBA Players Association (the union) disputes those figures. But Silver made his point clear about the teams as a whole making money.

“If we continue to pay 57 percent off the top to the players association, it would require such an enormous amount of additional revenue to reduce losses beyond where we are we are only going to make very small, incremental changes,” Silver said.

The union also will say that the number of teams losing money is really a matter of revenue sharing, that local television revenue is not shared so if the Lakers pull in $150 million a year (reportedly in their new deal) and Sacramento gets $11 million a year, that is unfair and something the owners need to work out. Stern said the owners had “robust” revenue sharing discussions where ideas were shared, but it didn’t sound like much progress was made.

The owners will make a new CBA proposal to the players union in the coming weeks, Stern said. Nobody gave details on how it was different from the hard-cap system the owners proposed before, but expect it still to be a radical shift from what we see now.

“We need a new system,” Silver said. “The current system is broken and unsustainable.”

Just watch the BRI figure. It is the only number that really matters.

  1. LPad - Apr 15, 2011 at 3:57 PM

    In every sport it is always the owners can’t make money because the players make too much money. But when you crunch the numbers it doesn’t make sense. The salary cap is somewhere between 50 to 60 million so if 57 percent of the salaries go to the players under the current rules owners expected to make at least 100 mil per year. Yet 22 teams aren’t making any money.

    Sounds like this is a revenue sharing problem, because I doubt cutting the cap to say 35 mil and giving the owners an extra 15 mil will solve these problems. Everybody makes a ton of money off the NBA except the small market teams. TNT, ESPN, the players, Nike, Gatorade, Lakers, local TV stations, etc.

    • jjared1101 - Apr 15, 2011 at 4:57 PM


      Sometimes they say losses and what they mean to say is, not making as much money. If i was pulling in 150 million every year, but now i’m only getting 110 million, that would be a “loss” of 40 million. But it’s not like they aren’t making money.

  2. SmackSaw - Apr 15, 2011 at 4:37 PM

    The NBA needs to contract at least 6 teams.

  3. thetooloftools - Apr 15, 2011 at 5:42 PM

    LeBron James and Chris Bosh both proved it’s not about the money as they could have made more money by staying with their teams, but chose to force them into sign and trades so they could “play together”.
    This will come up HUGE in the next cba.
    The players are way overpaid.
    If you can just “walk away” and have your franchise trashed like Cleveland was, this will never happen again under Stern I promise you.
    Bosh and James were only thinking of themselves and future players need to pay for it. They were left no choice because of their actions.
    Trust me, you will also have to declare your intentions BEFORE the free agent signing period begins after what James pulled.
    He waited to announce his “decision” to inflict maximum damage to Dan Gilbert and The Cavs and that is exactly what he did. You usually don’t see someone pour gasoline on their former team on the way out the door…. but the Cavs record this year proves that is exactly what he wanted and what he achieved.
    Mr. James.
    Owners don’t particularly like getting burned and have long memories especially when every owner in the NBA knows that they could have been “LeBroned”.
    Those days are over and over now.
    Besides… the court of public opinion is with the owners.
    Players don’t act with ethics anymore.
    Public opinion also is not with the players.
    Remember when Carlos Boozer had the Cavs tear up his contract so he could sign a long term contract… and did… with The Utah Jazz ?
    I promise you the owners still feel the sting over that punk move.
    The players cannot be trusted NOT to do anything they legally can to take advantage of the owners because they have no loyalty.
    LeBron had a total “look at me” moment when he made his decision.
    Ok… it was within his right.
    The owners also have a right to make sure NOTHING like that ever happens to any owner again.
    In Stern I trust.
    Stern laughed at a razor blade and said “tighten up” he’s so sharp.
    You players will have no one to blame but yourselves or the selected few mentioned above for the owners firm stance.

  4. rajbais - Apr 15, 2011 at 5:49 PM

    “The current system is broken and unsustainable.”

    Well, no crap Adam!!!

    It was going to be unsustainable when everyone still kept spending recklessly after doing so when the CBA had 7-year max contracts!!!

  5. thetooloftools - Apr 15, 2011 at 7:00 PM

    If you going to hate me… write something better or shut up.

    • mytthor - Apr 15, 2011 at 9:19 PM

      Your name is an apt one.

      The owners don’t show any more loyalty than the players. It’s a business. Boozer made a punk move; agreed. But the idea that LeBron and Bosh are the problem is not true. Guys have a right to go where they want. “The Decision” was a d*** move but you can’t fault the decision.

      Every player who ran their mouth about “I never would have gone to play with my rival” is full of it. I’d like to see Jordan say the same thing if his best teammate was Bill Cartwright, Magic’s second best player Byron Scott, or Larry Bird’s Danny Ainge. All those guys played with MULTIPLE hall of famers and need to shut up. Barkley!?!? I seem to remember his going to play with Hakeem and Drexler to win a title!

      There has never been a contract signed that hasn’t been first proposed by a team. The bottom line is that the owners want to be protected from themselves.

      Teams that are run well make money. Run your team well. The players are overpaid? The players ARE the league. I can’t tell you the last time I watched a Suns game because of the brilliance of Robert Sarver. So sure, there’s room for improvement, but in my mind the owners aren’t taking the least bit of ownership in their losing money.

  6. mk2323 - Apr 15, 2011 at 7:06 PM

    Cut max deals to 4 yr with a option for a 5th. Then you won’t see teams doomed with Eddy Curry or Baron Davis type contracts. It also wouldn’t hurt if say the hornets and bobcats were contracted.

  7. aceof808 - Apr 16, 2011 at 12:28 AM

    Toolsoftools: LeBron and Chris did not “force” Toronto and Cleveland into a sign and trade, they could of signed a 5 year deal with Miami and left them both high and dry with nothing. By doing doing the sign and trade, each team got two draft picks and 10-15 mil in trade exception in exchange for the extra year on their contract. They gave them something rather than nothing.

  8. aceof808 - Apr 16, 2011 at 12:33 AM

    Mytthor, I agree with you a 100%. Barkley is the biggest hypocrite because he ended up being a ring chaser in Houston. And look what happens when players are loyal to teams like Raymond Felton, who took less money to play for the Knicks and ended up getting traded in the Melo deal, and everyones suppose to crucify LeBron and Chris for taking their OWN future in their OWN hands..! Give me a break..!

  9. thetooloftools - Apr 16, 2011 at 4:39 AM

    I stand by my comments.
    The owners are going to mop the floor with the players.
    Hey… most of the STARS in the NBA are locked into grandfathered deals anyway.
    Sic’ em Stern.

  10. jaypace - Apr 16, 2011 at 11:27 AM

    I never understand why the average fan sides with owners. They wouldn’t care if you had to sell your grandmother’s house to buy a ticket. And looking at some prices soon we might have to. Revenue sharing is the problem. David stern is the worst they really want to stick it to players in this cba, do that and you will see more players go to Europe to maximize earning potential. Revenue sharing, owners don’t want to stand in the way of another owner making money but heaven forbid if the teams making the most share with teams that can’t get $150 million in tv deals.

  11. dysraw1 - Apr 16, 2011 at 4:24 PM

    players have always had some influence on where they play, an whether or not u luv or hate miami anytime they were on tv we tuned in. heres a thought if the owners were the 1 giving out 100 mil contracts that could only mean that they expect said player to generate at least five times the amount of the contract. looking at the cast of characters given these type of contracts from jason williams to larry hughes & eddy curry an so on, i can see the owners problem. so heres the point, the owners are giving out alot of money thinking they r gonna make a profit on their investment. when they stop throwing money at prospects. And start paying proven solid players, i could even see adding clauses to contracts. But come on if your giving out 100 mil contracts you gotta be making some money right.

  12. dontsweatsmallstuff - Apr 16, 2011 at 6:50 PM

    I have a serious question about BRI. Why do the owners have to account for all basketball related income and the players don’t? The players obtain promotional and endorsement contracts all of which wouldn’t not be possible without the NBA. What about other income from appearances and such? It seems to me that it ought to be fair.

    In my opinion, capital has a significant value. The owners put 100’s of millions at risk, work throughout the year and can potentially lose everthing. An NBA player with any fiscal responsibility can walk away after a few years and make more than the average person does in his entire lifetime.

    Educate me.

  13. LPad - Apr 16, 2011 at 7:44 PM

    The questions that the media should ask are:

    How much are the 22 teams in the red?

    Why is everybody making money off the NBA except these 22 teams?

    Will cutting 15 mil from the salary cap result in all 30 teams generating a profit year in and year out?

    Will the cut result in mid-level players going to Europe to get paid? Will the drop in quality negate the benefits of cutting the cap?

  14. footballcoach17 - Apr 17, 2011 at 10:48 PM

    And you ask why? Seriously??? Did you see the refs protect Rose in the Pacer-Bulls match up. Watch any game with a main player and watch your refs make stupid calls that clearly gives that team the advantage. No-one cares to watch unfair games…period. Balance the calls, refs give out of the games and people might start coming again. This would only be a start. Greed would be the next area of focus.

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