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Wizards’ owner Leonsis confirms team lost money last year

Jun 28, 2011, 1:39 PM EDT

Ted Leonsis AP

Not really shocking, especially considering Wizards owner Ted Leonsis has said he wants a hockey-like financial system for the NBA, but he admitted that his team was one of the challenged teams last season.

“We lost money last year,” Leonsis told

After that, having learned the price of an owner speaking out of turn last time he got fined, Leonsis spoke in vague generalities about the NBA labor situation.

“I’m not authorized and I’m not involved, so I can’t really comment on it. I trust in David Stern…” Leonsis said. “Certainly here in Washington we want to play, and hopefully they come to a positive resolution.”

We want to add, payroll should not be the Wizards biggest financial issue — they had a payroll of $57.2 million last season. That’s below even the proposed hard cap — er, sorry, “flex cap” — number the owners put forward of $62 million. Leonsis and the Wizards could spend that much next season again.

For them the issue is revenue. And while Leonsis can complain about the 57-43 split of Basketball Related Income he should also be pushing for much more revenue sharing amongst owners. He needs to find a way to bring in more money, not simply reduce expenditures. He didn’t expend that much. If he honestly wants to field a team that wins in future years his payroll is going to push up against whatever the new cap is, not go down.

  1. ac0117 - Jun 28, 2011 at 2:15 PM

    I’m from the DC/NoVA area and have lived here my whole life… we have some hardcore fair-weather fans. They may not have been great teams but I bet the Wiz were doing alright the years we made the playoffs around 2004-2007

    • kinggw - Jun 28, 2011 at 3:28 PM

      Thank you. Of course the Wiz lost money last year, they stunk and their franchise player, Wall, does not yet play like a franchise player. Would you pay to see Rashard Lewis, Andray Blatche, and Mustafa Shakur? Didnt think so. If you put a quality product out there people will come, but if you put a bum team out there shouldnt you expect to lose money? Owners arent the victim, they need to stop acting like it.

  2. goforthanddie - Jun 28, 2011 at 3:35 PM

    DC isn’t a serious sports town (at least not since Snyder ruined the Skins). Too many transient folks moving in/out and never growing attached to the local teams. They’ll be back with the winning.

  3. icu84bs - Jun 28, 2011 at 4:06 PM

    Competent owners make money, incompetent owners lose money, it really is as simple as that.

    I do agree that revenue sharing is the real issue. Other ‘fixes’ to the new CBA (when it happens) will not solve anything unless this issue is settled.

    I admit I have no idea how to do this. If I am an owner (say Mark Cuban) that used his own cash, has the sense to hire good people, puts out a good product and makes a profit why should I give money to an owner who used leveraged buying, doesn’t hire or doesn’t listen to the advice of good people, puts out a mediocre or poor product and suffers a loss.

    • ac0117 - Jun 28, 2011 at 4:37 PM

      That makes no sense.

      Consider the Knicks/Clippers owners’ as a great example of why it doesn’t. Terrible ownership, huge profit. You know why?

      All markets are not created equal.
      Big market = big money.

    • craigw24 - Jun 28, 2011 at 4:52 PM

      People want a simple answer to why there is a labor conflict. They also have beliefs about how our economic system should run.

      Our economic system is a blend of things because neither capitalism nor socialism works at the extremes (i.e. laissez faire. or communism). The labor situation is also complex because each side has their ‘truths’ and each side has their ‘extremes’. The process of bargaining is to reach a middle ground. However, when one side has most of the power/money then the other side will have to put up with more before a fair middle ground is reached – if it can be reached at all.

    • goforthanddie - Jun 28, 2011 at 9:29 PM

      Apparently you consider Mr. Leonsis a bad owner. This, despite his having built the Capitals to a perennial high playoff seed. And he’s only owned the Wiz for one season. But he’s incompetent to you.

  4. dogsweat1 - Jun 28, 2011 at 4:56 PM

    The Wizard name is a joke.

    Bring back the Bullets…………………

    • sguy2130 - Jun 29, 2011 at 12:37 PM


      Gilbert Arenas

  5. catman72 - Jun 29, 2011 at 6:47 AM

    Thank you dogsweat, “Wizards” is one of the dumbest team names in sports… proof that you should never allow the public to pick a new team name.

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