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NBA lays off 114 employees, says not due to lockout

Jul 14, 2011, 6:14 PM EDT

NBA Labor Basketball AP

Today there are 114 more civilian casualties to the NBA lockout war… except the league says these are not casualties at all.

We’re not buying that.

So you can get the facts as presented, here are the key parts of the Associated Press report.

The NBA has laid off about 114 people over the last two days, planned cost-cutting moves that a league spokesman says are “not a direct result of the lockout.”

The laid off employees represent about 11 percent of the league office workforce in New York, New Jersey and internationally.

Spokesman Mike Bass tells The Associated Press on Thursday the layoffs are “a response to the underlying issue that the league’s expenses far outpace our revenues,” not because of the work stoppage that began July 1.

Here is the league’s official statement:

The layoffs are not a direct result of the lockout but rather a response to the same underlying issue; that is, the league’s expenses far outpace our revenues. The roughly 11% reduction in headcount from the league office is part of larger cost-cutting measures to reduce our costs by $50 million across all areas of our business.

The NBA did lay off about 100 people (nine percent) of their workforce a couple years ago, at the depths of the national recession. Certainly things around the nation are not good now, but even the skeptical admit things are better than they were a couple years back.

So, why the next round of layoffs this week? Well, the obvious answer is that it is directly tied to the lockout, the kind of layoffs we are seeing with teams around the league as they trim payrolls during the lockout.

But the league says that is not the case. I have a hard time believing they need to cut costs this deeply right now just as the league is starting to move on a real upswing in terms of national interest (and with that revenue)… unless you needed it to look like things were bad and the budget was way in the red ink. For example, like if you were in a lockout with serious CBA negotiations taking place.

Maybe I’m too cynical, but I don’t believe this is coincidental. Not in the least. In the end, this is just more innocent people getting hurt while the owners and players argue over how to split up the fans’ money. Sometimes I wonder if the two sides really appreciate the mood around the nation and how badly a lockout that costs games would hurt the image of the league right now. Both sides give that plenty of lip service, but their actions speak otherwise.

  1. Charlie Hunter - Jul 14, 2011 at 8:03 PM

    rockets laid off my dept in late April due to the lockout

  2. philiplewis1 - Jul 14, 2011 at 8:49 PM

    One of these days the whole NBA is going to ask themselves “Why is my sport the only pro game that takes a back seat to it’s college counterpart”. When they dig a little deeper, they’ll finally realize the fans, despite a love of basketball, don’t really like the league, its players, its wierd rules, and its horrible officiating. Once they pull their head out of the sand, maybe some of these issues can be fixed and they’ll enjoy the same popularity enjoyed by the Super Bowl and the World Series.

    • tashkalucy - Jul 15, 2011 at 12:02 AM

      Great Post!

      One of the fun things for fans of professional sports to do is to talk trades or free agent signings – in the case of the BA that’s all they do because no one bothers talkin about the games till the playoffs…if then. In the NBA’s case they have so many screwball contractual issues that fans can’t make heads or tails out of who’s allowed to do what.

      I loved it when Jason Kidd was traded to the Mavs from New Jersey a few years ago and they had to unetire a player, give him over a million dollars so he would be “traded” from one team to the other, and then he retired again. You sure they’re charging the fans enough with those outrageous ticket prices?

      The entire league is a joke. If a fan doesn’t have a friend that’s a high powered agent to explain issues to you, the fan is getting bad information at least 90% of the time. Listening to national announcers trying to sell the NBA and explain the inconsistent foul calls during a game is outright comical — the return of Professor Irwin Corey to TV.

      I’m not into this college basketball is “pure” stuff. One look at John Calipari standing and smiling has any sane person holding onto their wallet with both hands, and counting the minutes before he/she can take a shower. But you are correct, this IS the only pro sport where the college game is more fun to follow and watch. At least college layers listen to their coaches, try to play as a team from day one, and try to get better. And the better players don’t walk around like the entire sport revolves around them.

  3. seanb20124 - Jul 14, 2011 at 9:43 PM

    Unemployment sux trust me.

  4. deiong - Jul 14, 2011 at 11:06 PM

    whats the point for them telling this lie? noone will believe its not because of the lockout. so why go out of there way to make themselves look like liars even mroe so when there really isnt any need to lie about it at all. i know they want to save face because they dont want the players to smell the blood, but building there foundation on sand there gonna fall down.

  5. southbeachtalent - Jul 15, 2011 at 9:33 AM

    That sucks, these are hard times to be out of work…

  6. diablito0402 - Jul 15, 2011 at 10:21 AM

    Players fault, they get overpaid a lot, a ton and now the normal hard working people have to pay with their jobs.

    • urodaddy07 - Jul 15, 2011 at 3:13 PM

      I frankly agree that players are overpaid, but the league has no excuse for bing in the red. They have enjoyed good popularity in recent years and they need to cut costs where it counts, the guys who earn mega bucks – GMs and top levl execs, Coaches and players. The players need to accept that and there should be severe disincentive for teams who spend way in excess of there earnings.

    • urodaddy07 - Jul 15, 2011 at 3:21 PM

      I frankly agree that players are overpaid, but the league has no excuse for bing in the red. They have enjoyed good popularity in recent years and they need to cut costs where it counts, the guys who earn mega bucks – GMs and top levl execs, Coaches and players. The players need to accept that and there should be severe disincentive for teams who spend way in excess of their earnings. I also believe that the league should be structured such that the bottom 2 or 3 teams each year get relegated to a lower division and top teams in the lower division are promoted. This would mke it a little more exciting andthen evev bottom placed teams are playing for something. The D-league could be transformed into just such a 2nd tier pro league, but they obviously couldn’t be linked as they are now to other NBA teams. something to think about

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