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NBA owners take big risk playing fans for fools

Oct 11, 2011, 3:19 AM EDT

David Stern Reuters

It would take some real fools to shut down their $4 billion a year business in the middle of the worst recession in generations because the more than $1 billion over six years they just got back from the workers was not good enough.

However, the NBA owners are not fools. They think you are.

The owners — and these lost games are on them far more than the players — think that no matter what, you’ll come back. Maybe right when the season starts (something many of us hard-core fans admit), maybe when the playoffs start, maybe in a year or two, but you’ll be back. You’ll come back fast and in large numbers, dwarfing the more than $4 billion in revenues the NBA got last season.

That is one a dangerous game they are playing.

If they get their way, the owners will get a larger share of that money you are going to spend. Make no mistake, this about money. You can call it the “system” of what kind of salary cap or luxury tax structure the league should have, but in the end it is about how much money goes into whose pocket.

Monday the first two weeks of the NBA season were canceled. We hoped it wouldn’t come to this, but most of the people I spoke with inside and around the league expected we would end up here. Everybody hoped against hope the common sense would ride to the rescue and the league wouldn’t shut its doors after a season of unprecedented momentum. But nobody is surprised.

We’re not going to have NBA basketball until Nov. 15 at the earliest, and possibly much later as both sides seem to be digging in now for a long haul.

But the owners are playing a risky game. One that could damage their franchises and product more than they can imagine. More than they seem to understand.

This is about the owners — enough of them are pushing for radical changes to the league’s financial structure that lost games seemed inevitable from the start. They won the lockout but want a route. Stern stood before the cameras and talked about how much the owners have given back — taking salary rollbacks and a hard salary cap off the table. But those were never theirs to give. They were not things the owners had, they were things they wanted. The owners paid 57 percent of their earnings to the players in the last labor deal and their first offer to the players in the new talks was 39 percent. That was unreasonable. The 47 percent they are offering now is as well. But they have the leverage and they have hardliners, so they are not giving more. Meanwhile the players are trying to stand firm at getting 53 percent.

The two sides were just a couple percentage points apart on BRI and couldn’t find a middle ground. It’s stupid the two sides talked instead about the “system issues” of the salary cap and luxury tax Monday, but that is just the owners trying to get a deal that protects them from themselves and their franchises’ poor decisions. They know they will hand out more bad contracts and want the ability to get out of them faster.

Monday night there was anger and the frustration out on the Internet when Stern walked out of a posh New York hotel Monday night and said the first two weeks of the NBA season are lost.

The owners — and the league’s players — had better pray that anger sticks around for a while. If the lockout drags out and that starts to turn to apathy, then the league is really in trouble.

Anger shows that the fans care. Love and hate are different sides of the same coin. Passion for the game, the players, and their favorite franchises has fans shelling out big money and screaming at their televisions for games in February. They want basketball — few fans really care how the BRI is split or how regressive the luxury tax is. They just want their basketball.

But as this lockout drags out that will start to change and the league will pay for it.

Hardcore fans will come back. But the longer this drags out the more money that casual fans spend on the NBA will find its way into other entertainment ventures. And those fans will be slow to come back.

The longer the NBA stays locked out the more apathy sets in among the fan base. And that is far worse for the league and revenues than anything. Hate of the Heat and LeBron James fueled record ratings last year, apathy kills that momentum.

And all that revenue the owners are fighting to get will evaporate (within weeks), as the fans are slow to return.

It’s all foolish.

  1. liltmac2003 - Oct 11, 2011 at 3:34 AM

    Who would of ever thought that an argument b/w a bunch of billionaires and a bunch of millionaires would be about money.

  2. sdelmonte - Oct 11, 2011 at 5:59 AM

    I will point out that the NHL seems to be back where it was before its lost season. The fans will return sooner or later.

    • savocabol1 - Oct 11, 2011 at 7:29 AM

      I’ve been saying this all along. All these media outlets try to act like all of a sudden fans are going to forget about basketball. Fans will come out in the same numbers as previous seasons, if not more once games resume. It is a fact writers like on this site won’t comprehend.

      • mogogo1 - Oct 11, 2011 at 1:53 PM

        Attendance is only part of the equation. There’s been serious discounting going on in most NBA cities to keep attendance from dropping. That resulted in ticket revenue last season being down $100 million. You can bet it will take even more discounting to get fans back into the arenas after they finally reach a deal. Bottom line is an arena full of people who are there simply because it didn’t cost them much isn’t really the sort of fan base you hope to have.

    • riders008 - Oct 12, 2011 at 12:08 AM

      The nhl cannot even get on a top network …..they play on some weird ass channel no one watches…….yeah they seem back…..

      • tcclark - Oct 12, 2011 at 9:41 AM

        The NHL just renewed its deal with NBC Universal ( a pretty major network, last time I checked) in a 10 year, 2 billion dollar deal beating out Fox, Turner (the NBA’s main network), and ESPN (also a pretty major network last time I checked). The NHL chose NBC Universal, because not only was the money good, but because they get weekly games on NBC, and Versus practically devotes its entire channel to the NHL. They air the NHL Awards Show, the draft, the all-star game, the skills challenge, last years all-star fantasy draft, preview shows, and major NHL games. NBC also included Hockey Day in America, a national game on Black Friday, and the Winter Classic, which is one of the most watched sporting events of the year. So yeah, the NHL can get a major network, it has a major network. The NHL is back.

  3. joj0420 - Oct 11, 2011 at 6:20 AM

    good thing my city doesnt have a greedy ass basketball team. dont get me wrong love the sport but will never contribuate a single dollar into the owners\players pocket. greedy ass people give some of it to the underclass people..

  4. dcipher80 - Oct 11, 2011 at 6:42 AM

    The players are just as involved in this game of chicken as the owners. I’m usually pro labor/union but this situation is a bit different. NBA super scrubs get paid millions of dollars (anyone remember Raef LaFrentz) and handcuff teams for years. The thing that articles like this fail to point out is that a mid/small market team HAS to spend money on one hit wonders and injury prone stars to hope to be competitive because large market teams attract the viable superstars (Look at Melo, and the pending situation with Howard). Blame the owners all you want, but in this case, what they want (BRI not withstanding) will help the game of basketball, and that’s what fans REALLY care about.

    • skids003 - Oct 11, 2011 at 7:52 AM

      I agree. This isn’t just about the owners. These brain dead millionaires aren’t happy making $10 million a year, they want 4% more. Unbelievable. Give them a percentage, but give them also the risk involved. They appear to stupid to realize there is risk involved in business, they just want someone to “show them the money.”

      • b7p19 - Oct 11, 2011 at 11:51 AM

        Completely disagree. You say the players “want 4% more,” but it sounds like they are actually conceding 4%. It’s the owners that have already secured that 4%, but are asking for 6% more. Their original proposal was an attempt to gain 18% more revenue compared to the previous year.

        A labor union should not have to concede money in order to protect franchises from making stupid mistakes. Yet they have. They have already conceded 4% and should absolutely NOT concede anymore.

  5. dl3mk3 - Oct 11, 2011 at 6:59 AM

    No other buisness model outside of professional sports has the employees making as much or more than the owners. It causes the players to be greedy, arrogant, and able to cause these lockouts. the article is very harsh on the owners when in reality the players are the real source of problems. I say tell the union to take a walk and play some games with some D-leaguers.

  6. drmonkeyarmy - Oct 11, 2011 at 7:48 AM

    I don’t know why I continue to hope for fair and balanced reporting from Kurt. It has never happened regarding this issue. I see no problem with the owners seeking a solution to maintain the long term viability of the league. This fight isn’t about this season, it is about 5 years from now. The owners are clearly willing to take a short term hit in order to have long term security. I, for one, would rather not have the NBA this season, if it means having the NBA 10 years from now. Awhile back Kurt posted a link, which he agreed with, that said the owners should not expect to be profitable. I think that says it all regarding his overarching opinion on this issue. The notion that the people who assume financial risk don’t deserve to make money is asinine. Truth be told, the constant excessive pro-union yammering on this site has really turned be off to PBT, even more so then the constant Lebron fanboy crap.

  7. jgib23 - Oct 11, 2011 at 8:21 AM

    I’m with the owners on this one as well… The players are blaming the owners for offering these big contracts and claim that the owners want the system to “Guarantee” a profit no matter how well they run their franchise, I find that comical as one of the players “Blood issues” is guaranteed contracts.

    How is a guaranteed contract for the players (no matter how they perform), different than a system that a guarantees a profit the owners (no matter how they perform)?

    I would be a more happy fan, attend more games and spend more money (That would add to the BRI pie) if my small market team could compete…. As it is now, to win in a small market the only hope is to get lucky in the lottery with a once in a decade player (San Antonio with Duncan and OKC with Durant) have any other small market teams been truly competitive in the last 15 years?

    I want a system that allows my team to compete for a championship, and I’m willing to miss a season of NBA to allow my owner to have a system that allows that… What am I really missing besides 50 losses?

    • dcipher80 - Oct 11, 2011 at 8:57 AM

      As a Rockets fan I’m with you. Honestly though, unless you’re a fan of the Knicks or Lakers, you should hate the current system.

    • savocabol1 - Oct 11, 2011 at 9:34 AM

      Well said jgib23.

      • jjstrokes - Oct 12, 2011 at 12:48 PM

        Hahaha so laughable, some how you threw in the Pittsburgh Steelers with those teams? I don’t think you much about the history of Pittsburgh but it used to be one of the largest industrial cities in the US. Not to mention that the Steelers are just about the most prolific team in the history of the league. So you’re saying that just bc 3 of the teams you mentioned (the Titans have been just about a joke this last decade) have made it once each to the Superbowl in 10 years (that’s 20 possible different teams that could’ve played in that stretch) that the league is completely FAIR????? My question was how many CHAMPIONSHIPS? Ohhh, the Bucs got 1 ‘ship in their almost 40-year existence. You are completely right man. The NFL is wide-open???? LOL. Yeah the Saints got one 3 years ago & the Bucs were 9 years ago??????? What other small-markets compete for championships in the NFL CONSISTENTLY (YEAR-IN&YEAR-OUT)???? NONE Bro, your argument is BS

    • jjstrokes - Oct 11, 2011 at 10:43 AM

      If you can think-up a system that will ensure teams located in small-markets such as Cleveland, Minnesota, & Memphis will be able to consistently compete across the board with teams in LA, Boston, Chi, & MIA year-in & year-out than BUDDY I’m let’s hear it?????……………………

      Your argument boils down to who should get the majority of the Income. The players feel the have RIGHT to the majority of the Income produced by this BASKETBALL league. After all, they are the ones who have trained their whole lives in the sport of BASKETBALL. Some have turned their games into near art-form. So why should a bunch of billionaires, guys who studied at the most prestigious business schools have to profit off the game of basketball??? At least they could use Wall Street like the rest of the elite

      • mogogo1 - Oct 11, 2011 at 1:59 PM

        Ever hear of the NFL? They have just such a system. I hear a team in a small city in Wisconsin is having a fair amount of success these days.

      • delius1967 - Oct 11, 2011 at 2:21 PM

        What is “small market”? Minnesota is a larger market than Miami — just slightly, but it is. Cleveland is in the same neighborhood, size-wise. 22 of the 29 NBA teams play in a Top-25 market.

        The “small market” problem is a myth. A team’s ability to attract players and be competitive is a direct result of its owner’s willingness to spend money, not where it is located.

      • jjstrokes - Oct 11, 2011 at 3:25 PM

        How many championships do the Twolves have??? How about the Cavs???

      • jjstrokes - Oct 11, 2011 at 3:33 PM

        Mogogoooo whatever…. Do the small-market teams consistently win championships??? If I remember correctly your Packers had a good 6-8 year stretch where they couldn’t win a damn playoff game recently. A historic franchise like the Green Bay Packers is one of the few exceptions to my claim. Small-Market teams don’t fare well over time just look championships among major franchises in every major sport. Big-market, & I suppose you can include some historic franchises in certain leagues, enjoy far more championships across the board (that was my initial claim). It’s funny that I’m arguing against the owners & you guys are telling me one of their main selling points (SMALL MARKETS CAN’T CUT IT) is a total myth.

      • mogogo1 - Oct 12, 2011 at 11:40 AM

        Wow, rare to run into somebody who doesn’t pay attention to who wins the Super Bowl, but, yes, jj, the small market teams win a lot of championships in the NFL. It’s not just Green Bay–New Orleans and Pittsburgh won the two before that. Seattle couldn’t support an NBA team but they’ve been to the Super Bowl in the last decade. Arizona, Tennessee, Carolina, Tampa Bay…they’ve all been to or won Super Bowls over the past decade or so.

        And, most tellingly when you’re talking about the overall quality of competition, 3-peats are unheard of and even repeats are rare occurrences. The NBA has more balance than MLB, but they’re nowhere close to being as competitive as the NFL. The difference is clear: The NFL operates under a system that allows everybody to compete on a relatively even level, whereas MLB and the NBA favor the larger market teams. That’s undeniable.

      • jjstrokes - Oct 12, 2011 at 12:49 PM

        Hahaha so laughable, some how you threw in the Pittsburgh Steelers with those teams? I don’t think you much about the history of Pittsburgh but it used to be one of the largest industrial cities in the US. Not to mention that the Steelers are just about the most prolific team in the history of the league. So you’re saying that just bc 3 of the teams you mentioned (the Titans have been just about a joke this last decade) have made it once each to the Superbowl in 10 years (that’s 20 possible different teams that could’ve played in that stretch) that the league is completely FAIR????? My question was how many CHAMPIONSHIPS? Ohhh, the Bucs got 1 ‘ship in their almost 40-year existence. You are completely right man. The NFL is wide-open???? LOL. Yeah the Saints got one 3 years ago & the Bucs were 9 years ago??????? What other small-markets compete for championships in the NFL CONSISTENTLY (YEAR-IN&YEAR-OUT)???? NONE Bro, your argument is BS

      • mogogo1 - Oct 12, 2011 at 7:24 PM

        Way to completely miss the point. It’s not that any single smaller market team dominates every year, it’s that basically all of them get their shot in the sun. That’s what parity is all about. Even the horribly managed Bengals have been to the Super Bowl…multiple times. And the way the NFL operates, they’ll likely go again some day. Buffalo went to a ton of Super Bowls in the 90s, collapsed and were down for years, and are now playing well again. It’s hard to name an NFL team, large or small market, that hasn’t had a good stretch over the past 10-15 years. You can’t say the same about MLB and the NBA.

        Out of curiosity, if it’s not the financial structure of the league, how do you attribute the greater parity in the NFL? Pure luck?

      • mogogo1 - Oct 12, 2011 at 10:52 PM

        Here’s an interesting comparison: Since 1980, 18 different franchises have played in the NBA Finals. The number for the Super Bowl is 25, or 39% greater. Not only is that a big disparity, it’s really impressive for the NFL to be able to boast that given there are only 32 total teams, with a few being expansion teams that weren’t even in existence for that entire span. Parity gives basically everybody a shot–larger and smaller markets alike.

      • jjstrokes - Oct 14, 2011 at 11:32 AM

        There is a major difference between these 2 leagues that you have not acknowledged. Football playoffs can only be played in do-or-die situations. That’s just the nature of the sport: it’s a brutal game which the players can only withstand once a week. The NBA playoffs is a series of 2-team play-off series….. So to answer your question, YES, luck is a much larger factor in determining who makes it to the Super Bowl versus the NBA playoffs. If you want to argue that then there’s just no reason for me to reply further…. So comparing the NBA to the NFL is not nearly as relevant as you think??? Should we play the NBA playoffs like MarchMadness???? Bc I gurantee you we will see a much greater percentage increase in franchises making it to the Finals down the road.
        No you can’t alter the NBA playoffs systems (mainly bc of money) & bc this how America knows the NBA. The historic Series Match-ups we’ve seen through the years, like Baylor-Russell, Larry-Magic, Isiah&Magic, MJvs Malone, Barkley, Isiah, etc…. You cannot compare these 2 leagues & try to level them solely on giving the league balance unless you want to change the whole history of the NBA & what the game is all about.

        My nail-in-the-coffin: if the system the NFL used was truly-balanced then the number of franchises that win a championship percentage would be right up there with that statistic you provided bf (25 diff NFL teams have made it to the SuperBowl)… BUT bc they have much smaller percentage in different super-bowl winners all that really tells me is that their playoffs system is flawed (or possibly rigged?). There shouldn’t be that much variance between those two closely-related statistics in league of parity lol.

      • jjstrokes - Oct 14, 2011 at 12:34 PM

        Forgot to discuss your point about the NFL expansion which was another laugher. So the NBA only has 30 teams now (I didn’t even mention how that affects variance versus a league that has 32 teams). Since 1980, the NBA has added 8 teams. The NFL has added 3 teams since that year (Ravens just moved from Clev to Balt; not a true-expansion team) & only one of them have reached the Super Bowl (Carolina).

        Let’s look at how successful the NBA’s expansion has been:
        Miami Heat – 2 NBA Finals Appearances, 1 NBA Championship
        Orlando Magic – 2 NBA Finals Appearences
        Twolves – have reached conference finals
        Hornets – have reached conference finals

        Oh let’s not forget the Dallas Mavericks (1980); they just won a TITLE THIS YEA RIGHT??????????? – 2 NBA Finals Appearences, 1 NBA ‘Ship

  8. cosanostra71 - Oct 11, 2011 at 9:42 AM

    Kurt, I’m a hardcore fan, but I have resolved not to come back this year after the cancellation of games. Even though it means missing one of my last chances to see Kobe Bryant in his prime (perhaps the last one) and one of the last year of this current Lakers dynasty, I refuse to give any business to the NBA this year. Yes, I will still follow it in the news, but I refuse to give them my TV ratings share, ticket revenue or merchandise revenue for this whole year. The lockout isn’t of players, it’s of fans. Likewise, I’m going to lock them out.

  9. sknut - Oct 11, 2011 at 10:01 AM

    The lockout stinks, but as a small market team fan (T’Wolves) at this point I hope they don’t come back until everyone is on a more level playing field. A lot of these small markets have great fans but they are also smart enough to realize that if the league is on an un-level playing field they won’t pay for tickets. The players also need to stop whining about where they are playing and not forcing their way out of town. That is what free agency is for and that attitude is bad for the game and fans are sick and tired of listing to guys who make millions complain about not making more millions.

    • delius1967 - Oct 11, 2011 at 2:25 PM

      Except that Minnesota is not a small market. It is larger, for instance, than Miami. The problem isn’t the market, it is the owner’s willingness to spend.

      Which is not to say that owners should be spending more — I’m actually on their side in this. Player salaries are getting ridiculous; NBA players make tremendously more than their counterparts in other sports. I just want to point out that the “small market” problem is a myth.

      • Fan On Fire_Maurice Barksdale - Oct 11, 2011 at 3:46 PM

        Good point, but It’s not necessarily about owners spending more either. I seriously doubt LeBron, Wade, and Bosh would actually choose to play in Minnesota regardless of what the owner there would spend. So in the case of Miami, it’s also about it being a much more attractive place to live for free agents, in addition to the owner spending more.

        In the NFL, teams have tools at their disposal to keep their big stars from just up and leaving, like the franchise tag. The player is still paid amongst the highest in the league, but he stays put. No such thing in the NBA. In the NBA, when your star player has reached his prime, he can “take his talents” elsewhere as a free agent, and you are powerless to stop him.

  10. mannyicey - Oct 11, 2011 at 10:14 AM

    The NBA is in trouble. The reason why is because there’s so much basketball to see. The players will be playing overseas. The games may be covered here in the US because the NBA can’t control the media.

    Additionally, college basketball is fun, as well as high school. And the NBA is very susceptible to competition because you don’t need much in order to start leagues. I mean, can you imagine if some genius decides to start a big-time league to rival the NBA? It has a better chance than football!

  11. jjstrokes - Oct 11, 2011 at 10:24 AM

    Fairly sound article Kurt, it’s good to see a writer admit when he was wrong. And that’s exactly how I perceive your “new-view” on the NBA, bc a year ago this article would’ve been backing the Owners. Mr. Helin has pulled a complete-180 on the issue & I think’s safe to say that PBT is better off for it.That’s my version of an “I-told-you-so Kurt” lol

  12. Fan On Fire_Maurice Barksdale - Oct 11, 2011 at 11:38 AM

    I’d be an even bigger fool if I invested my hard earned money and valuable time into a team that will never have a shot at winning a championship (Atlanta Hawks) under the current system. Can the players explain to me why I should spend my money and time on a team that has no shot to win a championship?

    • b7p19 - Oct 11, 2011 at 11:56 AM

      They would have a better chance if they didn’t overpay for guys like Joe Johnson.

      • Fan On Fire_Maurice Barksdale - Oct 11, 2011 at 1:47 PM

        A better chance? The fact is with or without Joe Johnson, the Hawks still have NO CHANCE of winning a championship. Only 3 or 4 teams in the entire league even have a legitimate shot at the NBA title. That’s not a league, that’s a farce.

        If you’re going to ask people to invest their money in something, then there needs to be a clear and tangible return on the investment. If you want me to buy season tickets, then give me a good reason why I should.

      • b7p19 - Oct 11, 2011 at 2:22 PM

        Well, I would argue that WITHOUT Joe Johnson they would have a chance to get a real superstar and in turn have a chance to win a title.

  13. thetooloftools - Oct 11, 2011 at 11:52 AM

    The owners are NOT taking us for fools. I was screaming when LeBron James and Chris Bosh walked away from MAX deals that this would send the message that “it’s not about the money” to the owners. It fell on deaf ears. We HELLO ! Looks like the owners are pretty steamed about that “stunt” Miami/Wade pulled. If players want to try to stack teams so they can win “not one, not two” championships while leaving money on the table, then remember, everything comes with a price. I am firmly behind the owners and David Stern because of EXACTLY the message Bosh and James sent. You can’t take it back guys. You can’t pretend it didn’t happen. “Sorry” isn’t going to work. You wanted to mess with “The Billionaires Boys Club” and now your getting slapped down. Too bad. Tough. Why don’t you enter the negotiations coming through the floor on a smoke filled stage with rap music blasting to show the owners what “studs” you are…..or why don’t you guys go into the owners and say “get over it… we moved on.. so should you” and see how it flies with them? Don’t tell me the owners are playing me for a fool. If what James and Bosh did can be done again, then the NBA is going to end up like MLB with a few good teams and the rest playing out the season after the All Star game. The owners MUST take back their sport and stop the nonsense the players are pulling. (Remember, both Bosh and James DID end up with MAX deals as they forced the teams they left to do a sign and trade so at least they would get something for those guys). See, it’s the PLAYERS that want us to forget all that. Sorry guys. Not happening. I don’t care if the NBA doesn’t play all year if it will teach these “obviously overpaid” players a lesson. Bosh and James PROVED you are overpaid through their selfish actions. BLAME THEM.

  14. b7p19 - Oct 11, 2011 at 12:21 PM

    I cannot believe the support for the owners on here. It’s like you people are a bunch of puppets just dancing along with the strings. Hooray big business!

    • Fan On Fire_Maurice Barksdale - Oct 11, 2011 at 2:07 PM

      For me, it’s not necessarily support for the owners, as much as I’m against the current system in place. A system where fans are asked to support teams that have no realistic shot to win. There is no logic to it.

      The Green Bay Packers are the Superbowl Champs. A small market team like that could never win a championship in the NBA in it’s current state, and for me that’s the crux of the issue. If they don’t install a hard salary cap or something close to it, NBA franchises will start to go under, and players will lose money and jobs anyway.

      • b7p19 - Oct 11, 2011 at 2:45 PM

        I can understand that argument. One of the reasons that the NFL is so popular is the parity, no question about it. I just happen to think that your frustration is misplaced. Oklahoma City and Memphis are perfect examples of how you can be smart and win under the current system. MLB’s Rays, Brewers, D-Backs, ect are examples of smal market teams succeeding in a system even more in favor of large markets than the NBA’s.

        My personal opinion, and you are obviously free to disagree, is that NBA teams need to stop being so freakin dumb. Thats it. There are so many bad contracts in the NBA right now completely denying many teams a chance to win. That, in my view, is not the players problem. There are maybe 5 guys in the NBA that actually deserve a max contract. Yet how many have them? 12? More?

      • borderline1988 - Oct 11, 2011 at 11:02 PM

        OKC is a terrible exmple. They got lucky in the draft with Kevin Durant. That’s about it. Had they had the number one overall pick that year, they would’ve picked up Greg Oden, and they’d still be at 35 wins/season. Westbrook is an excellent player, as is Harden. But they’re not premier superstars with the ability to allow any team to contend.
        That’s virtually the only way to remain competitive for small market teams. Get lucky with a once in a decade draft pick that pans out. The Cavs pulled it off in 2003, and OKC four years later.
        Memphis is an exception. But come on – does anyone think they are a championship contender or will ever be one?
        I’m a Toronto native, and let’s be honest – there’s no chance the Raptors will ever be a higher-echelon Eastern team unless they tank the season, and draft another Vince Carter. Even if everything possible foes right, they’d be another Hawks team. Solid players but no real championship possibility b/c the best free agent talent is on the familiar teams.

        The 2010/11 Miami Heat showed where the NBA is heading. As did the Knicks. Let’s not even think about where Chris Paul or Dwight Howard is going to sign (let me give you a hint: it’s not Toronto. Or Orlando and NO for that matter. 95% it’ll be the Knicks and Lakers).
        The Owners do not want a players’ dominated league. It soils competitiveness.

      • jjstrokes - Oct 12, 2011 at 12:57 PM

        Is there a way to follow b7p19′s comments lol?…. & since b7′s so nice I’m just gonna say it: borderline is an idiot!

      • jjstrokes - Oct 14, 2011 at 11:46 AM

        Here’ my proof that borderline is an idiot. Sorry I usually don’t make such bold statements without the proof first:

        He’s lifer-Raptors fan & he thinks the only way the Raptors will ever be an upper-echelon Eastern team is if they tank & draft another Vince Carter lolololol…

        Vince Carter was prolly the worst thing that ever happened to the city of Toronto.

  15. philtration - Oct 11, 2011 at 1:32 PM

    If I had to pick a side then it would be with the players but that does not matter.
    They are going to kill the season.
    Saying that fans will come running back may work for the ones that don’t mind being spit on but I do mind and I can walk away from the NBA just like I did with MLB.

    I stopped going to the games, don’t watch the playoffs and World Series anymore and I no longer spend my time or money on it.
    I don’t miss it.
    Sports are just entertainment and when it becomes a stupid drama centered on the participants fighting over money then I am no longer entertained.
    That is about as exciting as watching strangers paying their bills or grocery shopping.

    • mogogo1 - Oct 11, 2011 at 2:10 PM

      The problem I see is that it is even easier to walk away from the NBA than MLB. If you’re a baseball fan, MLB is it. But college basketball will be starting shortly and will run all the way into March. And even in normal years the NBA struggles to get attention during the early season because there is so much competition from the NFL, college football and hockey.

      During the NFL lockout, articles like this were generating hundreds of comments in the amount of time this one took to get 20. I think the NBA owners and players have the mistaken perception that they’re as big as the NFL. I think they may be in for a big surprise.

      • philtration - Oct 11, 2011 at 9:23 PM

        Right you are.

  16. slowclyde86 - Oct 11, 2011 at 2:40 PM

    delius1967 – The small market big market dichotomy is decidedly not a myth. LA, Boston and Chicago have, over time, insurmountable advantages over small markets in the NBA. Even New York, absolutely embarrassingly run for quite some time, is still a preferred destination for a number of star athletes well beyond that of most well-run small market teams.

    As a model, NFL success is dictated by smart management, not how large your market is (or, to counter your outlier example, the degree to which one of your stars can convince two others to hang out on the beach). And, what do you know, the NFL is hyper successful due largely to this competitive balance.

    You could not be more wrong. It is in the owner’s best interest to have viable, successful franchises in small and large markets alike. The current system is broken competitively and needs to be fixed, regardless of what the player’s lackey Kurt Helin may continuously write.

    • Kurt Helin - Oct 12, 2011 at 1:45 AM

      My issue with competitive balance in the NBA is this: You can’t have it. A handful of players (the LeBrons, Kobes, Durants, etc) impact the game in the way no one NFL player, not even a QB, can. If you have one of those guys you can win consistently, if you don’t you can’t. You can level the field with respect to role players all you want, you can’t get the NFL’s level of parity because of the super stars.

      Also, when was the NBA at it’s highest level of popularity? The Jordan era. Was there competitive balance then?

      It works well for the NFL, but that is different than saying it can be done and work in the NBA.

      • southbeachtalent - Oct 13, 2011 at 9:08 AM

        Completely agree. People, do not compare the NFL with any other sport for that matter. It’s a different animal. Correct me if I’m wrong but aren’t we coming of the highest TV ratings in basketball history? With these super teams???

        BTW Dallas won the Championship, not a super team. Bottom line is everyone is still butt hurt about “The Decision”. Dan Gilbert would be happy if the next two years were cancelled, along with the rest of the “small market” teams. You guys are aware Miami is 18th on that list right? Showtime Lakers anyone?? How about that 80-90′s Bulls run? Horrible for the sport..

        Get over it.

  17. richyrichinthisbitch - Oct 11, 2011 at 3:15 PM

    im behind the owners here. Nba teams are businesses and like all businesses they must make profit to survive and continue to be a business. 22 of the 30 teams were not profitable last season which is a major problem. whether or not the teams losing money was or wasnt the owners faults they teams still need to make money so they need to right the wrongs in the system. The small market teams are also being pushed around in the nba because players will often prefer more popular cities (and to the one commentator up there thats what they mean. Not the square footage of a city, how popular it is). All of that needs to be fixed. The players however, last season made a minimum of $407,000. Thats the bench warmers that teams arent even sure if they want. Imagine if you had that type of money and tell me that you couldnt settle for say $10 or $20k less.

    • b7p19 - Oct 11, 2011 at 3:46 PM

      “whether or not the teams losing money was or wasnt the owners faults they teams still need to make money so they need to right the wrongs in the system.” That doesn’t make any sense to me. You are expecting the players to pay for the owners mistakes? Have you lived through the past 5 years? Does that situation remind you of anything?

      • Fan On Fire_Maurice Barksdale - Oct 11, 2011 at 4:04 PM

        Sometimes it’s not the owner’s fault, it’s simply the error in how the system is set up. There is no other way to play in this game as an owner other than to gamble on whether or not a player is actually worth the contract you give them.

        It’s a damned if you do, or damed if you don’t scenario. In situations like that, you can’t always make the right decision. It’s a gamble either way. If you don’t pay the guy, and he becomes a top 5 player, people will say you should have paid him. If you pay him and he settles in as a top 50 player, people will say you made a mistake.

        If owners could see into the future it would be easier to decide. Or if like in the NFL you could cut a player who is not living up to his contract, then you can make a course correction and make right the wrong decision.

        Course correction is what the NFL is all about. If something clearly isn’t working, you change it to create a much better bsiness model, and it’s better for everyone all around. The owners, the players, and most importantly the fans.

      • b7p19 - Oct 11, 2011 at 4:58 PM

        I agree that owners feel they need gamble on players in order to compete. I don’t agree that they actually do have to gamble on players in order to compete. Who has OKC gambled on? They drafted well, and filled in the team with low cost role players. Thats the model these teams need to follow.

        Providing an easy out for the owners at the expense of the players does not sit well with me. The NFL is lucky that the NFLPA is by far the weakest union in pro sports. That doesn’t make the model right for anyone other than the owners.

    • southbeachtalent - Oct 13, 2011 at 9:10 AM

      And like a real business bad decisions can cost you. These owners want a full proof model. Must be nice.

  18. premiumpit - Oct 11, 2011 at 3:27 PM

    Basketball is too big of a sport to lose its fans. That being said these greedy bastards gotta get a deal done.

  19. treatjr - Oct 11, 2011 at 3:55 PM

    I’m tired of feeling like powerless victim as a fan as if we have no effect on the players or the owners. I would love to see a major push by the fan base something along the lines of for ever one game missed due to the lockout fans as a whole will not attend, view, or purchase merchandise for two games. If someone with a voice would get behind this idea I promise they would be back to work immediately or sooner. Spread the word they’ve cancelled the first two weeks we are sitting out the following 4. If fans actually stuck to their guns and did this no pro sport would ever lockout again for fear of fan backlash. I need Ralph Naders number where’s Ralph when you need him?

    • jjstrokes - Oct 14, 2011 at 4:30 PM

      OCCUPY-NBA!!! lol

  20. cmack21 - Oct 11, 2011 at 7:47 PM

    basketball really sucks untill the All Star break.they arent the NFL so no one really cares, the season is too long, just a reminder… more ppl watched the NFL draft last year than the opening playoffs games last year. The draft is guys in suits shaking hands and a few highlight clips, pretty much a bunch of nothing, and the PLAYOFFS cant beat that?!? WOW.

  21. yournuts - Oct 11, 2011 at 10:26 PM

    As an owner of a small business I take all the risks when I hire someone. If I have a bad year I have to lay money out of my own pocket. I hire people who accept employment with or without contracts. They get paid no matter what and don’t have to give up something in return. They are employees. I also have to pay taxes on what they earn and pay into their pension plan no matter how the environment is. SORRY PAL the minimum NBA salary is better than 99.9% of all jobs out there. If you don’t want to play basketball then sell insurance or bag groceries if you want. What the Owners have given to the players is MORE THAN GENEROUS. Go Play in Europe if you want. Someone will play here in your place.

  22. yournuts - Oct 11, 2011 at 10:30 PM

    Also when you go to a game it cost a fortune. It is time that the players salary went down to so the ordinary people can see an NBA game. Between the cost of tickets and refreshments the cost is way to much. HEY LeBron go get a real job if you don’t want to play for the kind of money your getting. You should be ashamed of yourself asking for more money. Greedy Players, Greedy unions.

  23. yournuts - Oct 11, 2011 at 10:38 PM

    And you Kurt Helin, you can’t understand why the owners would draw a line in the sand because of the value that YOU SEE.?Then you write a stupid article about the owners being at fault! Have you ever owned a business? What about the fans? The players have MORE THAN ENOUGH. If you think that the players are what the NBA is all about then go to Europe, It is all about TEAMWORK. Something that the HEAT don’t have with their 3 CRYBABIES. LeBran, Dwayne and sissyboy Chris. Hey Lebron, you want to know why people don’t like you? Because your selfish brat that only cares about himself, thats why!

  24. yournuts - Oct 11, 2011 at 10:39 PM

    I stand with the owners!

  25. jollyjoker2 - Oct 15, 2011 at 12:32 PM

    Lets hear from non-fans about greedy bla bla….Fact is, we will all be back. I seen tons of these strikes over 20 years plus and not a one of them makes a difference. The following year, people fill up the seats. As long as youth play basketball versus playing x box, there will be a steady flow of fans. When yunger generations tune it out or don’t want to go to games… than the are in trouble.

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