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Deron Williams explains why players flock to major markets

Sep 11, 2012, 12:34 PM EDT

Deron Williams AP

Deron Williams was not trying to make a statement about the balance of small versus large markets in the NBA, he was simply answering a question posed to him by the New York Post.

Williams, the star point guard of the Brooklyn Nets, is on the cover of the new video game “NBA Baller Beats.” The question was would he have gotten that prime spot if he still played in Salt Lake City for the Jazz.

“Probably not,” Williams told The Post yesterday. “There’s not a lot of national opportunities in Utah. There’s definitely some local stuff, some regional stuff, but not too much national stuff.”

For a lot of players, that potential for larger endorsement deals matters.

There are a handful of guys so big that it doesn’t matter where they play — Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Kevin Durant. That level of star is so big nationally and internationally that if they are based out of Cleveland or Oklahoma City it doesn’t hit their bottom line. But this is an elite few players.

For everyone else,  even a step below that — D-Will being an example — the opportunities for money and celebrity in big markets plays a role in making changes. If you are a good player or a role player, the opportunities in a big city can boost your income. So suddenly Los Angeles or New York become more attractive.

Understand that size of the contract (read: money) is always the main factor, with weather and lifestyle in the mix, too. But endorsement opportunities matter in the decision making process. And there is nothing that can go into a CBA to change the advantage big markets have there.

  1. deadeyedesign23 - Sep 11, 2012 at 1:47 PM

    Every star player would benefit from going from a small market to a big one. Even after the disaster of the decision I’m willing to bet that leBron pulls in a lot more in his time in Miami than he did in Cleveland.

    • cmehustle - Sep 12, 2012 at 6:56 AM

      The truth is tha Lebron doesnt actually make that much more with Miami then he would have in Clevland. The Heat make a ton more, especially with their new tv deal with Lebron, and of course Cleveland hasnt made jack since he left, but as for Lebron himself the difference is small. Well, small compared to what he’s used to. It would be a gigantic difference for me.

      • deadeyedesign23 - Sep 12, 2012 at 9:34 AM

        That’s true. I mean it’s 3 million more a year which is no joke, but you’re right it’s a small percentage of what he makes. That said being on a more marketable team, one that is also more likely to win because players want to come there, will pay dividends long after he’s retired.

  2. worldbfree4me - Sep 11, 2012 at 1:53 PM

    “Even after the disaster of the decision” What? The decision to leave Cleveland for greener pastures in Miami was the right one. The dog and pony show flopped, not the end result!

    • paleihe - Sep 11, 2012 at 5:42 PM

      I’m assuming that deadeyedesign23 is talking about the way “The Decision” was handled and all the fallout from it. I doubt the statement refers to his decision of leaving Cleveland for Miami.

    • deadeyedesign23 - Sep 11, 2012 at 6:04 PM

      No you’re right I meant the PR disaster of the decision. Believe me if I was getting to leave the Mistake by the Lake I’d like to shout it from national television too.

  3. shockexchange - Sep 11, 2012 at 3:20 PM

    Winning cures all ills. Players’ worrying too much about their buzz, clothing lines, and exposure away from the court is why many of them will never be winners and never be remembered after their playing days are over. Win, and the rest will take care of itself.

    • deadeyedesign23 - Sep 11, 2012 at 6:05 PM

      Tim Duncan will probably win more than LeBron James will in his career and his earnings will never touch LeBron’s. Winning is critical, but it’s not the only element in the equation.

      • shockexchange - Sep 11, 2012 at 10:43 PM

        Yeah, I’m sure LeBron is a good example to prove your point … he’s only the best player in the league. That said, the Shock Exchange has far more examples to prove his point than you do.

    • hollywood26 - Sep 12, 2012 at 9:53 AM


      I think you are confusing the issues. Yes, you want to win. However, the main goal is to maximize your money. In HS and college you play for free, in the Pros you get PAID to play. You are looking at this from a fan’s perspective, as opposed to a BUSINESS perspective. The average shelf life is 6 years to maximize your income and players would be fools to think otherwise.

      Lebron for example really quick since I know some of the numbers. Lebron was getting 5K to promote parties in Cleveland. In Miami he is making 30K. So each opportunity he takes has a gain of 25K from just that alone. There was actually a studen who used Bayes Theorum to decide whether Lebron made the right move or not. IT clearly showed it was a better move.

  4. boss216 - Sep 12, 2012 at 2:45 PM

    Endorsements can be more lucrative than actual basketball deals. Derrick Rose got 250 million from Adidas and in the same year he signed a 94 million dollar extension with the Bulls.

    • Kurt Helin - Sep 13, 2012 at 11:29 AM

      But those kind of deals really only go to max players (Rose, LeBron, Durant, etc).

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