Still in free-agent limbo is Team Lithuania’s Linas Kleiza, with an apparent (and puzzling) lack of NBA interest in the former Denver Nugget resulting in few reported offers from the United States. In fact, currently winning in the rumored offer department for Kleiza are none other than good old George, Panayiotis, and Piraeus Olympiacos.
While Denver has put forth a $2.7 million contract offer – the Detroit Pistons and Toronto Raptors haven’t publicly made known any equal deals; still, they’re kinda sorta interested – Olympiacos is thought to have anted up “substantially more money.” (Hey, if they’re rumored to be willing to pony up $5 mil a year to Allen Iverson, Kleiza could easily take, what, $4 million from the Angelopouloses?)
In the 2008-09 season, nine teams accounted for roughly half the ticket revenue in the 30-team NBA, according to the league data: the Lakers, Knicks, Celtics, Suns, Bulls, Cavaliers, Warriors, Mavericks and Raptors. The reasons vary from location and pricing power to, in some cases, the luck of the draft lottery. Cleveland, for example, is a small-market team that is well above the league average in all ticket-revenue categories because of the presence of You-Know-Who.
In all, 12 teams netted more than $1 million in ticket revenue per home game, the others being the Thunder, Rockets and Spurs. Of these, seven made the playoffs.
Coveted by Colangelo from the day he entered the draft, Belinelli will finally be wearing Raptor red next season. My initial reaction was to give BC exec of the year and call it a day but realistically all these moves mean nothing if they don’t translate to on the court success. To get Marco here, Colangelo shipped out Devean George to Golden State – before he even had a chance to pick out a jersey number. George was destined to spend his time as a Raptor dressed in custom suits, but would have provided a veteran presence in the locker room and is a winner to boot. Salary was a non-factor in the move, as both players carry a similar price tag and the Raptors paid out the value of George’s contract in cash to make this happen. All in all, this was a no brainer and another coup for Colangelo as a GM in Toronto.
Here in the Big Smoke there are already plans (and now action) to diversify our street vendors to include more international choices, why not extend this mentality to the arenas? I realize that this choice is not a simple one to make and much market testing must be done, but the more we can do to separate this team as an original in it’s own right the quicker we make it a special place in the basketball world and the better we position ourselves to capture unique players to help define us. To me the surrounding experience is as much a part of the game as the game itself. This is basketball, it’s spicy! Letting the bland palates of hockey fans dominate the food we eat is not right, please do something about that!
Oh and while you’re at it ACC, how about letting more local breweries have a crack at your basketball audience. It would be heavenly to be able to enjoy an ice cold Mill St Organic while watching the Raps, or a St. Ambroise.