The Raptors/Leafs season-seat holder party is happening right now and I don’t really know what’s going on there. I checked all the Twitter accounts of all the people who were there, and they’re not saying anything. Dwane Casey, Bryan Colangelo and Mugsy Bogues (what?) were there. The Sheepdogs performed as well. I haven’t seen them live, but I’ve actually seen a sheep dog perform his duties, and I can tell you without a shred of hesitation, that if every Raptor did their job as well as a sheep dog, we’d be running out of space at the ACC to stash championship trophies.

David Stern is once again speaking about how the NBA season is on the line if a deal isn’t reached soon. Of course, the best part about that interview is Stephen A. Smith yelling at Stern like he’s got Tourettes. There’s been enough written about the lockout from both angles, how the players are greedy SOBs, how the owners can’t control themselves, how haggling over millions in a struggling economy is asinine, blah blah blah. Here’s the bottom line: every player in the NBA makes a profit. 70% of the teams don’t.

If anyone expects the owners to buckle under fan or media pressure, they’re wrong. In these economic times, it’s about cutting your losses and only a “true fan” owner (read stupid) will agree to continue playing in a situation where losses are guaranteed. Stern can play the heartbroken commissioner all he wants by talking about those noncompetitive teams and the gulf in payroll between the Kings and Lakers, but it’s not about that. It’s about the league dealing with declining attendance numbers, a dive in disposal income across North America, competing sources of entertainment, and a product that until last year, had been declining.

At the end of the day, no matter how you slice it and no matter what numbers you use, it is in the players’ interest to play. And they will. It’ll be at close to 50-50 of the BRI, and a hard-hitting luxury tax that will end up serving as a hard cap. That’s what the owners are offering and it’s also been confirmed by the players union, and if it weren’t for the hubris of the union, and the feeling of getting punched in the gut by giving up more than 7% of BRI in one summer, this deal would’ve been signed.

Here’s another bottom line: in a few years, the average player salary will rise from around $5.15 million to around $7 million under the deal the owners are offering (even the NBA median salary is great compared to other sports). To me, there’s nothing wrong with that. But I get it, I get the players perspective, it honestly sucks when the gravy train stops, but it eventually has to. It doesn’t matter if it has been the owners’ irresponsible spending that got them there, this is the time where they’ve set out to correct the system, mainly against themselves, and they’re not going to let it go until it happens. You can have all the “Let us Play” campaigns on Twitter, it doesn’t change the fact that the players are being given an opportunity to play, they’ll just have to settle for a 35% raise over 5 years.

I’m out of my depth here, but I’m going to venture a guess and say that the federal mediator is never going to order NBA owners to operate under a loss.

Some brief basketball talk. I was looking at some Jonas video from over the summer and reading some analysis from here and there, and what everybody is gaga about is his pick ‘n roll game. And what do you need if you have a big man who can run a great pick ‘n roll, why, you need a point guard who can play the pick ‘n roll. Which Raptor is easily the best at serving it up? Jose Calderon. You probably remember the Jose Calderon/Amir Johnson pick ‘n rolls from last season because he’s the only big who actually does the roll part consistently. I would think Valanciunas and Calderon would be quite a good fit on the play, and if the lockout kills this season, the Raptors would have only to pay Calderon one year of salary, and in that year he could (barring injury) partner nicely with Valanciunas, and also provide cap relief the following summer.

Jerryd Bayless will get another chance to prove that he’s starter quality, however, I doubt it’ll be a long look, and I seriously doubt he’s going to make the grade. If he is to fall by the wayside in a shortened season, then acquiring a point guard (hopefully from the draft) goes from a nice-to-have to a priority, and Calderon’s value to the team increases, both in a financial and basketball sense.

As far as team needs go, defensive center I suppose is still #1 because of Casey’s dependence on the position. Second would have to be three-point shooting as the Raptors were dead-last in that category, and you sort of need that if you have a center who likes to play in the paint. Third is the need for a small forward, maybe James Johnson is that guy, maybe not. Fourth…

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  • Milesboyer

    The longer this lockout goes the more I feel like it’s a problem with the players, as the post insinuates.  Being the highest paid athletes of the four major sports does not help their argument.  I love the basketball…but maybe I should just stick to playing in my rec. league and give up on these greedy, megalomaniacs out of principle.  

    • KJ-B

      HONESTLY, somebody pinch me like it “It was all a dream….”

      • Nilanka15

        “….I used to read Word Up magazine…”

  • JHP

    I think the NBA league should be rebranded as the No Basic Assets league.  Might as well shut down for the year and move on.  It’s amazing how little interest people have in all this.  In other words they could cancel the whole season and nobody would really care. So when you see both sides yelling and nashing their collective teeth it’s for attention.  Every Monday/Tuesday it’s the next set of meetings that will save the season.  Getting old to me and can’t wait for the college ball to really get going.

    For the Raptor’s organization the absolutely worse thing would be for the Leafs to have a great season.

    • Nilanka15

      “…. can’t wait for the college ball to really get going.”

      Hear, hear!

  • Guest

    your right about the JC-JV PNR, just look at the difference from team Lithuania games and the Rytas games, Rytas has more of a scoring guard and JV hardly ever gets the ball in the right spot

  • Brian B

    This isn’t about hubris from the players perspective- a hard cap or tax equivalent essentially emasculates free agency and thus the freedom to chose where they want to work – how would you feel if at 19, an employer drafts you, and you are stuck working for them for the rest of your career  unless THEY decide to ship you to another city? regardless of working conditions?

    • Nilanka15

      I fail to see how a hard cap eliminates free agency.  Free agency would still exist….just without the ridiculous totals.  If you really want to play in LA or Miami, you’re free to do so….just don’t expect to be signing a 5 year deal worth $120 million.

    • WJF

      Except that you can let yourself become a free agent and take a little less money to be in a place that makes you happy… can’t all be about the money all the time. I quit a job that provided me with a very good salary, company car, profit sharing and great benefits because it kept me away from home for too many nights a week. If I can give up that drop in the bucket I am sure that a guy taking 3 mil instead of 5 mil is not that big of a deal. 

    • Daniel

       You are kidding, right? This is not hubris? To make millions of dollars at 19 with no education and transferable skills and playing a game that everybody else plays for free? Working conditions in any NBA team: free travel, charter jets, free top-rated hotels, nutritionists for free, trainers for free, vacation from April/June until Sept/Oct. Take our own DeRozan who seems to make some noise in some interviews in NBA: at 21 he already made 4 millions gross. Without NBA he’s literally nothing. He took a job as manager assistant at Foot Locker based on his NBA reputation. He doesn’t have the b-ball  skills to play in Europe: no shooting, dribbling or passing abilities. He may be able to play in China for a much lesser salary. He already made more money than the vast majority of people will make in their life.
      I’m not envious at players. What bothers me is that they will not adjust their expectations to the new market conditions. They are not the product: the charity games and whatever else they played this summer and the ridiculuos b-ball played in them is proof of what the product is. All the superstars were playing in them and nobody cared. The players don’t understand anythong about the business of b-ball or their role in the business. There is a reason why former players are ripping today’s players off.  

      • I love the opinion that NBA players would be pumping gas without the NBA.  Based on what?  For starters do you not think a lot could play a different sport?  Second, most of the NBA players have some form of College education which the majority of the population doesn’t.  Third, since when did your level of education dictate your deserved income?  Education gets you hired.  Hard work and intelligence makes you wealthy.  The average NBA player works a lot harder than the average joe doing the 9-5.  Made obvious by the number of you on this site right now. 

        They make lots of $ because they generate lots of $.  Simple as that.  Don’t hate.  If you don;t like it stop supporting them.  By the fact that your on a basketball website in the off season during a lockout while you should be working I think the NBA means more to you than you let on.  Thus, why they make the big bucks.  tell me I’m wrong.

        • Daniel

          I came back from work and I read this which made me smile. You realize this site is open 24/7 and people can post while not at work?
          Anyway, let’s take it one by one. First, they probably could play a different sport however not at the professional level that allows them the lavish lifestyle. MJ tried baseball, LeBron talks about football (man, I’d live to see that). Second, NBA players don’t have college education: majority of them get drafted after rookie or sophomore year. In any case, in vast majority of cases they get sports scholarhip and the standards are set very low for passing the credits/diplomas. Third, read all the stats about the corelation between the education level and the income. Like in any stats, there are outliers and a few drop-outs become billionaires. I’m not saying the level of education makes people better, I’m only relating it to the level of income. I can guarantee you that I work a lot harder than an NBA player: the CBA even sets how many training sessions and their length a player can have. They have a game every 2 days on average and vacation between 4-6 months per year. I’m a  manager and I work 50-60 hours/week with 4 weeks of vacation. I consider myself an average Joe from this point of view as the majority of workers have the same kind of schedule.
          The players do not generate a lot of $! Take a look at what they generated this summer during exhibition games and charity games.  The business of NBA generates a lot of $, including Operations, Marketing and Production (Entertainment/Merchandise). The players are part and parcel of NBA however NBA is much bigger than the players. I personally am a fan of Toronto Raptors and not of any particular player. A lot of people like the team concept much more than the player-centric approach. Players will come and go, cities and franchises stay. As Rodman said, “many players don’t care about the game, they only care about the money”. Lots of players have huge sense of entitlement and they don’t understand the business side at all.
          Yes, you are wrong: I love basketball as a sport and Raptors as a franchise. That’s why I post on this website and that’s why I watch Raptors. The players should make as much as the market bears. They got inflated deals in the last 2 CBA’s and now the market changed. Let them pay themselves by setting up their own league and creating their own market. Currently they have no skin in the game other than the sweet show must go on: it will not.

          • Your point by point analysis misses the point.  You are an average Joe aren’t you.  I bet an NBA could put together a better case.  😉

    • Bendit

      Here’s a dollop of the gravy train reality. Yesterday I read that those who perform the voiceovers for the Simpsons TV series just settled their pay dispute. They took a 40% cut!! …from about $440,000 per episode to about $250,000 per. Not all were pleased but they were guaranteed another 3 years at those rates. I find the analogy somewhat relevant. 

      • Nilanka15

        Good analogy, but the only difference in terms of ratings is that the NBA is coming off one of their best years to date, while the Simpsons has been experiencing a steady decline for a while…

        So it’s not that difficult to see the player’s point of view, in that they’re being asked to take a pay cut after a seemingly “successful” year.

        • Bendit

          Good point…but, there is a fly in the ointment re the “successful” year. The league as an entity/whole may have made money and with that the total revenues determined the cap (and hence labour exp. for each team in the league) regardless of whether that individual team made a profit or not.
          Yes, this points to the lack of sharing among the lodge brethren but that is another discussion and a flaw that needs a remedy. 
          It is very difficult to analogize “normal” business with the how business is conducted in a prof. sports league. I was just attempting to point to how times have changed. While revenue may have been “good” last year it may have been derived in great part from merchandize and offshore sales. Trends in these areas can be easily measured. Ergo just because it was good last yr. doesnt mean it will continue to be so with disposable income worldwide facing a crunch. I dont know. I do know that there were quite a few empty seats in arenas around the league including Miami. 
          I had promised lately not to get into a discussion on the lockout…and here I am sucked in again. I blame Arse.  

          • Theswirsky

            “Good point…but, there is a fly in the ointment re the “successful” year. The league as an entity/whole may have made money and with that the total revenues determined the cap (and hence labour exp. for each team in the league) regardless of whether that individual team made a profit or not.”

            which speaks to the need for revenue sharing above all else

        • Aaron8007

          ”pay cut after a seemingly “successful” year”  Nilanka is losing 300 million as a league successful? Thats called a failed business.  The NBA players have the highest average pay per player of all the leagues and currently get 57% of the pie.  I bet all of us wish that our employers shared 57% even 50% of the revenue we would all get a huge pay raise..

          • Nilanka15

            That’s why the word successful was in quotation marks. I don’t agree with the players point of view. But based on their ignorant economic stance, I can see why they feel the way they do

  • Harley688

    Good post Arse.  
    Fundamentally, my disconnect with the whole thing, is that one cannot argue with the basic fact that the vast majority of franchises in this league are LOSING significant money — maybe we can argue by how much, but fundamentally, it is indisputable that they are losing money. That means that shareholders (ie. owners) are paying for player salaries, and not the business itself. Not a sustainable position. Yes, I agree that most owners buy teams for reasons other than pure profit (eg. ego and pride of ownership), but none of them got to where they got to in life by knowingly doing deals that consistently lose them money, no matter how big their egos are. I have never known any businesses (even star-based entertainment and media businesses) where more than 50% of the revenues go to salaries — that simply doesn’t provide enough gross margin to fund all the rest of the expenses of the business. The fact that such a deal was agreed to in the last CBA, under a different and much more exuberant economic climate, does not mean that it should be a baseline against which to measure the terms of the new CBA. From the perspective of an average fan, who needs to save and allocate scarce entertainment dollars to take their son or daughter to see a couple of games per season, and who has faced threats to job security, employment income, housing, cutbacks in standard of living and tremendous uncertainty in their own futures, the position that players are taking sounds like pure entitlement and completely unrealistic. To add insult to injury, we can all recount too many instances in past seasons, where we see a group of millionaires mailing it in, on the one live game that we pay good money to watch — no other explanation except for disrespect for the game and the privileged position that they find themselves in, relative to most of their paying fans.Fundamentally, the players need to understand that there is an immutable principle that owners are not going to give on, which is that the operating model for their franchises has to be self-supporting and not subsidized by those owners. Yeah, that’s going to result in a drastic cut to player salaries, benefits, longevity, guarantees etc.etc.etc. — but then again, when people are losing homes, jobs, retirement funding, and livelihoods, I’m going to say that there is going to very little sympathy for that — join the crowd !!!

  • Quirk

    “70% of the teams don’t.” Repeating bullshit, no matter how many times, doesn’t make it true. First off, even if this was true, all players actually play basketball, 100% of owners don’t. What fans pay for is Basketball, therefore players create 100% of the value.  Therefore the staff of the team, players, coaches, front office, in other words the people who actually contribute to organization basketball games deserve 100% of net revenues. The owners contribute nothing, and deserve nothing in return. Second of all, you can not know that teams are losing money, please prove this, please do not forget capital gains, etc. I bet you can’t. Also, just because some of the readers here may not be idiots:

    • Bendit

      “The owners contribute nothing, and deserve nothing in return”.

      That’s a pretty strong statement. I am no economic major and have serious doubts about an unfettered capitalist economy, but, the reality is that this is a capital based system and ownership have put up oodles of capital to fund teams and the league. Aren’t they allowed a return on their capital/investment? If it were so easy I am sure the players would have setup a new league and infrastructure themselves so they wouldn’t have to share the spoils with anyone. No? After all their union head said he has been preparing them for over 2 years for this struggle.

    • WJF

      The value is not only players, that is just stupid to say, I would not pay to watch any of the “pick-up games the players are playing in, that ball is just plain bad, what value are the same players bringing to that venture? Much of the value is in the league itself and the brand it built, affording the players a outlet to earn big money and thus attracting the best in the world. While players help to generate income for the league, it is the way the league is run and promoted that keeps people coming back.  

    • Raptorman

      LULZ?  really? The owners contribute nothing..? Without the owners, the players will be playing basketball at their local YMCA.. you think they can earn millions of dollars doing that?  The owners are the ones that built and invest in the platform that made these basketball players rich and famous beyond the wildest dreams.  On a second thought, you aren’t Amare Stoudamire are you?

  • Statement

    Forbes says that 17 out of 30 NBA teams are losing money.
    They are relying on estimations because teams won’t open up their books.
    My question is, why won’t the teams open up their books?
    I’m curious, but don’t a lot of teams get their stadiums at least partially paid for by the cities they operate in? 

    I’m not sure I trust the owners on this, as easy as it is to hate self-entitled douche players.

    • Bendit

      Simply put…the embarassment. As you know private companies are not required to disclose their financials. That said the trust issue is of course very relevant and the embarassment issue may not affect every franchise out there. I have heard that issues like paying ghost salaries to family members or  setting up self owned “consulting” companies and charging the franchise advisory fees are two of the more prevalent shenanigans occurring in the sports business ownership world. While these are slimy occurrences I dont know that it amounts to a large deal in the overall numbers which leads to the claimed decrease in profits. What it would be however is a large pr nightmare…legal though it maybe.

      • Statement

        Good point.

        What I don’t get is if salaries are tied to revenue at a fixed percentage, then when revenue grows salaries grow.  How are salaries so out of whack if the same percentage of overall is dedicated to them each time.

        Also, if revenue shrinks, the absolute value of salaries goes down as well.

        If a company paid a fixed salary to a person (which isn’t tied to revenue) and then that company nose dives in revenue but still has to pay that salary to that person, that is a problem.

        In the NBA’s case, if revenue’s dive, salaries dive.  Aggregate salaries paid out are not the problem.  The problem is the teams who give these salaries out and can’t afford them.

        This is a problem of having dumb owners.  Yet these owners are allowed to be continue to be dumb by ensuring that players make consessions.

        How fair does the players share have to go to make the league viable?   The answer is zero because you can keep strong arming because you are improperly managing your share.  

        • Statement

          I should point out that I’m not particularly for or against owners, but how are so many of them losing money in an environment of salaries tied to revenue?

        • Bendit

          I think you maybe are discounting the problems which arise with individual small market/low revenue teams who “have to” mimic/compete with their richer brethren (the BRI is a collection of league-wide revenue which sets the cap) who have much higher and affordable payrolls. And therein lies a disconnect in my view. They do this primarily to compete for talent of course or face the wrath of their local fans. This leads often (due to pressure) to make hasty or inappropriate decisions on talent, remuneration and term (hello Hedo). To blame such signings entirely on a franchise is somewhat unfair I think given the system and guaranteed salaries included. This of course is further exacerbated in the absence of meaningful revenue sharing amongst the owners. What I fear happening in the absence of meaningful system change is a repeat of the Premier Football League in England which has in essence become a league of probably 4 teams who consistently are at the top of the standings because of their own high revenue streams or rich Russian oligarch or Mid East Emir owners. A league in name only.

          note: there is a worthwhile posting by Matt52 in much detail about the various issues re the current state of negotiating points on page 40 of the CBA discussion forum

          • Statement

            I see.

            I think that it could be a good thing to institute revenue sharing.  In baseball, the Pittsburgh Pirates suck ass but are profitable because of revenue sharing.  Could help with the lockout problem.

  • Aaron8007

    Has anyone here heard of INFLATION.  Its alot more expensive to run the facilities that the teams play in.  The cost of travel, food, insurance etc have sky rocketed.  We use to pay 70 cents a litre for gas 7 years ago now we pay $1.25>  Its important to understand the economic situation before you go off on the business of basketball.  Also,  why do the players get guarenteed profit (how much did players pay to become a player? Nothing) and the owners pay 350 million  to maybe make 3-10 million a year and maybe even lose 3-10 million.   50-50 split is fair with a soft cap so if revenue goes up the players again reap the benefits. All companies in the real world and there employees are based on there earnings not revenue>  Your company can still go bankrupt even if your earnings are going up

    • Theswirsky

      “why do the players get guarenteed profit (how much did players pay to become a player? Nothing)”


      since when do people work for an unguaranteed wage and have to pay to become employees?

      The players are just using their right to attempt to make as much money as possible, as are the owners. 

      There is zero evidence that any team, let alone the league, is going bankrupt.

    • Statement

      I was reading this about Stern’s excuses offered during his radio broadcast.

      It touches on the inflation issue somewhat.

      Make sure to read the link asking where the money went as well.

  • drizz

    lol block party.
    mlse is desperately trying to get their “block” outside the acc filled with fans going to watch the game on the big screen and drink overpriced beers in your shitbag upscaled sportsbar.
    i’ve even seen a leafs promo commercial with the whole “block” filled with computer generated fans.  
    wake up call assholes… you actually need a winning team to get your carefully planned concrete cattle maze filled with fans.

  • Gradgrind101

    I’m sick and tired of the players wanting what? 53%? That’s crazy! Even 45% is more than they deserve. They should shut up and take the 50% and run. And now a few players are threatening to start their own league. What a debacle that would be…Encourage them start their league and when it dies they will be humiliated while they regret their stupidity.

  • AnthonyF

    NHL NHL NHL –  Lost a full season to prove their points.  The players came slinking back and wonder of wonders the NHL is in a better position today and the sa;lary cap has increased 50% and players still move.  However in Bball the haves so out weigh the have nots and I’m tired of seeing teams with no chance at success unless they catch lightning in a bottle and get lucky in the draft.  No one wants to come to Toronto  as their first choice regardless of how good we are.  Players want the big markets or warm climates first.  Heck we have the Leafs and their incompetence, but there will always be bodies to fill the seats.  Without the salary cap, many US teams would be dead in the water and unable to complete.  Bball players refuse to look at that and just are worried about their wallets.  Now a barnstorming all-star team is being formed again showing that the stars don’t give a rats ass about the average player in the league, just the stars.

    Yes I am probably late to the party, but boy are the raptors disliked….  Player rankings from espn…..