Over the last two weeks when it appeared that the NBA season would well and truly be in jeopardy, one of the recurring thoughts I had was whether it was a mistake for some Raptors players not to sign overseas. It just seemed like a waste of time to not play competitive ball when there was a chance to.

There were pros and cons to opting to play elsewhere, the pros were obviously making some coin, staying fit, and dribbling a basketball with a real defender coming at you. The cons were the risk of injury (J.R Smith), and getting tied to a contract without an NBA-out (J.R Smith). Now that the NBA is likely to resume, we’ll see first-hand whether there’s a noticeable difference in play between those who played overseas and those who chose to stay home.

Kyle Singler is getting a lot of praise for heading to Spain early and getting ahead of the rookie class, and there are other examples as well. Again, how beneficial this court time will be for the second-rounder remains to be seen, but I think it’s going to be factor. A part of me just wishes that guys like James Johnson and maybe even Ed Davis had gone abroad for a taste for the last two months and come back with a head start. Part of me is just glad that there aren’t any injury casualties.

For the Raptors, Leandro Barbosa has an opt-out clause with his club in Brazil, Sonny Weems does not. Neither does Joey Dorsey (also playing in Spain), and Alexis Ajinca played for a little bit in France, and came back. He was mulling going back as well, but even with the NBA season good to go, he might still ned to head back. And that folks, is the most number of words any NBA/basketball related site will devote to Ajinca. Kleiza was thinking about joining Jonas in Lithuania but didn’t, and turns out is still weeks away from playing.

Finally, according to this article in the Sun, the Raptors “would love to have Tyson Chandler and Nene, Marc Gasol, DeAndre Jordan or even Samuel Dalembert, but it is hard to see any of them ending up in Toronto for a variety of reasons”.

I’d like to add on to that list the following names: Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, Kevin Durant, Dirk Nowitzki…

Quick Jonas update. In five league games, he is shooting 75% from the field, and 91% from the line. I know what you’re thinking, those percentages are high because he’s only played a few games. But wait, he’s 27/36 from the field, and 30/33 from the line. That FT percentage is Calderonesque!

Here’s Stephen Curry and DeRozan on Twitter:

Can’t wait for this thing to get finalized so we can start debating whether Amir Johnson is the worst contract in the history of the NBA, or the greatest bargain ever.

  • KuH

    Yeah – that stunned me also.  Big Val is 27/36 … from the field.  Most centers would be happy to have those stats for their free throws.  You’ve got to expect that to drop in the NBA … and we’ve also got grounds to hope that he will be an efficiency monster.

  • Daniel

    Stern always favoured superstar players and big market teams. In the meantime NFL zipped by NBA with  a team-first approach. As the details become available it is clear that the new CBA does not improve the competitive balance. I still have a faint hope that the owners will nix the deal. NBA needs a completely new business model.

    • Jeff

      I fully agree but it will not happen. NBA will stay the way it was . Teams like NYU, Boston and Heat from East and Lakers, San Antonio, Dallas from West making the run for the ring. The rest of the league is just a developmental ground for the Super Stars. Just Wait till both CP3 and Howard and Durant leave their teams and go to a big market team , trying to win a ring and repeat what the other big name guys did.

      • Max

        I don’t think San Antonio is one of the Big three in East… I would put Suns, Rockets, Warriors ahead just due to market size ….

        Anyways, rest of your assessment is spot on..

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_DANSRO43XQD3CLQZ2JFM5JZRQI 2damkule

        yeah…because superstars leaving their teams to join forces has worked SOOO well so far.  1 chip team has been built on that premise, and the construction of that team was initiated by the team, not the players.

        so yeah, durant may well leave.  it’ll only be another half-decade (give or take) until he’s a FA.

    • Ihatehaters

      NFL zipped by because it embraced gambling, unlike the NBA which tried to take a holier-than-thou attitude.

  • Stikz

    They need non-guaranteed contracts. You can’t give NBA players financial security. All they basically want to do is smoke weed and play call of duty. Massive generalization, i know, but there needs to be more fear of losing money. I don’t support the owners at all, i just wish we didn’t have to watch games where guys are just going through the motions.

    • Bendit

      In my view, for the most, “going thru the motions” is really a result of too many games. This is an owner fault. This also affects lack of practice time resulting in further deterioration of quality of play. Sure there are life style issues but it’s probably no greater percentage wise in a demographic of young, virile, very rich, sought after adolescents/men with downtime on their hands. You might want to investigate what some young (and old) stock brokers do in their spare time!    

      • Daniel

        Really? Too many games is owners’ fault? How do you get $4 B revenues in order to satisfy the salary expectations of NBA players? They balked at the idea of decreasing the average salary from 5.7 million to 5.1….

        • Bendit

          Yep. Per my links below and a rudimentary calc of some numbers I come up with 1.05 bill. of a 4.2 bill. pie attributable to ticket sales. The rest is all the other ancillary sources of revenue listed in the BRI breakdown (TV, clothing, concessions etc). So a 15 game reduction should not reflect too drastically on total take with the objective of a better product. Players of course will also be impacted with a lower BRI and possibly longevity of career. All should give up some.

          41 home games * 17000 avg. attend * 30 teams * $50 avg. ticket 

           http://www.reuters.com/article/2010/11/24/us-nba-ticketprices-idUSTRE6AN5BR20101124

          http://www.plunkettresearch.com/sports%20recreation%20leisure%20market%20research/industry%20statistics

          • Bendit

            “longevity of career” is meant as a positive.

          • Ihatehaters

            TV should be included in the portion of the calculation that would take a hit: fewer games means fewer games on TV means fewer ads sold means lower overall revenue…

            • Bendit

              Maybe. But a lot is dependent on scheduling. Weekend games, Holiday games like Xmas are the important ones. Save those and eliminate the Mon or Thurs games and the impact on the national TV contract s/b negligible. My thoughts were on a 15 game reduction (about 3 games less per month).

              • p00ka

                15 less games absolutely translates to less TV (to assume negligible is ridiculous), gate, concessions, and parking revenues. Less of all revenues except merchandise sales. Would the players accept a 15-18% hit on salaries?

                • Bendit

                  I am sorry, I cannot correlate your suggested percentage decrease in player salaries in light of total salaries taking up but 50% of BRI. Besides, selling merchandise does not occur just during games. Internet related and foreign/storefront sales occur all the time even off-season.

                  This is all of course a bit of a moot point since the time to take such an issue seriously was during the kerfuffle which looks to have ended. Neither side is obviously interested if discussed at all in what I believe is the right thing to do.

                  ps…I was on the ownership side during the negotiations 

                • p00ka

                  I had said “less of all revenues except merchandise sales, which is why I said 15-18% instead of just 18%, which is the percentage of games that 15 represents. 15 less games can easily translate to 18% less TV, gate, concession, parking, advertising revenue.

                • Bendit

                  Like I said this is a serious consideration as there will be a cost to both parties. More importantly both have to want to do it.

                  To take the percentage in reduction of schedule and reduce salaries by essentially a similar percentage is overly simplistic especially since I showed earlier that ticket/gate receipts made up just a third of the business revenue. Your assertion that there would be a relative hit to TV revenue is like assuming that nationally advertised games on networks and on primetime weekends/holidays (which I suggested should not be touched) generate the same revenue as local broadcasts on “throwaway” weekday dates. I understand that local broadcasts of Raptor games might well cost more to put on air than the ad fees generated during.   

                • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_DANSRO43XQD3CLQZ2JFM5JZRQI 2damkule

                  i think the hit in terms of TV revenue is somewhat negligible…it’s not as though ABC/ESPN/TNT are going to be renegotiating the terms of the TV deal, and that’s where the bulk of TV revenue comes from.  yes, there are ancillary TV-related sources of income that are lost & can’t be recouped (advertising dollars, mainly), but these are generally absorbed over the long term.  the deals that teams have negotiated with regional networks are set as well.

                • Ihatehaters

                  I ABSOLUTELY think that ABC/ESPN/TNT would renegotiate the terms of the deal if they lopped off 15% of the content.

                  I actually agree with the posts above that it wouldn’t necessarily correlate to a 15% decline in TV revenue, but there would definitely be a re-negotiation (in some respect). Too much money not to.

      • Stikz

        You’re definitely right, if you give anyone money their spare time will be taken up by all kinds of nonsense. Unless you’re an American though, you don’t directly subsidize the stock brokers cocaine habits. Too many games is an issue as well, but how many games should they cut the season to? The length of the season rewards consistency and while the season is way too long, i’m not sure there’s a perfect number that would ensure that maximum effort is put forth. Anyways, if it isn’t this, there would be something else to complain about. I’m just upset someone else is getting millions to play with a ball. Pass the Haterade.

    • Daniel

      Great point. I cringe when I hear arguments about who “won” and who “lost”. As long as the players have guaranteed contracts and a guarateed share of BRI they win by default. The owners bear the entire risk of running a business and their ROC has been negative in the last 6 years. Some owners hope their total ROI will justify the investment when they sell the team. This is a dubious proposition at the best of times and almost hopelessly untrue during tough economic times. If a cash-cow and symbol standard-bearer like MLSE could not be sold then the future is bleak for any investor in this market. The new CBA may generate a ROC of 0-3% per year which is ridiculously low for such an investment. Clearly some owners don’t treat their team like a business which is very unhealthy for the long-term status of NBA.
      For our team the new CBA doesn’t bring any tangible benefits. We will continue to be seen as an eccentric market and a farm team for the big shots despite the economic clout of Toronto. It would have been easy for the owners to break the old business model and bring a new one especially with the trailblazers examples of NFL and NHL. They chose not to, so my predictions for the future of NBA are pretty dire.

      • Daniel

        Sorry, just to make it clear: the new model should have been built around a hard cap, non-guaranteed or partially guaranteed contracts, syndicated TV rights and franchise tag player.  

        • cesco

          This non-guaranteed or partially guaranteed business in the NBA is a non-starter . The players will refuse such an agreement , they will be locked out and they will go overseas ( Europe , China , South America  ) and sign up there until the owners come to their senses . It happened this year and more and more players would have gone overseas once the court case had begun .

          • Daniel

            How do you sue a league for anti-trust violation and then you go and play in Europe, China or South America? Nothing is a non-starter. The players would have caved in after one lost season, not unlikely the NHL. Why is it so hard to understand that the NBA players have no leverage? Not only vs. the owners but also in the entertaining industry: very few people would really miss b-ball as professional entertainment.

            • cesco

              The court case could have taken several years to be resolved ,  not 1 year , according to the experts . In the meanwhile most players could find temporary work (they have to put food on the table don’t they ?) overseas . The big danger for the owners is that the players could win the case and they will be the losers . The players have a lot of leverage as there are many teams in Spain , Turkey , Greece , Italy , Russia , China and a few other countries that will pay good money for their services during the lock-out . It can be argued that the owners caved in as they didn’t get the hard cap and 53% of revenues they wanted . Obviously a drawn-out court case could have been the death of the NBA as it exist to-day .

            • Theswirsky

              an american ‘anti-trust’ suit is not an international issue.

      • p00ka

        I share your pain 100%

      • Ihatehaters

        “Some owners hope their total ROI will justify the investment when they sell the team. This is a dubious proposition at the best of times and almost hopelessly untrue during tough economic times.”
        Really? I would be amazed if ANY NBA owner ever sold a team at a loss.

        • Bendit

          I believe the Bobcats were and probably the Hornets which the NBA own because there were no takers.

          • Bendit

            ..and they are having troubles selling the Hawks.

          • Theswirsky

            Bobcats owners also riddled themselves in debt and still found a chump to buy it (no offense to Jordan as a player, but that was a lowsy investment.  Guess he just loves to gamble), and NO has been suffering economic hardship since the Hurricane and the oil spill to boot (unfortunate reality of natural (and unnatural) impacts on economics).

            BRI has been increasing year over year.  Ticket sales are still going up.  TV viewership is going up.  Team values are still increasing (in general), just not at the ridiculous rate they were from the mid 80s to 2007/08.

            • Bendit

              And there’ll be a reset of values (plus side), I feel, as a result of this CBA.

              • Theswirsky

                I remember hearing that it was estimated that (on average) for every 1% increase the owners received in BRI, their teams value increased by approx 3-4 mil.  Which would roughly increase an owners team value, again on average, around 20 mil.

                Save approx 10 mil a year per team + increase the team value by 20 mil…. owners made out pretty good in this.

            • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_DANSRO43XQD3CLQZ2JFM5JZRQI 2damkule

              i don’t think jordan minded the deal, considering how little of his own *real* money he put up.

              • Bendit

                Yes, I heard about his stake but what about his sources of investment. They may well be of the knee-capping variety who hang around the boardwalk in Atlantic City. He was doing it for/because of them !!?  

        • p00ka

          You can’t just look at purchase vs sale prices. If a team loses $20 million a year for 10 years, then sells for $150 million more than purchase price, the net loss is still $50 million.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_DANSRO43XQD3CLQZ2JFM5JZRQI 2damkule

            that’s true.  of course, if a team loses $20 million/year, and let’s that go on for a decade…well, that’s just stupid business (and there’s no evidence that such a scenario exists).  

            • p00ka

              Is there evidence that it hasn’t? Specifics aside, the point is that it’s inaccurate to claim an owner made a profit on a sale without accounting for annual losses. Anybody who spouts about owner profits on sales without having the annual loss info, and accounting for them, is speaking out of the the wrong orifice.

              • Theswirsky

                “annual losses” have not been a regular occurence… and was recently facilitated by expenses, other than salary, increasing at a rate greater than BRI was increasing.

                A business losing money for a year or two is not irregular.  Depending on how one chooses to do the accounting it can actually be a good thing.  Much more so with a privately owned business. 

                We shouldn’t pretend that a few recent ‘bad years’ is completely accurate, a trend, or what owners expect in the future.

                I’d also mention that selling for a capital gain is completely different than yearly revenue/profit/losses.  The very fact that owners have been still selling at a profit even with apparent recent losses in profit is evidence that new and potential owners see a chance to make a profit by buying the business.

                You aren’t going to buy a mutual fund that has a yearly service fee if you expect it to decrease in value.  But if you are expecting it to increase in value?  That changes everything.

              • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_DANSRO43XQD3CLQZ2JFM5JZRQI 2damkule

                there’s far more evidence that team values have increased exponentially, esp. for teams purchased before the NBA boon of recent years (i.e. when they were still relatively ‘cheap’)…teams that were purchased for what was a considered a pittance (even for the time) that are now worth 10 or 20 times what they were originally purchased for.

                my point is that i highly doubt stern would allow a team to continue to operate with considerable annual losses for a sustained period, considering the kind of drag it would be for the ownership group as a whole.  so yes, as bendit mentions, there are teams that operate at a loss, maybe even for multiple years, but i’ve heard no evidence to suggest that it’s anywhere close to what you’re citing as an example.

                in general, i agree with having to account for losses…but one thing we’ve learned over the last year is that owners have interesting ways of determining just what a ‘loss’ is.

              • Ihatehaters

                True. And since NBA teams are private corporations, probably not many spouting off on the web have access to their financials. But, there are certain things that you could infer based on the fact that these teams are owned by (in almost all cases now) highly-successful, sophisticated business people. Such as, they are probably using losses to offset prior or future taxes. Or, they are receiving substantial government subsidies. Or, they are using related-party transactions to “reduce” their income.

                Of course this is all speculative, but if every owner was taking such a bath, why are so many people clamoring to get a team when one goes on the market?

                • p00ka

                  Quick thoughts: I don’t think you can say that about all teams. I don’t see any lines forming in NO, nor was there any line-ups in Vancouver or Seattle. Besides, using that logic, why would an owner sell a beneficial asset?

  • FAQ

    Jeez… I’ve already forgotten the names on the Raptor roster … sheeeesh!!!!

  • Statement

    In honour of the season starting up…I’ll be the first to say it

    “Bargnani Sucks”

    • cesco

      Once a hater , always a hater .

      • Statement

        I had to cesco,  I just had to.

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_DANSRO43XQD3CLQZ2JFM5JZRQI 2damkule

          i think we should all make an oath to be more open-minded this season, and treat it for what it is…a development year, a chance to see which players on the roster are actually worth keeping for the long-term, determining which ones aren’t, and ‘working’ on a top-5 pick.  there’s no value added to blaming single players…what i want to see is a change in mentality, even if it doesn’t translate to Ws.

          btw…over under on wins: 18 sound about right?

          • cesco

            Any reason why with a coach intended to preach defense they will do worse than last year ? . They were the worst defensive team in the league , there will be little practice time to implement Casey schemes but for sure after a couple of months  the TEAM defense has to show SOME improvement . The offense will be the same so I will vote for 25 wins .

            • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_DANSRO43XQD3CLQZ2JFM5JZRQI 2damkule

              well, you’ve gotta remember that there are 16 fewer games being played.  so, they may finish with fewer wins, but a better winning %.  22-60 (last year’s record) = .268.  18-48 = .272.  basically, the same.

              25 wins means a record of 25-41…winning % of .378.  that’s quite a dramatic improvement…and i don’t see much reason to be that optimistic.

              as for the coach – he can only do so much, the players have to produce.  granted, we should seen an increase in PT for davis, and that will help, but the core group remains the same, and it’s pretty shaky defensively.  IMO, a full training camp, and a few months of games, and you’d start to see some improvement by ~feb.  a rushed training camp, compressed schedule & little practice time once the season starts?  mmm…colour me skeptical.

              come to think of it…18 may be shooting a bit high, esp. when you factor in that the L will have a ‘wide-open’ feel to it (i.e. that even half-decent teams will feel they have a shot), and so even though teams will be dragging ass with so many back-2-backs, they’ll know that they can’t afford to waste games. so, those half-dozen or so wins that come against teams taking the raps lightly will likely be harder to come by.

              • cesco

                Mea culpa  , I forgot that there will only be 66 games . There are a good number of free agents , BC may sign one that is a good defender (center or SF) on the 2nd team , let us hope .

          • p00ka

            Totally with you on this, though I won’t hazard a guess on Ws until the schedule comes out.

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