Knight still has yet to find a home.
"You can't try to just say, 'Well, this guy made this (before), so I should make this,' " said Knight, in his 12th season and one of the free-agents-in-waiting. "Because coming up now, it's going to be a lot different than what it was."
"It's going to be a nuclear winter for them," Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban predicted.
"I think most of the teams, there'll be some sort of an effect," New Jersey Nets president Rod Thorn said.
"I can't speak for 30 owners and management teams," said Gregg Popovich, the San Antonio Spurs' coach and president. "But I'm sure that tightening of the belt is something that goes through every organization's head, for obvious reasons. We're all part of the economy, too."
Owners of various teams within the National Basketball Association (NBA) are finding it difficult to complete day-to-day transactions, due to the economic crisis at hand. Some owners have lost millions of dollars recently
As the economy has continued to take a nosedive, attendance numbers have dropped, corporate sponsors have been reluctant to renew contracts, player and coach salaries have risen, and the price of upkeep for stadiums and practice facilities have also begun to rise.
“If money is needed for the upkeep of the facilities, the players and coaches need to bite the dust and take the pay cut,” said Deandre Henderson, a sophomore Economics major at Howard University. “It is obvious that the diminishing state of the economy is taking a toll on its revenue stream so they must make the necessary cuts to follow suit. Borrowing the money will only hurt the economy more in the short run.”
“We’ve been operating at a $15 [million] to $20 million [annual] loss over the past half-dozen years,” said Alex Martins, chief operating officer of the Orlando Magic.
We knew about layoffs of employees within the league and various franchises. We knew various local and national sponsors were bailing, most notably car companies and major banks (two staples for the NBA). We knew certain franchises were losing significant wads of money and reacting accordingly. (Details are still trickling out. For instance, after the trade deadline, The Sacramento Bee reported the Kings would have lost $25 million had they not dumped Brad Miller's salary and bought out Mikki Moore, and the newspaper's Kings blog reported team employees were no longer allowed to work overtime or eat dinner in the media room.) Even trade talk -- normally a staple of any All-Star Weekend -- revolved more around themes such as, "They have to cut payroll," "They can't take on any money right now" and "They're too terrified of the tax to do anything."
Mike Bass, the NBA's senior vice president for marketing communications, said gate receipts are down less than the league projected.
"All of our teams have been very responsive to the financial concerns of our fans," Bass said in a statement to CBSSports.com. "The majority of our teams have held or lowered ticket prices this season, and all have introduced a number of creative, family-friendly ticket options in response to the financial difficulties our fans are facing. The response has been extremely positive as attendance is off slightly from last year, which was our third highest attendance in history."
League-wide, average paid attendance through Nov. 29 was 13,187, down 3.7 percent from 13,699 at this point last season.
The five best:
Cleveland: 18,157, up 10.4 percent
Portland: 17,714, down 0.5 percent
New York: 17,523, up 4.2 percent
Boston: 17,067, up 0.8 percent
Bulls: 16,272, down 2.4 percent
The five worst:
Memphis: 6,879, up 6.8 percent
Sacramento: 7,606, down 21.1 percent
Milwaukee: 8,331, down 26.7 percent
Philadelphia: 8,701, down 16.4 percent
Charlotte: 8,969, up 4.7 percent
The disparity between high-revenue teams and low-revenue teams is one of the key issues looming with owners and players preparing for negotiations on a new collective bargaining agreement. As expected, owners have notified the players’ association that they will not extend the current agreement, which expires after the 2010-11 season.
Compared to full-season figures for 2008-09, the number of teams netting less than $500,000 in gate receipts per home game has grown from five to eight, with the Sixers, Kings, and Bobcats joining the Grizzlies, Timberwolves, Bucks, Pacers, and Hawks in the under-$500K club. But pricing pressure also has affected the high-revenue clubs. Compared to full-season totals from ’08-’09, the number of teams netting at least $1 million per home game has shrunk from 12 to seven, with the Suns, Thunder, Rockets, Warriors, and Suns dropping out of the $1 million club.