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Thread: Bill Simmons' view on the looming NBA lockout, the owners, the players, you and I

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    Default Bill Simmons' view on the looming NBA lockout, the owners, the players, you and I

    Insightful, but with its usual length:

    http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2...simmons/100224

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    Administrator Apollo's Avatar
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    Read that today. Many great points. I'm going to change the title to something a little more clear though...

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    I never really looked at the "how will the lockout benefit me" side of the story. Not being a season ticket holder or even making it to hardly any games in person, as I am living out in Alberta, I never considered the financial stake the fans hold in their favorite teams. For me, it's usually been a time thing. The time I commit to my favorite team and the league, as in watching games, reading articles, and discussing various basketball things. Being a Raptors fan and just looking at the time commitment itself, its tough looking back on the wasteland of failed seasons that did not have to end up that way. To consider being a season ticket holder on top of that is unbearable.

    I agree with Simmons on all the points he makes about the fans. They won't benefit from this for the most part BUT the league will. A hard cap will settle that. If you don't agree then go look at the NFL, some teams hang around for a while but for the most part drafting well is the only way to be successful; you don't see a Lakers type clubs where crap teams are bending over backwards to cough up their talent for various reasons... No, strong teams are built through the draft and shrewed decision making and not through blockbuster "I pray this saves my ass" trades.

    Simmons says that the non-star players will get screwed. Well, if you call making millions of dollars playing basketball "getting screwed" then please somebody please screw me! Let me in on that deal! Seriously though, I think the salaries in the NBA will see a change in proportion from high end players to the low end. I agree the stars will be making a lot more than the "little guy" but that will fall in line with the real world. Experts who get results and who have credentials make more than those who do not. People with specialized skills make more than those who do not. That's life. The quantity of money changing hands is no doubt out of whack with the real world but the proportions will probably mirror it. You don't see too many stiffs grabbing big time dollars in the NFL.

    The lockout will be good for the league. You won't see these Lakers and Celtics "sweetheart deals" that drive the rest of the league's fans up the wall. What I hope doesn't get lost in all of the shuffle is a team's ability to keep a franchise player. Right now a guy like Chris Bosh has $30M extra reasons to stay with the Raptors. That needs to stay in place.

    I really hope the players wise up much faster than it took the NHLPA. I don't want a 1.5 year off-season. No thanks.

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    That was a very good read and one that was obviously "fan-friendly". About time and good on Simmons....and it came across personal . The sad part is that it will probably end the way he suggested where the big stars will get a disproportionate share of the salary pile, the owners will have more economic surety and the fans continue to pay the outrageous ticket prices. WHich means there will in basketball (as other sports) be a higher tier of franchises who will always have more money than others and will continue to attract the best....unless of course there is real revenue sharing (ala NFL) and a hard cap with mandatory max. in terms of percentage of the cap reserved for maybe 3 players or some variation of this.

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    There's no reason at all for the players to accept a "hard cap", or a pay cut of any kind. They should secede from the NBA and form their own league, run by them, where all moneys go to them. What good are owners anymore? Their talents are typically fleecing the middle-class taxpayers to line their own pockets. This was the great failing of the Seattle owner, that he was unable to rob the taxpayers.

    A player-owned league could be organized this way: Games could be staged in whatever stadiums are available (probably college stadiums), all revenue would go into the league centrally, as opposed to it going to each franchise individually. So teams could be run out of small markets and it wouldn't matter if they were particularly profitable or not, it would matter if the league was profitable at large. Money would then be passed along to individual players based on their ongoing contributions to the team. So, for example, obviously the league MVP would end up with the most money at the end of the year. But additional money could be given to payers like Derek Fisher who are good leaders, good influences on young players, contributors int he community and so on and so forth. Such a system would eliminate "contract-year heroes" like Turkoglu. He would have to play hard all the time. Players would build up stock in the league as their careers progress, being good citizens and major contributors to the team's success would get a player a huge amount of stock by the end of his career. He would then get dividend and pension money. In addition, such players would have a large amount of power to make league policy, instead of how it is now with a group of fatcats and their puppet David Stern running things. Imagine instead a league where Kareem, Jordan, Magic, Barkley, Bill Russell, Oscar Robertson et al. were running things.

    Players would have rights such as the right to play for their hometown team if a roster spot is available, the right to refuse a trade, the right to demand a trade to a specific team that might be able to give him more playing time et al.

    The league would hire coaches, officials, and executives to run each team. The players could vote on how long they want the season to be (it's way too long now). A committee designated by, and possibly including, the league's major stockholders would evaluate players as the season progresses and that's how players would be paid. In this way the league would never lose money, because salaries would go down if league revenue went down. Each player would have tremendous incentive to be good citizens and play hard every single game. Not just for his immediate future paycheck but for the longterm since the payer would obviously want to become a major stockholder at the end of his career. A player like Jordan, for this reason, would probably not want to retire several times at the top of his game but continue playing as long as possible to build up more stock.

    In sum, every player would receive in his career exactly what he contributed. If he's a locker room cancer, if he's constantly in jail, if he's always refusing trades and badmouthing the league, he would be sabotaging his own earnings, stock, and pension.

    This system would also tend to distribute talent more evenly amongst each team. There wouldn't be teams like the Raptors, with talented but mismatched parts, since this wouldn't be in the interests of the players.

    There would be no draft. Potential players would be evaluated by the league in camps and practices in the offseason and offered contracts which would give them the rights outlined above if the league determines that the players are good enough. Players who have played in the league but are not deemed good enough would see their contracts expire.

    There would never be any strikes or lockouts, for obvious reasons. There would never be any holdouts or contract arguments.

    The players league could eventually move to vertically integrate by purchasing their own stadiums and a TV network.

    I think this model would work not only for the NBA but for all other sports as well. I just hope it happens someday.

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    Quote Brandon wrote: View Post
    There's no reason at all for the players to accept a "hard cap", or a pay cut of any kind. They should secede from the NBA and form their own league, run by them, where all moneys go to them. What good are owners anymore? Their talents are typically fleecing the middle-class taxpayers to line their own pockets. This was the great failing of the Seattle owner, that he was unable to rob the taxpayers.
    There is a good reason for why they won't all jointly leave the NBA and form their own league. First off, where are they going to play? Most owners own their arena, have lots of seats, executive boxes and the cost for a night if bball is much cheaper than renting an arena. Second, how many of these players have experience running anything? Third, imagine how much of a pay cut most of them would have to take by forming a new league and starting over. Fourth, you then have the risk of it tanking. Fifth, a new league would have trouble keeping players from leaving for Europe where top teams could pay more for top talent. The players will agree to the owners' terms for the very same reason the NHLPA did, the owners won't cave, they'll show the players their income statements and then the players will cave. You can't gain leverage on someone who is boxed into a corner with nothing to lose. Some owners are saying they would lose less by simply closing the doors and not paying them another penny in the current environment. Meanwhile a lot of the players live BIG and as such, how long do you think they're going to sit idle on the sidelines before Mr.Banker comes knocking on the door because they haven't paid their mortgage on their $5M house in the past six months, or on their $500K sports car, or on their $1M boat? In a waiting game my money is on the owner who didn't make their fortune through basketball and for the most part don't solely depend on basketball to make a living. Sure, the stars have endorsement money but what about the majority of the league? The stars rule the payroll but I assure you that majority rules the PA.

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    Quote Apollo wrote: View Post
    There is a good reason for why they won't all jointly leave the NBA and form their own league. First off, where are they going to play? Most owners own their arena, have lots of seats, executive boxes and the cost for a night if bball is much cheaper than renting an arena. Second, how many of these players have experience running anything? Third, imagine how much of a pay cut most of them would have to take by forming a new league and starting over. Fourth, you then have the risk of it tanking. Fifth, a new league would have trouble keeping players from leaving for Europe where top teams could pay more for top talent.
    Let me replay to each of these items:

    * games could be staged in college stadiums or stadiums where the current NBA owners do not have any ownership stake, which is more than you might think.

    * The players association would hire executives to run the day-to-day operations of the players league.

    * The players would not have to take any pay cut. Their own brands are far more valuable collectively than the NBA brand is. Who would want to watch an NBA full of also-rans if the best players in the world, eg. Lebron James, KB24, Carmelo, Bosh, CP3, et al. are playing in the players league? No one says "I want to watch this NBA game because it's the NBA and the NBA is the NBA!", they say "I want to watch this NBA game because of the stars that are playing". The players have all of the power, because it is their own labour that is the product.

    * There's no risk of it tanking. It has the best players in the world. It would tank if everyone suddenly lost interest in basketball.

    * European teams could not pay more than a players league the way I have it set up, especially when Euroleague teams are notorious for not delivering on the terms of the contracts.

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    Quote Brandon wrote: View Post
    Let me replay to each of these items:

    * games could be staged in college stadiums or stadiums where the current NBA owners do not have any ownership stake, which is more than you might think.
    How much is it going to cost to rent a stadium for 82 games? How difficult is it going to be to design a schedule for 30 teams when they're all battling for time at their local college stadium?

    Quote Brandon wrote: View Post
    * The players association would hire executives to run the day-to-day operations of the players league.
    Why would NBA executives leave a good situation to take a huge gamble on some makeshift league?

    Quote Brandon wrote: View Post

    * The players would not have to take any pay cut. Their own brands are far more valuable collectively than the NBA brand is. Who would want to watch an NBA full of also-rans if the best players in the world, eg. Lebron James, KB24, Carmelo, Bosh, CP3, et al. are playing in the players league? No one says "I want to watch this NBA game because it's the NBA and the NBA is the NBA!", they say "I want to watch this NBA game because of the stars that are playing". The players have all of the power, because it is their own labour that is the product.
    Why would the LeBron's, the Kobe's, etc. want to walk away from the NBA? They're going to make more there than in some makeshift league? The reason the owners want pay cuts is because they can't balance the books. How is some new league, with no assets, and no credibility going to pull in more money than the NBA does? David Stern has propelled the NBA forward in the past 20 years a great deal. I don't really think a bunch of NBA castoff executives is going to be able to negotiate better T.V. deals, better merchandising deals and lower overhead costs. I think expenses would be much higher and revenues would be lower. The players would take big time hits and as I said earlier a lot of these guys probably can't afford to go without their current pay cheques for all that long. Then add in stresses due to the recession. Then there's the risk of it all. Not sure how to get all the stars to take such a huge risk and ditto for the little guys.

    A league run by the players would be a different product. I'm happy with the current product, I just don't want to see Hedo Turkoglu making $10M a year to perform at the same level as a guy making 75% of that. I'd like to see more balance in the current system. Nice dream for the players Brandon but that dream doesn't help you or I, in fact I think it would hurt us, the fans. The NHL is now healthy after restructuring and the league is slowly growing. I want to see the NBA in a healthy place. The player will have to bite the bullet this time, the economy is highly volatile and unstable right now. I'm sure some of the players are also supporting their families. There is much more a stake for them than the Benz and their water front properties as well...

    I'll leave you with one last question. The NBA took decades to hammer out their current revenue streams and get everything down to a science. How long do you think it would take to reinvent the wheel? Me? I think far longer than an NBA lockout.
    Last edited by Apollo; Thu Feb 25th, 2010 at 11:53 AM.

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    Why would the LeBron's, the Kobe's, etc. want to walk away from the NBA? They're going to make more there than in some makeshift league? The reason the owners want pay cuts is because they can't balance the books. How is some new league, with no assets, and no credibility going to pull in more money than the NBA does? David Stern has propelled the NBA forward in the past 20 years a great deal.
    I don't agree with any of that, really. The players might leave the NBA to work for themselves. The players would not make more in a league where they have no stake or share after their all-too-brief playing careers are over than they would in a league where they have a lifetime stake. Certain owners in certain markets can't make money because they're incompetent, for the most part. They got to their positions as NBA owners because they were good at greasing the political system for their own benefit. The franchise model isn't particularly efficient in sports. A players league would divide all money amongst the players and various funds according to their contributions. It's untrue to say a players league would have no assets. It would have the best players in the world and all of the investors they could attract. David Stern serves the interests of his employers, the owners. The most noticeable thing he's done in his time is to add hundreds of millions in expansion fees to the owners, and pull a team out of Seattle.

    The NBA took decades to wait for talents like Bird, Magic, Jordan, Barkley et al. to emerge. That's why the NBA became so popular, not because of the genius of the owners, but the talents and efforts of the players.

    Are you honest-to-God serious that you would not rather watch a league full of well-constructed teams with coachable players playing their hardest every night than what we see now? You wouldn't rather see Turkoglu gone now than wait 4 years until his deal is expiring and he's nailed to the end of the bench at 35?

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    Ugh, the reason for the financial woes league wide is mostly due to the recession. Millions of people in the states have lost their jobs and cannot find work. Millions of people in the states have been forced to take pay decreases. Millions of people have lost their homes due to foreclosures. Some entire states are teetering on bankruptcy. Yes, states, as in state governments. The American government is $57T(trillion) in debt. The American government accumulated more debt in the past couple years than in its entire past history combined. We just saw one residential mortgage crisis and we're going to see another. On top of that there is a commercial real estate crisis starting. What has transpired in the U.S. to date is just a taste of what's to come. Its getting so bad that there are murmurs of some countries wanting the U.S. dollar removed as the World reserve currency. You have a country like China, who could someday soon decide it wants to bite the bullet, cut its loses and get rid of their U.S. bonds. If that happens you could see a U.S. dollar crash. What I'm telling you is that the NBA is in hard times right now because the whole country is in hard times. The entraprenuers who you threw under the bus aren't incompetent. You don't make that sort of cash by being incompetent. Mark Cuban damn well is a business genius. The NBA is in trouble right now because the country is in trouble. The country is in trouble because of crooks on Wall St. harvesting "the little guy's" money, their country is in trouble by 95% of the wealth is held by 5% of the population, their country is in trouble because their money is printed and controlled by a private corporation known as the Federal Reserve, their country is in trouble because they cut jobs by the tens of thousands, outsource them to china and then turn around and create a thousand jobs and pat themselves on the back job well done. The players can't beat the economy if those fat cats you accuse of "greasing the wheel of congress" can't.

    If you car doesn't start you can't blame it on the spark plugs if the darn battery is dead.
    Last edited by Apollo; Thu Feb 25th, 2010 at 01:20 PM.

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    If you don't have money you can't afford to watch games on cable or satellite.
    If you don't have money you can't afford to buy tickets.
    If you don't have money you can't afford to buy merchandise.
    If you don't have money the league can't rely on you to help pay the $5M/yr to the current "Spreewells" so that they can "feed their children".

    Just trying to make my point clear here. We're sheltered from a lot of what's going on State side because our dollar, system and economy is much stronger and stable.
    Last edited by Apollo; Thu Feb 25th, 2010 at 01:28 PM.

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