Going for broke ……..

Going for broke

I find it simply amazing the gullibility of today`s sports fan and a belief that they seem to have that because a franchise owner (NBA) is steeped in billions . There is no simplicity to the madness, that an owner can simply spend tens of millions of dollars on talent, in seeking to gain success overnight. Rarely has that been known to happen overnight and more often than not , the franchise itself may well have lost just as much as the owner has spent in acquiring the athletes to fulfill their dreams. Nowhere has this been more self-explanatory than with the fortunes of the Dallas Mavericks and Miami Heat in recent years . The two franchises in question are the winners of the last three NBA titles . Team owners Mark Cuban and Micky Arison are amongst the wealthiest owners in North American sports , with their names to be found amongst the Forbes` 400 wealthiest Americans. That in of-itself, is by no means a guarantee of their alleged successes as owners of a sport`s franchise. For years, both the Heat and Mavericks toiled in the obscurity of the NBA, as other more illustrious franchises held the limelight and the glare of the spotlight before attaining the success denoted in their respective histories.

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For the Dallas Mavericks after a disappointing season , during which the team posted a 41-41 record , good enough for tenth place in the Western Conference . The front office led by GM Donn Nelson and head coach Rick Carlisle , in conjunction with Mark Cuban sought to revamp the roster of last season , in the hope of building a competitive contender for the upcoming year . What has become abundantly clear with the Mavericks` owner in recent years , was that money was of no object , as he chose to offer king`s ransom to any player willing to sign with the Texas-based franchise . At the height of the executives` capricious spending in seeking to lure some of the top-flight free agents , Mavericks` payroll was as high as $92.5 million during the 2008-09 season . As the sixth seed for that year in the Western Conference , the team would meet the San Antonio Spurs in the first round of the NBA Playoffs . The Mavericks` foray in the postseason would be short-lived as they would fall to the Denver Nuggets in the conference semi-finals 4-1 .

Fueled by that loss, Mark Cuban continually spent money unwisely in the chase for that elusive first NBA title, and along the way racking up losses for the Mavericks` franchise in excess of $103 million . Now one should bear in mind also that the NBA did have a soft salary cap in place , with teams exceeding the cap being penalized under the luxury tax penalty structure. . For the teams who sought to exceed that cap , NBA Commissioner David Stern and the league hierarchy continued to sell the fans a “ bill of goods“ , knowing full well that the financial health of the league`s teams were nowhere as healthy as he was trying to suggest . Between 2009 and 2011 the league`s executive committee ( hierarchy) sought financing from major financial institutions to aid teams around the NBA , who were said to suffering acute financial problems . The sum borrowed exceeded over $515 million . At the time , NBA Commissioner David Stern stated that … “monies received by these franchises should not be viewed as a bailout , but merely a way to aid the teams overcome what had been a difficult period for the NBA in the midst of an economic downturn that was adversely affecting the country “ . So good to know that at the time the league could avail itself over of a half billion dollars ($500,000,000) , while small businesses around the country could not be facilitated with a small business loan . Your thoughts on that specifically ? From 2003 to 2011 , the NBA and its teams have received financing exceeding $2.3 billion ($2,300,000,000) and yet it would appear that the greed of the league and its owners seem almost boundless .

The 2010-11 season would see the rise of the Dallas Mavericks , as the team led by Dirk Nowitzki , would finally slay the dragon , on their way to a rather surprising Finals` victory (4-2) over the highly favored Miami Heat , who were at the time were led by their trio of NBA All Stars , LeBron James , Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh . What took place during those series of games was a testament to the strength of the Mavericks and what I believe to be the sheer arrogance and complacency of the players on the Heat`s roster . Nowitzki would come away with the Finals` MVP award and adding to his legacy as perhaps the best European to have played in the NBA during its history.

This upcoming season the Dallas Mavericks will be built around Dirk Nowitzki as the central focus point of a team looking to get younger . As to how they will fare against much younger and far more athletic rosters within the Western Conference will be predicated upon the defensive and offensive capabilities , and how they are able to play in transition . The veteran forward will be looked upon to be and provide a large part of the team`s offensive productivity, Something that the player has been able provide for the franchise over the majority of his career. And it is proof , to the testament of his game and the longevity of his career.

The NBA Draft of 2003, literally provided the NBA with a plethora of stars , that over the past decade have provided the league with one of its richest era during the NBA`s existence . If you simply peruse the list of players taken over the first two rounds , you can see undeniably, that a number of those stars players are still around and very productive within the NBA. . Granted , there were a few hits and misses made by a number of teams in the assessment of the players drafted .

Lebron James taken number one overall, by the Cleveland Cavaliers would be followed by Darko Milicic , taken by the Detroit Pistons . A pick that many believe was so stupid in the sheer gullibility and lack of thought made by Pistons` GM Joe Dumars . The pick would set the franchise back for a number of years , due to Milicic`s lack of productivity , but the Pistons would somehow come through to pull off what I believe to the biggest upsets in NBA Finals` history over the past two decades , when they simply outplayed the Los Angeles Lakers on their way to the 2004 NBA Finals` championship (4-1) .

The Miami Heat`s success in acquiring their first title was built around the premise and skill-set of Dwyane Wade and surrounding him with players complementary of his skills . Wade along with center Shaquille O`Neal , Jason Williams , Gary Payton , Alonzo Mourning , Michael Doleac , Dorell Wright and other role players . Then head coach Stan Van Gundy would be ousted from his position in 2006, as the team would go on to make that season`s NBA Finals. While the controversy concerning Van Gundy`s ouster had more to do with is souring relationship with central figures O`Neal and Wade . It was widely known, that Heat team President Pat Riley sought one last shot at winning a title as a head coach. Riley denies that Van Gundy`s ouster was anything more than his desire to return to a head coaching role. Riley would excel in leading the Miami Heat to their first NBA title along with Wade`s bravura postseason performances that would also see him garner a Finals` MVP award as the team derailed the hopes of the Dallas Mavericks that season .

Micky Arison and Pat Riley would not let team expenditure in terms of the payroll be a hindrance to what was their ultimate goal . Winning that elusive first title would prove to be profitable, but also create even bigger problems going into that off-season . From a team high payroll of $119 million and with the salary cap of $49.5 million , Miami during the off-season paid just over $70 million to the league hierarchy in luxury taxes. Teams surpassing the cap figure were imposed with the customary dollar-for-dollar penalty, as mandated under the collective bargaining agreement. . The team`s payroll would drop from the aforementioned figure to a more manageable $78.2 million for the following season , but still remaining above the league mandated cap (soft salary cap) .

A patron of this site whose business acumen as such simply revolved around zeroes and the wealth of NBA franchise owners, was of the opinion that the Brooklyn Nets merely because of having acquired Kevin Garnett , Jason Terry and Paul Pierce would be a competitive franchise with the prowess of Deron Williams , Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez . The fact that the addition of the former Celtics trio adds an additional $33 million to the team`s already bloated payroll for the upcoming season which will be set at $ 102.7 million , ranking the Nets` payroll atop of the league`s thirty teams . In the past two seasons Nets` owner Mikhail Prokorov has squandered in excess of $250 million in payroll and luxury tax fees on a franchise , whose playoff run was a single appearance last season , that ended rather abruptly in a first round playoff series` loss , with the team itself , being less than competitive , lacking in leadership and any heart , in being able to play , even a modicum of defense during the postseason . Yet somehow, here was an individual now rather vainly and I do believe idiotically, trying to extol the virtues of a team where three aged veterans will not be able to truly contribute to a roster lacking in leadership and who will now have a rather inexperienced head coach at the helm, in Jason Kidd . The Brooklyn Nets are simply an organization looking to keep up with many of their more illustrious luminaries , while simply believing tat throwing money at an issue is the ultimately the best way to solve it , without showing any real knowledge of know what it is they are doing .

In the subsequent years between the Miami Heat winning first NBA title to successfully making a defense of their second title won in 2012. The franchise has seen a number of highs and lows . None more so, than the less than celebratory departure of Shaquille O`Neal and the we ill will between the player and the organization . During the intervening years , there have been multi-million dollar losses , $140 million u in total , upheaval of the rosters and a change of coaches. Pat Riley`s protege Erik Spoelstra succeeded Pat Riley in 2008 , and the young head coach brought a about a great deal of stability and , with the players buying into his coaching style and blend of youthful exuberance .

The biggest coup for the franchise however , was Pat Riley`s engineering of the deals that would bring both LeBron James and Chris Bosh to the team , along with the re-signing of Dwyane Wade. An immediate impact could be felt on the franchise’s bottom line and that proved to be fortuitous along with the astonishing rise in attendance for the organization . Teams at home facing the Miami Heat saw an immediate attendance spike , alongside concession sales . There is a unique business principle that comes into play , something I believe that is often overlooked by inane fans, simply making pronouncements about teams and their willingness to simply spend money on a whim . If you are going to make such a presumptive statement , at least have the temerity to back it up with something more substantive , than that is a good team, simply because of the makeup of the roster and the fact that the team`s owner has a great deal of money to spend . It simply shows ignorance and even more so, a lack of understanding about the economics of a sport that is not solely about X`s and O`s.

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LeBron James, since his entry into the NBA as proven to be everything the analysts and fans believed him to be. The accolades received, have been a testament to that fact , as his game has become more well-rounded , along with a leadership ability , the respect of his peers and the growing belief now , that he could very well over the next five or so years reach the unprecedented heights of surpassing almost every feat achieved by his boyhood idol Michael Jordan . There is no denying that James` decision to come to Miami, was not only of benefit to the player, but a major part in the turnaround of the franchise and the economic impact brought to the city, but quite possibly above all, to the NBA as a whole. James as now joined the rarefied air of being mentioned in the same as breath of many of the all-time greats within of the game . Justified or not, I will let you be the judge of that ! As to the statements made within this article , do you believe that the NBA can now continue on its current course, when so many of the teams choose to ignore the league`s soft salary cap ? Also , do bear in mind that in spite of the increased values of a number of the NBA franchises , a number of the organizations have acute financial issues , wherein profitability is their greatest concern . Your thoughts on this and anything else you believe pertinent to the subject matter? Chime in with a comment, as you see fit.

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Picture and slideshow gallery details below .
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(1) Pictured from left to right, are Miami Heat owner , Micky Arison , head coach Erik Spoelstra and team President Pat Riley. The trio celebrating the franchise`s 2012 triumph in winning their second NBA title . A feat that would be repeated again this past postseason with the Heat`s second consecutive title and third overall in the past six seasons . The Miami Heat hope to achieve their own historic three-peat by winning a third consecutive title in the 2013-14 season . The franchise is now a heavily backed favorite by the odds-makers in Atlantic City and Las Vegas , respectively. AP Photo /Bruce Moss …..

(2) Jason Kidd , left, is seen here alongside Dallas Mavericks` team owner Mark Cuban , head coach Rick Carlisle , Jason Terry and Dirk Nowitzki. The group are pictured just after the franchise`s triumph over the Miami Heat in the 2011 NBA Finals . Getty Images / Kim Moran ….

(3) Mikhail Prokhorov team owner of the Brooklyn Nets is seen here with former minority stake owner in the NBA franchise , rapper and entrepreneur Jay-z . The entertainer has since sold his interest in the team back to Prokhorov , having become the founder and owner of sports` management company RocNation Sports , a full consultancy sports management firm sports marketing and promotions company , managing athletes and their business portfolios . Jay`z was also licensed as a certified sports agent by the NBA, WNBA , NFL , NHL , MLB . Prokorov for his part in conjunction with team general manager Billy King in the past two seasons have spent in excess of $ 375 million on team payroll and luxury taxes for a franchise , that has yet to progress beyond the first round of the postseason since he assumed control of the Brooklyn Nets . Getty Images / Mark McNair ….

(4) Carmelo Anthony , left is seen here with LeBron James on the night of the 2003 NBA Draft . The two players were drafted in the first round by the New York Knicks and Cleveland Cavaliers respectively , with James being the number one pick overall . NBAE/Getty Images / Christopher Riggins ….

(5) LeBron James and Michael Jordan . Comparisons are now being made between the two players and their respective careers . I believe that certain similarities can be made , but on making a call upon who is said to be the better player . It should and is best left to NBA historians after the career of James has ended , and then true comparisons can be made . Matte Inc . @ copyrighted material ……..

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NB: The NBA bailout , twenty-two of the league`s thirty teams were recipients of the funds disbursed during the years mentioned .

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tophatal ……….
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Pop Goes The Weasel ……………..

Pop Goes The Weasel …..

Well it is now being widely reported that the NFL in conjunction with the NFLPA have gotten an accord wherein an agreement has been reached between the two sides. From what I’ve been led to believe it will be that the union and Commissioner Roger Goodell on behalf the team owners have suddenly had their wits about them. It took the two sides just over 100 days to suddenly realize that neither side can do without the other . At the same time I do believe that Federal Court Judge Arthur Boylan simply made both sides an offer that neither could refuse ! Either they reached a compromise or Boylan would render a decision that would most certainly have some serious repercussions for both sides.

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If the teams now get back to full practice mode with them all returning to their training facilities then quite possibly a preseason and some form of a regular season will proceed as planned . From my own perspective I think it is more liable that we will see a preseason of 2 games with regular season of 16 games as planned, kicking off on time on the 8th September . As to what this says about the NFL and in particular for the players of the NFLPA , it may well all come down to wanting to save face rather than being forced into a situation where they may have to come off on the wrong side of a legal verdict .

DeMaurice Smith as the NFLPA Executive Director now knows that he and his members face something of an uphill battle in assuring the player representatives that this is now all in their best interest. Other the flip side of this coin , Goodell’s legacy may well appear to be in tact knowing that he dodged a bullet . And for the fans of the NFL well let’s just say that there are some amongst us who feel that it’s great that the league will be back in action . I simply hope that the news that is now coming down the pike concerning the NFL has some real veracity to it and that the new CBA is equitable and amenable to all of the parties concerned !

If the actions of the NFL doesn’t have a bearing on the NBA and their own situation then quite possibly we could very well see the two sides there reach some sort of a compromise. But herein lies the caveat , NBA Commissioner David Stern as the league’s highest ranking official has ruled the NBA as if it were his own personal fiefdom . Stern’s autocratic rule would make a third world despotic tyrant feel proud of their own accomplishments and achievements. In the case of David Stern he now appears to be fighting his toughest battle yet . The NBPA in all likelihood will most certainly be against making any concessions that has them appearing weak and at the same they are not prepared to lessen their grip on the league revenues which sees them receiving a 53/47 split of the $3.95 billion that comes into the league’s coffers each season .

One wonders how it is that repeatedly when such instances arise in the wake of a hierarchy induced stoppage how it is that no foresight is shown wherein a collective bargaining agreement that the two sides prior to that expiration the two sides don’t start negotiating in advance ? That was most certainly the case with the NFL and also once again here with the NBA ! It would appear reasonable to suggest that they ought to have done that in the first place ____ starting off in good faith rather than the intense , sometimes rather animated and infantile exchanges that are said to have taken place during these negotiations between the NFL , NFLPA and now between the NBA and NBPA. Kind of makes one wonder who actually is the child here and who if anything is the adult overseeing this all ? It may well be that things will indeed have to take a real turn for the worse before any semblance of common sense is actually shown. I’m sure that Stern or his union counterpart Billy Hunter surely are not willing to have the FMCS (Federal Mediation & Conciliation Services ) or the US Federal Court intervene in this matter because should that occur then no party comes out in the end looking like a winner under any circumstance.

Now there’s a great deal to be said about the utter stupidity that has shown by the team owners , league hierarchy and in particular the general managers of the teams in the NBA . And now with a number of players now seeking to ply their trade elsewhere knowing that while a lockout remains in force they know that they are not covered in terms of insurance coverage during a league enforced lockout. Salaries , well it’s obvious that those won’t be paid at all so for the players who choose to play in Europe or elsewhere so that they can then earn a sizable sum in the midst of the stoppage and at the same time remain relatively fit is of benefit to themselves and their financial well being .

I find it somewhat naive of the fans are of the opinion feel that the league isn’t losing money but then again it all boils down the league showing very little by the way of transparency . They certainly are averse to opening their books for public scrutiny and it certainly has made David Stern look the complete idiot , when he , himself has sold the golden goose as a brand that simply was all in good standing. In the last two years Stern has made sure that teams around the league have been the financial recipients of over $600 million in loans , all of which the commissioner stated wasn’t to be viewed as a bailout . Somehow in the midst of this all David Stern is now finding out that all that glitters simply isn’t gold . Admittedly the ratings for this past season’s NBA Finals were a bonanza for ABC but the attendance for scheduled regular season games around the league saw a marked decline . Much of which has led to part of the financial instability for a number of teams. Owners such as Mikhail Prokhorov , Dan Gilbert , Joe Lacob and Peter Guber vastly overpaid for the respective franchises purchased but herein lies the caveat as in the case of Gilbert he’s amongst a number of team owners who are now cash strapped in more ways than they would actually care to admit . Nowhere is this more self evident than in the case of the Sacramento Kings and the ownership group led by Joe and Gavin_Maloof as they’ve simply looked to seek financial aid courtesy of the league hierarchy and advantageous tax exemptions from the city of Sacramento .

The plight of the Kings is by no means clear albeit that they will remain in Sacramento for one more year . Do not be surprised were the Maloofs to take off like thieves into the night with their bags packed and the city of Sacramento is left without an NBA franchise . One simply has to remember what took place with the Seattle Supersonics and their move from that city to Oklahoma City and the lies that permeated through the decision to move all orchestrated by David Stern and the Thunder ownership group led by Clay Bennett . Money may well have exchanged hands to finally facilitate the move but the city (Seattle) remains without a franchise and that simple feeling that they had been duped all along by the NBA . That once again is liable to happen with the city of Sacramento and the Sacramento Kings when it’s all said and done .

Falling attendances in an economic downturn is one thing but when the teams choose not to rein in their expenses and Stern seems to be adverse to actually initiating a hard salary cap rather than insisting that a soft cap now works for the teams. This has proven to be misplaced and even more so given the fact the commissioner has admitted that teams are hemorrhaging red ink like a corpse exsanguinate blood after receiving a nasty abdomen wound from a shotgun. I personally believe that the league hierarchy , the general managers and owners around the NBA have simply lost touched with reality . And the union and its executive committee are not that far behind in this whole asinine charade as they each look to one up each other. The league hierarchy wants to hold on to what little power it still has whereas the union simply wants the status quo to remain as is or perhaps get an even slightly larger slice of that pie.

This stoppage may well be the wake up call that this image enriched league needs to bring it back to reality. And the case can be made that much of this was simply brought about by the ambition of David Stern as he viewed that the best way to market the league was through its stars rather than the marketing of the teams . This scenario worked well when the league was in need of real vibrancy and they found it in a marketing and basketball phenom in Michael Jordan . And the rest as we say is history as the league and Jordan had some rich and wonderful years that have benefited both financially beyond their wildest dreams. Since the six time championship winning player retired from the game it has to be said that the NBA hit some lean years from a fan and attendance standpoint. Competitively the NBA is has had its ups and downs but the teams we expect to see make the NBA playoffs usually do , with there being one or two surprises along the way.

As I have alluded to earlier the league hierarchy simply are averse to any real transparency as to the their business practices and how they actually conduct their operations . The asinine situation remains is the very fact that there are fans out there who simply believe that the league can’t hit upon hard times. If they believe that to be so then simply look at the problems we now see befalling such teams as the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets are not mere hiccups . If only these fans would care to look beyond what takes place on the field of play and look to what is actually going on in the boardrooms of the teams then they would actually understand what is happening. Many of the thought processes I’ve heard _____ “we have a horrible owner and he needs to sell the team then we’d be much better off “ .

Given the situation with the economy and the asinine belief of some fans that billionaires such as Mark Cuban , Larry Ellison , Carlos Slim Helu and Eli Broad would even be interested in overpaying for a franchise that simply has seen its profits decline and many of its streams begin to dry up with the seller seemingly seeking prices that are inflated and not based on being anywhere near being realistic . Buyers simply don’t buy a sports’ franchise on a whim, they look to make sure that the purchase will be of benefit to them and that there is most certainly a chance of success before they would even consider plowing their money into such a venture . But then again that may not have been the case with the purchase made by Frank McCourt of the Los Angeles Dodgers and the sheer ineptitude shown by the team owners and baseball hierarchy in approving the deal to begin with for the sale of the team. Most certainly due diligence can’t have been used by the league hierarchy and anyone who simply believes that to have been the case has to be an idiot to begin with ! This very same hierarchy and owners voted against McCourt when he originally sought to purchase the Boston Red Sox but a mere three years later they saw fit to vote him in amongst the team owners’ fraternity by approving his purchase of the Los Angeles Dodgers . Somehow words escape me as to the mere ineptitude that has been shown by Bud Selig , the league hierarchy and in fact the team owners of Major League Baseball !

Dan Gilbert though a multi millionaire is now finding out the hard way having seen the marked decline in the value of the Cleveland Cavaliers but at the same time he’s having to pay down the principal and interest having purchased the team by way of a loan from a major financial institution. This could very well be one of the numerous reasons why we are now seeing a number of owners beginning to voice their disapproval with the way that Stern has handled the matter but somehow they remain steadfast in their support of the commissioner and league hierarchy for now. Long time owners having bought their teams relatively cheap simply haven’t that much to worry about in large part but there are those recently new team owners that have spent hundreds of millions in their purchase that have yet to see anything tangible from that purchase by way of success or in the form of a profitability standpoint.

So apparently as one door closes another is still left ajar as the NBA continues with its own form of infighting . It will be interesting to see what now permeates between the two sides and how each looks to make their presentation of their case for the public’s consumption. I doubt that the vast majority of the league’s fans actually favor one side or another but they would simply be rather content to see both sides reach an agreement rather than what could turn out to be a rather bitter dispute between the two parties . It’s bad enough that the public has to endure that same sort of stupidity with the members of the House and Senate up on Capitol Hill without it now having to be shown of all places within the domain of big time professional sports . But this simply has become a microcosm of our society and when greed rather than common sense gets in the way of a real issue then for all sense and purpose stupidity sets in and ‘pop goes the weasel ‘.

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If the related news is said to be true are you happy that the NFL will be back in full swing with a scheduled formatted season of games to be played ? And what are your own thoughts on the NBA’s self imposed lockout and how do you see that scenario ending ? Simply leave a comment as to your thoughts and as always thanks for the continued support .

Alan aka tophatal ……. https://tophatal.wordpress.com

NB : At the time of writing this piece the news concerning an agreement having been reached between the NFL and NFLPA _ no formal statement had yet to be issued , so as of now things still remain as they are .

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(1) Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert talks with the media at a press availability at the Cleveland Clinic Courts in Independence, Ohio on Tuesday, June 8, 2010. AP Photo/Amy Sancetta …..

(2) Larry Ellison, chairman and CEO of Oracle Corp., talks about his company during an interview Monday, May 8, 2000, in Dallas. Ellison, who unveiled a $199 Internet machine before an audience of students at a performing arts high school, said Oracle will donate more than 1,100 of the machines to 23 Dallas schools. The machine, which lacks a hard drive, is targeted at the education and consumer markets. Ellison the founder of Oracle is an ardent basketball fan who lost out in trying to acquire the Golden State Warriors earlier this year. AP Photo/Tim Sharp ……

(3) Billionaire real estate mogul and philanthropist Eli Broad . Courtesy of Forbes Magazine / Joe Puglise @ all rights reserved copyrighted material …

(4) David Stern (left) and Oklahoma City Thunder principal managing partner Clay Bennett are seen here at an NBA game in Oklahoma City , OK. AP Photo / Gabriel Barnes …….

(5) NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, left, and National Football League Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith speak to reporters outside the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Sarasota, Fla., after speaking at the NFLPA’s rookie symposium, Wednesday, June 29, 2011. AP Photo/Brian Blanco ………

(6) (L-R) Brothers George Maloof, Gavin Maloof and Joe Maloof watch a preseason game between the Sacramento Kings and the Los Angeles Lakers at the Thomas & Mack Center October 13, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Lakers won 98-95 . Getty Images North America /Ethan Miller ……

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