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Posts Tagged ‘Bird Rights’

Would the Big Three Take Less to Help the Miami Heat?

June 21st, 2014 5 comments
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Update (6/28): I wrote the following article several weeks ago, and posted it exactly one week ago. Since that time, several things have changed (e.g., the Heat traded up in the draft to select Shabazz Napier, several Heat players opted out of their contracts, the Heat have been rumored to be seeking a trade partner for Norris Cole, etc.), which slightly alter the figures presented in this post. This table provides an updated depiction of the hypothetical situation described below.

The day LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh agreed to join together with the Miami Heat in the summer of 2010, they laid out a plan. They would each play four years together, then re-evaluate. They each signed nine-figure, six-year deals containing opt out rights prior to the final two. They were expecting titles. We all were.

Through the first three of those years, all was as projected to be. Three straight NBA Finals appearances, two straight titles. But that was before this past year turned into a disaster, before they got throttled by the San Antonio Spurs.

James, Wade and Bosh are all on vacation now, a sort of rejuvenation for a trio who have played more basketball over a four year stretch than any other in league history. They will each take some time to consider their futures, to consider whether or not they wish to terminate their contracts.

The wait is unnerving. It is a reminder that the Heat and James, in particular, have a very uncertain future together, that his potential free agency, which could arrive in just days, looms over this city with as much significance as did Wade’s four years ago. It’s caused us to lose our equilibrium. It’s caused us to lose our perspective. We need to “get a grip” on reality. The Miami Heat, as presently constructed, can still be a championship-caliber team.

Sure, the team has it flaws. Lots of them. And they need to be addressed. But we, as fans, are hoping for much more than that. Cutting corners in the repair of a leaky dam will eventually cause it to burst. Like it did in 2006-07. Which caused 2007-08. Nothing short of a complete overhaul, then, will appease us.

A tear down and restructure requires sacrifice. It requires James, Wade and Bosh to each opt out of his contract and take less. Much less. It’s the only way. But is it possible?  Read more…

How Bird Rights Work

January 17th, 2010 No comments
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By February 1983, the financial health of the NBA was in serious doubt.

The majority of the league’s 23 teams were losing money. Six – the Cleveland Cavaliers, Denver Nuggets, Indiana Pacers, Kansas City Kings, San Diego Clippers, Utah Jazz – were on the verge of financial collapse. Some, including the Clippers and Kings, nearly provoked a player strike in 1982 as they fell behind on their deferred payments to former players, as the league totaled an estimated $80 million to $90 million in deferred money owed to players.

The NBA’s previous Collective Bargaining Agreement had expired on June 1, 1982.

Seeking relief from skyrocketing player salaries, the NBA was pushing the players union for sweeping changes.

It was proposing to guarantee the players a fixed percentage of league revenues, the first revenue-sharing plan of its kind in team sports. Under the plan, the owners were offering 40 percent of gross revenues up to $250 million, and 30 percent of revenues above $250 million.

In return, management wanted a hard cap placed on each team’s player payroll. The cap would reflect the fixed percentage of league revenues.

At the time, there were no caps or floors on team payrolls, which ranged from the $1.1 million that the Pacers were spending annually on their players to the $4.5 million spent by the champion Philadelphia 76ers.

The union was open to a fixed-percentage plan in concept. It would give them access not to gate revenues but also to the potential growth from lucrative new network and cable television contracts. It was pushing for the players to receive 55 percent of the league’s gross revenues.

Negotiations had been dragging on for eight months. More than half of the 1982-83 season had been played without a new deal in place. The players, frustrated with the lack of progress, imposed an April 2 strike deadline. If an agreement could not be reached by then, they would refuse to finish playing the season. The regular season was to end on April 17, and was followed by playoffs on which the league counted heavily for its revenues.

The primary stumbling block was not the split of league-generated revenues – the NBA had over the course of numerous bargaining sessions increased its proposal to an even 50-50 split, leaving just a five point spread from the players’ 55 percent demand, which it too had indicated was negotiable – but rather the immediate imposition of a first ever modern day salary cap in professional sports.  Read more…

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