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NBA releases Basketball Related Income audit 07.22.11 at 6:03 pm ET
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The NBA and NBPA released its audit of basketball related income (BRI) for the 2010-11 season late on Friday afternoon and among the findings revealed by the league:

  • BRI increased by 4.8 percent from $3.643 billion in 2009-10 to $3.817 billion in 2010-11.
  • Total player compensation also increased by 4.8 percent from $2.076 billion in 2009-10 to $2.176 billion in 2010-11.  This marks the sixth consecutive season that player compensation increased under the expired CBA.
  • Total player compensation equaled 57 percent of BRI.
  • The average player salary for the 2010-11 season was $5.15 million. Over the six-year term of the expired CBA, the average player salary increased by a total of 16 percent.

A couple of things to keep in mind from the league’s release.

Under the expired CBA, player salaries are directly tied into the BRI with 57 percent set as the cut-off figure. In other words, the system worked as it was intended as the players received 57 percent of the BRI. Their salaries are tied to basketball revenues and so when the latter increases, so does the former.

The key word in the last part is total: as in the cumulative total over a six-year period is 16 percent, not a 16 percent rise from one year to the next.

This is spin on the part of the NBA, which has claimed that teams are losing money even as revenue has increased, owing mostly to rising player salaries. They will also undoubtedly counter that other expenses are rising that don’t affect the BRI and thus the player’s salaries. The union has proposed cutting that 57 percent number, but the owners want a total overhaul of the system.

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Delonte West debuts ‘Lockout’ mixtape at 1:53 pm ET
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Free agent combo guard Delonte West released two songs — “It’s Bout 2 Go Down” featuring KayeM and “Mr. Magnificent” featuring Rudy — from his upcoming mixtape, appropriately dubbed “Lockout.” Of course, you’ll probably remember Delonte’s rap about Kentucky Fried Chicken, which has more than 655,000 views on YouTube.

The release of the two music videos comes just a day after West’s agent Jarinn Akana told ESPN.com that — while he will consider overseas offers — the Celtics remain his No. 1 destination this offseason. West averaged 5.6 points on 45.8 percent shooting along with 2.7 assists and 1.6 rebounds in 18.9 minutes over 24 games during his injury-plagued season.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Delonte West, KayeM, NBA lockout
What we know about Celtics’ financial situation 07.21.11 at 4:10 pm ET
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In case you haven’t heard, NBA owners have locked out their players, and the outlook appears grim, as Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck is among a group willing to lose the entire 2011-12 season over the labor dispute.

Grousbeck and the rest of the ownership group purchased the Celtics in late 2002 for a then-record $360 million, taking on $180 million in debt. Forbes.com valued the franchise at $452 million after their near-title 2009-10 season, a 65.0 percent increase in value since the 2001-02 season.

Before we put how much the Celtics have made — and stand to make — from their new TV deal into perspective, let’s take a year-by-year look at how the Celtics have done financially since the current owners took helm …

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Celtics, Dwight Howard, gilbert arenas, NBA lockout
Lockout links: July 12 07.12.11 at 9:00 pm ET
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We’re almost two weeks into the NBA lockout and while there’s a whole lot of nothing happening on the labor front — no talks, no proposals, no urgency to get a deal done — the league hasn’t quite gone to sleep. Here’s a look at some of the news that’s been making the rounds while we sit around and wait.

ITEM: Minnesota fires Kurt Rambis

Minnesota finally got around to firing Rambis three weeks after it had been reported that that was the plan all along. It was an embarrassing situation for a franchise that has devolved into train-wreck vaudeville under general manager David Kahn.

Rambis may not have earned a third season after winning just 32 games over two seasons with an ill-fitting triangle offense and not even a hint of defense (his resistance to playing Kevin Love in his first season didn’t help matters either). That’s fine, but the way this played out was unnecessarily silly. (Read this Yahoo report on how Kahn tried to kick Rambis upstairs).

Now the Wolves need a new coach and here’s where it gets interesting. Up and coming assistant J.B. Bickerstaff has reportedly left for Houston, along with former college coach Kelvin Sampson, to join Kevin McHale‘s new coaching staff. But Yahoo reports that Bickerstaff’s father, veteran coach Bernie Bickerstaff, is in the mix.

Also mentioned is University of Washington coach Lorenzo Romar, which is curious, and (shocker!) Don Nelson would be interested in coming out of retirement for a shot at the job. The jokes just write themselves.

Under normal circumstances, the Timberwolves would be an attractive opening as they have nowhere to go but up and a bevy of talented players including Love, rookie Derrick Williams and the mysterious Ricky Rubio. But then you remember that Kahn is calling the shots.

What was it that Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver said as the lockout commenced?

“We need a sustainable business model that allows all 30 teams to be able to compete for a championship, fairly compensates our players, and provides teams, if well-managed, with an opportunity to be profitable.”

If well-managed. Right. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Kevin Durant, Kurt Rambis, NBA lockout, Yao Ming
Would locked out Celtics consider signing overseas? 07.08.11 at 5:16 pm ET
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Almost 50 years after The Beatles led The British Invasion of rock bands into the popular culture in the United States, none of the self-proclaimed Heatles have committed to participate in what increasingly appears to be an invasion of NBA players into basketball leagues overseas.

But that’s not to say none of the NBA’s superstars aren’t (triple negative!) considering overseas options while the league’s owners have locked out the players with the absence of a collective bargaining agreement. A different wrinkle in this Eurasian Invasion pops up almost every day.

Nets point guard Deron Williams is leading the charge of superstars attempting to create leverage for the players, as he reportedly agreed in principal to a one-year, $5 million deal with Turkey-based (get it?) Besiktas should the NBA’s lockout last through the summer. Upstart Canadian National Basketball League has already extended invites to the likes of Dirk Nowitzi and LeBron James. Imports like Zaza Pachulia, Andrei Kirilenko, Marco Belinelli, Patrick Mills and Carlos Delfino are all considering returning overseas. Free agent veterans like Sonny Weems and undrafted free agents like David Lighty have already agreed to deals that will keep them in Europe even if there is a 2011-12 NBA season. And Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant has discussed the possibility of leading a group of players represented by his agent, Rob Pelinka, on an exhibition tour of China.

It’s hard to believe that Nenad Krstic started this trend, snubbing the Celtics and other free-agent center pursuers to sign with CSKA Moscow for two years and $9.8 million. With new rumors emerging every day, are the Celtics in danger of losing any other members of the 2010-11 roster overseas?

Let’s examine the potential for Celtics to explore options abroad …

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Carlos Arroyo, Deron Williams, Kobe Bryant
Adrian Wojnarowski on M&M: NBA Owners ‘want rollbacks on current contracts’ 07.01.11 at 2:52 pm ET
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Yahoo! Sports’€™ Adrian Wojnarowski joined the Mut & Merloni show Friday to discuss the NBA lockout. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

Wojnarowski got right to business, making it clear that both sides of the lockout — the owners and the NBA Players Association — are prepared to dig in for the long haul.

“I think there’s a real chance that they lose a whole season with this lockout,” Wojnarowski said. “I don’t claim to be an expert on the NFL labor dispute. I’m not sure I’m an expert on the NBA’s yet, but I don’t think they’re looking to change the structure of things in the NFL. In the NBA, they’re changing the structure, and really the whole system. That’s not going to come easily. I think the comparison is what happened in hockey, where they tried to put the hard cap, and they lost the full season in ’04-’05. I think that’s where we may be headed with this stoppage. There’s no doubt in my mind they will miss games, and they’ll be where they were in ’98, where it’s either going to be a shortened 50-game regular season, or they cancel the whole thing.”

On the timing of the lockout:

“I think the NBA’€™s in a different place than the NHL was then,” Wojnarowski said. “The NBA is at the height of interest and popularity.”

He added: “The game’€™s never been more popular, watched certainly globally, but here the interest from what happened last year in free agency with LeBron, whether people love him or hate him they all watched. Boston has been good, your marquee markets have been very good again. Boston, L.A., Chicago, New York is having a bit of a revival. I think it’€™s a dangerous time for the league. I think the players are going to have to give. I think they know they’re going to have to give back, but I think right now, to me, there are so many organizations in the NBA, so many bad owners, poorly run franchises who want to blame competitive balance on the fact that they don’t do their jobs very well.  There are enough small-market examples — San Antonio, Oklahoma City, Detroit for a very long stretch without a superstar player, who have shown you can do it. While I understand there’s got to be some tightening up here, there’s no question, I think a lot of this the owners, they’re looking to have the players dig them out of a hole that in many instances, they’ve created for themselves.”

Concerning how current contracts will be handled:

“They want rollbacks on the current contracts. They want rollbacks. This is my feeling on contracts in the NBA. I think that star players, the elite players, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Derrick Rose, even like a Blake Griffin who comes in the league and is selling out arenas on the road in his first year. What Clippers games have ever sold out anywhere? This year I live in Jersey and I was going to take my son to a Nets-Clippers game because he wanted to see Blake Griffin and it was sold out. And I said, ‘€˜How could a Clippers-Nets game be sold out? Wow, Blake Griffin.’€™ Those guys, generally are to me underpaid for what they do for television, for the interest.

“And I think a lot of probably the middle class might be overpaid. A lot of those guys are probably more interchangeable than they want to believe they are. They don’€™t put people in stands. What will happen is while their salaries are going to go down, the superstar player is probably going to be very underpaid compared to what they’€™re worth for these franchises. But, what they do want is rollbacks on the current deals. What the owners proposed right now, they’€™re looking at 25 percent, 20 percent rollbacks on an existing deal you already have now. That’€™s going to be hard to swallow for guys, not just on your next deal, but on your current deal. You’€™re going to lose money on a deal you’€™ve already agreed to.”

The owners have announced that 22 of 30 teams lost money last season. Both Wojnarowski and the players association aren’t sold on that number.

“I’€™m not an economist and I don’€™t have access to their books, but I know on the players’€™ side, they feel like a lot of these numbers get cooked,” Wojnarowski said.

Added Wonjnarowski: “I know the union doesn’€™t believe there are 22 teams losing money, not with the way teams have spent. You know you look at free agency, I was talking to a GM last night and he said he was watching actually the lockout press conference and he started going through every deal done last summer and said, ‘€˜I counted about $220 million in bad contracts done in our league last summer.’€™ So all the owners are crying poverty. They’€™re still spending money. And it certainly leads you to believe, and not necessarily wisely, I don’€™t believe there are 22 teams losing money in the NBA. Now, are there a few? Yeah. And if you’€™re going to look at places with arenas empty, Minnesota or New Jersey, but half the places they’€™ve not run their franchises very well either. It’€™s not just because they can’€™t spend like the Celtics or Lakers or other teams. It’€™s because they haven’€™t done a good job drafting, making deals, hiring coaches and yet you never hear them take accountability for that because like I said, we’€™ve seen the Spurs do it, we’€™ve seen the Thunder do it, we’€™ve seen a bunch of small-market teams be able to do it.”

Former Celtic Nenad Krstic recently signed a two-year deal to play in Europe for CSKA Moscow. Wojnarowski expects others to follow.

“I think you’€™re going to see that,” he said. “The problem right now is that a few years ago overseas was a big threat and then the euro crashed. There aren’€™t as many teams in Europe as there were a few years ago. There was a couple years there where, you know, Josh Childress had a $6 million a year deal in Europe. Those deals aren’€™t there anymore for those kind of guys. If a front line NBA guy wants to go over there, he can get a good contract. The middle-of-the-road, the middle-class guys who were going over there and really getting paid well, getting paid more than they could get with say the veterans minimum here or even like a $1.8, $2.2 million deal, they could get a little better over there. That money isn’€™t really there anymore. So you will see more guys go over there. Now for Krstic it was easy because he’€™s from Europe and he has a comfort level there. But I think you’€™ll see a few more guys sign up like that, fringe guys, but the guys who are under contract and aren’€™t free agents right now, they’€™re going to have to ride it out.”

Read More: Adrian Wojnarowski, Mut & Merloni, NBA lockout,
Is Wyc Grousbeck willing to lose entire NBA season? at 9:30 am ET
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The NBA officially entered a lockout at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, and while positive signs are emerging from the NFL camp, more and more questions are developing about whether NBA owners and players can negotiate a collective bargaining agreement before the league starts losing games.

In fact, some owners are willing to lose the entire 2011-12 NBA season in order to get what they want, and Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck is among them, according to Yahoo! Sports columnist Adrian Wojnarowski:

Back in the labor talks of 2005, Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck would say over and over in the negotiating sessions: The lockout is an investment.

Grousbeck smartened up, kept that thought to himself, but rest assured the mindset hasn’€™t changed. He’€™s one of the owners believed to be willing to lose the next season, along with Phoenix’€™s Robert Sarver.

While the Celtics are thought to be one of the few teams that could actually benefit from a shortened season — considering the aging legs of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Jermaine O’Neal — only Grousbeck would benefit from a lost season, as $31.2 million worth of Garnett and Allen would come off the books. That is, unless you think Dwight Howard is wearing green if and when the 2012-13 season comes around.

Read More: Boston Celtics, NBA lockout, Wyc Grousbeck,
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