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Roberts: Players Won't Buy Owners' Cries Of Poverty

Adam Silver's recently declared that "roughly a third" of NBA teams are still losing money, but Michele Roberts isn't buying the commissioner's claims.

"The NBA's cries of poverty will not work this time," said Roberts, who was recently named executive director of the NBPA.

Both sides are preparing for a battle in 2017 over the collective bargaining agreement.

"I can say that I was more than surprised," Roberts told Yahoo Sports in an interview. "I am not suggesting that Adam is telling a lie. I am sure that the owners told him that. But it's difficult for me to believe that, especially after looking at the 2011 CBA negotiations and seeing all the money the players don't have now. There's $1.1 billion that the players would've been otherwise entitled.

 

"I find it very difficult to appreciate how any owners could suggest they're still losing money. It defies common sense. We know what the franchise values are. I don't have to say '$2 billion' again and again, do I? 

"The gate receipts, the media deals. What else do you need to make money? We are not going to reengage in a process where this happens again. The NBA's cries of poverty will not fly this time."

Roberts is also skeptical of the NBA's idea of "smoothing" the salary cap.

Silver's idea, he said, is to "make a shortfall-payment directly to the union, and then they would then distribute that money, presumably proportionately to the players."

 

Roberts flatly said: "I am suspicious of any proposal where the model is based upon artificial decreases of the compensation that an individual player can negotiate.

"Historically, when salary has gone up for some, it has gone up for all. If you're not a free agent now, you may be one next year when the salary cap remains high. I have significant concerns over this."

Via Adrian Wojnarowski/Yahoo! Sports

Silver Prefers Relocation Over Expansion, '30 Teams Feels Right'

The NBA was close to returning to Seattle in 2013, but the Sacramento Kings ultimately did not relocate.

With franchise valuations at an all-time, expansion would give other NBA owners an instant influx of cash.

"I think it is possible some teams can be in different markets, but expansion is not on our agenda right now," said Silver when asked if there will be more than 30 NBA teams in United States by 2024. 

"Thirty teams feels right, part of it is not just a financial issue, but a competitive issue."

Via Howard Beck/Bleacher Report

At Least Two Western Conference Teams Pushed For Top-16 Playoff System

There have been at least two Western Conference teams that have suggested the NBA Playoffs should feature the top-16 teams by record, according to multiple sources.

The idea does not appear to have much traction at this point.

The Phoenix Suns and Minnesota Timberwolves each finished the 13-14 season with a better record than the sub-.500 Atlanta Hawks.

Via Zach Lowe/Grantland

13 Teams Vote Against Lottery Reform, Current System Stays In Place

Thirteen teams voted against changes to the NBA draft lottery system, voting down the measure during Wednesday's Board of Governors meeting.

The Philadelphia 76ers and Oklahoma City were the two teams that led the charge against the system.

The Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards were two of the bigger market teams that voted against the reform, while the Sacramento Kings voted for it.

The Phoenix Suns, New Orleans Pelicans, Detroit Pistons, Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks, San Antonio Spurs, Utah Jazz, Atlanta Hawks and Charlotte Hornets also voted against it.

"Several teams started to wonder about unintended consequences and voted no to be able to do further study," said one owner.

Via Adrian Wojnarowski/Yahoo! Sports

Thunder, Bucks Join 76ers In Opposing Lottery Reform

The Oklahoma City Thunder have joined the Philadelphia 76ers in opposing the NBA's proposed changes to the draft lottery system, according to a report from Yahoo's Adrian Wojnarowski.

Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated reports that the Milwaukee Bucks will also oppose the proposal.

Sam Presti has attempted to warn other small-market executives that changing the system is a risky proposition for their franchises.

Uner the proposed new system, the worst four teams have a 12 percent chance at the first pick, No. 5 has an 11.5 percent chance, No. 6, 10 percent, and on down.

The changes have been triggered by a response to the 76ers' pursuit of high draft picks in successive seasons.

Presti's belief is that the changes would give big market teams another advantage.

"Everyone is too focused on Philly, on one team in one situation," said one sympathetic GM. "The only chance for a lot of teams to ever get a transformational player is through the draft, and eventually we are all going to be in the lottery, in that spot. The teams that'll drop from two to eight, or three to nine – that's just going to take the air out of those fan bases and franchises. They'll get little, if any chance, to improve.

"We are going to see more big-market teams who just missed the playoffs jump up and get a great young player at the top of the draft. And people are going to go "What the [expletive] just happened?"

The 76ers and Thunder need six more teams to join them in opposing the rule change before Wednesday's vote.

As one Western Conference GM said, "Then there will be no going back. I hope we know what we're doing with this one."

Via Adrian Wojnarowski/Yahoo! Sports

Players Association Preparing To Opt Out Of CBA In 2017

The National Basketball Players Association negotiated a drop in their percentage of basketball related income from 57 percent to 49-51 percent.

“I can certainly appreciate why (the players) are not happy," said Michele Roberts. "That’s a lot of money. And it’s hard for me to be critical because I wasn’t in the room, so I cannot say that it was something that was avoidable. But it’s certainly not a happy turn of events, and I get why the players are not of the view that they came out winners.”

With the NBA signing a new television deal and becoming incredibly more profitable than they were in 2011, the NBPA is preparing to opt out of the current collective bargaining agreement when that option becomes available in 2017.

“We are preparing to opt out. I mean it’s not my call., because unlike Billy I don’t think I run the union. This union is run by the executive committee, I serve at their pleasure, and I do what they command I do. I advise, and I will recommend. But at the end of the day, it’s not Michele Roberts saying to the executive committee: ‘Look, guys, get ready. We’re opting out.’ It doesn’t work  that way. So it’s not my call, but in the event the call is made, we will be ready. And we are preparing to opt out.”

Via Chris Sheridan/Sheridan Hoops

Michele Roberts Offended By Premise Of Max Contracts

New NBPA executive director Michele Roberts was asked this week to share her thoughts on maximum salaries in the NBA.

“I have difficulty with rules that suggest that for some reason, in this space, we are not going to allow you to do what is ordinarily allowed in every other aspect of American life – you can work and get compensated at the level that someone thinks you’re worth being compensated at," said Roberts.

"And for all the reasons that it might be reasonable, it still – as a base – the premise offends me. So for me, there needs to be a justification that is substantial. And I’m told that in large part it’s because there’s an inability on the part of some owners to control their check-writing habits. So that’s where I am. Now, there’s a history that led up to max contracts, and I’m not going to pretend it’s not significant. But if you ask me off the cuff, that’s my response.”

Via Chris Sheridan/Sheridan Hoops

Chris Webber Involved In Prospective Hawks' Ownership Group

Chris Webber is a member of a potential ownership group that has interest in purchasing the Atlanta Hawks, according to sources.

Webber would have a modest financial investment in the partnership, but is expected to emerge as a face of the bid with an ultimate goal of becoming a prominent figure on the basketball side for the Hawks.

Webber has had a home in Atlanta for the past decade and has been working to connect with community officials and organizations to make a case for reselling the organization to an increasingly dubious public.

The Hawks are moving toward a sale because of a racially insensitive email that surfaced from majority owner Bruce Levenson to ownership partners and his front office. 

Via Adrian Wojnarowski/Yahoo! Sports

Kobe: Players, Owners Both Overpaid; Fight Is For Your Market Value

Like every player in the NBA, Kobe Bryant took notice of the new television deal that will result in a substantial increase in basketball related income.

"Listen: business is business," Bryant said. "I think people get that confused very easily in understanding that players should take substantially less than their market value in order to win championships." 

Bryant signed a two-year extension with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2013 worth $48.5 million.

"I think as players, you've kind of got to hold your ground a little bit and not be afraid of what the public perception is," Bryant said. "Instead, you try to educate the public a little bit and understand it's not about complaining about how much you're making, because that's ridiculous. We are overpaid, but so are the owners. And you have to fight for what your market value is."

Via Baxter Holmes/ESPN

NBA Moving Its Own Logo To Back Of Jerseys Next Season

The NBA is moving its logo patch to the back of team jerseys next season, citing stylistic reasons.

The switch comes as league owners consider whether to put advertisements on uniforms for the first time. Adam Silver has previously said that advertisements on jerseys will likely happen within five years.

The NBA’s teams collectively may reap about $100 million annually in revenue from jersey ads, the league has said.

Via Scott Soshnick/Bloomberg

NBA Held TV Talks With Fox, NBC, Google, Apple

The NBA's preference was to remain with ESPN and Turner for their new television deal, but held talks with rival companies.

Durant Disagrees With Cuban On Non-Guaranteed Deals

Kevin Durant strongly dismissed the suggestion from Mark Cuban that the players exchange guaranteed money in the new collective bargaining agreement.

Durant: Superstar Players Worth More Than They're Making

Kevin Durant was asked his opinion on the possibility of the NBA eliminating the maximum contract.

Cap Could Jump In Single Season More Than Previous 10-Year Period

The NBA salary cap over the last 10 years jumped from $49.5 million to $63.2 million, a 28 percent increase.

Nine NBA Teams Lost Money On Basketball-Related Activities

Eight of those teams lost $13 million or less.

NBA Agrees Upon Nine-Year $24B Deal With ESPN, TNT Through 24-25

The NBA has reached agreement on a long-term media rights deal with ESPN and TNT that will double the fees of the existing deal.

Board Of Governors To Vote On Lottery Reform

The tweaks will include the four worst teams having an equal 12 percent chance to win the No. 1 overall pick and the worst team could fall no lower than No. 7.

Nets In Talks With Guggenheim On 'Combination Of Assets'

Mikhail Prokhorov would remain in control of the Nets, say sources close to the discussions.

NBA Considered Eliminating Multiple Free Throw Attempts

A player fouled in the act of shooting or in a penalty situation would shoot a single free throw that would be worth two points.

K.J. McDaniels Agrees Upon One-Year Tender With 76ers As 2nd Round Pick

K.J. McDaniels is taking less money upfront from Sam Hinkie and the 76ers to become a free agent sooner.
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