March 2021 Basketball Wiretap

Small Market Executives Complain Of Rise Of Buyout Market

Mar 29, 2021 12:57 PM

Several small market executives spoke off the record to Howard Beck of Sports Illustrated about how they believe they are at a disadvantage due to the growth of the buyout market.

While former All-Stars such as Blake Griffin, Andre Drummond and LaMarcus Aldridge have joined big market teams, they were each on contracts deemed too expensive for any teams to trade for given their decline in play.

“You’re just helping the rich get richer,” a general manager with a small-market team said.

Bought-out players typically sign for a prorated portion of the minimum salary, allowing their new teams to add talent without regard for the salary cap.

“It’s a definite concern,” says another team executive working in a small market. “Without a doubt, players that are entering the buyout market will only be looking at contending teams. And most of the time, historically, their preference has been to go to the teams in the bigger markets. ... And it gives teams an opportunity to sit back and add players on minimum deals that they normally wouldn’t be able to acquire.”

Midseason buyouts used to be much rarer, but it has spiked over the past two years.

“It’s very, very hard for the small markets or mid markets to say we’re not gonna buy you out,” said one small-market GM, “because you can’t get players there anyway. If you don’t do them favors, an agent will say, ‘I’m not gonna bring my guys to you.’”

Some team executives have pushed the NBA for reform despite its already extensive system of rules that favor small markets.

“The way you know the NBA doesn’t think it’s a problem is they’re reticent to acknowledge it’s been a problem,” says one of the small-market execs. “The inaction tells you, ‘We’re cool with it.’ ”

Bobby Marks of ESPN writes that the Milwaukee Bucks are the team who has signed the most bought out players since 2015.

Howard Beck/Sports Illustrated

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NBA Seeking $75 Billion Over Nine Years With Next TV Deals

Mar 22, 2021 10:01 PM

The NBA could get $70.2 billion over nine years in its next television contract, according to one person familiar with sports media deals.

According to the early thinking within league circles, the NBA will seek $75 billion, which would be more than an increase of 213 percent from its current deal of $24 billion.

The NBA is currently making $2.6 billion per year in its current agreement with Turner Sports and ESPN.

At $7 billion to $8 billion per season, the league would close the gap with the NFL's new $10 billion per year average. 

“I think everyone expects that so long as the public is demonstrating through ratings that they are watching the NBA, you can probably expect increases there as well,” said former CBS Sports president Neal Pilson. “I would think the NBA is going to look for significant increases.”

On a media call last week discussing the NFL’s new rights, ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro said the network is “very pleased” with the NBA’s partnership and “how those games have performed.”

Jabari Young/CNBC

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Adam Silver: Long-Term Financial Health OF NBA Is Very Solid

Mar 6, 2021 8:57 PM

Like many businesses, the NBA has had a reduction in revenues due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Adam Silver was asked on Saturday about the financial state of the league and he remains bullish on the long-term forecast.

"The long-term health of the league is very solid," said Silver. "Between last year and this year, we’re looking at considerable losses. I generally don’t talk about that publicly because teams are largely privately held. We’re not suggesting that is anybody else’s issue but ours.

"Last season and this season has required a significant investment on the part of the team owners. They accept that. Players will end up taking a reduction in salary this season because they are partners with the league and teams on revenue. The executives, team executives, have all taken haircuts on their salary.

"I think when we all step back, we feel very fortunate to be working under these circumstances. My sense is the players feel the same way."

RealGM Staff Report

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NBA Won't Institute COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate, Expects 'Most People' To Opt-in

Mar 6, 2021 8:38 PM

The NBA will not institute a COVID-19 vaccine mande, but Adam Silver believes "most people" will ultimately choose to do so.

"We're seeing this now, both in the actual numbers of people getting vaccinated in the United States and opinion polls, that people are becoming more willing to get vaccinated," Silver said during his All-Star Weekend virtual news conference from Atlanta. "I think, as to those who have been hesitators, as tens of millions of people now in the United States have gotten the vaccine, that people are seeing, at least in the short-term, what the impact is, and they're hearing about how incredibly effective these vaccines are.

"My hunch is that most players ultimately will choose to get vaccinated. They have to make personal decisions at the end of the day -- and I take that very seriously, and I take concerns very seriously. But my sense is most [players] will, ultimately, decide it is in their interest to get vaccinated."

The league will loosen its COVID-19 protocols for players who receive the vaccine. 

Silver stated that no NBA player, to his knowledge, has been vaccinated so far.

Tim Bontemps/ESPN

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NBA, NBPA Agree To Eliminate Game Limit On Two-Way Contracts

Mar 2, 2021 2:13 PM

The NBA and NBPA plan to eliminate the 50-game limits for players on a Two-Way contract.

Players on Two-Way contracts will also be eligible for the playoffs.

The agreements are pending approval from the league's Board of Governors.

Shams Charania/The Athletic

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