Basketball Wiretap

New Tax Law Could Disrupt Trades In Sports

Mar 19, 2018 4:54 PM

The NBA sent teams an email this month detailing the disruption of their trading system under the United States' new tax law. The NBA is still figuring out how to respond.

The new law forces manufacturers, farmers and others to pay more in capital gains taxes, if they trade an asset for something more valuable, and it also applies to sports teams trading player. 

“There is no fair-market value of a baseball player. There isn’t,” said Daniel R. Halem, the chief legal officer of Major League Baseball. “I don’t really know what our clubs are going to do to address the issue. We haven’t fully figured it out yet. This is a change we hope was inadvertent, and we’re going to lobby hard to get it corrected.”

Officials from the NBA and MLB expressed hope that Congress would revisit the provision.

For decades, teams have not paid taxes on trades, and thus have not had to account for the value of the assets they are exchanging, for tax purposes. 

The Internal Revenue Service allowed baseball owners to depreciate the cost of player contracts over several years to reduce the team's taxable income. It declared that “trades of player contracts owned by major league baseball clubs will be considered exchanges of like-kind property” under a section of the tax code.

Jim Tankersley/New York Times


Michele Roberts To Seek Extension As NBPA Executive Director

Mar 17, 2018 5:08 PM

Michele Roberts will seek a new contract as executive director of the National Basketball Players Association.

Roberts' original four-year deal expires in September.

Roberts had recently considered staying in the executive director role for only the lifetime of her original contract but she has since decided to extend her stay.

Chris Paul played a significant part in Roberts' hiring in July 2014 and he has built a strong working relationship with Roberts.

The NBA's collective bargaining agreement is signed through 2024.

Adrian Wojnarowski/ESPN


Former ESPN President Preferred Relationship With NBA Over NFL

Mar 12, 2018 7:26 PM

In a report from Sports Business Journal about ESPN's relationship with the NFL, former president John Skipper is described as favoring basketball and his relationship with Adam Silver over the NFL and its leaders.

Skipper did not engage with the people who matter at the NFL, like Goodell and Brian Rolapp, executive vice president of media, sources said. 

Silver also did not socialize or develop close ties with influential NFL owners like Robert Kraft and Jerry Jones.

ESPN's new president, Jimmy Pitaro, has already met with key leaders from the NFL as he attempts to repair the relationship.

John Ourand/Sports Business Journal


NBA Preparing To Get Involved With Elite High School Prospects

Mar 5, 2018 11:14 AM

The NBA is preparing to get involved with elite high school basketball players more than a decade after creating the one-and-done rule.

Adam Silver and several of his top advisers have been engaged in listening tours and information-gathering missions with an array of stakeholders for months.

Silver's aim is much more comprehensive than simply re-opening the door for 18-year-olds to play in the NBA.

The idea of reversing the course by the NBA comes as a response to scandals in the NCAA.

The NBA could begin starting relationships with elite teenagers while they are in high school to help provide skills to develop them on and off the court.

The NBA could ultimately create a system where 18-year-olds could earn a meaningful salary.

The NBA is focusing on getting involved in two important periods in which they currently have minimal contact with prospects: the high school years and the time between high school graduation and when a young player is physically and emotionally ready to join the NBA.

Brian Windhorst/ESPN

Tags: NBA, NBA NBA Draft, NBA Draft General, NBA CBA

LeBron James: NBA Needs To Expand G League As Alternative To 'Corrupt' NCAA

Feb 27, 2018 7:25 PM

LeBron James described the NCAA as "corrupt" and said the NBA should work towards further developing the G League to give prospects a viable alternative.

"I don't know if there's any fixing the NCAA. I don't think there is," James said Tuesday. "It's what's been going on for many, many, many, many years. I don't know how you can fix it. I don't see how you can fix it."

James went directly from high school to the NBA in 2003.


"I can't even talk about that, man," James said. "Me and my mom was poor, I'll tell you that, and they expected me to step foot on a college campus and not to go to the NBA? We weren't going to be poor for long, I'll tell you that. That's a fact."

James has two sons who are expected to be high level recruits and he also aspires to someday own an NBA team.

"We have to shore up our G League, continue to expand our G League," James said. "... I just looked at it like the farm league, like in baseball. Or you look at pros overseas; some of those guys get signed at 14, but they get put into this farm system where they're able to grow and be around other professionals for three or four years. Then, when they're ready, they hit the national team, or when they're ready, they become a pro. So I think us, we have to kind of really figure that out, how we can do that.

"We're worried about kids coming into the league early, but they're not ready, then out of the league because of that," James continued. "... We have to figure out if a kid feels like, at 16 or 17, he doesn't feel like the NCAA is for him, or whatever the case may be, [then] we have a system in place where we have a farm league where they can learn and be around the professionals but not actually become a professional at that point in time. Not actually play in the NBA, but learn for a few years. Learn what the NBA life is about, learn how to move and walk and talk and things of that nature. Then in two years, they're able to ... just like guys do overseas."

Dave McMenamin/ESPN

Tags: LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers, NCAA, NBA, D-League, NBA CBA

NBA's Local TV Ratings Up Seven Percent From 16-17

Feb 20, 2018 10:54 AM

Regional sports networks are seeing a seven percent increase in ratings for local coverage of the NBA.

Seventeen RSNs showed an increase while 10 posted decreases. Information for the Grizzlies, Jazz and Raptors were not available.

Other sports have seen television viewership drop over the past several years.

“NBA fans continue to support and engage with their home teams,” said Kyle Sherman, president of Home Team Sports, a Fox-owned company that sells national advertising for RSNs.

The Warriors, Cavaliers, Thunder and Spurs ended last year with the four highest local ratings. All four teams saw their ratings increase and headed into the break as the four highest-rated local teams again. Warriors games on NBC Sports Bay Area brought the league’s highest rating (8.87).

Boston has seen an 82 percent lift from last season while the Wizards are up 70 percent.

The Hawks, Suns and Clippers have the league's worst declines.

John Lombardo, John Ourand/Sports Business Journal