NBA Owner To DB.com: 'We Will Wait 'Em Out'
ITEM: No, the owner quoted above is not Dallas' Mark Cuban. I'll protect our man's identity and only reveal this: The owner who uttered this to The 75-Member Staff over the weekend is considered one of the "have-nots'' of the NBA clan.
Yes, even the "have-nots'' are "haves'' when they are in charge of a property worth around $300 million (the 76ers are about to be sold for $280 million and the arena isn't even included in the deal).
ITEM: Meanwhile, consider the plight of what I consider to be a "normal'' pro athlete: A couple of years ago he "invested'' in a condo at the W Hotel in downtown Dallas, across the street from the AAC. It's a beautiful place with a beautiful view and at that moment a few years ago, spending $1 million to purchase it seemed like a cool thing to do.
That player recently tried to sell his condo only to find that its present value is $600,000. So he's making payments that are twice as much as they should be ... with no income to rely upon.
ITEM: One more real estate story: A pro athlete friend of mine is trying to buy a home in Austin. He keeps getting turned down for the loan? Why? Because even though he could afford to pay cash for the place if he chooses, the bank's research on him keeps coming back to the fact that he is unemployed.
ITEM: I've now got confirmation on David Lord's scoop that Cuban is on the side of the "hawkish'' owners who believe the money he spends should make the Mavs a more profitable business.
You think Cuban cannot afford to align with our unnamed owner and "wait it out''?
All of them can.
ITEM: The owners are doing a marvelous job of blurring the factual lines in this argument. Example: The release of the books of the 2003-04 New Jersey Nets, which purports to show they lost $27.6 million in 2003-04. Other readings of the same books demonstrate that the team actually made a profit of nearly $7 million.
It's 2003; what does that have to do with 2011-2012 and beyond?
And then there is this:
The man who owns the New Jersey Nets is Mikhail Prokhorov. A bookkeeping loss of $27 million is paperwork to him. A profit of $7 million is a freckle on his butt. His worth is $19.5 billion.
ITEM: To further crush the "small-market'' mythology that serves the owners so well:
Name a so-called small-market team. OK … the Indiana Pacers.
Herb Simon bought that team 20 years ago for $11 million. It's now worth $270 million. And Mr. Simon – whose true business is real estate – is now worth $3.5 billion.
He can wait ‘em out.
Minnesota is "small-market,'' right? Glen Taylor isn't in the basketball business. He's in the printing business, where he's worth $2 billion.
He can wait ‘em out.
Denver's Kroenke family (small-market) is worth $2 billion. Detroit's Tom Gores (city in financial ruin) is worth $2.5 billion. Orlando's Rick DeVos (small-market) is worth $3.4 billion. Miami's Micky Arison (less-than-devoted fan base) is worth $6 billion. Portland's Paul Allen (small market) is worth $20 billion.
They can wait ‘em out.
ITEM: I've seen it written that "money is tight'' in places like Charlotte and Memphis, and the writers use those places as examples of teams that cannot afford a lockout.
But that's backwards.
If you truly believe that owning an NBA team is a money-losing proposition, then wouldn't the owners in Charlotte and Memphis be more comfortable than their more wealthy brothers during this period? After all, doesn't locking the doors on a money-losing business mean you save money?
ITEM: Of course, if you believe that NBA ownership is a money-losing proposition (once the books are properly managed and the team is eventually sold) you skipped through the part of my first Item that mentioned the coming sale of the 76ers for $280 million.
It's hard to believe the owners' "22-of-30-teams-lose-money'' argument as that transaction is on the verge of happening. Appreciation on the value of a franchise may have slowed. But the buyers still line up in Golden State, Detroit, Philly ...
ITEM: And while billionaires keep investing around $300 million to have their side-buisness fun, their employees (the players) keep spending $300,000 to have theirs.
TMZ reports that recently married Chris Bosh is throwing himself a wedding reception . Cost: $300,000.
When it comes to owners-vs.-players, the former has more dollars … and seemingly, more sense.