Dear NBA, Please Stop the Lockout

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 30: Commissioner of the NBA, David Stern announces that a lockout will go ahead as NBA labor negotiations break down at Omni Hotel on June 30, 2011 in New York City. The NBA has locked out the players after they were unable to reach a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA). The current CBA is due to expire tonight at midnight. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)

I recently decided to write a letter to the NBA, in hopes that this lockout can end in a quick and fair way.

 

Dear NBA,

We all knew this day was coming.  It has come as no surprise that at midnight you have locked the players out.  But I need to ask...What is wrong with you?

You have recently garnered the attention of a nation.  It has been a while since people were this interested in professional basketball.  You have dismissed the rumors that only a team loaded with superstars can succeed. 

And to be honest, I thank you for that...In fact the entire city of Philadelphia thanks you as well.  You see in Philly our 76ers are lacking the eight or nine pieces everyone was under the impression were needed to win a title.  Seeing the Dallas Mavericks win as a team, gave hope to the rest of the league.

That is why this impending lockout is so frustrating.

It has taken over ten years to rebuild what you destroyed during the last lockout.  If the current lockout encroaches on this upcoming season, it will take at least ten more years to repair the strain with fans.

So why would you do such a thing?

You have been literally crying foul over the amount of money teams are losing.  You tell us that you will lose over 400 million next season.  You tell us that 22 NBA teams will operate in the red.  You tell us that the players need to relinquish some of their salary in order to "save the league".

But I ask you, how is this the player's fault? 

According to Adam Silver, your own Deputy Commissioner, "The expiring collective bargaining agreement created a broken system that produced huge financial losses for our teams.  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."

Can you tell me the key words in that statement?  "Well-Managed!"  So in order for the new CBA to be successful, teams need to be managed well.  I believe that can be said for the expiring CBA as well.  Did Elton Brand and Andre Iguodala offer absurd contracts to themselves?  No, the management did.  And when a teams payroll is the eighth highest in the league and their attendance is one of the worst they will most likely lose money.  It happens.  Sometimes mistakes are made.  That is what is known in the business world as...F***ING BUSINESS!    

I have an idea...Instead of locking the players out; why not lock the general managers in to some kind of business class.  Make them understand how to make a team profitable.  I can assure you that signing any player to a six year $111 million contract is probably a bad idea. 

If you look at the statistics, teams that are currently, according to you, operating in the red, were doing fine when they were well managed.  Let's take the Sixers for instance.  In 2001 when they went to the NBA Finals, their team salary was $50.7 million, yet they had the 5th best attendance.  Business was good.  Now the 76ers payroll is $69.4 million, while their attendance is the sixth worst in the NBA.

I comprised a chart detailing the ten poorest teams.  I enclosed their current value, their current payroll and their attendance over the last 10 years.  As you can see, many of these teams have overspent, while their records and attendance plummeted.

Team

CurrentTeam Value

CurrentTeam Payroll

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

76ers

$330 mil

$69.4 mil

19,651

20,560

19,685

19,222

17,870

16,518

14,843

14,870

15,802

14,224

14,751

Nets

$312 mil

$57.0 mil

13,806

13,760

15,184

14,952

15,089

16,866

16,925

15,656

15,147

13,103

14,179

Clippers

$305 mil

$47 mil

14,620

18,053

17,231

16,229

16,980

17,375

18,421

16,888

16,170

16,343

17,742

Hawks

$295 mil

$69.1 mil

13,666

12,344

12,894

13,798

14,302

15,071

15,594

16,280

16,748

16,545

15,648

Kings

$293 mil

$39 mil

17,317

17,317

17,317

17,317

17,317

17,317

17,317

14,150

12,571

13,254

13,890

Bobcats

$281 mil

$61.1 mil

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

14,431

16,366

15,549

14,717

14,526

15,824

15,846

Hornets

$280 mil

$68.9 mil

15,010

11,286

15,650#

14,322

14,221

18,168##

17,833##

14,181

16,968

15,130

14,709

Pacers

$269 mil

$64.4 mil

17,888

16,744

16,352

16,544

16,994

16,179

15,359

12,221

14,182

14,202

13,538

Grizzlies

$266 mil

$67.8 mil

13,737*

14,415**

14,910

15,188

16,862

15,793

14,654

12,770

12,745

13,485

14,650

Timberwolves

$264 mil

$37.6 mil

17,496

17,845

15,699

17,635

17,181

16,150

15,998

14,476

14,505

15,101

15,242

Bucks

$258 mil

$67.7 mil

16,661

18,178

16,243

16,833

15,536

16,617

16,186

15,595

15,389

15,108

15,412

* Located in Vancouver

** Moved to Memphis

# First Year in New Orleans

## Moved to Oklahoma City due to Hurricane Katrina

And may I add to this visual aid, a point, that in order to give a chance to the smaller market teams, you don't need to impose a tighter salary cap.  Take the Milwaukee Bucks for example.  They play in a small market, yet have a team payroll of $67.7 million.  Their best player, Brandon Jennings, makes the seventh highest salary on the team, behind players like Carlos Delfino, John Salmons and Drew Gooden

A tighter salary cap will not stop mistakes like that from happening.  Sure it will hinder a teams ability to form a "Big 3" like we have seen in Boston and Miami, but do you know how many titles these "Big 3" have won...one.  One title in five years.

The worst part about this lockout is the fact that I'm not sure you're being completely honest with us.  Deadspin and ESPN both attained financial records showing the numbers for two teams had been fudged.  If this rumor turns out to be fact, and you continue this lockout, you will ruin basketball.  All for your own stupid greed. 

Most of the owners don't even care about basketball.  They look at it as a business, plain and simple.  Do you think they are going to lose sleep knowing the world will be deprived of watching players like Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant in their prime?  They don't care.  But if there is one less zero on a check suddenly the world is ending. 

I believe in order to become an NBA owner, you must have some experience in basketball.  You should have some passion for the team.  All owners should be in the mold of a Pat Croce or a Mark Cuban.  Only then can you avoid situations like this.

Now it is still not too late for you to do something to rectify this situation.  We are only a few hours into this mess.  The sooner you realize the error in your ways, and offer a fair deal, the sooner we can get back to playing basketball.  That is what everyone wants to see. 

Thank you for your time.

 

Sincerely,

Kevin Owens

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