As we settle in for a summer of gridlock in half of the major professional sports in this country, there is one glaring difference between the lockouts involving the NBA and the NFL.
In the final hours prior to the NFL lockout, both sides were scrambling to file extensions, talk sensibly and eagerly work toward a deal.
In the final hours prior to the NBA lockout, both sides picked through the snack mix, milled around the negotiating table and eagerly counted the hours until they could go home. They were an unhappy married couple determined to file for divorce, but forced to sit through one last counseling session just in case.
There was nothing salvageable in this marriage. The divorce proceedings have started — although eventually, they’re going to have to marry each other all over again.
This is the tangled mess we’re forced to stand by and watch. Owners are determined to shatter the previous deal that just expired and institute shorter contracts for less money. The players are amicable to that, but only to a certain extent.
The league insists that 22 out of 30 teams lose money every year, demanding the need for change. But Deadspin.com obtained the New Jersey Nets’ financial records for three seasons, from June 2003 to June 2006, and discovered a legal financial loophole a number of NBA teams can use.
According to Deadspin, the Nets claimed a $27.6 million loss during a 2003-04 season that ended with the Nets in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Only that loss is a paper loss, University of Michigan sports economist Rodney Fort told the website. The Nets didn’t actually write checks to cover that amount. Rather, it represents the amount the Nets’ owners reduced their tax obligation under the roster depreciation allowance.
Without turning this into an accounting class that I’m not qualified to teach, the RDA dates to 1959, when former Indians owner Bill Veeck (always the schemer) convinced the IRS that professional players depreciate over time like a car or livestock. Seriously.
As a result, Deadspin reports that the IRS grants teams to essentially write off roster expenses twice, creating a tax shelter for every owner of every professional sports team to exploit.
Given all of that, it’s fair to wonder just how many of the 30 teams actually do lose money. We’ll always have to wonder, since no team will ever willingly open their financial books.
The Deadspin report appears legitimate. If it’s accurate, it gives the players more ammunition to stand firm against the owners’ demands.
At this point, the only thing we know is it will be a long, gruesome battle. There is a distinct possibility the NBA is going away for a long, long time.
Rooting for Kings?
A number of fans seem to dismiss the lottery-protected draft pick the Cavaliers obtained from the Sacramento Kings in the J.J. Hickson deal and worry it will amount to nothing more than a second-round pick.
It’s true that the pick depreciates into a second-rounder if it isn’t executed by 2017. In its simplest terms, that means the Kings would have to miss the playoffs every year for the next six years. Since they’ve already missed the playoffs each of the past five seasons, it means they would have to go 11 consecutive seasons without making the playoffs.
Only twice in league history has a team gone that long without making the playoffs – the Buffalo Braves/San Diego Clippers/Los Angeles Clippers (15 seasons, 1977-91) and the Golden State Warriors (1995-2006), according to Elias Sports Burea.
The odds are certainly in the Cavs’ favor.
Beyond that, the pick is protected through the top 10 for the final three years (’14-’17). So the Kings could still miss the playoffs, and the Cavs would get the pick, provided it isn’t in the top 10.
The Kings are a mess right now, both financially and with an uncertain future. But that will be resolved within the next year, when they either secure a new arena deal in Sacramento or move to Anaheim, Calif. Either way, they should receive a cash injection that will help competitiveness and (likely) spark a playoff push.
Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant took an unorthodox approach to the arthritic joint in his right knee. He traveled to Germany last month for a derivation of platelet-rich plasma therapy, the Los Angeles Times reported last week.
A small amount of blood is drawn from the patient’s arm and spun in a centrifuge for about 20 minutes to isolate platelets that are later reinjected into the injured area to try and stimulate tissue repair, according to the Times. The whole procedure takes about an hour, although the idea is too new to accurately determine its effectiveness.
At least Bryant will have as much time as he needs to heal.
From Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade, who took to Twitter early Friday morning minutes after the lockout went into effect looking for a new job.
“My strengths: work well with others. My weakness: I’m sometime (sic) get fatigue.”
He added later: “I’m available for all bar and bat mitzvah and weddings … but my specialty is balloon animals.”
Jason Lloyd can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Cavs blog at http://www.cavs.ohio.com. Follow the Cavs on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ABJCavsInsider.