Trade Off: Is It Time For The NBA To Sell The Hornets?

Via 12/11

Yesterday, the NBA announced that its new10-year collective bargaining agreement was ratified by its Board of GovernorsThe league (entering its 66th year) and will begin its 66-game season on Christmas Day.

At the same time as the announcement, the basketball world was buzzing over the three-team trade deal that would have sent NBA All-Star Chris Paul ($16,359,805 million) to the Los Angeles Lakers.

(Lakers: G Chris Paul; Rockets: F/C Pau Gasol; Hornets: F Lamar Odom, F Luis Scola, G Kevin Martin, G Goran Dragic)

Last week, Paul notified Hornets General Manager, Dell Demps, that he was not interested in signing a long-term extension with the team.

What’s a GM to do?

Find a new home for your young superstar and get quality players in return. Endure a long season with an unhappy star, disrupt the continuity of your team, and probably have no choice but to trade your star anyway (i.e. Denver Nuggets and Carmelo Anthony). Or hope that your star will have second thoughts, but at the same time run the risk of losing everything during free agency (i.e. Cleveland and “The Decision”).

The Hornets front office chose to trade Paul before the start of training camp, because they know what’s coming; and by all accounts this would have been a good deal for the Hornets.

Except of one tiny detail, the NBA owns the Hornets and declined the trade.

The NBA purchased the team last December from founder George Shinn who sold due to heavy debt and wasn’t able to secure a local buyer for the team. Ironically, Shinn moved the team from its long-time home in Charlotte (founded in 1988) to New Orleans in 2002. At the time of the sale last year, the league valued the franchise at over $300 million with hopes to keep the team in New Orleans.

What happened to the trade deal?

Last night, there was speculation that other NBA owners were upset by the trade that would have put two of the top NBA superstars, Paul and Kobe Bryant, together. Although, the league issued a statement that the owners didn’t kill the deal and the trade was declined for “basketball reasons.”

Ultimately, trading Paul could have done a few things: (1) devalued the franchise because we all know that losing a franchise player has that effect; (2) impact the league’s ability to get a proper return on its invest; (3) anger the 10,000 plus season ticket holders who bought ticket not only to cheer for a team that includes Paul, but also as a commitment to keep the franchise in the Big Easy –Yes, a public relations nightmare.

While Paul probably won’t be a Hornet after this season, the league made the right move by not letting him go. In post-Katrina New Orleans there are too many economic, public relations, marketing and basketball reasons to keep Paul at “the point” another season.

Now that the season ticket mark was surpassed and a new CBA is in place, hopefully the league can find the right Bayou buyer and sell the Hornets.

Who knew that one trade could mean so much?

Good Night Sports Fans, 


NBA Inks New Collective Bargaining Agreement

It’s official! The NBA Board of Governors and players ratified a new 10-year collective bargaining agreement. The 161 day Lockout was very tense and for a moment we all thought that the entire season would be lost.

Now with this new agreement, a 66 game season will begin on Christmas Day and training camp opens tomorrow!

Here’s the official overview of the deal that the NBA announced today via


The following are the key points agreed to by the NBA and the Players Association in their new 10-year collective bargaining agreement:

• Players and owners agreed to a 50/50 split of basketball-related income (BRI). However, depending on BRI, players can receive as high as 51% or as low as 49%.

• The Salary Cap will remain soft and has been set for the 2011-12 season at $58.044 million.

• The maximum length of a player contract will be reduced by one year, from six years for a team’s own players and five years for other players, to five years and four years, respectively.

• Salaries in new player contracts may increase by up to 7.5% per year for a team’s own players and 4.5% per year for other free agents. Continue reading “NBA Inks New Collective Bargaining Agreement”

Why The NBA Lockout Wasn’t So Bad After All

(Forbes SportsMoney 12/2/11)

We can all agree that the NBA Lockout didn’t shed the greatest light on professional basketball; and in a perfect world I imagine that NBA Commissioner David Stern and NBAPA Executive Director Billy Hunter would have preferred an uneventful labor negotiation.

Instead, we endured a five-month roller coaster; and in the United States where the median household income is $49,445 per year, it was extremely difficult for most NBA fans to sympathize with millionaires and billionaires arguing over money.

Nevertheless, just when we thought the Nuclear Winter was coming and bringing with it irreparable damage to the sport we all love, cooler heads prevailed and the NBA saved Christmas. Now that basketball is here to stay (at least for the next 6-10 years), when I look back at the Lockout I realize that it wasn’t so bad after all.

Here’s why…

Continue reading “Why The NBA Lockout Wasn’t So Bad After All”

Steve Smith, Former NBA Player, Talks the ‘Business of Basketball’ and the Lockout

As the NBA Lockout enters day 122, NBA fans now have a daily reminder that their beloved sport is indeed a business.

I have to admit, I have been “half-following” the lockout. My relationship to the lockout has been similar to occasions when I am “half-listening” to someone who is talking to me while I am intensely watching a basketball game.

Now that 100 regular season games have been cancelled and more games appear to be in jeopardy, I figured that it is time to turn my undivided attention to the NBA. And what better way to start off than to talk one on one with a former NBA veteran.

Recently, I spoke with Steve Smith, who spent 14 seasons in the league and won a championship in 2003 with the San Antonio Spurs. Smith is a proud Michigan State University alumnus, and his 1997 $2.5 million donation to MSU was the largest gift by a professional athlete to an alma mater. He is humble when it comes to his many accomplishments, and he credits former coaches Jud Heathcote, Johnny Goston, and Roy Haywood for being instrumental in his success as a professional athlete.

Here’s more from Smith about the business of basketball, the lockout, and life after the NBA…

Continue reading “Steve Smith, Former NBA Player, Talks the ‘Business of Basketball’ and the Lockout”

Kevin Durant Shines In Rucker Park Debut

If you haven’t heard by now, Kevin Durant from the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder, visited Harlem and the famous Rucker Park this week. Rucker Park at 155th street is home to the Entertainers Basketball Classic (EBC) and the most competitive street basketball you will ever see. The environment is electrifying and at the same time extremely intimidating.

Clearly Rucker Park was no match for KD, he put up 66 points in his Harlem debut by knocking down three after three (And I’m so glad he didn’t twist an ankle or bust his knees – that court is not forgiving).

As long as I’ve been following Rucker (In the modern age, not Pee Wee Kirkland’s time), I’ve never heard this much buzz about one player’s performance. Don’t we all wish that we could have been there? Luckily, I found some great video of KD’s superstar performance….Enjoy!

Good Night Sports Fans,



Mark Cuban Silences His Critics, LeBron James Fuels His Foes

The 2010-2011 NBA season has official come to an end, and the Dallas Mavericks were crowned the NBA Champions. As I watched the playoffs finally come to an end, I couldn’t help but notice that Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, had finally silenced his critics, and LeBron James “AKA King James” fueled his.

Mark Cuban, the self-made billionaire, purchased that Dallas Mavericks in 2000 for roughly $285 million, and 11 years later the team is valued at $438 million (possibly millions more after finally winning its first NBA title). To say that Cuban is known as being an outspoken owner is an understatement.  During his NBA tenure he has been fined over $1.7 million, and during the 2006 NBA Finals versus the Miami Heat he was fined $250,000 for what the league called “several acts of misconduct.”

What was the misconduct? Cuban berated officials, stared down NBA Commissioner David Stern, uttered profanities in response to questions from reporters, and criticized the NBA’s playoff referee selection process. Yikes! Continue reading “Mark Cuban Silences His Critics, LeBron James Fuels His Foes”

Why Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Deserves A Statute…And Our Respect

Last week I opened my twitter account and I was surprised to find unusual tweets from the account @kaj33, which belongs to NBA Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabar.

“@kaj33: Rumor has it that I will be getting a statute. A caveat for all of my fans-don’t hold your breath. Lakers don’t care about me. #KAJ33”

What! The Lakers don’t care about Kareem!?! Immediately I thought this can’t be true – surely someone has hacked his account. Then a couple more tweets came through.

“@kaj33: No one hacked my account…these are my feeling and they should be known. #KAJ33”

“@kaj33: It is not just about getting a statute because I’m over it – it’s about RESPECT! Lakers have given me the absolute minimum of respect. #KAJ33”

Wow! At this point I was speechless. What is going on in LA? Who in their right mind would disrespect Kareem?

He’s the all-time NBA leading scorer and he’s won a record six regular season MVP awards. Don’t forget the nine championship teams he’s been on during his illustrious career – three at UCLA, one with the Milwaukee Bucks, and six with the Los Angeles Lakers. And you can’t forget about his trademark move – The Sky Hook.

The next tweet gave me the answer I was looking for. Continue reading “Why Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Deserves A Statute…And Our Respect”

Is The Chicago Bulls’ Derrick Rose Destined For ‘MVP Money’?

Last week, I wrote a blog post congratulating Chicago Bulls guard, Derrick Rose, on becoming the youngest player in NBA history to win the coveted Most Valuable Player Award. Rose entered training camp declaring that he wanted to be the MVP. He said, “I wasn’t trying to be cocky. I knew that I put a lot of hard work in over the summer in the offseason, and I just wanted to push myself.”  Rose indeed pushed himself and his teammates to the NBA’s best record of 62-20. And if you review the breakdown of the MVP  results, it’s clear that the voters felt the same way.

2010-11 Kia NBA MVP Award Results
Player, Team 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th Total Points
Derrick Rose, Chicago 113 6 2 1182
Dwight Howard, Orlando 3 57 31 16 11 643
LeBron James, Miami 4 26 39 31 12 522
Kobe Bryant, L.A. Lakers 1 18 32 40 12 428
Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City 6 10 20 38 190
Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas 5 3 11 30 113
Dwyane Wade, Miami 1 1 2 6 24
Manu Ginobili, San Antonio 2 6 20
Amar’e Stoudemire, New York 1 4 9
Blake Griffin, L.A. Clippers 1 5
Rajon Rondo, Boston 1 5
Tony Parker, San Antonio 1 3
Chris Paul, New Orleans 2 2

 What’s next for Rose?

Rose led the Bulls to the Eastern Conference Finals? Will they make it to the NBA Finals? Either way you look at it, it’s safe to say there’s a lot basketball ahead of him. And he has the potential to make what I call “MVP Money.”  

What is MVP Money?

Just take a look at the salaries of the last several winners of the NBA’s MVP Award.

MVP Year Player MVP Team Current Team NBA Seasons 2010-2011 Salary Salary Rank NBA Team Payroll
2010-11 Derrick Rose Chicago Chicago 3 $ 5.5 million —— $55.4 million
2009-10 2008-09 LeBron James Cleveland Miami 8 $14.5 million #22 $66.9 million
2007-08 Kobe Bryant LA Lakers LA Lakers 15 $24.7 million #1 $91.6 million
2006-07 Dirk Nowitzki Dallas Dallas 13 $17.2 million #10 $90.7 million
2005-06 2004-05 Steve Nash Phoenix Phoenix 14 $10.3 million —– $65.7 million
2003-04 Kevin Garnett Minnesota Boston 16 $18.8 million #3 $83.3 million
2002-03 2001-02 Tim Duncan San Antonio San Antonio 14 $18.7 million #4 $69.7 million
2000-01 Allen Iverson Philadelphia Besiktas Cola 13 $2 million —– ———
1999-00 Shaquille O’Neal LA Lakers Boston 19 $1.3 million —— $83.3 million

The highest paid MVP on this list is Kobe Bryant; he earned roughly $25 million this season. In 2010, he signed a maximum value three-year contract extension that will increase his salary to $27.8 million and $30.4 million in 2012-13 and 2013-14. The only other player to earn $30 million in a single season is Michael Jordan. In 1997, Jordan made $30.1 million. In 1998, he earned $33.1 million. Jordan was also a five-time winner of the MVP crown and he led the Bulls six NBA Championships.

Rose has publicly shied away from comparisons to Jordan. He’s said, “I am far away from him. If anything, it would be great to be close to him. This is a different team, a different era.”

Rose is correct. It is a different team and a different era. One thing you can’t deny is that Rose is over performing his $5.5 million original contract. Currently, he’s the third highest player on the team behind Carlos Boozer – $14.4 million and Luol Deng – $11.3 million. Last October, Joakim Noah signed a $60 million five-year contract extension, which will drop Rose to fourth on the Bulls salary depth chart. Given the groundwork that Jordan laid, there’s no question that Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf will award stellar performance if Rose continues to perform as the team’s franchise player.

How does Rose measure up to the other MVPs?

Rose made more in his 2010-11 NBA salary than former MVP’s Shaquille O’Neal and Allen Iverson combined. However, these salary figures are very misleading. It’s estimated that Iverson earned $200 million during his 13-year NBA career, which includes salary, bonuses and $50 million plus endorsement deal with Reebok.  Additionally, while Shaq is currently earning the veterans minimum, his seven-year $41 million rookie contract was the largest at its time. Currently, his net worth is over $130 million, which includes real estate investments, television productions, and endorsements of 24-Hour Fitness, Icy Hot, and VitaminWater.

Last but not least, LeBron James. Rose ended James’ two season MVP reign. We all know that James left the Cleveland Cavs after seven seasons to join the Miami Heat. Did this move impact his 2010-11 NBA salary? Yes, James reportedly walked away from the opportunity to be the third player to earn a $30 million single season salary. Did the move hurt his overall net worth? It’s still too early to answer that question. However, there’s no question that his estimated $90 million net worth ranks him as one of the wealthiest athletes in the NBA – if not the world.

This is all a little foreshadowing of what might be in store for Rose. Of course, we still have to see how the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations turn out this summer. However, if Rose’s career continues to flourish, I think he’s destined to make “MVP Money.”

Good Night Sports Fans,


The votes are in…Derrick Rose 2010-2011 NBA MVP

Today the NBA announced that Derrick Rose from the Chicago Bulls is the 2010 – 2011 Most Valuable Player. Rose carried his team into the NBA playoffs with a 62-20 overall record, and he averaged 25 points, 7.5 rebounds and 4 assists per game. As the MVP he joins the exclusive club that includes Russell, Magic, Bird, Kareem, Chamberlain, and Jordan.  Rose’s stats are impressive and what’s even more impressive is at 22 years old he’s the youngest MVP in league history. Ok, stop and think…what were you doing at 22?

I’m a big fan of Derrick Rose. I’ve never met him, but my father has. When we were in Chicago during the 2010 Christmas holiday my father ran into Rose while he was finishing his last minute shopping. My father kindly introduced himself and Rose did the same. This polite exchange left a lasting impression on my dad and clearly showed that he’s a pro on and off the court.

Want another example of Rose’s maturity?

Just listen to his MVP acceptance speech. Listen to the way he thanks the Bulls organization, former players, his teammates, the fans, and his mom. Rose said, “she is my heart” and “the reason why I play the way that I play.” He went on to say, “days that I don’t feel like going to practice or [I’m] having a hard time, I think about her…you keep me going everyday and I love you…I appreciate you being in my life.”

Congratulations Brenda Rose…YOU are the MVP!

Good Night Sports Fans,



Tell to Win: Lessons from an NBA owner

There are roughly two and half weeks left in the NBA regular season, and coaches around the league are beginning to prepare their teams for the playoffs.  Every coach from, Doc Rivers to Phil Jackson, will tell you that at this point in the season their game plans are more than just breaking down  film and diagramming X’s and O’s; they are also mentally preparing their teams to win an NBA Championship by delivering motivating pregame and postgame speeches.

This coaching strategy is also called Purposeful Storytelling; and according to Peter Guber in his new bestseller, Tell to Win: Connect, Persuade, and Triumph with the Hidden Power of Story, it is game-changing.

Before I continue sharing more insights from this book, I realize that many of you might be wondering “Who is Peter Guber?”

While you immediately don’t recognize his name, you certainly know his business accomplishments.  Guber is the Chairman and CEO of Mandalay Entertainment, and he has personally produced or executive produced box office hits including The Color Purple, Flashdance, Gorillas in the Mist, and Rain Man – earning over $3 billion worldwide. He is also an owner and co-executive Chairman of the NBA franchise Golden State Warriors that was recently purchased for a record $450 million. There’s no question that Guber’s career achievements undoubtedly demonstrate the power that storytelling has to offer.

Here are few lessons that I learned from Tell to Win…

Continue reading “Tell to Win: Lessons from an NBA owner”