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League, union already debating NBA finances -- why you should care


League, union already debating NBA finances -- why you should care

Following the NBA's Board of Governors meeting Tuesday, commissioner Adam Silver raised eyebrows when he said that "a significant number of teams" are not profitable. 

According to reports, the number could be up to one third of the league. 

Silver's revelation might come as a surprise given that the league just inked a $24 billion TV contract. But the deal kicks in starting 2016-17, so teams won't see any revenue until then. Even at that point, it stipulates that players will receive 51 percent of basketball related income.

Teams just shelled out $1.5 billion in player contracts on day one of free agency alone. 

The commissioner lays out the league's point of view

"Teams are still spending enormous amounts of money on payroll, they still have enormous expenses in terms of arena costs, teams are building new practice facilities, the cost of their infrastructure in terms of their marketing people and their sales people, those costs have gone up," Silver said. 

Obviously, smaller market teams don't make as much money, but the 2011 collective bargaining agreement ushered in more generous revenue sharing. By payroll, Silver seems to implicate player contracts as the main culprit for franchise shortfalls.

The league and players also agreed to divvy up revenue 50-50 in the 2011 CBA (which becomes 51 percent for the players once the TV deal begins in 2016-17), meaning that if player contracts total less than half of the NBA's revenue, the league must cut the NBAPA a check for the difference. And that's happening. 

“There are projections that for next year we could be writing a check moving close to half a billion dollars to the players' association. That was not something we predicted when we went into this collective bargaining,” Silver said. “That’s happened because the revenue we have generated was much higher than we had ever modeled. But we are also learning when you have all that money coming into the system, team behavior is not necessarily predictable either.” 

Read: Marquee franchises have cash and caché to throw at players. To stay competitive, small market teams must offer similar or even larger contracts to attract talent -- sometimes pushing expenses higher than revenues. 

Not so fast, says the NBA Players Association

NBAPA executive director Michele Roberts weighed in the next day. She countered Silver's argument with specific examples of the NBA's growth. 

"Virtually every business metric demonstrates that our business is healthy," she said. "Gate receipts, merchandise sales and TV ratings are all at an all-time high. Franchise values have risen exponentially in recent years, and the NBA has enjoyed high single digit revenue growth since 2010-11."

Roberts let the air out of Silver's complaint about the cost of new facilities, asserting that these infrastructure investments have actually been revenue and valuation boosters. Plus, public funding for new construction offsets team costs significantly. 

Long story short, the league says teams are losing money and the NBAPA just doesn't buy it

That's too bad, because both sides can opt out of the current collective bargaining agreement on Dec. 15, 2016 -- setting the stage for a lockout in 2017. 

Silver's comments may hint at the league's position in future negotiations, potentially that players must accept a smaller share of the revenues for the NBA to thrive. 

Judging by Roberts' response, the players consider that position both unfair and untrue. 

The NBAPA statement didn't make this point, but it's worth noting that the most valuable franchises make more than enough money to cover the others' losses. The players could argue that the league doesn't need a larger share of revenue, but rather to manage the money it has more effectively. 

MORE WIZARDS: Players union head responds to NBA commissioner

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Five observations from Wizards' 119-95 blowout win over the Cleveland Cavaliers

Five observations from Wizards' 119-95 blowout win over the Cleveland Cavaliers

The Washington Wizards beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 119-95 on Wednesday night. Here are five observations from the game.

Finally, a blowout: The Wizards' season so far has been largely defined by them making things harder than they need to be. On Wednesday, it all came together in a game in which they cruised to victory. Finally, they got an easy one.

Sure, it helped they were playing quite possibly the worst team in the NBA. But over the past year, these situations haven't always meant a guaranteed win. The Wizards have a habit of playing down to their opponents and, for once, they did not.

The Wizards led by as many as 27 points in this one. They scored 41 in the first quarter, their most in an opening frame since 2014. Though the Cavs made it slightly interesting in the third quarter, the Wizards were essentially in complete control from start to finish.

Important rest: The Wizards haven't blown out teams often since the beginning of last season. At least, they haven't had many games so lopsided their starters could take the end of the night off.

Last season, they won by 20 or more points just three times. Considering there were 168 such games in the NBA last year, that isn't a whole lot.

Against the Cavs on Wednesday, the Wizards only needed to play John Wall 21 minutes. Bradley Beal played 28, Otto Porter Jr. 26, Markieff Morris 21 and Dwight Howard 20. It was a stress-free victory and every team needs those every once in a while.

Welcome to the league, rook: The box score will show that Cavs' rookie guard Collin Sexton had a big night offensively. The No 8 overall pick in the 2018 draft scored 24 points and shot a solid 9-for-16 from the field and looks like an excellent building block for Cleveland.

But a closer look reveals Sexton had a bit of a 'welcome to the league, rookie' game. Wall and Beal ate him alive on defense and forced him into four turnovers, all in the first half, with relative ease.

There was one play that exemplified Sexton's night against Wall, in particular. Wall got to the rim on an and-1 play that saw Sexton turn all sorts of ways as he tried to stay in front of the five-time All-Star:

That's a brand of sauce Sexton had probably never seen before.

Depth on display: The Cavs are so bad without Kevin Love, that big picture conclusions can't be drawn from the success teams have against them. That said, the Wizards showed an impressive level of depth on Wednesday.

Their core bench players all registered double-digit plus-minus ratings. All five members of their second unit - Tomas Satoransky, Austin Rivers, Kelly Oubre Jr., Jeff Green and Ian Mahinmi - scored eight points or more.

One category of stats tells the story best and it involves Wall. The Wizards' star only scored eight points in 21 minutes. He shot 3-of-10 from the field and had three turnovers.

The Wizards had not won a game with Wall scoring eight points or fewer since 2014. They hadn't won with him playing 21 minutes or fewer since 2013.

Wall has been so important to their success over the years that they rarely win when he has off-nights. They haven't won when he's put up numbers that bad in years. 

Yes, it's the Cavs. But the Wizards have the depth now to be less reliant on Wall. That's a good thing for everyone.

Mahinmi hit a three!: Wizards fans who showed up on Wednesday night saw something no other NBA fans had ever seen before. You could say they saw history.

That's because Mahinmi, playing in his 11th season, made his first ever three-point shot. Yes, that's right. After missing his first 10 career attempts, Mahinmi finally got one to go down.

It was a special moment, particularly on Twitter, where the phrase 'Ma3nmi' could be used for the very first time during a regular season game.

All kidding aside, Mahinmi deserves some legitimate credit here. He worked diligently over the summer and all throughout the preseason to develop a game-ready three-point shot. At the end of every Wizards practice and shootaround, he can be seen taking shot after shot from long range.

Despite having already played a decade in the NBA, Mahinmi is still adding to his game. Even his biggest critics should be able to appreciate that.

Ironically, on the night Mahinmi hit his first three, Beal made his 900th.


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Bradley Beal becomes youngest player in NBA history to reach 900 career 3-pointers

Bradley Beal becomes youngest player in NBA history to reach 900 career 3-pointers

Before Wednesday's Wizards-Cavs game, J.R. Smith held the record for youngest NBA player to reach 900 career 3-pointers. 

With 4:31 left in the opening quarter. Bradley Beal caught a pass from Otto Porter and knocked down his 900th career triple

The 25-year-old is a career 39 percent 3-point shooter. Through 13 games this season, Beal is stroking it at 34 percent, but scoring in a variety of ways this season with an average of over 22 points per game. 

Washington is looking for its third consecutive win.