By Darren Rovell
The National Basketball Association lockout, which started on July 1, has already wiped out the entire preseason and nearly 100 regular-season games. A key point of dispute for both sides continues to be focused on the breakdown of basketball-related income (BRI), which previously had been guaranteed at 57 percent for the players. The league has claimed that 22 of its teams lost money during the 2010 season.
|Slideshow: Teams that can't afford the lockout|
Some star players, including Deron Williams and Tony Parker, have already signed contracts to play overseas as the work stoppage drags on. Many more players have threatened they might consider doing the same.
As the owners and players continue to squabble over their next labor agreement, we started thinking about the teams that could least afford to miss the 2011-12 NBA season.
Golden State finds itself in the loser column without an NBA season. After paying an NBA record $450 million for the team in the summer of 2010, owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber can't afford to be set back by fan apathy that would accompany a year-long stoppage. Sure, a revamped economic system would lower costs, but whatever the final deal is won't save them that much. Lacob and Guber paid a premium for a team that, frankly, hasn't been that successful because of the team's location. They've brought in Jerry West, a new coach in Mark Jackson and the thinking is the revamp can help them make the numbers work. A year away from the court would be brutal.
Defending champ Dallas, like the Miami Heat, is one of eight NBA teams that netted a combined $150 million last season, while the league says the other 22 teams lost $450 million. With the belief that some of the have-nots will actually do better by not playing games, there's an argument to be made that the guys that have the most to lose are owners such as Mark Cuban, whose fans are ready to provide him with what might be his biggest revenue year yet.
With plenty on the line after coming away empty against the Mavericks in the NBA Finals, Miami had already sold out this season by March. Sure, there's plenty of expenses, thanks to owner Mickey Arison cutting checks to LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, but there's plenty more revenue to be had. At one point last season, the Heat actually turned away sponsorship money because it had nothing left to sell in some categories.
Sure it's a lame duck year for New Jersey, which is scheduled to play its last season in Newark, but there's still plenty to lose. With a spanking new arena awaiting the team in Brooklyn next year, a year lost could cool the appetite to watch a team who, let's face it, hasn't proved themselves on the court. A lost year could mean the team might lose Deron Williams forever, making it difficult to lure other free agents. The new location is nice, but a year of apathy will immediately dull the impact of the move to the Barclays Center.
Who else? Check out the slideshow to find out.