HoopsHype Owners rumors

January 7, 2014 Updates

On Tuesday, the Silnas, the league and the four former A.B.A. teams will announce a conditional deal that will end the Silnas’ golden annuity. Almost. The Silnas are to receive a $500 million upfront payment, financed through a private placement of notes by JPMorgan Chase and Merrill Lynch, according to three people with direct knowledge of the agreement. The deal would end the enormous perpetual payments and settle a lawsuit filed in federal court by the Silnas that demanded additional compensation from sources of television revenue that did not exist in 1976, including NBA TV, foreign broadcasting of games and League Pass, the service that lets fans watch out-of-market games. New York Times

The N.B.A. has long hoped to be released from its financial obligation to Ozzie and Daniel Silna, brothers who owned the Spirits of St. Louis in the defunct American Basketball Association. But it has never been easy. The Spirits were excluded from the 1976 merger of the two leagues. So the Silnas watched unhappily as the New York (now Brooklyn) Nets, the Denver Nuggets, the Indiana Pacers and the San Antonio Spurs were absorbed into the N.B.A. But the Silnas negotiated an astonishing benefit that was critical to the merger: an agreement to be paid one-seventh of the national television revenue that each of the four teams was to receive, as long as the league continued to exist. That amounted to being paid in perpetuity, and so far, the deal has provided the Silnas with about $300 million. New York Times

Still, the league is not getting rid of the Silnas altogether. They will continue to get some television revenue, some of it from the disputed sources named in their lawsuit, through a new partnership that is to be formed with the Nets, the Pacers, the Nuggets and the Spurs, according to the people with knowledge of the agreement. But at some point, the Silnas can be bought out of their interest in the partnership. The Silnas, of course, did not have to settle. They could have continued to make money from the N.B.A., without ever having to invest in players or build an arena. Clearly, their old agreement would have to be honored as long as the N.B.A. continued to exist. New York Times

But there is a reluctance, more by Daniel, 69, than Ozzie, 80, to keep fighting the league, said one of the people who discussed the agreement. Although wealthy people often plan their estates, much of the Silnas’ riches from the N.B.A. is already in family trusts. Bob Costas, the NBC sportscaster who called Spirits games, said in a telephone interview, “My guess is that for the N.B.A., the upside is that in the foreseeable future, there will come a time when they will not have to look at this and blanch and it will be in the past.” New York Times

December 30, 2013 Updates

A report Monday said a black and gold scheme has emerged as a contender and that makes sense, since global ambassador Drake has built his OVO brand around those colours. An advertisement on raptors.com for “Drake Night” at the ACC on Jan. 11 depicts a black and gold Raptors logo beside Drake’s similarly coloured owl trademark. When asked if the black and gold scheme is the current leading contender, Leiweke told the Sun: “We are looking at a few different ideas.” One of them would be a blue and white look, to tie in with the Maple Leafs and Blue Jays. Multiple sources said they have seen mockups featuring the black and gold design. Toronto Sun

With the Kings safely in Sacramento for years to come after the sale of the team and a pledge for a new downtown arena, the Bucks are the only team in the NBA that has any question about its future. The Bucks' lease at Bradley Center, where they've played since 1988, runs out in 2017, and that makes them the one team that is vulnerable, potentially, to a move. Kohl wants to head that off. NBA.com

Even if Kohl can find a buyer, or investors, the league has insisted that Milwaukee get a new building to replace Bradley Center, one of the league's oldest arenas. Only Golden State's Oracle Arena, built in 1968 (but renovated in 1995) and Madison Square Garden, built in 1968 (and just renovated), are older. Sacramento's Sleep Train Arena and Detroit's Palace of Auburn Hills also opened in '88. NBA.com

A new building in Milwaukee is currently priced at around $450 million, Kohl said. "Whenever the issue of public financing comes up, people get their dander up," Kohl said. "I understand that. I appreciate that. But, my goal is to do everything in my power to keep the team here in Milwaukee, to keep Milwaukee an NBA city. I think it's important for Milwaukee to remain an NBA city. But in order to do that, we need a new building. So in a sense, we're going to get both. You can either stay in the NBA with a new building, or we're not going to stay in the NBA, and we won't have a new building. We'll get both or we'll get neither. So, I'm working on it. I'm working on it." NBA.com

December 23, 2013 Updates
December 17, 2013 Updates

Athletic equipment retailer Foot Locker has renewed a sponsorship deal with the National Basketball Association (NBA). Although financial details have not been revealed, the marketing rights that the brand has bought will be split between the US and Canada. Sportspromedia.com

December 16, 2013 Updates
November 12, 2013 Updates

The NBA is concerned about the length of games, which is why I proposed over the summer that the league should cut the game time from 48 minutes to 40 — an idea incoming commissioner Adam Silver is said to be interested in. (Silver informally proposed the 40-minute game, as well as a three-minute overtime, to owners over the last couple of seasons, according to several team sources. The proposals, to be totally clear, were very informal, intended only to gauge opinions.) Grantland

November 11, 2013 Updates

The NBA is engaged in settlement talks with Ozzie and Daniel Silna to end a contract that has long been described as "the greatest sports business deal of all time," according to sources close to the situation. No agreement has been reached, but talks are ongoing. The Silna brothers are the former owners of an old ABA franchise known as the Spirits of St. Louis. When the ABA merged with the NBA in 1976, the Silnas agreed to dissolve their team in exchange for a small percentage of the NBA's future broadcast revenue. ESPN.com

November 10, 2013 Updates

Anybody who has seen how difficult it’s been for an expansion team like Charlotte to get competitive might flinch at the thought, but Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban said Saturday that expansion in the NBA probably is on the horizon. For the right price, that is. “There’s a good chance of it happening,” Cuban said, “but I have no idea when.” Cuban said the key to getting a 31st NBA franchise, or perhaps two at a time, will be the fee those cities/owners are willing to pay to enter the league. “I just think the price of the expansion fee has to be so high that the NBA owners think, ‘OK, we’re crazy not to do it,’ “ Cuban said. “What that number is, I don’t know. But I’m open to it. It just depends on the price. If it’s the price of the last one, no. I thought that was a huge mistake and I voted against it. It just depends on the price.” Dallas Morning News

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