New York Sports have an unnatural relationship with reality.
Think of it as a super hot female model. Not the cute girls at the bar and local flyer bikini models that made up the last shitty Sports Illustrated calendar. Like a real smokeshow. She walks around and people just do shit for her. Buy her stuff. Act extra nice. And It happens so often that she starts to take it for granted. She expects it. She becomes self-absorbed.
And we all know what happens when that girl loses her looks,
or the next super model takes her place and they fall into obscurity. It’s not
a pretty picture.
The analogy here is that because something is attractive, it often doesn’t feel that is has to work hard. Let me present a specific case of not working hard as you become less attractive: the New York Knicks.
The Knicks haven’t been relevant in 20 years. That wasn’t always true. Between 1993 and 2003, the Knicks appeared in the NBA finals twice, with two different head coaches and two very different teams, philosophically. That actually is a credit to management. Generally a team has a small window with a great lineup. See Golden State… or every team Lebron jumps tat to get all stars to carry his ass.
That the Knicks lost one final (maybe Pat Reilly should have
subbed in Hubert Davis? Its why you lost, bro) and a few years later were back
in the finals to lose with a completely different team – showing that Patrick
Ewing missing lay ups and dunks doesn’t actually matter to a loser franchise- as
long as you reallocate resources.
But between 2001 and today? The most exciting Knicks moment
was a cast off point Harvard educated guard that electrified a city. For
ultimately a go nowhere team.
So we have to look at this body of work- a dead body,
really- and we have to ask- why are the Knicks so horrible?
The answer isn’t so complex. I boil it down to headline
The Knicks under owner James Dolan likes headlines. But not
the right kind, like winning titles. No, he wants everyone to write about the
Knicks, to refer to Madison Square Garden as the Mecca of basketball (wonder
how many basketball fans actually know what Mecca is?) and to keep headlines
because…have you seen the Forbes valuation of the Knicks lately?
$4 billion dollars. FOUR BILLION DOLLARS. For a team that
hasn’t won a title in the lifetimes of most of their fans. The last time the
Knicks were champions Gerald Ford was president.
And how bad are the Knicks? Look at their present crosstown
rivals, the Brooklyn Nets.
The Nets have made the NBA finals twice since the Knicks
made their last appearance. The Nets aren’t able to keep a home, but they have
more success this century than the Knicks have. And since 1974, are 2-2 in
league finals compared to the Knicks 0-2, albeit that the two wins were in the
ABA. But for NBA standards, since 2000 the Nets have at least won a playoff
series- when was the last time the Knicks did that?
The Nets have been vagabonds throughout their existence. Since their NBA arrival in 1976 they’ve called Uniondale NY home, Secaucus NJ home, nearly called Newark NJ home, almost called Westbury NY home, and presently call Brooklyn home. No one wants to keep them! And yet…since 2000, more successful than the Knicks if you look at playoff series wins as a barometer.
This pissees Dolan off. So he wants the backpage of the newspapers by interfering with team management so trade for superstars, or stars, or by leading the league in ejecting alumni, or anything that gets a headline to disrupt his losing. Speaking of losing, how have the Knicks done with coaches?
I’m pretty sure the last good Knicks coach was Jeff Van Gundy. You could argue Larry Brown was a good coach, but certainly not in his Knicks tenure. The Knicks are presently looking at new and exciting head coaches, some with limited experience. And the first experience all of these guys get? Losing. Fizzoutdale sucks.
Same goes for the front office. Phil Jackson was an
incredible NBA coach. And was an imbecile as a team President with the Knicks.
The sole good draft move Jackson made was Kirstaps Porzingis, who he promptly
alienated and ultimately read about demanding a trade. Why read about it?
Because his ass was already kicked out the door, having done nothing but lose
in his Knicks tenure.
But the management in between? Isiah Thomas did a fantastic
job as team President and GM, and even better as head coach. The Eddy Curry and
Zach Randolph trades comes to mind, as do all those bad free agent contacts to
players like Jerome James and Jarred Jefferies. Then there’s that weird $11.5
million deal he gave to Anucha Brown Sanders. I don’t know what that’s about
but it can’t be good.
And amazingly, after the sexual harassment claim from Sanders, Dolan hired Thomas to run the New York women’s basketball team, the Liberty. This is the lack of judgement that makes the Knicks losers. Guess you can’t sexually harass a lesbian? It did get headlines, which is what Dolan wants.
Every team in sports looks to point to a golden age, but I’m
a fan of the “what have you done for me lately” school of thought. And what
have the Knicks done lately?
Be bad enough to miss the playoffs, but not bad enough to get a solid lottery pick? And why not? Because unlike say the New York Mess (not a typo) the Knicks will drop money at free agents. Where they do a terrible job with such- hi Joakim Noah! But just enough to make sure they’re picking somewhere after the top ten.
This past Knicks season had some promise because they were absolutely fucking horrible and had so many expiring contracts that they would finally be able to be big game hunters in free agency. And you know what happened? Knicks gotta Knick.
They lost the draft lottery. So as fans suffered all season with that little glimmer of hope for a brighter future, the Knicks couldn’t even lose right. Now I am NOT saying that RJ Barrett is a bust, and in fact he seems to have the trust of the organization as their highest draft pick since Patrick Ewing. But at the same time…he can’t hit free throws? WTF. Every game the Knicks lose by 3 or less will 100% be Barretts fault for sucking at fundamentals. He went to Duke. He should know better.
Luckily for him, the Knicks are usually blown away by much
larger margins of failure.
The other part of the Knicks past season that gave them promise was the two 1st round draft picks that the Knicks got from Dallas for Porzingis. But you know what? Luka Doncic will make sure those first rounders are somewhere in the 20’s. The Knicks best hope is to package those two picks and see if they can get to a top ten pick, because a bench isn’t going to help this mess. All they do is draft bench. Mitchell Robinson, Kevin Knox, Frank Tkinilikiniaiah- but not Alonso Trier. No, he was undrated but the Knicks signed him because he was buddies with Kevin Durant. That’s the way to woo a guy.
Because Kevin Durant was leaving Golden State to hang out
with an undrafted college kid. An undrafted college kid.
Oh, that was the other thing. The summer of 2019 free agency
splurge! Who were the Knicks getting? Durant? Anthony Davis? Kyrie Irving? A
combination? All three?
Howabout this- Knicks gotta Knick. They got fucking nothing. A bunch of castoffs that are serviceable NBA players, but no leadership. And their coach? David Jizzdale? That wasn’t a typo either. Will he lead? Has he ever? Guy is a career loser as a head coach. How he has a job is not only staggering, but also lends to explain why the Knicks are just perennial losers.
But boy did they get headlines. The next one will be for firing the coach.
So that’s a lot of bitching. What about a positive? How do
we fix this?
First step- James Dolan needs to sell the team. He has $4
billion reasons to. Take the money and play with your shitty jam band. You’ve
done enough. And not in the good way. Shit, the Nets sold their team and shitty
arena over a billion, and the Los Angeles Clippers went for $2 billion. Take
the money and go ruin something else.
Next step? You have a $4 billion franchise. Invest 1% in a head coach, GM, front office, and scouting staff. Maybe 1.5%. That’d be $40 to $60 million dollars. You know what you’d get? The top head coach and the top GM in the NBA taking a massive salary. You have a salary cap on players, but on coaches? Not so much. Yes, there are some staffing limits that apply to the players cap, but that doesn’t fall on coaches.
Next step? Draft well. That’s why you have scouts. And free
agents? Be selective. Have a five year plan. Reevaluate that plan after every
game. Do not be afraid to make trades, but always weigh the trade offs and
opportunity costs in keeping an asset and moving an asset. Maybe hire a team
economist and a team cap expert? Look at the present model that’s working- teams
effectively shooting the three- and emulate that, but figure out what the next
trend is- maybe defense comes back? Maybe it’s three point plays at a higher
percentage shot? Maybe it’s a ten second offense? But for the Knicks, we know
what isn’t winning- what they’ve been doing for almost 20 years.
Time for a change, Knick fans, or else it will be more of the same. Or more to the point, Knicks Gotta Knick.
*This article was written while watching two consecutive Thanksgiving time Knicks losses- to be fair, consecutive Knicks losses can happen at any time- but was inspired by Knicks superfan and the creator of the term “Jizzdale,” AMR.
The NBA is
performing its annual world exhibition series. This series of games is part of
the goodwill of the best professional league in the world, but also reflects
the ever growing global popularity of the game of basketball. Basketball is
popular because it’s as cheap to play as soccer, and is an accessible game to
pretty much anyone. Fans in China especially love basketball and are very
supportive of the NBA.
literal shit hit the fan. Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey spoke in support of
the protests presently going on in Hong Kong. In case you weren’t sure what was
going on in Hong Kong, here is the short version:
Hong Kong has been a part of China after being a British colony. The residents
have historically had decades of autonomy from China, and built a thriving
economy. China has mostly left Hong Kong alone as it has been a cash cow, but
every now and then China pokes at Hong Kong just to remind them who is really
protests originate from a bill that was introduced that would allow Hong Kong
to deport suspected criminals to mainland China to face trial there. Many
people feel that such would guarantee extraditions initiated by China, more criminal
convictions and violate their rights, so the residents took to the streets to
protesting police corruption and brutality, and at least one protestor has been
killed by police during these protests. And the protestors also want the
promises of expanded democracy from a 2014 bill enforced. Lots of moving parts,
but basically, they want democracy.
Morey tweeted support for the residents of Hong Kong because generally, the
United States should be supporting democracies all over the world. It has been
a foreign policy of ours since World War Two, one of the main reasons that we spend
billions of dollars to support Israel today, and the impetus for at least four
military conflicts in the last 50 years or so.
A tweet is
so innocuous, right? WRONG. Morey was bombarded with HUNDREDS of THOUSANDS of angry
tweets from China. League officials started to speak out of both ends of their
mouths. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said he supports free speech for NBA
employees, and in the same breath said there are consequences for your free
speech. The message was received by the rank and file of the NBA.
coaches Gregg Popovich and Steve Kerr danced around supporting Hong Kong
despite being vocal critics of the United States. Lebron James called Morey “uneducated,”
which is interesting. I’m sure there is no direct financial tie between Lebron
and China. Also Lebron managed to firmly plant his foot in his mouth in the
process. But more on this later.
Brooklyn Nets owner Joe Tsai wrote a rambling letter attacking Morey’s knowledge
of China and explaining a history of foreign imperialism in China and why
Chinese are so sensitive to western commentary on Chinese life and culture.
Tsai is from Taiwan, a state that has been long backed by a Western nation that
has preserved their autonomy. Tsai came to America and got a degree from Yale,
and worked hard to earn a $700,000 annual salary from a Swedish investment firm
in Hong Kong before he took those earnings back to the mainland to start the
Chinese equivalent of Amazon, an American idea.
Even more interestingly,
all of the aforementioned actors are silent on the current Chinese persecution
of the Muslim Uighur population, who are pretty much presently sitting in camps
which the Chinese say serve the purpose of reeducation. Any person who has ever
read a history book knows what reeducation means. You would think a guy that
makes profits in China and became an internet billionaire like Tsai would want
all the people in China to be his customers and be free to shop on line, but he’s
predictably quiet on the subject.
I get the
feeling that Joe Tsai is an asshole, but it’s just a feeling. Based on
anecdotal data. I’m sure he gets birthday gifts for his kids or something, but
I don’t have a source on that.
So you may
be asking, why is the NBA so afraid of China? Why are the players shutting the
fuck up? Why are North American arenas taking away not only protest signs, but
also informational campaigns out of their arenas? And the answer is simple-
collective bargaining agreement (CBA) creates a split in league generated
revenue between players and owners at basically a 50-50 share. The players
share of revenue is generally expressed in the salary cap. If you’ve followed
the NBA, you’d know that revenues grow annually, meaning the cap grows annually,
so every year players get paid more and more.
example? When the New York Knicks gave undrafted bench energy player Ron Baker
a contract, it was for a two way roughly $540,000. That’s like sports minimum
wage. However, Baker had a management team that believed in handing out bad
contracts more than they believed in him. Baker as a rookie averaged 4 points,
2 rebounds and 2 assists a game for that season. Those stats made him a
gave Baker $9 million dollars over the next two years. I’m pretty sure I can
post those same stats for $530k over 50 games like Baker did, and would gladly
sign a 2 year deal for $9 million. And not even see the end of that contract,
as he was waved by both the Knicks the Washington Wizards last season.
Why the fuck
would you give Ron Baker a $10 million net value as a human being? Because the
NBA prints money.
cap for the upcoming season is $109 million, and is expected to more to $117
million for the 2020-2021 season. Why go through all of this?
China. If China decides “Nah, fuck you” to the NBA and stops showing games,
supporting teams, cutting off apparel sales, the conservative estimate is that
the NBA salary cap for 2020-2021 is going to be $99 million, and the doomsday
estimate is $94 million.
million to $94 million? That means a team loses $46 million in revenues. And
the players on that team combined lose $23 million. But that’s not just all.
There are 30
teams in the NBA. That’s $690 million of player salaries that will go away.
Raises that will be reduced. Unrestricted free agents what will see pay cuts
for becoming a better player. Veterans who will have prematurely ending
careers. Do you think that players want to see nearly $700 million go up in
smoke? And owners see almost $1.4 billion not hit their bank accounts? FUCK NO.
So you want
to know why Lebron is toeing a line? Or Popovich? Or Kerr? Or every player in
the league? Or arena security? Because everyone has jobs and money on the line.
The NBA players union assuredly wants the cap to escalate, not return to 2016-
which was $94 million.
As American citizens, we enjoy the ideas of democracy and freedom. We believe on some level that we should support sucj ideas if they are in our best interest. And people are looking at a guy like Lebron- a guy who has never had loyalty to anything in a career but Lebron and opportunity- who made some hypocritical statements and are calling him a dick. Lebron actually said that in this matter he does not want to be political. He doesn’t want to be political? He mocked the current president. He campaigned for Hillary Clinton in 2016. He’s gotten involved in public schooling in Ohio. He’s been vocal in the Black Lives Matter movement. He’s absolutely political.
He’s China’s bitch. So…maybe he has more in common with the president than he
I talk to
people. I have yet to meet one that has said “I agree with what Lebron did. He
has to cover his ass.” Pretty much everyone sees him as full of shit, which is
easy to realize if you every watched that self-absorbed shit ESPN “The Decision”
many people who are yelling that Lebron should have made a statement about the
Hong Kong situation. They say things like “You have to express what you feel
even if its in the face of losing money” or “If you believe in the cause, who
cares what your boss says, because freedom is important!” A lot of these people
are right leaning, which I find interesting.
they’re fucking hypocrites.
How did I
make that jump? Remember that Colin Kaepernick guy? The guy that expressed what
he believed in despite losing a lot of money? And they spoke out for freedom
and social issues despite his bosses asking him not to? Oh, they guy was
buried. “Shut the fuck up and play!” How DARE you take a knee during what
historically has been…a commercial break. When TV networks- like right leaning
Fox and left leaning CBS- have taken a knee for the anthem, too.
same douchebags? They were the ones saying about Kaepernick “If I did whatever
I wanted to at my job without a care about what my boss said? I’d be so fired!”
So, to be clear, you’d shut up and do as your told? Like Lebron is doing?
Yes, I know
you’re not worth half a billion dollars as Lebron is. But while there is some
courage in having “fuck you” money, most people like to get paid to do things.
Can Lebron never work again and be ok? Sure, absolutely. Can you and I? No. So
he should live by different rules than you do? Who else is subject to your
whims? So, here’s what I’d suggest.
Shut the fuck
up. It’s easy to have armchair courage. But fact is, people love to just
complain and never fix shit. And I’m not even talking about the racism angle
here, which absolutely has something to do with it. I don’t recall anyone
complaining when Boston Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas refused to meet then
President Barack Obama. Seems people liked the freedom of expression back then
that they presently hate with the Golden State Warriors announcing that they’ll
do the same.
In short, is
the NBA scared about potentially losing billions of dollars? Absolutely. Is
Lebron James a douche? Absolutely. Is Joe Tsai a selfish fucked up
opportunistic individual? Absolutely. Would you rock a boat at work about your
feelings? Not a fucking chance. So when we complain about Kerr and Lebron, are
we hypocritical? Well…you are. I don’t have the suck up gene.
In short, people don’t just want nice things. They want to complain. They want to bury someone and will dance around their reality to do so, like those fucktards that are incels or the skags that are social justice warriors or the jerkoffs who gossip at the office. The NBA and China encouraged people to be douchebags about this specific topic, but if it wasn’t them there would be some other nonsense to blame. So feel however you want about Lebron or China or the NBA. Just don’t pretend that you’re better than any of them. And try to be as good as Daryl Morey.
Hey dear readers, I bet you’re expecting a mock draft. Well,
fuck that. What’s the purpose? Zion goes 1st overall? And then who
gives a shit.
Here’s what a draft generally entails. There are 3 strong
players in any draft. Maybe 2, maybe 4. But about three. They will play for a
bad team. They will look to either become cornerstones for a franchise, or look
to move to a better team to join up with another star. More on that later.
So the NBA draft in 2019 will be a lot like other drafts.
But here’s where the NBA fucked up.
The league should have rigged the draft to allow the New
York Knicks to have won the draft lottery. Why?
Because the Knicks were terrible. Worst record in the league. Understand that people buy tickets to see the Knicks- I would rather waste money on buying Absinthe, letting it evaporate, and snorting the crystals instead of paying for a train, seats, and snacks for failure- despite the fact that as an organization, they are losers? And the fans often get what they came for.
But the Knicks were such losers, they didn’t even win for
losing. And even then, they’re still getting a solid player. Until they have to
pick that player.
What the Knicks have is salary space for two NBA star players.
And they drafted a high level wing forward last year. This means that if the
draft falls wrong, the Knicks are going to be fucked. Why?
Easy. The Knicks took Kevin Knox as the future small
forward. There’s a strong chance that the Knicks will be looking at drafting a
small forward at pick 3. If so, the Knicks can either trade Knox, or trade pick
3. Except, there’s only one answer. And that is, there should no way that the
Knicks trade the third overall pick.
Whomever the Knicks choose?
Better than whomever they have.
So if the Knicks are drafting a point guard? Fuck you,
Kyrie, with your name sounding like an 80’s song from Mister Mister. If the
Knicks are getting the other kid from Duke? Trade Knox. And if Zion falls to
But me? I look to move my 3rd overall to New
Orleans, plus this and next year’s seconds, plus a future first or two to get
Zion. Dallas gave you two firsts for gimpy Kristaps Prozingas, who despite
being punched in the face was a proven NBA all star, so why not make an offer
to move up two spots?
Why would New Orleans make the trade? Because they’d be
getting a 3rd player in the draft, plus two more firsts and two
seconds to move down two spots. Also, they’re still trading Anthony Davis and
will take in a haul for him. The Celtics made a deal like this with the Nets
and have been prosperous since. New Orleans could use the hype of Zion and the
demands of Davis to make them potent for years. Oh, and since these will be so
many guys on entry level deals, the Pelicans can be active in the free agency
Zion is made for New York. The next Charles Barkley. Not a
small market guy. Then the Knicks can go out and sign Kevin Durant and Kyrie
Irving or Kawai Leonard or whomever they want to. Kevin Knox can learn a jump
shot and swing to G2, or sit behind Leonard. Actually, maybe Knox- Tim Hardaway
Jr never did.
But here is what the Knicks will do. They will trade away a top pick to acquire a nightmare contract, then sign a free agent, which is what they could have regardless while keeping a major asset. Instead they’ll make some headline grabbing splash, keep an inferior player at small forward, and sign maybe one UFA. They’ll fuck up everything like they always do, because they’re the Knicks. And with the weaker level of firepower, they will b a 500 team that exits in the first round of the playoffs. Again.
If only the NBA had the sense to make the Knicks a valuable team
based on something more than geography, they’d have frozen an envelope again.
Here’s why April is the greatest month in sports. I know
there is no NFL in the month of April, but look at all the other sports going
on. First off, right from the start of April, it’s Opening Day for baseball.
Second, the first Sunday in April, the Road to Wrestlemania has finally. Then
the exact next day after Wresltemania, you have the March Madness finals. After
that, the following weekend will be The Masters. Then, while all that’s going
on, you’ll have the NBA and NHL going on throughout April. Finally, at the end
of the month, you’ll have your taste of the NFL season with the NFL Draft.
Plus, how could I forget, all the UFC fights that’ll happen.
Think about it. This is a month we’ll see Mike Trout,
Rory McIlroy, Seth Rollins, Zion Williamson, Sidney Crosbey, and Roger Goodell
getting boo’d, in action all in this one month. You literally couldn’t ask for
anything better. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait for April.
People have dreams. For a LOT of people, the dream they have
is to be a major league athlete. Maybe the Quarterback that leads his team to a
win in the Big Game. Maybe it’s having the ball in the 9th inning to
win the game. Or maybe you want to be the player that is first to hoist Lord
Stanley’s trophy. Or hold that big metal basketball against your head because
you were the next Jordan?
Not me. Nah.
Sure, when I was 13 I wanted to be the starting
centerfielder for the New York Mets. But then I faced major league pitching at
one point and realized it was time for plan B. I thought “maybe a coach?” So I
tried that, and it was fun, but it came with limits. Coaches have short
careers, and can’t manage a roster, so coaching was a fleeting thought.
The next want was General Manager. Anyone who has read the
last near decade of these blogs on various platforms knows that I was 100%
confident that I could do a better job with running the Islanders than Garth
Snow. But who couldn’t?
However, walking from a different career into a GM spot is
something that no team would do. After all, who would hire a guy with no
experience to run an entire organization? They’d be a world class moron for
such. #Wilpons #Wang Another dream deferred.
What about ownership? Now, that’d be something awesome. But
how to finance a sports team? Can you or I buy a sports team? Can we mortgage a
house to buy a team? Can we get a few buddies to join in to cover the
I was quoted in Newsday a few years back (https://www.newsday.com/long-island/liers-scoop-up-tickets-for-325m-powerball-jackpot-1.4257051)
saying that if I hit a big Powerball jackpot that I would absolutely buy the
Islanders and keep them playing in the Nassau Coliseum. That wasn’t a lie. Say
I won and cleared $500 million and used all of the money to purchase the team. Financial
advisors would say I’m stupid. It’s always a bad idea to put your eggs in one
basket. Why would I do such a thing? As a Series 7 license holder, wouldn’t I
want to keep a few bucks for myself instead of put my eggs in one basket?
Wouldn’t I want to diversify? Save for a rainy day? Earn some profits from the
If I bought a pro sports team, I just did.
Owning a major league sports team is akin to having a bank
account with a crazy interest rate. Say I did spend the entire lottery winnings
on a sports team. Would I be afraid of a downturn in value? Would I be afraid
of my $500 million becoming $400 million a year or two later?
Not a fucking chance.
Look at that pig Donald Sterling that owned the LA Clippers. He bought that team for $12 million in 1981. He sold the team for 2 billion dollars. I’m not sure about how many investments earn 1400% in 30 years. Even if interest rates were 10% a year, it would take 140 years to see the same return. Of course you can add the value of the tax breaks, business write offs, annual profits, and you’re looking at the Clippers guy that hangs with gold digging skanks making money all the way during his ownership on top of his $1.988 billion profit. Well beyond $2 billion. So he earned 1800%? And won what exactly?
What about…well, just name the owner that lost money. These
other rich shitbags that buy franchises, make some changes, usually fail, then
sell to make a fantastic profit while simultaneously holding a city hostage for
the new owner to come in and get a sweetheart deal. Oh, does that sound crazy?
Look at the deal New York State gave to the New York
Islanders. There are lots of arenas within 20 miles in state of each other.
There’s an arena in Queens. There’s an arena at Jones Beach. There’s a
remodeled Nassau Coliseum. There’s a Barclays. MSG. So why was New York in such
a need to build a Belmont, where the owners will PAY NO TAXES. NOT A DIME.
Do Long Island homeowners pay taxes? The highest in the
country. Now you know why. We pay for rich assholes.
Do you think that two guys who agreed to a sale price with Charles
Wang- another guy that vastly profited from owning a sports team- suddenly had
to add a third owner because they didn’t have a bigger picture? They kept money
in hand so that they could make a billion dollar investment for a new arena
complex. And to stop paying taxes. And to increase the resale value of the
team. After all, what’s the resale on a team with a Stanley Cup winning coach
in a brand new 19500 seat arena with a hotel and shopping complex next to a
major horse racing site that pays no taxes to anyone? With a Hall of Fame
general manager? You think when Ledecky and Malkin sell the team- and they
will- they’re not seeing a $2 billion return? You don’t think they’ll double
their money? After Wang nearly tripled his? Pfft.
The astronomical returns these owners make are unmatched by
hedge funds, companies that play with options, and other investments. Why?
Because nothing appreciates without such unique circumstances. Cities want a
team. That demand inflates a value from the get go. Cities with no teams will
make plays to take your cities investment. Ask the salty fans in San Diego
about football or heartbroken Hartford fans about how your team can be poached.
Look out Florida Panthers and Carolina Hurricanes! Why? Because another city
will overpay to steal your brand and organization and history.
Just look at the expansion fee paid by the new Seattle NHL team, or the last fee paid by Las Vegas. Vegas dropped $500 million just to exist. That means that every other team in the NHL is worth more than $500 million. Seattle is paying even more. The baseline for owning an NHL organization is just about $700 million. Has any owner paid as much as $700 million dollars to field a team?
Check out the NFL Raiders moving to Las Vegas. Or the Chargers returning to Los Angeles. Or the Vancouver Grizzlies moving to Tennessee. Every time these team moves they became more valuable. BAD TEAMS SOMEHOW BECOME VALUABLE. Does your beat up jalopy gain value after 10 years of depreciation? No, no it doesn’t.
I begrudge none of this profiteering on the surface. It’s American to steal as much of someone else’s money as you can. However, I do have issue with the representation of a very basic concept of capitalism. That idea? You get what you pay for.
Sports teams owners buy and sell teams at amazing profits
with assured regularity. But who really owns a team? What is a balance of
power? What if fans never showed up for a game?
Look at the New York Mets. The Mets are one of the worst run
organizations in all of sports. They play in maybe the biggest market in the
league, own their stadium, have their own basic cable channel, insure large
player contracts to get a financial return on injuries, actually profited (allegedly)
from the Bernie Madoff scandal, and yet spend money organizationally like it’s
the Deer Park Little League.
If I were the Mets GM (see prior dream jobs) my payroll
would be 1 cent less than the amount that triggers the luxury tax. My scouting
staff would number in the hundreds, maybe the thousands. I would poach scouts,
coaches, executives and management from other organizations as a practice, not
a rarity. I would have one rule- everyone I hire has to be smarter than me,
because those guys will make me look good. Garth Snow never got that. Nor do
the Wilpons, who hired an agent to run an organization. An agent that
negotiated half a dozen Mets players contracts. That’s like making the guy that
does your dry cleaning the buyer for Macys.
Back to the Mets. In the past decade they had two playoff
appearances. 20% of the decade was playoff bound. Sounds acceptable? Well, what
about the other 8 years?
Sub 500 winning percentage. 8 losing years. Does a World Series loss and a playoff loss balance out 8 years of being shit? No. It’s just a new place to lose. Losers.
Does Charles Wang’s 12 years of ownership with 3 playoff
appearances and one series win deserve New York state taxpayers to be on the
hook for all of the taxes their new arena will generate for 40 years? Hell no.
And do teams need to be so cost prohibitive that some owners
have teams in multiple sports because regular multimillionaires are priced out
of ownership? The LA Rams are owned by the same guy that owns the Colorado Avalanche.
But how do we fix such a system where demand is inflated and
supply is limited? The same way your company looks at your job. Yay capitalism.
It’s time to fire the dead weight. It’s time to increase the
supply of owners.
Here’s the starting premise. If your team in any major sport
misses the playoffs for 5 consecutive years, you have to sell your team. Why’s
Most sports leagues have greatly expanded the money making
playoffs format, and in doing so have created extra regular season buzz as your
favorite team moves towards making a postseason. That’s all good for a fan
experience. But what about the fan experience for a team that loses a lot?
What’s the consequence for a team that disappoints fans on an annual basis?
What would selling more teams cause? Think about what would
happen if 5 of your neighbors all put their houses up for sale at the same
time. What would happen to the asking prices of their home? What would happen
to the value of your home? Everyone plummets. In some neighborhoods it allows
for social mobility to happen. American dreams, yo.
Now apply this to the sporting world. How many people would be able to buy the New York Knicks? A $4 billion franchise? But say the Knicks HAD to be sold. Suddenly the price drops significantly. Maybe a consortium is able to pull together funds to own a team. A consortium that wants to win, instead of an owner who wants to badly jam on guitar with celebrities as his team again misses the playoffs as the owner refuses to hire a coach with a championship pedigree.
Capitalism promotes this idea. Winners win, losers go bankrupt.
Anyone flying on TWA lately? Driving a De Soto? Eating at Wetsons? So why are sports owners exempt from this
risk? If your product fails, fuck you. NEXT!
So here’s the premise. It’s January 1 2019. An investor
named Mike Oxhurts buys an NBA team. Mike has until the 2024-2025 season to
just make the playoffs. First question- is this a heavy burden?
No. In the NBA half of the league makes the playoffs. Well,
ok, what if his team sucks?
If they suck? They get to draft elite players. They have
ability to add established superstars. If they suck it’s simply the choice of
ownership to do so. To steal from their fans. To lie to the community. There is
no reason for a team taking one of the top 10 best college players two or three
years in a row on a 7 man team with the option to acquire an established player
to not at least appear in the playoffs. Forced sale.
And not on the owners terms. Say a team is worth a billion
dollars. But they missed the playoffs for 5 years in a row, so clearly they’re
overvalued. Your billion dollar company is now a $750,000,000 company. BOO HOO.
That’s how Wall Street works.
In hockey more than half of the league makes the playoffs.
If you can’t make the playoffs in a 5 year span, BOO HOO. Sell. NEXT!
Baseball has a somewhat more selective deal, but with
wildcards 10 teams are playoff bound. Opportunity!
Football’s playoffs format needs a degree in chemistry to
understand, but 12 out of 32 teams show up. In major sports the playoff
participation rate varies between 30-55%. That’s a 42% average. To make it easy
we’ll say half.
Half. Here’s an experiment. Flip a coin. Try to get the
results wrong 5 times in a row. It’s impossible. But to demand winning from a
team? That should be the goal. Why is that goal impossible? Why would owners
want to lose?
That’s an easy punchlist. First off, it’s a long term
investment guaranteed to gain value disproportionally to other investments.
Next is that the chance to cook books to offset gains in other businesses that
these guys own to fatten up their tax returns. After that, you have the
guaranteed bank account of not losing on the investment unlike living with
market volatility. The ability to relocate creates a new financial incentive. Then
there’s what I call the Kool Aid factor.
What’s the Kool Aid factor? It’s something I’ve had to live
with since I was 13. By the age of 13 the local teams I rooted for had won 7
championships and lost 2 more. 13 years, 9 title appearances, 7 wins. Add to it
the local teams I didn’t root for who provided 4 more title appearances and 3
wins. 13 years, 13 title appearances, 9 wins. Fast forward 8 more years, and
local teams added 5 more titles appearances and another championship. So what
is the kool aid factor?
Because of this success, fans got “full” from winning, like the team was a buffet and the fans ate enough. They never asked- why did a franchise that was championship caliber stop seeking and/or providing such? But the fans were somehow satisfied with a “good run” of titles, which in all fairness is hard to sustain, and hard to jump back into after you lose. Or maybe it’s not. We’ll discuss that later.
Instead the conversation became “We can return to glory if
we just believe!” The Philadelphia 76er’s even made this their mantra- trust
the process. The process got assraped in the playoffs last year…BUT THEY MADE
THE PLAYOFFS! That’s an improvement. And the best part- under my plan, the
owner gets 5 more years to sustain improvements.
So I’m sure you’re thinking like I am. You’re saying “Owners
hire league presidents. If they are afraid of losing their team, they’ll fire
league presidents.” No, they won’t.
League presidents add value to franchises. So do you think
in a sport where half a league annually earns a postseason paycheck that
they’re going to fire what works over what doesn’t? You think Jerry Jones
sitting on $3 billion dollars really wants to see his doofy league president
take a hiatus? Well, he does, and 30 owners shouted him down. Everyone not named
But what if some owners in the club would suddenly not be in
the club. What would a league likely do in the face of flailing owners? They’d
expand the playoff format. Owners would
pressure each other to make the NFL regular season one or two games less to add
6 more teams to the playoffs so nobody has to sell. Truth be told, I’d rather
see 14 regular season NFL games and more playoffs just for the excitement, so
that makes my suggestion even more enticing.
And baseball would probably make 4 divisions per league and
4 wildcards, and the wild card with the worst record plays against the team
closest to them in record- think 8 versus 9- to see who is the last to make a
play in. Suddenly you’ve expanded baseballs playoffs from 10 to 18. So if you’re
one of the 14 or 32 that can’t qualify for the vastly expanded post season?
The next issue I can think of- what if there is a strike or
lockout? That season does not count, because it’s not a true season. However,
no league CBA can be under 6 years.
I’m sure you’re saying “Well, what if the new buyers want to
move a team?” Sure, that’s an option and may even be the impetus for a
purchase. So here’s a solution. A Divorce tax. Any man that’s been divorced
knows how the court turns that marriage based on love for both into a viscous
ass raping based on finances created in fantasy land where the man is
impoverished. A housewife has an annual value of WHAT? Amazing nonsense. But it
can set a precedent.
Say the Calgary Flames hold true to their threat of moving
out of the old Saddle Dome. Sure. How many years were you here? OK, so you
claimed how many tax breaks over those 35 years? OK you have to pay half of
that back in a lump sum and the rest in annual payments.
Also, there’s an Alimony tax, the tax on a team’s future
earnings. Which is another bullshit thing courts do – tax a man’s pension
decades after a marriage breaks up. How come they don’t make the person
receiving such suck dick for it, like he was accustomed to in the marriage? So
your new team is making money in Houston? Great, we get a piece for the next
ten years. We need to get back on our feet and save for a new team. And we don’t
even have to such off the old team.
Lastly there should be a relocation fee to season ticket
holders. “Hey loyal fans, sorry we fucked you. Here’s three years of seat fees,
on us to say thanks for the years of your support.” Can you imagine an owner
treating their fans with such dignity and class? Me either.
Won’t owners just shift ownership to a family member or a
shell company? Not if you make rules against families in consecutive
generations passing teams back and forth, and do enough due diligence on a
shell company to make sure it’s not run by an absentee or a bad owner.
Maybe this opens up American sports to foreign investment.
Didn’t Nintendo own the Seattle Mariners? And they were good?
Some people will say that this plays favorites for large
markets at the expense of small markets. But the “small market” 2015 Kansas
City Royals won a World Series. The Tampa Bay Lightning have recently both won
and lost playing for a Stanley Cup. Green Bay may be the smallest professional
market and yet the Packers are multiple time champions. The Cleveland Cavaliers
brought a title to Cleveland for the first time in…before man walked on the
moon. So are the rest of the “small market” guys shitty owners? Do they deserve
to lose a team?
The answers are maybe and maybe. If you look at sports team
champions, there’s usually patterns of teams that are well run and return to
post season in their era of good coaching and management. I would never sleep
on the San Antonio Spurs as long as Greg Popovich is head coach, but they
aren’t winning a title in the next two years. But when Pop retires?
Look at the Yankees in the year change between Joe Girardi
and Arron Boone. Girardi took a team that was expected to be an 80 win team to
a few innings away from a World Series. Boone took a team expected to be in a
World Series and had them get smoked by the eventual champion Boston Red Sox.
When a great coach leaves, there’s almost always a step back. Did the Mets do
better without Davey Johnson? The Cardinals without Tony LaRussa?
Good news Jets fans. When Belichick goes, there will be
intolerable pain in Boston.
And that small market argument is invalid. Large market
teams can eat a dick, too. The Knicks have been awful for a decade plus. The
Flyers stink. The Nationals lose a lot. There are plenty of big market teams
that will get impacted by this. And here comes the best part.
When they do, there will be lower prices and new owners with
a motivation to win. Not old owners with a motivation for fat TV contracts to
larden up their portfolio and eventually create a class system upon the sale of
the team. So folks, root for some core changes, and think bigger picture.
Imagine how much more fun would be if your team was playing for a championship
every game of the season? Until then, you’ll get the same crap you’re presently