3 Reasons Milwaukee Bucks Fans Need to Support the Owners in the Lockout
I never thought I would find myself in this position as a fan. The thought of supporting billionaires to make more money is a completely foreign concept to me.
But in the case of the NBA lockout, there is substantial evidence and logic that suggests that all Milwaukee Bucks fans need to support the owners. When we break down the owners position, there are three reasons the Milwaukee Bucks fans to support the owners.
A Non Profitable Team Will Increase the Likelihood That the Bucks Leave Milwauke
The NBA economic model is broken. There have been various reports, but it seems to be genuinely agreed upon that there is a large number of NBA teams that are loosing money on a yearly basis.
The current NBA financial split between the players and the league is 57 percent to 43 percent in favor of the players. With a large discrepancy between how much each side is making, it has created financial hardship for the NBA owners.
The fact is that someone like Herb Kohl is a businessman, and he is not going to want to invest his money in a failing product. In a league that, by financial accounts, as a whole is failing money needs to be more evenly distributed so that NBA teams are not operating at a loss. The Bucks could sell out every game, and still make far less money than a team like Chicago.
The simple reason is TV deals.
When you have a large market, you are reaching far more homes than a small market team. This increases add revenue significantly, and will make the TV deals of teams in large markets substantially higher than in a small market.
So how does this make it more likely the Bucks will leave Milwaukee?
Aside from the current stadium issues and lack of fan support, Herb Kohl has flirted with selling the Bucks over the last decade or two. He has come close a few times, but did not pull the trigger because he wants to make sure that the team remains in Milwaukee.
The economic model of the NBA has made the Bucks a not very attractive business. There are not people lining up to buy this team. Without a change in the system to make the Bucks more profitable, Senator Kohl may have to loosen his stance on not moving the Bucks and selling simply to the highest bidder. There are places like Las Vegas and Seattle who would love to welcome an NBA franchise.
As Senator Kohl gets older and ready to retire, a headache of an ownership for the Bucks will likely be something he is willing to part with. And if the economic model is not fixed, we could be looking saying good bye to the Milwaukee Bucks.
Small Market Teams Cannot Afford Guaranteed Contracts
The owners have been pushing hard for new regulations to NBA contracts. As it stands now, NBA contracts are guaranteed, and there are many instances where players are making ridiculous money that they are not earning (see: Michael Redd or Eddy Curry).
It is understandable the players position of wanting all money guaranteed.
But in a system where money is not abundant, a bad contract can kill a franchise. Granted, it is the teams fault to an extent for signing the bad contract, but no one can predict the future. The Bucks have paid Michael Redd nearly $40 million dollars in the last two seasons where he only played a handful of games.
This cripples a franchise.
In situations like this, there has to be some sort of out clause. In MLB or the NFL, there are waivers and release capabilities that allow more flexibility for franchises and their under performing players.
The players position is understandable, but not reasonable. For the long-term success of the NBA, guaranteed contracts have to be limited.
Franchises Need More Control of the Players
The NBA players have freedom to move where they want as soon as their contract is up.
The problem with this is that the small market teams are having a tough time holding onto their stars. This makes long-term success of the team and the franchise very difficult.
How can the Bucks build around a player like Brandon Jennings, if we don't know if he will be gone in a year? He likely would want to return to his home state of California, and he has all but already said as such.
The NBA in its current state allows little to no leverage for a small market team to hold on to their stars. The owners have been pushing for a harder salary cap. This will reduce the amount of money the large teams can spend on multiple stars, and hopefully will allow the NBA small market teams to have some financial leverage in negotiations with their stars.
The owners have also been pushing for a franchise tag on for each NBA team. This will allow the team to sign the player with the tag for a year at an average of the top five players at their position. This will allow the NBA teams more leverage in negotiating with players for long-term deals.
The NFL thrives largely due to the parity of the league. With a salary cap and franchise tag, there is little player movement on a year-to-year basis. Any given year a team can make a run, and because of that, their fan bases are consistently energized every year. The NBA could greatly benefit from following the model set by the NFL.
It is understandable where the players are coming from. They are simply looking out for their best interests and the interests of future NBA players.
However, the current state of the NBA is flawed. The money, control and success of each NBA team is not equal. Fans need to look at the long-term impact of the NBA before deciding who to support in this mess of a lockout.
And, while I struggle to support people who have more money than I will ever think of making in my lifetime, their position in this lockout will lead to a more profitable, successful NBA for years to come.