Aldridge On Harden, Thunder, Seattle, Williams

In today's column, David Aldridge of runs down the particulars of one of the more fascinating off-the-court battles the league has encountered in its history.  The Silnas brothers, the former owners of the Spirit of St. Louis, rejected a $3MM flat buyout offer in 1976 from the four ABA teams that got to make the leap to the Association.  Instead, they opted for a one-seventh share of the TV money earned by the Nets, Spurs, Pacers, and Nuggets.  While the sliver of the pie wasn't worth much 26 years ago, it has now given the Silnas brothers a whopping $250MM+ with no end in sight.  Now, the brothers are set for battle with the league as they also demand a cut of international TV money, League Pass, and other broadcast revenue streams.  While a good chunk of NBA teams struggle to get in the black, the former Spirit of St. Louis owners have managed to rake in major money for more than a quarter-century.  Here's more from Aldridge..

  • The Thunder have carved out a tremendously strong and loyal fan base in Oklahoma City, but their financial limitations will make it difficult to keep James Harden long-term.  As a small-market club, they do not have a local television on the same scale as a team like the Lakers, who are receiving roughly $200MM more per year under their contract.  OKC is also the second-smallest city in the US with a professional team, meaning that they cannot milk their season ticket holders for more money or press corporate sponsors for larger suite and signage deals.  However, Aldridge notes that the Thunder can look to the Spurs as inspiration – R.C. Buford & Co. have faced similar circumstances but managed to build a perennial contender by making sacrifices along the way.
  • According to a source with knowledge of the negotiations between investor Chris Hansen and the city of Seattle, the NBA has informally indicated that if he is successful in buying a team and moving it to Seattle, the league could live with the team playing temporarily at Key Arena until a new facility is ready.  Last week, a major stumbling block was removed in Hansen's effort to get Seattle to approve a new arena for an NBA team and final approval would appear to be a formality.
  • Deron Williams says that he opted to re-sign with the Nets in part because things finally appear to be stable for the franchise from top to bottom.  After ten years of limbo in New Jersey, the Nets finally ironed things out in Brooklyn and got the Barclays Center ready for the 2012/13 season.  The Nets also appear to have stability on the court with a strong core group in place.
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