And-Ones: NBA Media Rights, Kuzma, Poeltl, Blanks

Analysts at JPMorgan recently issued a report stating that the exponential growth of sports media rights is unsustainable in the long term, according to Mike Ozanian of Forbes, but the NBA remains on track to do extremely well on its next deal. The league’s nine-year, $24 billion agreement with its current partners expires in 2025 and the NBA will reportedly look to double or triple that amount on its next rights contract.

With some regional sports networks around the country struggling to make payments to teams, the NBA’s next media deal may lean more heavily on broadcast television and/or streaming platforms, creating alternatives for teams when their current agreements with RSNs expires, per Brian Windhorst and Tim Bontemps of ESPN.

Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic explores the same topic, citing a source with knowledge of the situation who says the NBA would like to get more games on broadcast television and fewer on cable in its next media rights deal. Vorkunov confirms that NBC has displayed interest in getting the NBA back and adds that several streamers – led by Amazon and Apple – are believed to have interest in broadcasting NBA games.

Here are more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • After previously breaking down this summer’s free agent market for guards, Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report shifts his focus to 2023’s free agent wings and big men. Pincus suggests this year’s crop of wings isn’t especially deep and that most of the market’s top players – such as Wizards forward Kyle Kuzma – are far more likely to stay put than to change teams. Within his story on bigs, Pincus says multiple sources view the Raptors as a “lock” to re-sign Jakob Poeltl.
  • John Hollinger of The Athletic shines a spotlight on the minimum-salary players who are making a difference for playoff teams, including Lakers guard Austin Reaves, Suns forward Josh Okogie, and Heat guard Gabe Vincent, among others. Those players will all be free agents this summer and are in position to receive significant raises.
  • Lance Blanks, a former NBA player for the Pistons and Timberwolves, died on Wednesday at age 56, per The Detroit News. After retiring as a player, Blanks worked as a scout with the Spurs, then was later hired by the Cavaliers as an assistant general manager and by the Suns as their GM. Most recently, he served in a scouting role for the Clippers. “Lance was a light for all those who knew him,” former Pistons star Joe Dumars said in a statement. “It’s been a privilege to have called him one of my closest friends. I’m eternally grateful for all the support he has shown me throughout the years.” Mike Finger of The San Antonio Express-News has more on Blanks’ passing.
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