SBD/Issue 234/Leagues & Governing Bodies

NBA Teams Continue To Trim Expenses On Basketball Operations

A number of NBA teams this offseason have "nipped and tucked on the basketball side" of operations, "playing hardball on salaries, not renewing an extra assistant coach here or there, keeping training camp at home ... and reevaluating the costs of preparing for each game," according to Steve Aschburner of The Grizzlies "got the headlines this offseason when they shuttered their amateur scouting staff," but advance scouting is "an area hit hard by several clubs." Financially, advance scouting is "pricey and has grown increasingly difficult," as courtside seats that "used to be available for scouts, giving them ringside sights and sounds to monitor opposing teams, have been turned into prime and expensive real estate for VIP tickets." The Nets have eliminated their advance scouting position, and VP/Basketball Operations Bobby Marks said, "We spent $80,000 to $90,000 in expenses on the road. Then you've got to factor in the salary. You're looking at close to $200,000." Aschburner noted NBA teams also are looking to "save money by pooling their efforts." The Warriors, T'Wolves and Nets held group workouts ahead of June's NBA Draft rather than individual sessions (, 8/21).

Both Celtics, Lakers Set To Exceed
Next Season's Luxury-Tax Threshold
LAPSE OF LUXURY: In Boston, Peter May noted there are 12 NBA teams set to exceed next season's luxury-tax threshold of $69.92M, led by the Lakers with a payroll of more than $91M. The Celtics this season are slated to be above the tax threshold, and CEO & Managing Partner Wyc Grousbeck said, "We won the championship paying heavy tax. We had reached the stage where that investment made sense and we are still there today." Spurs coach Gregg Popovich: "Everyone trying to win a championship is spending. You have no choice. The way it is now, if you're going to compete, you have to spend the big bucks." Late Jazz Owner Larry Miller was "known for running one of the most frugal franchises," but the team next year looks to have the "second-highest payroll" in the NBA. In addition, Wizards Owner Abe Pollin was "one of the many owners who pushed for the 1999 lockout because salaries had gotten so out of hand," but his franchise for this season will have the seventh-highest payroll in the league (BOSTON GLOBE, 8/23).

STUDY ABROAD: NBA Commissioner David Stern said that the league "plans to hold a regular-season game somewhere in Europe before" the '12 London Olympics. He added that he "hopes a Pan-Asian basketball league will form in the next two to four years, although it may not be affiliated with the NBA." Stern: "The great upside is that our international presence and the digital medium go hand in hand." In L.A., Mark Medina notes Stern spent a week in Mumbai last month for the NBA's "first fan clinic event in India, part of 345 international events the NBA has played host to in 158 cities and 24 countries in the last year." About 300 current and former NBA players, coaches, dance teams and mascots and "about 50 sponsors have participated in the league's international events." Lakers Gs Kobe Bryant and Sasha Vujacic and F Ron Artest visited China this summer and "put on basketball clinics, as well as promoting their shoe deals," while Lakers G Jordan Farmar this week will be in Taiwan as part of an NBA tour (L.A. TIMES, 8/24).

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