SBD/Issue 241/Franchises

NBA Franchise Notes: Nuggets' Ujiri Has A Lot Of Work To Do

Ujiri Plans To Meet With Carmelo
Anthony About New Contract

In Denver, Chris Dempsey wrote Nuggets Exec VP/Basketball Operations Masai Ujiri, who "got started Friday in his new capacity," is "going to have to solve a bucket's worth of problems." Carmelo Anthony "has not signed a three-year, $65 million contract offer the Nuggets have on the table," and Ujiri said that he "plans to meet with Anthony to discuss any possibility of a future with the organization." In addition, F J.R. Smith is "facing an investigation into allegations he choked another player at the Nuggets' training facility during a pickup game" (DENVER POST, 8/28). But Ujiri said, "I love this opportunity. I would have taken the job if I had been offered $5. Who could say no to this great challenge?" (DENVER POST, 8/28).

MAGIC PRICING ACT: In Orlando, Josh Robbins reported the Magic will "base their single-game ticket prices on demand this upcoming season." The Magic for the first time will "employ variable pricing for single-game tickets to all 41 of their regular-season home contests." Magic officials "will set prices based largely on the game's day of the week and the quality of the opponent." Single-game ticket prices "could rise if the opponent adds a superstar through a trade" and "could fall if the opponent has lost key players to injury" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 8/28). 

HOT TICKET: Ft. Lauderdale-based ticket broker Todd Chitoff said that "some courtside seats for the Heat's Oct. 29 home-opener against the Orlando Magic are selling for $7,500-a-piece." In West Palm Beach, Jose Lambiet noted "nosebleed" tickets with "face values around 50 bucks are going for an average of about $450" for both the Oct. 26 Heat-Celtics season opener at TD Garden and the Magic-Heat game. SeatGeek.com indicated that the games are "expected to be the two most expensive home openers of any NBA team," and the Oct. 27 Heat-76ers game is the "third most expensive, at an average scalper's price of $332" (PALMBEACHPOST.com, 8/27).

TALKING PISTONS: Hurricanes Owner Peter Karmanos, when asked about his interest in the Pistons, said the NBA is a "tough business." Karmanos: "There are 30 (NBA) teams and 22 lost something like $600 million. That's a lot of cash." Meanwhile, former Ilitch Holdings President Denise Ilitch said of her family, which owns the Tigers and Red Wings, buying the Pistons, "There would be a lot of synergy that could go with it. We've proven we know how to run things, how to run teams and how to win. We know how to perform" (FREEP.com, 8/28).

UNIQUE JOURNEY: In Boston, Gary Washburn wrote the road traveled by new Trail Blazers GM Rich Cho, the "first Asian-American GM" in the NBA, is "unlike any other executive in league history." Cho: "When I was growing up, we struggled a lot and we were on welfare and food stamps. That's part of who I am. I am not ashamed of it. It's why I am grateful for this opportunity. I've had a lot of odd jobs and some of it was to help the family out." Washburn noted Cho "has long been considered a brilliant mind, the salary cap expert who earned his engineering and law degrees during his tenure" with the Sonics. But even after Cho "helped build the Thunder's current foundation, he remained in near anonymity beyond the tight NBA circles" (BOSTON GLOBE, 8/29).

BUILDING AN IDENTITY: New 76ers President Rod Thorn said relevancy is "definitely our first order of business." Thorn: "It's up to us to put a product on the floor that the fans can identify with. Historically, Philly fans want their teams to compete, to win their share, to play tough. That's what we have to build" (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 8/28).

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