SBD/July 1, 2014/Franchises

Nets' Star-Studded '13-14 Roster Leads To Projected $144M Loss On Basketball Side

A $90M luxury tax bill contributed to the Nets' financial losses
The basketball side of the Nets’ business is "projected to have lost" $144M over the '13-14 season, according to a league memo to all 30 teams cited by Zach Lowe of GRANTLAND. The NBA "expects nine teams will end up having lost money once luxury-tax distribution and revenue-sharing payments are finalized." The Nets, with that $144M figure, are "the biggest losers." The Wizards are "next in line" with projected losses of about $13M. This is "what happens" when a team pays $90M in "luxury tax for an aging roster and play in a market so large you are ineligible to receive any revenue-sharing help." It is "important to note that the figures here stem from basketball activities only, and do not appear to include benefits" the Nets and Owner Mikhail Prokhorov "get from their ownership stake" in Barclays Center. But taking a $144M "bath when the rest of the league is swimming in profits does not sit well." This is a "bit of an uneasy time in Brooklyn." The roster GM Billy King built "drove those losses, but ownership’s desire to win right away upon the team’s move to Brooklyn drove those roster-building decisions" (GRANTLAND.com, 6/30).

KIDD'S PLAY: The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Alex Raskin writes it "isn't known" if former Nets coach Jason Kidd "timed his power play intentionally ... but he definitely left the Nets vulnerable." The "biggest obstacle was convincing a few players to re-sign, but with so much carry-over from last season, that didn't seem like much of an issue." Having "balked at the chance to give Kidd authority over team personnel, the Nets are scrambling to assemble a new coaching staff or risk losing free agents" such as F Paul Pierce, G Shaun Livingston, C Andray Blatche and G Alan Anderson on top of C Kevin Garnett, who could "still choose retirement rather than return for a 20th NBA season." Replacing Kidd "won't be easy." For someone who "only had a year on the job, Kidd's roots within the Nets locker room were remarkably deep." He is "close friends" with G Deron Williams, whose agent, Jeff Schwartz, currently reps Pierce, Livingston and F Mirza Teletovic, and repped Kidd during his playing days (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 7/1). In New Jersey, Steve Popper writes Kidd "leaves the Nets in a chaotic situation," as much of what was "built there for a short-term title chase was tied to Kidd" (Bergen RECORD, 7/1). In N.Y., Harvey Araton writes the Nets in Kidd "foolishly invested in a living, breathing paradox, one of the most unselfish playmakers in the history of the game but with a well-chronicled (and earned) reputation outside the lines as a viper." When the Nets’ interest in Kidd surfaced last year, what "became clear was that they had confused visionary point guard play with the ability of someone to see the world beyond shameless self-interest." Sudden divorces are "not uncommon in sports, and Kidd’s ungracious maneuver is far from his worst personal offense." The story is "more an indictment of how Prokhorov and King have done business in trying to make the Nets a competitive force" in N.Y. Araton: "Memo to them: Your team is not in New Jersey anymore and doesn’t need cheap stunts for attention" (N.Y. TIMES, 7/1).

WHAT'S NEXT? In N.Y., Mitch Lawrence writes Prokhorov "needs to let King do his job and find Kidd's successor." Lawrence: "But can the Politburo be trusted to stay out of the way this time? You’d think this Kidd episode will serve to remind them that they’re not the basketball experts they think they are" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 7/1). Also in N.Y., George Willis writes Kidd "comes off as a selfish, ungrateful turncoat," but it "would be easy to see this as the latest example of 'The same old Nets,' a franchise that can’t quite get it right just when it appeared all was well in Brooklyn." A day before the opening of free agency, the Nets are "looking for a head coach." Willis: "That’s not good. What free agent is going to sign or re-sign with a team that doesn’t have a coach?" (N.Y. POST, 7/1).
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