NBA Franchise Notes: Wizards' Online Merch Sales Get Big Bump From Playoff Success
In DC, Michael Lee reported Wizards merchandise sales have increased by 100% on Fanatics.com from the last week, the "largest bump of any franchise." Sales of apparel featuring G John Wall also "ranked fifth among NBA players" after last Tuesday's opening-round Game 2 win over the Bulls. Wizards Owner Ted Leonsis said, "The goal was to build a franchise as good as the fan base and I’ve always believed this was a basketball town and a sleeping giant. And that if we could just give the fans a team that they could believe in and be proud of, we sell it out." Leonsis said that the Wizards will have almost 90% season-ticket renewals "from this season to next and are closing in on 10,000" for the '14-15 campaign. Leonsis: “The fan base here is so sophisticated, they reject bad actors. They reject bad basketball, and they’re liking what they’re seeing" (WASHINGTON POST, 4/27).
CLEVELAND ROCKS: In Cleveland, Mary Schmitt Boyer reported if Cavaliers Owner Dan Gilbert is "looking for a prominent NBA veteran with ties to Cleveland to head up his franchise as president," ESPN NBA analyst George Karl would "love to be on the short list." Karl in an e-mail wrote, "Being a leader, running a team and organizing a group with the common goal of winning a championship would be the ultimate challenge in my career" (CLEVELAND.com, 4/25).
HEAT OF THE MOMENT: In West Palm Beach, Jason Lieser noted Heat F LeBron James "does not know if he wants to become an NBA owner like his hero, Michael Jordan, but there will be one necessity if he does: a Pat Riley-like mastermind to assemble his team." James said of the Heat President, "If I find me a Riles, that’d be great. It would be great to be around the game of basketball. I don’t know in what shape or form, but I have a lot of knowledge to pass on and I believe I have a great eye for talent as well." James added, "Obviously you’d have to be financially very, very wealthy, which I’m not. I’m doing alright. It would be great, but there’s a lot of pressure on that side as well to put together a team and obviously if you hire the right people they can do it too" (PALMBEACHPOST.com, 4/27).