Morning shootaround — Aug. 13


NEWS OF THE MORNING

Report: Ballmer, Rivers to talk extension | Report: Bledsoe, Monroe likely to ink qualifying deals | Analyst: Sale of Jazz would fetch up to $650 million

No. 1: Report: Ballmer to discuss extension with Rivers — If you somehow missed it yesterday, the biggest NBA story on the planet was the league officially approving the sale of the Los Angeles Clippers to new owner Steve Ballmer, who replaces the disgraced Donald Sterling. Now that Ballmer is in place, one of his first orders of business may be locking up coach Doc Rivers to a contract extension, writes Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports:

In the wake of owner Steve Ballmer gaining governorship control of the Los Angeles Clippers, discussions on a contract extension for Doc Rivers are expected to commence soon, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

Ballmer and Rivers had been eager to forge a long-term partnership, and a California court confirming the authority of Shelly Sterling to sell the franchise on behalf of the Sterling Family Trust has cleared the way to work toward a new deal.

Rivers, 52, the president of basketball operations and head coach, has two years left on his original three-year, $21 million contract. Rivers is already one of the highest-paid executives and coaches in professional sports, and his prominence and pay could grow with the promise of Ballmer’s stewardship of the Clippers.

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No. 2: Report: Bledsoe weighs qualifying offer; Monroe will sign qualifying offer — We reported in this space yesterday that — per The Detroit News — Pistons big man Greg Monroe was leaning toward accepting Detroit’s qualifying offer for next season and becoming a free agent in 2015. That is apparently more than likely going to happen for Monroe, writes Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today. Meanwhile, the other big name left on the free-agent market, Phoenix Suns guard Eric Bledsoe, may pull a Monroe-like move soon as well:

Bledsoe, a point guard for the Suns, wants a five-year, full-max deal worth $84 million, a contract significantly higher than the four-year, $48 million deal the Suns have presented. The Suns counter that their offer is fair.

The Suns are using the system — the rules of the collective bargaining agreement — to their advantage. The two sides still don’t have a deal with training camp less than two months away, and the rift only has grown.

The relationship between the two sides has soured, a person with knowledge of the situation told USA TODAY Sports. The person requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the negotiations.

The person also said Bledsoe, 24, strongly is considering signing the Suns’ qualifying offer for $3.726 million — good for the 2014-15 season — to become an unrestricted free agent after next summer.

That’s precisely what Detroit Pistons forward-center Monroe plans to do. Monroe has informed the Pistons he plans to sign the qualifying offer ($5.479 million)for one season, spend 2014-15 in Detroit and become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

Monroe didn’t make the decision lightly. He has been discussing options with his agent David Falk for the past two offseasons, and Falk has been impressed with Monroe’s analytic, intelligent and unemotional approach to free agency.

In a best-case scenario for Bledsoe, the Suns would have offered the deal he wanted, and this situation wouldn’t be unresolved in August. Or another team would have enticed him with an offer sheet and he would have signed a deal similar to what Charlotte offered and what Utah matched for Gordon Hayward. That didn’t happen either.

Now, Bledsoe is in position to take control of his situation. The Pistons will lose a lottery pick for nothing if a sign-and-trade can’t be completed, and the Suns are also on the verge of losing Bledsoe after next season for nothing.

Restricted free agency comes with risks for both the player and the team.

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No. 3: Analyst: Jazz would sell for at least $650 million — As mentioned above, Steve Ballmer officially took over as owner of the L.A. Clippers yesterday, just a few months after the Sterling family agreed to sell him the team for $2 billion. That sales price — as well as the Milwaukee Bucks selling for $550 million this summer — has likely driven team prices around the league. According to Aaron Falk of The Salt Lake Tribune, those sales have helped the Utah Jazz, too. While the team isn’t currently up for sale, one analyst predicts the team could sell for as much as $1 billion in the right situation:

A valuation earlier this year by Forbes Magazine estimated the Jazz were worth about $525 million, but in light of recent sales of the Clippers, Sacramento Kings and the Milwaukee Bucks, some experts believe that number to be much lower than what the Jazz might be worth.

“I could see the Jazz going for somewhere between $650 million and a billion, depending on just how competitive the bidding process was,” says Pat Rishe, an economic professor at Webster University and the owner of a sports consulting firm.

While the Clippers’ massive sale price will have some impact around the league, experts agree the price tag was an aberration.

“If you look at it financially, it doesn’t make any sense,” said Andrew Zimbalist, an economics professor at Smith College, who has been involved in multiple franchise valuation cases. “There’s no way it makes any sense. In my view, what he’s doing is buying a toy. He’s using a fraction of his assets to have some fun. The same way you or I might buy a bicycle or a new TV set, he’s buying the Clippers.”

But the sale of Kings for $534 million in May 2013 and the sale of the Bucks for $550 million earlier this year have helped raise the bar.

“Salt Lake City is, I think, more comparable to Milwaukee in terms of market size. I would argue it’s a greater brand than Milwaukee or Sacramento because of their history, although that’s weakened some in the past few years,” Rishe said.

Added Zimbalist, “The Bucks have a small market and a bad arena. If they’re worth $550 million, other small market teams might be worth $600 million or $650 million.”

Teams’ values have risen especially of late for two main reasons: the increasing size of TV deals, and collective bargaining agreements favorable to owners.

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SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Steph Curry says he’s a better offensive player than LeBron James … One writer takes a deeper look at why the Houston Rockets may have let Chandler Parsons walk to the Dallas Mavericks … The Jazz and Toure Murry are reportedly closing in a deal … New Hawks guard Thabo Sefolosha has decided to not play for the Swiss national team this summer … What would it take for Portland to host All-Star weekend? … The Thunder are auctioning off a pair of Nick Collison‘s game-worn shoes that have his blood on them

20 Comments

  1. Erlo says:

    Doc should go back to the Celts. The Clippers have no chance, but Boston if going to be another power house in 5 years.

  2. TROYBOY says:

    Players nowadays wants to get paid when they do something good. They are worried about getting hurt before getting that max contract. Guess what….That’s the same reason good Owners and GMs don’t just hand out contracts just because you have one good season. There’s certain Players that get those contracts. That’s why they’re called SUPERSTARS. My advise to Bledsoe and other boarder-line all stars….Be Good Enough so Owners and GMs don’t have a choice but give you the contract. Put youself in a situation where you win a championship first before getting the money you think you deserve. Sometimes being selfish comes across as a negative to good GMs. Work on taking your game to the next level and everything else will fall in place.

  3. eric m says:

    i think the suns trainers know something there not telling everyone else. bled’s got good numbers but has yet to really make it through a whole season injury free. i think they would of worked out a deal already if he was 100% healthy .
    regardless , he should take the 48 mil. you never know when injury is gonna mess up a season or career , so to play a season for 3+ mil vs 10+ mil is a no brainer . especially when no other team is gonna fork 80+ mil . but hey , you cant blame the kid for atleast tryin to get the most dough possible .

  4. bledsoe is crazy he will regret if he doesnt sign that 4 year deal with the suns a injury can occur you never now what will happend in your life, he doesnt even deserve 48 millians hes a 30 millian 4 year guy right now, next year he can play worse and worth less money..

  5. Superstar says:

    Gone are the days when playing the sport is enjoyable and fun.
    Snubbing that 12 million dollars per year is Crazy. What would they do with so much excess money?

  6. mike Turner says:

    Water boys will be dominated again by the Clips in 2014-15. Back to the 60′s get use to it. Can they win 27 games again is the question.

  7. Ray says:

    I don’t think Bledsoe will have as good of a year this year now that Channing Frye is in Orlando as he was great at spreading the floor. Look for Vic O to step out in Orlando and bledsoe to regret not taking the 48mil

  8. hehe says:

    if bledsoe and monroe will only play for a year for their teams, maybe the suns and pistons should just play them sparingly. at least that way, they can develop and maintain the chemistry between the key players who would still be around the following year. spending time on the bench will also show these guys some perspective and teach them to be a little more humble

  9. Uncle Daddy says:

    I would sign Bledsoe, then trade him for some better pieces (I would work out the trade first). He is not worth $84 million, he’s just not. Is he a top three point guard, no… everybody thinks they are a max contract player. Kareem said it best, just because you make a lot of money now, doesn’t mean your really that good.

  10. Bob Kimball says:

    Bledsoe should take the offer, he’s not worth more. We’re getting to the end of the high paid super stars due to the newest
    bargaining agreement. It’s not likely we’re going to see the likes of Jordan, Magic, James, Paul etc. in the future. close perhaps but not the same. Salary cap rules the game from here on.

  11. bad news bears says:

    Well, if the Suns know he doesn’t really want to play for non-max deals, they may restricts his minutes, touches, etc. He could be looking at less of a pay day next season.

  12. dmh says:

    Stats without results. Empty stats… Or is it the coaches/gm’s fault…

    I think if you look at the Monroe situation, you can see how over half of it was former GM Dumars fault. Anybody who has ever watched the hawks has groaned anytime Josh Smith has taken a 3 pointer, fan or not back when Smith was with the hawks. It has not changed with the pistons. It is not going to change most likely. Rumor has it that SVG is trying to trade Smith away but, he also is not taking just any trade. Smith does have value in the right situation. A situation that requires Smith to play the 3 is not a situation where Smith has value.

    Drummond is an up and coming center in this league. Monroe was able to play some pf next to Drummond and it worked decently. Monroe is naturally more of a center though and struggled defensively against smaller pfs at times. The pistons drafted the best talent available when they drafted both Drummond and Monroe but, the pistons are at the turning point of something’s gotta give. If traded either via sign and trade or via other Monroe approved trade, I would think that Monroe could bring in a haul and a half worth of talent at other positions that would fit better than what is going on in Detroit right now. I am not saying that Monroe and Drummond couldn’t work longterm. I am saying though that Dumars created an awkward situation for the 3 of them and something has to give. SVG will have to figure that one out.

    Speaking of something has to give, the Suns are not handling the Eric Bledsoe situation right at all. They just signed another pg in Isaiah Thomas to a not max but still pretty hefty contract given the situation. Then there is Dragic and also they drafted another pg too. Bledsoe and Dragic did work well together. Bledsoe does have talent. If RFA were not the issue, I am sure Bledsoe could have had even higher offers than 48 million. I am not saying Bledsoe is a max player but, after a breakout season not playing under Chris Paul’s shadow I would think he could easily get more per year (not much but still more) if there wasn’t the fear of the suns matching the offer. That is a situation in which Bledsoe is being held hostage in a way by his RFA. They already signed the backup plan. Unless Jeff Hornacek plans on Tiny ball, something has got to give there as well as the Suns do not have room for quite that many guards like that.

  13. Nick says:

    Players’ contracts operate in a market just like everything else. The market dictates the pricing. Neither Bledsoe nor Monroe are top players in their respective positions, so for them to expect top contracts is unrealistic. I understand being confident, but in the end it’s about performance/dollar. They can’t expect to get the same money as other, better players have gotten. It’s certainly ok to give it a try, but to be disgruntled about not getting the money you wanted is immature. The agents of these guys don’t seem to care about properly advising them.

  14. giorgio says:

    hey Bledsoe it’s ok everybody can be desoriented and act greedy in front on the nba contracts, especially when you became free agent when you wil soon reach your prime. but you are not there yet, almost. keep working, tell the suns you made your diva, laugh about it nothing personal, professional sport. take the fair offer and reach the playoffs next year with dragic.

  15. Tgas TT ako says:

    to bledsoe,, thats what you get if ur too ambitious,, no one wants you

  16. russel says:

    y bledose thnks hes a 80mil guy when all d weight last year is carried by goran….

  17. Paul says:

    I’m a huge Pistons fan, but Greg Monroe shouldn’t expect the biggest contract. Honestly he’s not that good of a player. Now I know some people will go crazy on me, but let’s face it. Pistons are playing poorly overall and those kind of numbers could get a lot of big guys with decent footwork since the team is lacking a leader. He is not a difference maker in a game. His defense is below average. I mean he’s and average PF and he is not going to give you that SOMETHING that will give u an advantage in playoffs.

  18. hilljr says:

    For as good a job Rich Paul has done handling his other clients this offseason…..He bungled this Bledsoe situation badly…..He should have told Bledsoe that he would not be getting Kyrie Irving money especially not after Lowry shocked everyone and took the 48 mil to stay in Toronto. He should not be looking at Hayward and Parsons…those teams were willing to overpay or trying to stick it to the team they were negotiating against. Now the best he can do is sign that qualifying offer play out the year and walk… He’d be the perfect New Beginning for that team in LA(you know, if they’re actually smart enough to give him the money.)

  19. ggggg says:

    Bledsoe not accepting 48 mill is ridicilous.

    This guy is demanding money he does not deserve.

  20. harriethehawk says:

    Kevin Durant may have told Thabo Sefalosha: “Hey man, you want to have a really good season in Atlanta, start off with a bang, don’t play international ball this summer, rest up and avoid injury, it’s your career on the line!” Let’s Go Hawks!!!