||07-11-2011 01:45 PM
For Miami Heat owner Micky Arison, bad time for NBA labor strife
Put yourself in Heat owner Micky Arisonís undoubtedly comfortable and expensive shoes for a moment.
Youíre approaching the one-year anniversary of creating arguably the most interesting team in sports history (sure, it was top heavy, but those three top players alone carried sports conversations for an entire year) and the health of your franchise has never been better, with Forbes estimating the Heat to be worth $425 million.
Youíre coming off an NBA Finals where your team fell painfully short of its second world championship, and you have only three more years of guaranteed time with the LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade before their player options come up, giving all three the freedom to head elsewhere if this isnít working out as planned.
Is this really the time for labor strife to potentially cost you a full season? Isnít this the worst possible time to consider bonding with these newer, more desperate owners around the league for the sake of shared health? Wouldnít a potential lost season put a huge dent into this perfect model you essentially have spent four years planning for and building?
There might not be another owner in the NBA with more to lose if the league loses an entire season than Arison. And he is just one of several who provides proof that this NBA lockout will essentially come down to owners bickering among other owners rather than the more common players-versus-owners picture that is normally painted.
Arison has been a model owner for the league since he inherited the team from his father. He has maintained a class franchise that did its best to compete in the late 1990s, taking advantage of every opportunity the soft salary cap rules allowed to build what looked like a contender.
Once that failed, Arison has been one of the better soldiers in the league in terms of staying below that luxury tax that was implemented in an attempt to dissuade out-of-control spending and create some shared revenue for all teams.
All the while, he has maintained a first-class organization, won a world championship with his first huge splash, Shaquille OíNeal, and followed that with the perfectly executed multiple-year plan to draw in James and Bosh while keeping Wade.
What is he to do?
And now heís supposed to be penalized because some newer, less established owners want to guarantee their investment is a money-making one and not just a hobby for multimillionaires who make most of their money elsewhere? Heís supposed to risk a season of bringing in approximately $125 million (again, according to Forbes) because NBA commissioner David Stern allowed others to buy teams with the promise that the league would adjust its entire business model even though this one has been working perfectly fine for Arison? Heís supposed to show unity with his fellow owners when itís essentially the tail wagging the dog in that circle, and influential owners such as Arison, Mark Cuban, Jerry Buss and James Dolan would be perfectly fine if the current system remained as is?
Thatís the primary reason players appear to be more unified in this fight than the other side. Itís why the threat of an entire season lost isnít as strong as many suggest, because at a certain point there will be influential owners such as Arison doing what they can to make sure something gets done. Whether that is settling on more productive revenue sharing from TV money or convincing the more steadfast owners to give in on their demands just a bit, there will be some powerful people on that side of the fight wanting
Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/07/0...#ixzz1RotiqxOr
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