Donald Sterling Should Learn from the Cavaliers

Its no surprise to hear that David Geffen was eager to speak to Donald Sterling about acquiring the Clippers.  The future is bright and we are on the rise.  But will Donald Sterling have the foresight that he may mess this opportunity up?  Or the foresight that his team's value may be at an all time high in a couple years?  Will Sterling's business acumen kick in and drive him to sell the team to some one like a David Geffen a man that Lebron would have played for? Maybe Sterling can use the Cleveland Cavaliers to answer his coming decisions...

Assessing the Clippers adjusted net worth with Blake Griffin and Eric Gordon anchoring the future for the next 4-5 years can be compared to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Pre-Lebron James the Cleveland Cavaliers were among the worst NBA franchises.  The team wanted Lebron James so bad that some say it tanked during the 2002-2003 season with a 17-65 by benching players and firing coach John Lucas.  When the Cavs drafted drafted Lebron James it went form being a worthless NBA team operating in the red to a profitable team that operated in the black whose value nearly doubled!  Then Cavs owner, Gordon Gund saw his team's value flirt with the half billion mark and knew this wasn't going to last forever. Gund seized the opportunity to sell his team to the highest bidder which came in the form of Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert for $375 million.  Gund became part of a minority ownership group and cashed out while the team was on top .  

In the 2006-2007 season, Dan Gilbert was on top of the world. His small market team was in the NBA finals and his team value was at an all time high value and basketball wise  He had fans at home and on the road wearing Lebron James jerseys. When Lebron James was successful so were the Cavaliers.  Every MVP, Gold Medal and playoff run made that many more people Cavalier fans.

All good things come to an end... By late 2009, Dan Gilbert saw the writing on the wall.  Lebron wanted out of a team that didn't do much in the playoffs and didn't want to wait any longer for a roster change.  Dan Gilbert made "the real decision" in 2009 when he sold a good part of the team to a group of Chinese investors under the guise that he wanted to "expand Lebron James and the Cavaliers in Asia."  Only what was really going on was that Dan Gilbert knew the Cavaliers reign wasn't going to last with out Lebron. When Lebron James finally left, the team was left in shambles talent wise. The biggest byproduct of Lebron leaving wasn't only a losing record but a team that would be losing its value. One article that Forbes magazine published in June of 2010 claims that Lebron James would impact the Cavaliers value by $100 million dollars. Now, the Cavaliers are back where they were in it's 2002-2003 season trying to tank and get that prize in the draft, Kyrie Irving. Only Kyrie Irving is no Lebron James or Blake Griffin.

...In the coming years the Donald Sterling may need an introspection.  They'll need some answers and the sooner he realizes the inevitable Blake Griffin departure, the better he'll come out.

Los Angeles Clippers = Cleveland Cavaliers?

The Cavaliers are a classic small market team.  The Clippers are basically in the same situation playing second fiddle in a large market to the Los Angeles Lakers.  I think it would be safe to say that at the very worst both teams are close in value.  One Forbes website has 2011 adjusted team values here:

Los Angeles Clippers = $305 million

Cleveland Cavaliers= $355 million

( I think the cavaliers are worth this much because they forced season ticket holders to put a down payment and commit before Lebron James left. I'm already paying for my next season tickets!)

Lebron James = Blake Griffin/ Eric Gordon?

Lebron single handedly carried his team in to the playoffs year after year essentially putting fans in the seats.  Blake Griffin and Eric Gordon may not have the winning part down but the foundation is there.  Its no secret that Blake Griffin's dunks are putting fans in the seats.  I haven't seen this many sell out games ever.

Will Blake Griffin leave like Lebron James? 

Lebron James left his home state in favor of an upgraded roster and better climate.  We should ask ourselves why would Blake Griffin leave? Being that he's in Los Angeles, climate and a bigger stage wouldn't be a factor.  Maybe he would prefer to go back to Oklahoma?  Chances are Blake Griffin will ask himself the same question that all other franchise changing players asked themselves when they left, "Where can I win?"  Kareem did it. Lebron did it.  So could Blake?  If we don't win Blake will surely walk. That may be the biggest factor playing in a future Blake Griffin/Clipper split. 

Will Donald Sterling spend over the salary cap?

The top 3 seated teams in the east and west that don't have stars playing under a rookie contract are over the salary cap. In this day and age if you don't spend over the salary cap your message is clear. "WE ARE MORE INTERESTED IN MAKING MONEY THAN WINNING."  The Cavaliers made some bad personnel moves but still took on contracts and tried to surround Lebron James with talent by taking on or signing multiple players with $10 million plus contracts like Antawn Jamison, Shaquille O'neal, Wally Szczerbiak, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, and Larry Hughes. While some of the Cavaliers acquisitions and signings may have been questionable, the fact remains that in order to win you have to surround your stars with talent that will cost money. 



....Sell Donald sell.

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