You can read all the gory details from Kevin Arnovitz here, and from Ken Berger here, but I'll try and melt it down a bit. Adam Silver addressed the NBA owners in Las Vegas yesterday and he covered several things, most fairly unimportant and mundane. Let's cover those quickly: DeAndre Jordan's change of mind was "not a good look" for the league, but the NBA "moratorium" isn't going to change because no one has a better plan. Finals qualifiers will be the top eight teams in each conference (that plan hasn't been etched in stone but seems imminent).
But the really big news is that the NBA ownership group reached a "shortfall" in their split with the players and had to cut a check to the Player's Association in the amount of 500 million dollars. Now the strange thing here is the term "shortfall". Because it wasn't a shortfall at all. They didn't come up drier than they thought they would, no, the owners made somewhere around a billion and a half more than they projected. But... since the CBA they negotiated in 2010 requires them to split "basket-related income" with the players at the rate of 50%, they wound up owing the players money. Somehow, in Silver's words that's a bad thing. It's bad to have to pay someone else money.
Silver said, "That's not of course the ideal outcome from our standpoint." It's not? Would you rather have made less money and have the players pay you? Would that be ideal? One gets the sense that Silver is pretty upset by the money handed out to a lot of non-superstar players in this year's free agency sweepstakes. We know he'd really like a hard cap like the NFL so teams would all have that elusive "level playing field" we've heard about. But the owners agreed to a 50 percent split (down from the last CBA which had a 57/43 player/owner split)... and that "shortfall" payment was created by the fact that ownership made more money (way more money) than they thought they would. Now to my mind, that 50/50 split IS a kind of hard cap. And with new revenue sharing plans, some small market teams have seen their richer brethren cut them checks as high as $20 million. Last year, BEFORE the new media money showed up, almost every franchise showed a profit. This year? It's raining greenbacks, baby! So why is Adam so glum? Why the negative attitude, why use terms like, "shortfall"?
I kind of like Adam Silver. When I hear him speak I believe him. He seems rational and candid and modern-thinking. I was tired of David Stern's god-like attitude as NBA commissioner, Silver's a breath of fresh air. But how Silver spewed this nonsense yesterday without cracking himself up, doing an enormous spit take, and howling with laughter, is completely beyond me. He stood there and told the NBA owners, who had to be snickering and giggling through the whole thing, that they made TOO MUCH MONEY this year... and he did it with a straight face. Adam Silver isn't just a great NBA commissioner, his ability to deadpan his way through this stuff makes him one of the greatest comedians and actors who ever lived. Adam Silver deserves an Oscar. Give it to him. Give it to him now.