As a side note, Berg mentions the Hornets as pretty much being a prime candidate to get contracted above all the others - how awesome would it be to get Paul or one of the other players I mentioned, AND get the Hornets name/logo back? (I don't have a problem with staying as the 'Cats, but I would love to be the Hornets again too).
Anyway, here it is:
In addition to the New Orleans Hornets' obvious candidacy for contraction, what other NBA teams should be on the chopping block as the league seeks relief from hundreds of millions in annual losses?
The NBA uses a formula developed by consulting group McKinsey & Co. that handicaps how teams are performing on and off the court given the size of their markets and available resources. This would be the place to start, though the NBA does not divulge the results of the annual study -- which it uses to dole out a portion of luxury tax and revenue-sharing funds.
The criteria, therefore, must be fairly straightforward, though the order of importance might vary depending on the team:
1) Total local revenues: If a team cannot avoid deep losses, even with substantial revenue assistance from healthier teams, it should be considered for contraction.
2) Annual losses: The teams that are losing the most money undoubtedly are being squeezed by a combination of inadequate local revenues and mismanagement. Both should count.
3) Market size, as defined by number of TV households, since that measurement has a direct correlation to the local broadcast revenues a team can earn.
4) Arena lease terms: As deserving as a team may be for contraction, if the penalty for breaking the lease with its arena is cost-prohibitive, it has to be scratched off the list.
The Hornets, now owned by the NBA, pass the test with flying colors --
Memphis, the second smallest TV market in the league after New Orleans, would be second or third on my list if not for a lease agreement with FedEx Forum that reportedly is almost impossible to break. Ditto for Charlotte; as the New Orleans experience has taught us, the NBA never should have expanded there in the first place. But the new franchise is owned by, you know, Michael Jordan, and besides the fact that nobody contracts Michael Jordan, the lease with Time Warner Cable Arena empowers the city to seek an injunction forcing the team to honors its commitment or pay $150 million in liquidated damages. So the Bobcats are safe.
With that in mind, which other teams should be considered legitimate candidates to join New Orleans in my two-team contraction plan, if only owners would seriously consider it?
... (continued with list)
P.S. Berger is awesome.