After reportedly raising nine figures from the sale of his Los Angeles Lakers ownership stake and 105 Starbucks stores, Magic Johnson volunteered to the media on multiple occasions last week that he was interested in new front office opps in the NBA and NFL.
Most feel that a work stoppage next season for the NBA is a virtual lock, and possible future team owner Johnson did nothing to dissuade that sentiment in a recent interview with the NAPLES (FL) NEWS.
Johnson, who told the News that he’d been approached by “two or three” NBA franchises about ownership opportunities recently, said of the fractured economic state of the league:
“Where football may have a team or two struggling, we have multiple teams struggling. We have a bigger problem than the NFL, and I think the NFL will solve their problems easier, and ours will be a lot tougher.
“(NBA commissioner David Stern) knows that he has to change the economics, and the players know it, too.”
Last week Stern suggested contraction as an option to reverse the red ink plaguing the industry. While many might regard that as a hollow negotiating ploy, Johnson sounded almost gung-ho about the prospect.
“How much would it hurt the league if we lost teams? It wouldn’t hurt it. It might make it better. I think if you take away a couple teams, the talent level goes up and the league will only benefit, so I don’t see a problem with that. We just hope that we put a good product out on the court, and that’s the key.”
Of course Johnson is correct, but the only way that’ll happen is if the owners and players endure a protracted standoff.
If there’s a chance that standoff could lead to contraction, you can almost guarantee the league’s rank and file will cave and return to work. And keep in mind that, at least at the moment, the big money NBA players have shown little interest in getting involved in NBAPA matters.
If any player would be amenable to exchange contraction for another concession, it’d be the comfortable superstars.
But if Magic favoring contraction isn’t a condemnation of the NBA’s business model, what is?