Could bad deal mean end to Jazz in Utah?
Small-market NBA teams facing tough times
Because of his team's predicament, Miller has been labeled as a hawk in the ongoing negotiation process. Though Miller isn't directly involved with the NBA's labor relations committee, his hawk designation suggests the Jazz boss is among the hard-line owners pushing to drive a tough bargain with the players.
Interestingly, though, the Jazz were not one of 10 teams who co-signed a letter to the NBA voicing opposition to the 50-50 revenue split Stern most recently offered before players disbanded their union and filed antitrust lawsuits.
According to the Indianapolis Business Journal, that group of hawk owners included: Atlanta, Charlotte, Denver, Indiana, Memphis, Milwaukee, Minnesota, Philadelphia, Portland and Sacramento.
But the Jazz are one of 22 teams that lost money in 2010-11 when the NBA said it took on $300 million in losses.
Utah isn't likely to carry near the salary it had last year. That doesn't change ownership's opinion that the league's economic model needs an overhaul, meaning less money for players and large-market teams and more financial assistance for small-market organizations.
"The Jazz paid through the nose for a competitive team most of the last decade — money that's tough to make up in a small market without a different CBA," wrote ESPN.com basketball expert Henry Abbott. "Miller also just lost a star player, Deron Williams, to a threat to move to a bigger market. He'd like changes. The Jazz are in a small market without much profit, so they would be recipients."
Question remains: What will happen if they aren't?
Asked if he'd consider buying the Jazz, Checketts, who used to oversee Madison Square Garden and mulled putting an offer to buy the St. Louis Rams, reiterated that he doesn't foresee the Jazz putting their franchise on the market.
"Oh, gosh, I do not believe the Miller family would ever have any intention to ever sell the Jazz," he said, "so I think it's a moot point."
Of course, as it stands, Utah is without the Jazz anyway.
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Contributing: Brad Rock
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