The “real” Durant Free Agency Story…

 In NaBA

With Kevin Durant in the last year of his current contract with the Oklahoma City Thunder, the speculation of what he will do in Free Agency has been ramping up recently. As it is no fun for the media to simply report the obvious, (he will return to the Thunder on a 1 year contract and hit free agency the following year with both Westbrook and Ibaka), everyone races to come up with their own theories (Looking at you Yahoo). Well who needs theories when we’ve got the ONLY scenario, that while “out there”, makes complete sense. 

Kevin Durant and an assortment of NBA All-Star caliber players (preferably 5) will actually band together and form a Cooperative ownership group that purchases the flaming train wreck that is the Philadelphia 76ers. 

Wait for your brain to process that for a moment… 

A collection of the best players in the NBA in their primes purchasing a franchise themselves and not only owning the team, but playing for it in their prime! But those guys can’t afford to buy a team, none of them have enough money! Well consider the following to help conceptualize how something like this might work:

  • A group of 5 All-Stars with significant career earnings already, finance the likely $1 billion price tag of the train wreck 76ers. This isn’t as far fetched when you start thinking about these guys making $25 million a year each from the NBA, plus countless 10’s of millions from endorsement deals. 
  • They start a Professional Sports Team Ownership revolution in the birth place of American Independence. What would be more independent or American than this? Own the team your playing for; no brainer! 
  • NBA teams are no longer just “shiny luxury items” meant to impress your billionaire friends, they are now massive profit centres for their Owners with media rights deals. A 5 way ownership split would return significant profits each year via Dividends¹ to each of the 5 owners that would help pay down the financing (And at the end, they own a freaking franchise!). 
  • They buy a storied franchise with a rich history in the 76ers and return it to former glory. Forbes has them currently valued around $700 million, so figure around $1 to $1.2 billion to try entice the current owners to sell.
  • The league gets a perennially tanking monkey off their back, shaking this franchise that is in such disarray that has done nothing but alienate fans for 3 straight seasons.
  • The 5 All Stars could further stack the deck in their favor by playing for the league minimum themselves, leaving plenty of room to fill out their bench with the very best players that are willing to come off the bench that money can buy. 
  • Since they’d be playing for the league minimum, the team would never get close to the salary cap and would never have to pay luxury tax despite fielding the best roster in the league. This would further ensure their profitability year to year. 
  • With their ability to fill out their bench in almost any manner they desire, they could always use their draft picks on high risk/high reward types late in the draft that they could take their time developing. 
  • If another star developed on the team in the short term, they could either figure out a way to work them into the ownership group or just pay them to the max. In the long term, the team could operate like any other team.
  • These 5 guys would hand pick a coach that they all want and approve of. Should it not work out, and they want to fire a guy 2 years into his 5 year deal, fine, but it comes out of their pockets, so perhaps they’d be less quick to judgement. 

Now don’t get me wrong, you would have to have the proper group of guys together to avoid as many petty squabbles and issues as possible, and you would have to have provisions built into the partnership agreement that would account for career ending injuries and wild skill diminishment but the benefits would far outweigh these few issues. But most importantly, COULD YOU IMAGINE THE SHIT STORM… the media… the other owners… we all need to PRAY this happens. 

  1. Extra bonus points for turning normal salary into Dividends that are taxed at a much smaller rate than standard earnings. Shrewd move guys!
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