August 15, 2011
Around a month ago, the NBA laid off 114 employees, saving around $50 million in the process. League brass claimed that the move was in no way related to the lockout, but no one really believed it. Correlation doesn't equal causation, but it sure as heck felt like something close to a reactionary move in this climate.
Over the weekend, it was announced that the Golden State Warriors, under new owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber, have terminated the employment of pretty much all their business executives. However, we can say with some certainty that this move had nothing to do with the lockout. Here are the details from Tim Kawakami on MercuryNews.com (via EOB):
Warriors co-owner Joe Lacob confirmed today that his promised total reconstruction of the franchise's business side has begun.
In recent days, Lacob has, in his words, "relieved" most of the team's existing VP- and senior-VP-level business-side executives.
(He already re-did his basketball side with Jerry West, Bob Myers, Kirk Lacob & Mark Jackson.)
Basically, including team president Robert Rowell, most of the senior business side executives Lacob and Peter Guber inherited in November are now out.
The only exceptions: The top staffers in the sales department.
This business overhaul has always been a part of the new owners' plan for the franchise -- it just happened to coincide with the lockout because they didn't take over the team until shortly before the start of last season. It's likely that if the league had ratified their purchase early last summer we would have seen this happen last August. Lacob and Guber want to bring the team into an era with few ties to the Chris Cohan regime, so they made a move in a new direction.
However, the timing of these layoffs does bring up an interesting point regarding business decisions and the NBA lockout. With next year's regular season in doubt and little opportunity for promotions over the next few months, franchises can work on firming up their business plans for the future. For some, that might mean getting personnel in order. For others, it could involve each member of the business team creating 100 new marketing ideas a day. Think of that when you see the Bobcats promoting their very silly D.J. Augustin(notes)/Kemba Walker backcourt whenever the NBA returns. Short is the new tall!
There is no basketball right now. And that means that everyone -- fans, executives, coaches, players, whoever -- can take stock of their role in the sport and what they want to do in the future. The lockout sucks, but it's also an opportunity. How's that for a silver lining?