Monday October 25 2010 – 11:52am Eastern – Toronto, ON 

In recent days there has been a story swirling around NBA circles that the league MAY look to contract a franchise or two when the current collective bargaining agreement expires on June 30 2011.  If the league can’t come to an agreement with the players association — or even if they CAN — David Stern has hinted that contraction may be a way to help curb spending and bring player costs down for the owners and general managers throughout the NBA.

Following a conference call with Stern last week, Associated Press quoted the Commish (a story that was even picked up on NBA.com as well), saying: 

“It’s a sensitive subject for me because I’ve spent 27 years in this job working very hard not only to maintain all of our teams, but along the way add a few.  But I think that’s a subject that will be on the table with the players as we look to see what’s the optimum way to present our game, and are there cities and teams that cannot make it in the current economic environment. I’m not spending a lot of time on it.”

But the Toronto Raptors will NOT be one of those teams.

Though some (many?) folks in the U.S. media treat Canada/Toronto-bashing as some sort of tradition or national past-time, the fact is that the Raptors are one of the more profitable organizations in the NBA.  Making the playoffs only 5 times in 15 years is nothing to write home about, but the fan base has continued to support the Raps through thick and thin.  The attendance figures put Toronto in the Top 10 – or top half at the very least – of the league year after year.  And the TV broadcasts generate Top 5 ratings (though that fact gets ignored here in Canada) when compared with the other markets around the league. 

So ignore B.S. stories from folks like BleacherReport.com that try to tell you otherwise. 

( see:  http://bleacherreport.com/articles/498867-breaking-nba-open-to-contraction-but-no-teams-specified-like-raptors-grizzlies?search_query=contraction )

I’m not here to rip on the folks at Bleacher Report.  I’m sure they normally run a respectable, reputable website.  I don’t know it well enough to give my own opinion of their overall body of work.  However, in this case … with the story above … they’re completely out to lunch.

Two things (if not more) are wrong with their story.

1 – The headline:  “NBA Open To Contraction, but No Teams Specified Like Raptors, Bobcats, Grizzlies”

I’ll ignore the fact that it’s just a terrible headline.  The headline implies that the Raptors are in trouble or that they’d be on the list of teams that could be facing contraction.  But then their article doesn’t even mention the Raptors!  So why even throw them out so arbitrarily in the headline?!

That leads me to point number two …

2 – The story doesn’t reflect the headline.  The Raptors aren’t mentioned in the body of the text.  Though Toronto is foolishly highlighted in the headline, the story uses a list compiled by FORBES magazine to back-up the argument of teams that could be faced with the contraction issue. 

Bleacher Report states that the bottom 10 teams in the league – in terms of “VALUE” – as stated by Forbes are as follows:

20 – Portland – $307 million
21 – Atlanta – $306 million
22 – Indiana – $303 million
23 – Minnesota – $301 million
24 – Oklahoma City – $300 million
25 – LA Clippers – $297 million
26 – New Jersey – $295 million
27 – Memphis - $294 million
28 – New Orleans – $285 million
29 – Charlotte – $284 million
30 – Milwaukee – $278 million

Again, the Raptors aren’t mentioned in the story and they certainly aren’t listed in the bottom 10 teams RE: “value”

In fact, a further check of Forbes reveals THIS:

The Raptors are 11th in the NBA … valued at $400 million!

So, according to the Bleacher Report headline, a team that is just out of the Top 10 (in value) in its league is facing potential contraction?  A team that is owned be a group that owns the arena they play in, the biggest money-making hockey team in the country (the Leafs), condos, restaurants, and a soccer team … is going to be gone from the league?

Seriously?

This stinks of more ignorance regarding the Canadian market – and Toronto specifically.  This is arbitrary accusation – with little research or reason – at its finest. 

The Raptors are going nowhere folks.  Book it.

E. Smith

—–

For those interested, here is the TOP TEN (in terms of value) in the NBA:

1 – New York – $613 million
2 – LA Lakers – $584 million
3 – Chicago – $504 million
4 – Detroit – $480 million
5 – Cleveland – $477 million
6 – Houston – $469 million
7 – Dallas – $466 million
8 – Phoenix – $452 million
9 – Boston – $447 million
10 – San Antonio – $415 million
* 11 – Toronto – $400 million

10 Responses to “Toronto Is Going Nowhere”
  1. 1.

    First of all Bleacher Report is a glorified blog imo so it’s not exactly a reputable source. Second, here is where the folks at BR got their “BS” info: http://www.boston.com/sports/basketball/celtics/articles/2010/10/24/shaq_cries_foul_on_some_gms_for_bad_business_practices/

    This article in the Boston Globe (a reputable source) is where the argument stems from and the 3 teams that David Stern mentions are Charlotte, Memphis and New Orleans and that is it. There is no mention of Toronto whatsoever. So either the people at BR can’t read properly or they should get their facts straight before they post something on their website.

    - Peace and Much Love to Ya :)

    - JabberWocky
  2. 2.

    Solid post, Smitty. And, I believe you should now focus on more important issues re the Raps.

    I’ve never heard of Bleacher Report. And, I doubt I’ve missed much.

    - brento.
  3. 3.

    In your Raptor Blog today on nba.com/raptors “Fact Checking”, I appreciated your opinion on US media on Canada’s lone NBA team. My question is, besides T-Mac, who else has left after their rookie contract? I don’t recall many. Is it a smarter decision for a player to “always” resign with their original club?
    Just curious.
    Thanks!

    - Anthony R
  4. 4.

    Ho hum. Another predictable rant from E. Smith against the nasty American media.

    He ridiculed them when they predicted the Raptors would lose to the Nets in the playoffs a few years ago, but they turned out to be right.

    He ridiculed them when they predicted the Raptors would miss the playoffs two years ago, but they turned out to be right.

    He ridiculed them when they predicted the Raptors would miss the playoffs last year, but they turned out to be right.

    He ridiculed them when they predicted Bosh would leave the Raptors, but they turned out to be right.

    I’m not saying they are right this time, in fact I doubt that they are (however if the Raptors weren’t owned by MLSE it might be a different story). But maybe it would be better for E. Smith to have a bit of a thicker skin rather than going on a rant every time someone in the evil United States says something negative about the Raptors.

    - Mike S
  5. 5.

    i agree with you E the raps are in great shape and it s going to be a historic season ,,,, go raps go

    - lemongellofan
  6. 6.

    Never say never. The way things change so quickly these days who’s to say the NBA will exist in 10 years. The players make fare too much money in the league and eventually will be the downfall of the whole thing. Even if the raptors fold or the league goes bankrupt there will always be basketball.

    - Rob of brantford
  7. 7.

    Although I agree there is zero reason to believe that the Raptors are going anywhere, I’d bet this top ten in value was done from last year’s revenue numbers.

    I’ll further bet that both Cleveland, Houston and Toronto move down this year.

    1 – New York – $613 million
    2 – LA Lakers – $584 million
    3 – Chicago – $504 million
    4 – Detroit – $480 million
    5 – Cleveland – $477 million
    6 – Houston – $469 million
    7 – Dallas – $466 million
    8 – Phoenix – $452 million
    9 – Boston – $447 million
    10 – San Antonio – $415 million
    * 11 – Toronto – $400 million

    - Gary
  8. 8.

    lets all agree ,,the raps are going nowhere,,,,,,

    - lemongellofan
  9. 9.

    Not that I disagree with your argument, but the validity of the Forbes valuations has been a subject of some debate. There are quite a few journalists, sports professionals and economists that believe they basically pull these numbers out of their backside, or at least base them on a minimum of good data. A propos of nothing, because I believe the Raptors are hardly in danger of contraction…but neither do I believe they are the 11th most valuable franchise. Maybe if you include the condos.

    - Funkmode
  10. 10.

    The Raptors aren’t going anywhere.

    - Carlos
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