Yesterday, I wrote that the Knicks screwed up their attempted media coup d'etat of Devin Booker as star of the Phoenix Suns. In short, there appeared to be a Leon Rose-Stephen A. Smith-Ian Begley cabal put in place to stir the proverbial NBA drama pot - an event that has previously marked the beginning of the end for player-team relationships like those of Anthony Davis and the Pelicans, and Jimmy Butler and the Timberwolves.
My claim that the Knicks had ended their own coup - albeit unintentionally - was derived from New York's recent hiring of Tom Thibodeau. Nobody wants to play for "Thibs." He's the Tom Coughlin of the NBA - known for running his players into the ground and acting maniacally.
But, as Wu-Tang Clan once chanted, "Cash Rules Everything Around Me."
There may be hope yet for the Knicks.
Today, Brian Windhorst reported that the Golden State Warriors are seeking a loan of $250 million from Goldman Sachs - cash they believe they'll need to cover next season's $150 million payroll. They'll need that revenue, they think, because of the lost ticket revenue from this season, and potentially more next season if the NBA has to play in a bubble again.
Here are a few quotes from Windhorst's article.
"The Warriors have the ability to raise money that a lot of teams can't," one team president said. "Good for them. If our team was in that situation, we may have to trade players to deal with it."
"I suspect first-round picks will be for sale in this draft," one team executive said. "We haven't really seen that in a decade." The last first-round pick to be sold was in 2013 by the Denver Nuggets (the selected Rudy Gobert at 27th)
"With few exceptions, no one wants to make long-term commitments right now," one general manager said. "You can already feel it coming."
This lends itself to a theory I proposed last week, that a few rich NBA and MLB teams will dominate trades, signings and draft picks for the next half-decade, as middle and working-class teams pinch pennies to recover from the pandemic. Unfortunately for the Suns, they're working-class, and the Knicks are rich.
The Warriors (as Windhorst pointed out) make around $5 million per home game, bring in around $450 million in annual revenues, and are valued as the 3rd-most valuable team in the NBA. Still, they have to borrow money to field a championship-caliber roster. Their expected payroll is only around $50 million more than the Suns.
Are you thinking what I'm thinking?
Yeah, this is big financial trouble for the Suns. According to Forbes, Phoenix makes about $144 million less in gate revenue than Golden State, they're the 4th-least-attended home venue in the NBA, and they're the 7th-least valuable team in the NBA. In other words, they're working-class.
If the league executives in Windhorst's story are correct, the Suns are firmly entrenched in a class of NBA franchise set to tighten their belt for the next several seasons.
That's terrible news when it comes to keeping Devin Booker happy. Booker's been patient as the Suns scramble to become more legitimate, but I doubt he will be if it's obvious that Robert Sarver isn't doing everything he can financially to win.
The Knicks, on the other hand, are one of about five NBA teams who are cash-flush. They're perennially top-10 in revenue and attendance, and they're valued at a league-best $4.6 billion. If Leon Rose - Booker's ex-agent and now Knicks president - can convince Booker that the Knicks are willing to spend big immediately, he may very well put up with Thibodeau's antics. For a max contract and support, who wouldn't?