Monday, August 25, 2014

The Untradeables

There has been quite a bit of talk about the Bucks trading Juice Mayo, Big Ers and Larry.  It ain't happening.  Those three players are untradeable and the Bucks might as well deal with it.  Here's why, along with some expectations on what can be done with each player.

OJ Mayo

Untradeable because... he was injured or out of shape last season.

Juice Mayo has two years totaling $16 million left on his contract.  If he was a free agent he probably wouldn't even get a guaranteed contract for the veteran's minimum of about $1 million.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Real Answers to FAQ on the Bucks' Arena Push

I am a Bucks fan.  I like to write about the Bucks.  

I also am a connoisseur of sports stadiums.  I find them fascinating.  One of the most fascinating parts, at least to me, is how they are financed.  I read the Field of Schemes blog daily.  I read countless local news articles on stadium financing.  I even read lease agreements and financial statements related to stadiums occasionally.

Today, I was linked to the Bucks Arena FAQ on Brewhoop.  Oy, is it bad.  It is written by someone who doesn't follow sports stadiums and stadium financing closely.  It is so bad, in fact, that I have written a Real Answers to FAQ on the Bucks' Arena Push below.  Enjoy.  (And feel free to comment below if I've missed any Qs that are FA).

Do the Bucks need a new arena?


Let me rephrase: Why to the Bucks say they need a new arena?

There are several reasons:

1) The Market

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Must-Sign Summer

The first free agency of the Edens-Lasry era has begun, and there have been varying signs.

Acquiring Jason Kidd is a good sign.  He is a better coach than Larry Drew, and he has shown little tolerance for losing.

The lack of Bucks rumors since the free agency period opened is a bad sign.  The current roster has holes, and free agency is the best method available to fill them.

Friday, June 27, 2014

This is It

The Bucks drafted Jabari Parker last night.  Yours truly has been skeptical of Parker, but there are positives.  He does want to play in Milwaukee.  He is a scorer.  He seems to understand the game.

Parker's understanding of the game was one of the red flags that caused #BucksForest to want other players.  Austin Rivers is the son of an NBA player, and he knew the game.  Shabazz Muhammad has a father who taught him how to play, and he knew the game.  These players learned early, and it allowed them to thrive at the high school and college levels despite relatively modest athletic gifts.  Parker feels like a similar case.  Maybe yours truly will be wrong.  Maybe he'll be Paul Pierce or Big Dog.  

Whatever the future holds, the Bucks' present seems to be set.  They will have twelve players under guaranteed contracts once Parker signs, and a thirteenth in Chris Wright who is under a non-guaranteed deal.  They have two second round draft picks who could be let go, but who are expected to be on the roster.  That adds up to fifteen players, which is the NBA maximum.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

I Believe


I Believe.

I Believe This Team. 

I Believe This Team Can Win.

The NBA Draft is tomorrow, and if the Twitter community of Bucks fans is any indication, it will be the biggest day of the year.  The Bucks will get a highly touted player, of course, but many Bucks fans seem to want more.  They want an overhaul.  Anyone and everyone aside from The Grecian Formula (who I, personally, would be willing to trade in a heartbeat) is fair game for trade, as long as the trade returns young players and/or draft picks.

Monday, June 23, 2014

It's Gettin' Late Early

NOTE: I was nearly finished writing an essay on why the Bucks should draft Joel Embiid when Bucks co-owner Marc Lasry said that Embiid is no longer an option.  Lasry is known in some circles as being close friends with a prominent New York bookie and for playing private high-stakes poker games, so maybe he was just bluffing.  Still, it was enough for me to change today's post to something else.  If you still want to read my pro-Embiid argument, scroll down to the bottom.

Marc Lasry's publicity tour of Milwaukee today was a number of things.  It was a chance for the Bucks' co-owner to enhance the team's relationship with online fans.  It showed that even as a busy New Yorker, Lasry is putting forth an effort to make the Bucks a more significant part of Milwaukee again.  And if you read between the lines, it was another message that Milwaukee will never again have a successful NBA team unless someone gives two hundred million dollars or so in tax money to the Bucks.

The following is an approximate timeline of the Bucks' future, as gleaned from the subtext of Lasry's comments:

June 26, 2014: Draft a high-profile college player.

June 26 to September 15, 2014: Trade away veteran Bucks players.  Avoid signing high-priced veteran players from other teams.

Late October, 2014: Debut the high-profile college player before a sellout crowd at the BMO Harris Bradley Center.

Monday, June 16, 2014

A Bucks Arena Op-Ed to the Journal-Sentinel

Ed. Note: I submitted the following opinion piece to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel today. 

Milwaukee is in jeopardy of losing the Bucks.  The short-term move threat is because of the BMO Harris Bradley Center.  It lacks the size, shape and amenities of a modern NBA arena.  The long-term threat is because of Milwaukee's economic status.  The city and region are home to too few high-paying jobs.

Proposals for a new Bucks arena have centered around tax increases.  Everything from a new tax-increment financing district to an extension of the Miller Park sales tax has been proposed.  If passed, these solutions may well get the Bucks a modern NBA arena.  New taxes may also, however, only exacerbate the "brain drain" problem where so many educated natives leave the state.

I am an example of the brain drain problem.  I grew up in Milwaukee and graduated from West Allis Central high school.  After graduating from the University of Southern California (USC) in 1999, staying in the Los Angeles area was the obvious choice.  The opportunities for high-paying jobs were far more abundant.  As my career has progressed I have looked into relocating myself and my business to Milwaukee at various times, but it makes little economic sense.  Property, sales and income taxes are all high, and the potential base of businesses that might use my services is relatively small.

The city seems to be stuck between a rock and a hard place.  Losing the Bucks would likely decrease the attractiveness of the city to young, educated professionals.  Increasing taxes to keep the Bucks would make the city less economically attractive.  So, what to do?

The good news for proponents of the Bucks and the city is that Milwaukee already has a potential arena funding mechanism in place.  A tourist tax on hotels, rental cars and food & beverage sales at restaurants -- similar to ones used to build the Sprint Center in Kansas City and the Amway Center in Orlando -- already exists.  Tourist taxes in Milwaukee generated $27 million in 2013; far more than the estimated annual debt service on the public share of a new Bucks arena.  The problem is that these taxes are being used to keep the Wisconsin Center District -- owner of the Wisconsin Center, Milwaukee Theatre and former MECCA Arena -- afloat.  

Redirecting the tax revenues being spent by the Wisconsin Center District towards a new Bucks arena would likely be a win-win for the city.  Taxes could be kept at current levels, the Bucks could enter into a long-term lease with the city and the property that Wisconsin Center District facilities currently sit on could be sold or repurposed for uses that better serve a revitalization of downtown.  I believe that an honest survey of young, educated professionals with Milwaukee ties would find that alternative more attractive than either losing the Bucks or seeing taxes increased even more.