The owners as a whole are hoping to crush the players. I actually don't care what happens to the players salaries or the owners profits. I would care if the owners brought salaries down to a manageable level then lowered ticket prices, but we know that's not going to happen. Instead, they're going to keep any extra money they make.
The Chicago Bulls aren't one of the teams struggling to survive, but they are one of the teams that benefit most from crushing the players.
First, and most obviously, the profits.
The Chicago Bulls were banking 50 million in operating profit per year when they were terrible or making the first round. I'd imagine their profits last season were in the 70 million dollar range. A hard cap of 45 million likely locks the Bulls into an operating profit of around 60 million per season in a lottery bound year.
If the salary cap doesn't rise with league inflation [and the league's offer says it won't], they could easily be staring 200 million in operating profit a year in place in 10 years. The Bulls would easily bank over 1-1.5 billion dollars in operating profit over the next 10 seasons in this business model. The New York Knicks and Los Angelas Lakers will make even more under that model.
If the owners get their way in the dispute, and the league grows by 4% per year in revenue while operating expenses also grow by 4% and player salaries increase by 1% (which is what the owners offered before), the league collectively would be sitting at an operating profit of three billion dollars per year in 10 seasons.
100 million per year in operating profit per team on average. The poor franchise now that's presently losing money would likely only cash in on around 50 million per year of that profit, but those franchises are presently worth around 275 million and prorating their worth upwards only gets them to around 400 million. Besides the profit, this business model would probably double to triple to quadruple the value of owning an NBA franchise, even a crappy one.
For a marquee franchise like the Bulls, their valuation would likely go up to the two to three billion dollar range.
These are your owners claiming poor. These are your owners that have locked out the players. These are your owners that have taken basketball from us. They don't need a massive overhaul of the system to remain profitable with their franchises, they need better revenue sharing, and they need to stop allowing buyers to finance their purchases and then roll the debt onto the balance sheet.
Even looking at this from a pure profit perspective is ridiculous as it passes over the massive intangible benefits of owning a sports franchise. It puts you in a unique club that only a few people in the world can be in. It provides fame, notoriety, marketing opportunity, tax shelters, and more intangible benefits than just about any business you could imagine.
The players aren't poor either, and if the owners win, I'm not going to lose even the tiniest bit of sleep over the fact that the four hundred or so players need to collectively share are a mere 1.4 billion dollars. They'll be just fine to the extent that they don't piss away all the money anyway, but I'm not mad at the players.
The players aren't the ones who are on strike trying to get an unreasonable amount of extra money while already filthy rich. The players already offered givebacks to the league of one billion dollars over 10 years. The owners are the ones being unreasonable, the owners are trying a power play that would likely increase the networth of even the poorest owner by at least a half billion dollars over the next 10 seasons.