Windhorst: Word is Suns intend to ‘reduce their spending’ next season

Aug 25, 2020, 4:03 PM | Updated: 9:20 pm
Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver sits during the first half of the NBA game against the Golden Stat...
Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver sits during the first half of the NBA game against the Golden State Warriors at Talking Stick Resort Arena on February 12, 2020 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Suns defeated the Warriors 112-106.(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

With all the success for the NBA in its bubble, in this day and age, it’s on to fixing the next problem.

One of the upcoming biggest is projecting and then finalizing a salary cap for next season, something that is infinitely more difficult during a pandemic.

The league wanted a quick turnaround for the 2020-21 season beginning in December after the NBA Finals wrapped in mid-October, along with the draft and free agency shortly after.

As ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports, though, that all might get pushed back in the hopes of those projections including some of the potential revenue fans in the building brings.

The league’s and union’s biggest motivating force to delay the start of next season comes with the hopes that teams can eventually find ways to bring fans safely back into arenas for games, an integral part of the league’s revenue stream. Commissioner Adam Silver says game-night receipts account for approximately 40% of the league’s revenues.

Wojnarowski explains how things could spiral without that revenue.

The financial realities of the league’s revenues cratering without fans in arenas would have a dramatic impact on teams, especially smaller-market franchises dependent on gate receipts and revenue sharing from big markets such as Los Angeles, New York and Golden State. In a scenario where gate receipts are gone — or dramatically limited — big-market teams will be limited in the money they can share with those in smaller cities.

This could wind up impacting how teams approach free agency this upcoming offseason, something ESPN’s Brian Windhorst floated for the Phoenix Suns on Arizona Sports’ Bickley & Marotta.

“The word on the street about the Suns is they intend to reduce their spending,” he said Tuesday.

Windhorst additionally cited the sale of the Suns’ G League team to the Detroit Pistons and the stock of owner Robert Sarver’s company being down.

“We are going into a year where there are some teams that are facing tens of millions in losses,” he said. “Depending on whether you can sell tickets, there are teams that may face 30, 40, 50 million in losses next year. The difference between 10 million dollars in losses and 30 million dollars in losses may be signing a 20 million dollar player.”

That $20 million for the Suns could theoretically go to someone like upcoming free agent guard Fred VanVleet, who they have been linked to by The Athletic’s Shams Charania, but Windhorst doesn’t see it because of what he had mentioned.

“I would be stunned if that was the case,” he said of a potential pursuit by the Suns.

Now, plenty of this is built on uncertainty, and plans will start to become more concrete once the numbers are more concrete. And the Suns’ 8-0 bubble run could change the thinking too.

“Maybe that was the plan and they saw how they played in Orlando and maybe they pump the brakes on that,” Windhorst said.

Regardless, it’s an issue every team could face next season, and is the biggest unknown for the league once the champion for this season is crowned.

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Windhorst: Word is Suns intend to ‘reduce their spending’ next season