This Bucks arena issue is turning into a complete mess. So many people involved and so many residents misinformed. And you know who is at the core of this? The NBA itself. A league playing dirty in order to get what it wants. Milwaukee is supposed to hand them over a new arena since the current Bradley Center is “ancient” by it’s own standards. This may be true but how they are going about it is completely wrong in my eyes.
You may question why am I directing blame squarely at the NBA, David Stern and more recently Adam Silver. The answer is simple.
Back when the new owners bought the NBA, the league put a clause in their ownership:
The NBA has the right to buy back the Milwaukee Bucks from incoming owners Wesley Edens and Mark Lasry if a deal to a bring a new arena to the city is not in place by November 2017, according to sources briefed on the situation.
Adam Silver not much after this article came out and said this:
“One obvious issue we all have to deal with is we need a new arena in Milwaukee,” said Adam Silver, deputy National Basketball Association commissioner, speaking of the BMO Harris Bradley Center.
“At the end of the day compared to other modern arenas in the league, this arena is a few hundred thousand square feet too small,” Silver said. “It doesn’t have the sort of back-of-house space you need, doesn’t have the kinds of amenities we need.
“It doesn’t have the right sort of upper bowl/lower bowl (seating) configuration for the teams frankly that Milwaukee wants to compete against,” he said.
No surprise the current agreement with the Bucks and Bradley Center deal ends in 2017…… (if you are wondering how they came up with that specific date?)
Former owner Herb Kohl did a great job doing everything he could to keep the Bucks in Milwaukee. Others (including Michael Jordan) even tried to have him sell the team, but he always had the stipulation that the Bucks must stay in Milwaukee.
Problem with Herb Kohl was two-fold. One, he got involved too much and did not allow the people he hired make decisions. This happened after originally giving George Karl and Ernie Grunfield too much power in which they made the Ray Allen trade which the franchise is still suffering from today.
The 2nd issue is don’t be fooled by the NBA. They were not happy with Kohl as owner. At one point the Bucks was rated by Forbes as the worst revenue generating franchise in the NBA.
So for the NBA to generate more revenue and money which includes their huge new National TV deal, the Bucks terrible value sticks out like a sore thumb.
Which makes sense why the Bucks President came out with this yesterday.
“The window is closing,” Bucks team president Peter Feigin said. “We can’t wait months, even weeks to start the public process.”
And why Seattle media and Vegas media are running with the story.
So many stories and so much debate. The problem is people against the possibility of paying taxes for the arena are blaming the owners or the politicians. They are not the primary issue.
The NBA could easily solve this problem. They are the ones who put the 2017 clause in the contract. Why can’t they change that? There is more debate than ever on this which is healthy for the state and Milwaukee (which seems to be at many crossroads currently). This arena debate needs time, patience, and hearings from every side before making a final decision. Why the rush? Why does this decision need to be made by fall or else this is the 2 year farewell of the franchise?
Adam Silver and the NBA as early as tomorrow could comment on this issue and extend the timeline on this hard deadline to debate this fully. However they most likely will not. You want to know why? Because come hell or high water they will get their new arena deal and more revenue whether the Bucks remain in Milwaukee or whether they relocate. Money is money to them and shame on the NBA not valuing franchises more than money. We know they don’t care based on two recent examples. Look at how they treated Sacramento before they caved in? Or how they treated Seattle which lost its Sonics?
While I hope the arena deal gets done as it could be a game changer for the city and mean much more than the NBA or basketball, it is a shame that the league has to put the future of the franchise on crisis mode and put what was once a proud franchise in Milwaukee in doubt. So many economic and revival opportunities to make Milwaukee a major destination for concerts, conventions, and events, however the NBA needs to allow Wisconsin Residents and politicians to see this thoroughly.
P.S. Today, President Peter Feigin was on WSSP AM in Milwaukee and this is a great listen to clear up some of the misinformation going around regarding the arena issue.
Note: I placed this video of 1983 when the Bucks were consistently at or near the top teams as a reminder of how just like the Brewers they mean much to the future of Milwaukee.