With NBA profits expected to plunge in the wake of the China dispute — and several Brooklyn players having reportedly lost money over broken deals in Shanghai — the Nets are looking at ways to maximize revenue.
New owner Joe Tsai said while he’s lucky to have inherited GM Sean Marks to run the basketball side of his team, he’s happy to have hired new CEO David Levy to handle the business side. And the former TV executive is expected to find creative ways to bring in more cash.
“My job is to make sure that we have the best people in place … so I’m very lucky on the basketball side. I stepped into a very good situation with Sean Marks,” Tsai told The Post last week in China. “The last three years, the work speaks for itself. I don’t even need to say anything more.
“And then we found David Levy, who joined us as CEO — a terrific guy and someone who’s got tons of experience and lots of expertise and familiarity with the league. So for him to run the business side of things is tremendous for us. The good thing about having David in place is he’s very creative, very entrepreneurial.”
He’ll have to be.
The NBA is reeling from arguably the most expensive tweet in history, Rockets GM Daryl Morey inadvertently putting at risk league business in China that’s reportedly worth $4 billion.
At least five NBA teams are bracing for the salary cap to shrink 10 percent to 15 percent next season, according to Yahoo. And several Nets and Lakers lost money last week over broken sponsorship appearances, according to The Athletic.
While the NBA front office wring its collective hands over a China issue that doesn’t seem ready to go away anytime soon, the Nets front office is trying to wring out profits elsewhere.
Considering Tsai is co-founder of e-commerce giant Alibaba — and Levy’s background as former president of Turner — that could predictably come from the media side, specifically digital.
“It’s an exciting new world,” Tsai said. “Looking at the business of sport from my perspective, I’m coming from the internet world where you’re seeing a massive shift of, first, young users coming online; and usage going on mobile.
“Those are very big trends — what you could do with that and how young people consume content. You can do a lot of very interesting things with sports. I’m very excited about the future.”
With the Nets having added Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving this summer, they’re delivering a different caliber of team than the one YES Network negotiated to broadcast. Whether or not the Nets can open that contract, Tsai said Levy will meet with YES president Jon Litner to discuss maximizing their digital rights.
“We have a long-term contract with YES. It’s a fixed amount, but there’s definitely room to look into new ways of delivering the content locally,” Tsai said. “YES is a linear TV presentation; they really haven’t leveraged the digital rights yet.
“This is a perfect example of David Levy — who knows Jon Litner really well — and they’re going to hit it off and have a conversation because what we want is a win-win situation. It makes a lot of sense for YES Network. It also makes a lot of sense for us to figure out a way to better leverage our digital rights on a local TV basis.”
The Nets picked up next season’s options on Jarrett Allen and Dzanan Musa. The team requested waivers on Deng Adel and John Egbunu, but will retain the G-League rights to both.
Spencer Dinwiddie tweeted that he plans to go ahead with his digital investment vehicle on Oct. 21. He delayed it a week to let the NBA time to deal with China, but aims to move forward one way or the other.