The NBA fined Miami Heat Micky Arison a staggering $500,000 for some choice tweets about the lockout. Among Arison’s tweets were his response to a fans question of: “How’s it feel to be apart of ruining the best game in the world? NBA owners/players don’t give a damn about fans&and guess what? Fans provide all the money you’re fighting over&you greedy (expletive) pigs.” Arison replied: “You are barking at the wrong owner.” He also agreed that it was impossible to have perfect competitive balance and, my personal favorite, when asked about Clippers owner Donald Sterling, he responded with “lol.”
These tweets may not seem harmful but they speak to a very alarming disconnect between the owners. The bigger market owners who have more money and better teams seem to be much more willing to settle, while the more frugal, smaller market owners (think Robert Sarver) are much more inclined to put a very hard line stance on negotiations. This shows that the owners themselves have different views of how to go about owning a team and standards for fairness and profit. Arison has one of the best teams in the league with a nice, new arena and a solid market, so he isn’t too concerned with revenue sharing or hard caps. That the NBA fined Arison so drastically is surprising and shows that they do not want to reveal the gap in owner opinion.