Ted Leonsis Fined $100K by NBA for Talk of Hard Salary Cap
The league's collective bargaining agreement will expire after the season, and many owners are looking at the NHL and their hard salary cap for direction. This summer, FanHouse's Sam Amick reported that if owners are successful in creating a hard cap similar to the NHL's in the neighborhood of $45 million, high-salaried teams like the Miami Heat and Los Angeles Lakers may be forced to release star players to fit the cap number.
The NBA currently employs a soft salary cap, which allows teams to circumvent certain rules and exceed the league's "cap number" in order to build winning teams.
Leonsis, who is well-versed with both the workings of the NBA and NHL salary cap models, spoke to a group of Northern Virginia business leaders before the Wizards training camp session on Wednesday.
"In a salary cap era -- and soon a hard salary cap in the NBA like it's in the NHL -- if everyone can pay the same amount to the same amount of players, its the small nuanced differences that matter," Leonsis said.
Because Leonsis is not officially authorized to speak regarding the ongoing NBA labor negotiations, he refused to expound on his remarks when asked to clarify after his speech. But he did note that he is a huge fan of the NHL's system, praising it and noting that it is a good one that works fairly.
"It's working," he said. "The teams are very, very competitive. There is no way that big markets teams can outspend small market teams. So when the season starts everyone thinks their team can compete for the Stanley Cup."
Leonsis' comments may elicit an uncomfortable phone call from NBA commissioner David Stern, who has traditionally insisted the owners refrain from making any public comments about labor negotiations.
Update: The NBA wasted little time punishing Leonsis, announcing Wednesday evening that the Wizards owner has been fined $100,000 for his unauthorized remarks.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.