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Monday, June 29, 2009

Amare, Can You Hear Me?

Photo by T. Peter Lyons

Amare Stoudemire seems more excited about leaving the Phoenix Suns than he does about staying. This is very easily surmised from reading his "tweets" on twitter. It is one thing to ask fan opinion on a move (GS rumor), but it's another to have two exclamation points after Lakers in a post.


Rubio to NYK is continually fuled by the parachial NYC media. Jordan Hill doesn't sell any papers, so the NY scribes have taken to darling Ricky to drum up some interest and fuel the flames of speculation, much the way they did pre-draft on Steph Curry.

Here is Marc Berman's column:

A representative for Ricky Rubio's agency in Spain told The Post yesterday the 18-year-old flamboyant point-guard phenom is receiving offers this weekend to play for a club in Turkey and Real Madrid, which would decrease the likelihood of him playing in the NBA next season.

Meanwhile, Knicks team president Donnie Walsh spoke to Timberwolves general manager David Kahn yesterday. According to a source, Kahn's being patient and is not interested in talking trade yet and is "trying to keep him."

Tim Shea, the former Knicks European scout who is a consultant for Rubio's agency, Winners Factory, said he expects a formal offer from a Turkish club tomorrow. The offer would be about $1 million, with another $2 million going toward a $6 million buyout for his Spanish team, DKV Joventut. Real Madrid also is in talks with Joventut, according to Shea. An NBA team is allowed to pay just $500,000, with the rest coming out of Rubio's future earnings.

Agent Dan Fegan represents Rubio's interests only in the NBA and a source said has made no headway in buyout negotiations, forcing him to file a lawsuit in Spain. The Turkish offer would be a distinct pay raise for Rubio, who made $180,000 last season.

Shea said if the Timberwolves traded Rubio to the Knicks, it could sway Rubio into playing in the NBA next season. Shea said the Knicks are the preference of Rubio's parents. But Shea highly doubts Kahn will trade Rubio despite Walsh's inquiry and others.

"I think he understands he has a gold nugget," Shea said. "The price of gold is always going up. He's only 18, so Rubio's stock will go up next year. He drafted so many point guards because of this. He's in the driver's seat. He doesn't have to trade him to the first suitors. (In an online letter to Minnesota fans, Kahn said he's willing to wait one or two years on Rubio, who could use seasoning).

As for Rubio's interest in the Knicks, Shea said, "In a meeting back in February, I suggested to the parents New York would be the best place because they have a European style coach in Mike D'Antoni and they agree. The mother loves the idea. She said there's a direct flight to Barcelona and talked about the shopping and living there."

Walsh said Friday he will try to pry Rubio from Minnesota. Kahn is a Walsh friend, and they formerly worked together in Indiana.
TL Comment: I think it's interesting that the NBA and its team - in this case Minnesota - should operate its business in order to have Mrs Rubio have a non-stop flight and a place to shop. Also, not sure if Kahn as a friend is the way I would describe Donnie Walsh. Donnie gave him a shot to work at Indiana, but Kahn left the Pacers after a 'less than positive' experience. He was very involved in the building of Conseco arena, along with Dale Ratermann, a Pacers front office man.

And, remind me? Wasn't it Dan Fegan who was trying to manipulate the draft position of Yi Jinlian of China a few years back. Fegan seems to be coming up short in his targeted geography lessons for landing NBA players in a city where they can thrive.

That is an art. A job for an agent far more savvy than Dan Fegan.

PS: If I were in Jeff Austin's shoes, I would be fanning the flames of the NYC media much the same way to fuel the speculation that Steph Curry could easily sign an international offer for bigger buck$ than he can get as a rookie with the GS Warriors. Food for thought. "Hello Real, how about a $8 million dollar backcourt with Steph and Ricky show?" Hello Ettore, you there?


Think the folks at AEG in London had a rough weekend? The concert and arena promoters (see 02 in London) have to come up with a mechanism to refund more tickets than they've sold since the 02 Arena oipened a year or two ago to NBA and NHL exhibition games and Led Zep reunion shows.

See the WSJ:

Concert promoter AEG Live spent the weekend after Michael Jackson's death planning what could be one of the biggest ticket-refund programs in history, a challenge likely to be complicated by the possibility that the company may have trouble collecting on its insurance.

Yet insurance may help some fans get reimbursed for tickets they bought to now-cancelled concerts.

Meanwhile, relatives, advisers and business associates of Mr. Jackson were holding lengthy meetings to address issues that ranged from untangling Mr. Jackson's complex estate to planning his funeral.

TL NOTE: Friday's Sports Biz Daily made note of the following:

Michael Jackson's planned 50-show run at the O2 Arena in London would have been the highest-grossing single concert engagement. Now it's a major problem for the promoter AEG Live.

More than $85 million worth of tickets have already been sold for the series of performances, which have the now sadly ironic title "This Is It." As much as $30 million has already been spent on production, according to sources close to the situation. So what's at stake for AEG, the world's second-largest concert promoter, can't be overstated.

Michael Jackson: King Of The Pop Charts
Michael Jackson Mourned By Friends, Fans
Michael Jackson Discography
Michael Jackson Chart History
Michael Jackson's 50 Shows Sell Out In Hours
Michael Jackson Postpones Opening Of London Concert Run

Concert business executives have estimated that AEG paid Jackson an advance of as much as $10 million. That, plus the production costs, would mean AEG stands to lose as much as $40 million if nonappearance insurance isn't substantial enough to cover this contingency. For AEG, "it's either horrible or really horrible," a concert business executive says.

The shows, which were to begin July 13, would have been Jackson's first solo shows in 12 years. AEG Live, which was producing and promoting them, footed the bill for what the company said was a $20 million production. Other sources say the costs before opening night were closer to $30 million. The total gross from primary ticket sales would've been about $90 million.

Premium and VIP packages and secondary-market sales would have boosted the gross to more than $100 million. Merchandise sales could have brought in another $15 million.

AEG's yearly financial results may now depend on Jackson's cause of death. One entertainment insurance industry insider says that if Jackson died from a drug overdose or a pre-existing condition, the producer could be on the hook for any loss-which would include any money already sunk into the production, as well as the considerable cost of refunding consumers for the 750,000 tickets already purchased. If Jackson signed a contract saying he would return his advance in the event he didn't perform, the company could end up in court with a long line of other Jackson creditors.

AEG Live CEO Randy Phillips told Billboard May 12 that his company was well-insured. "We have one policy in place and we're negotiating for an even larger binder," said Phillips, who couldn't immediately be reached for comment regarding Jackson's death. "We have insured the production costs. In order to get the first part of the insurance in place, [Jackson] had to have a physical, and he passed it with flying colors." AEG CEO Tim Leiweke made similar comments in March at the Billboard Music & Money Symposium.


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