The NBA announced a monster new nine-year TV deal with ESPN and Turner Sports which will give NBA teams around $2.67 million to split each year starting in 2016. That will more than triple the Pacers cut of television revenue. As Nets Daily notes, the Pacers and other former ABA teams no longer have to give a chunk of revenue off the top to give to the former owners of the Spirits of St. Louis.
Great news for the Pacers, Herb Simon and all NBA owners. So now what?
All of that extra revenue raises plenty of questions for the league and the Pacers going forward. The players are in line to reap the benefits of a much larger salary cap, but how will the league handle the jump in the cap. Free agents in 2016 would find much larger max salaries availble compared to those next summer. Will the league start adjusting the cap to handle the jump more equitably for all players? Adam Silver referred to that process as working to "smooth out" the cap, but that also sounds like some financial gymnastics the players may not agree to.
As Tom Ziller notes, the league CBA will be an issue as well, but with the windfall, both sides may find it easier to continue through negotiations without another work stoppage.
As for the Pacers, Paul George's recent max deal suddenly looks a lot better (assuming the league doesn't change numbers as part of the "smoothing" process by giving players under contract a certain %-rate raise). George will be in the third year of his 5-year, $97 million deal with a salary around $18.3 million for 2016-17. This will look like a bargain after seeing what Kevin Durant and LeBron James sign for during the summer of '16.
Of course, that assumes PG is health and rolling again on the court. If so, PG will be far more likely to utilitze his fifth-year option and end his deal after the fourth year.
But what about next summer? Again, we're making a general assumption that players discussed play within the neighborhood of their contract value. Both Roy Hibbert and David West have options to bail on their final year with the Pacers next summer to become free agents. But if all of the big free agent money is available the following summer, seems to reason they may be more willing to complete their deals before looking for another deal.
For West, he may not play again or even be considering another contract. But Hibbert will have to raise his level of play this year to give himself the option to stay or go elsewhere and remain in line for another big pay day.
What about a player like Rodney Stuckey? He's playing on a veteran minimum contract and if he turns out to be a good fit with the Pacers, will be looking for more money next season. The new salary ap landscape may help the Pacers keep Stuckey around for another year at a reasonable rate for a one-year deal. Then if he continues playing well, a better deal with the Pacers or elsewhere may be on the horizon in 2016.
At this point, the Pacers have PG ($18.3 mil), C.J. Miles ($4.6 mil) and George Hill ($8 mil) along with rookie deal options for Solomon Hill ($2.3 mil) and Damo Rudez ( $1.2 mil) which, accordint to Sham Sports, puts their cap number at $34.5 million which means they may have roughly $50-60 million to spend, if the cap simply jumps based on the infusion of revenue.
Considering we are less than two years from this huge change and how much different the Pacers might look on this date in 2016, hang on for a wild ride, if not on the court, at least off it.
For more on the actual broadcast details of the deal, check out the NBA's release here.