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The NBA money crunch, trading empty seats for advertising, and keeping Coach Frank

ESPN columnist Bill Simmons thinks that the NBA's fiscal troubles, about which he's written already, are becoming ever more apparent:
Q: What was the defining No Benjamins Association moment of Round 1?

A: The Pistons e-mailing Cleveland season-ticket holders before Game 3 and offering them deals on tickets for Games 3 and 4 in Detroit. When teams are ENCOURAGING opposing fans to come to playoff games, we are headed for financial disaster. And we are. Nobody believes me. There will be a lockout in 2011.

Advertising instead of fans

Facing the recognition that they're not about to fill the aging Izod Center, especially while promising a ever-long goodbye in favor of Brooklyn, the Nets now plan "sky banners" to display advertising in the four corners of the arena.

Sports Business Journal gave it a positive spin:
The New Jersey Nets have created new advertising space in the far reaches of the Izod Center seating bowl, and team officials think it could generate an additional $400,000 to $500,000 in revenue next season.

Well, "additional" compared to what? Wouldn't a full house, with the fans paying for concessions, bring even more revenue? Otherwise, they could put up advertising anywhere.

Keeping Coach Frank

And then there's team president Rod Thorn's decision to keep Nets Coach Lawrence Frank after leaving him dangling for a couple of weeks. To Fred Kerber of the New York Post, it was a basketball decision:
"In my mind, he's a good coach," Thorn said yesterday of Lawrence Frank.

And that is why Thorn is bringing back Frank for the final year of his deal at $4.5 million. Not the endorsement of the owner. Not any financial consideration. Not the input of players.

Al Iannazzone wasn't so sure, writing in the Record:
Money likely played a part in Thorn’s decision. Nets’ ownership is losing millions, so it would be difficult to eat the $4.5 million Frank is owed next season and pay another coach.

I'm voting with Iannazzone.