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Silver admits advertising on NBA jerseys has hit snag

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

NBA commissioner Adam Silver held a mini media blitz of sorts Monday, offering thoughts about the Philadelphia 76ers to FiveThirtyEight, and later joining their ESPN colleague Zach Lowe on his podcast.

Silver told Lowe that while discussions continue regarding advertising on NBA jerseys, several teams are concerned that they will be at a disadvantage against bigger markets.

"Part of the reason we haven't moved forward is complications over our revenue sharing system," Silver said. "If certain markets did exponentially better than other markets ... it would be a net reduction in revenue for other clubs. At the end of the day most importantly, we're trying to create parity in this league."

Almost one year ago, Silver called ads on NBA game jerseys "inevitable." There is the reality however that certain big-ticket advertisers would prefer sponsoring teams with higher visibility.

"There are a group of teams that feel they will somehow be left behind," the commissioner said. "Presumably some of the larger markets will be much more successful in selling, we're calling it a 'patch' - a logo on a jersey, not the full-out control of the jersey that you see in European soccer."

Silver touched on a few other topics, including his feelings that the NBA will not experience another work stoppage after the opt-out date for the current collective bargaining agreement next year.

"I'm feeling optimistic that we should not have a work stoppage," he said. "There's a sense of goodwill on both sides (between the league and the National Basketball Players' Association). I think there's a cooperative spirit."

Silver also conceded that an intriguing idea from 2014 regarding a possible NBA midseason tournament hasn't gained much traction among owners; not surprisingly, if it means losing regular-season games.

"There wasn't as much enthusiasm for it as I thought there might be," Silver said. "The question was what would we therefore do to reduce the number of games, or is it just a function of shortening the regular season, and maybe people think that's a good idea but I think most of our teams didn't."

He added that D-League salaries may also climb substantially, with the NBA possibly instituting the sort of two-way contracts that exist between the minor leagues and the NHL in hockey. Current D-League salaries for players not on NBA contracts range from $13,000 to $25,000 annually, plus a per diem.

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