Along with the Los Angeles Lakers, the Brooklyn Nets were the NBA’s most disappointing team this season. Now it appears that their failure is hitting the Nets where it really hurts — in the wallet.
Brian Lewis and Josh Kosman of the New York Post reported Saturday that the Nets and their home arena Barclays Center lost between $50 million and $100 million combined during the 2021-22 season. That gives owner Joe Tsai perhaps one of the biggest financial losses in the NBA, the report adds.
Lewis and Kosman also say that the Nets ranked fourth in the league this year in gate receipts (a ticket sales metric) with an average of $2.1 million. But with a $174 million payroll, the Nets would have had to average roughly double that just to break even. On a related note, Brooklyn is also a luxury tax team, thanks in part to the max salaries for Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. That will saddle Tsai with a colossal $100 million tax bill.
The New York Post report contains other details about the factors that led to the Nets losing money this year, including Tsai’s decision to force out John Abbamondi, CEO of the team’s parent company. You can read the report in full here.
From a pure basketball standpoint, Brooklyn’s ticket sales were presumably affected by the significant turnover in their everyday lineup. Irving missed over half the season, most of them home games, due to being unvaccinated. Meanwhile, Durant missed 27 games because of injury, James Harden was a malcontent, and the guy that they got for trading Harden, Ben Simmons, was somehow even worse.
The end result was the Nets going just 44-38, needing to survive the play-in tournament to make the playoffs, and getting only two official home playoff games thanks to getting swept in the first round by the Boston Celtics. With Irving, Durant, and Simmons alone owed a combined $116.5 million next season and other problems looming as well, it may not get any easier in Brooklyn from here either.