Blake Griffin on this week’s cover; first Clippers cover in more than 11 years

Clippers forward Blake Griffin graces the cover of the Dec. 5, 2011, issue of Sports Illustrated, on newsstands now. It is the fifth time that Griffin has made the cover and his first as an NBA player. For the Clippers, it is their first cover since Darius Miles appeared on the Oct. 31, 2000, issue.

The NBA and its players spent five months flirting with basketball apocalypse. Was it worth it? Speaking with senior writer Lee Jenkins (@SI_LeeJenkins), commissioner David Stern assessed the new labor agreement: “It’s nothing anybody can see when they get back on the court, but we will be a better league over time. The league will be stronger and our fans will like us better if they feel the competition is better.”

The specifics of the new CBA include the following (page 44):

  • Boost to small-market franchises: League executives who have spoken to SI say that a new revenue-sharing plan will create three-to-four times greater cash flow, giving small-market owners more money to spend.
  • Rules forcing owners to spend: All owners will be ordered to spend at least 85% of cap space, preventing them from hoarding their new bounty.
  • Increased luxury taxes: The luxury tax will be raised in two years by 50%, with escalators kicking in for teams more than $5 million over the cap and further penalties for repeat offenders. Executives project that some clubs will still absorb the tax but not as many as before.

Sports Illustrated’s post-NBA-lockout coverage includes a breakdown of the biggest names in the free-agency market and team scouting reports—revealing each club’s strengths and needs heading into the season and where they’ll end up.


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