Millsap could become Jazz's loan ranger

Published July 13, 2009 10:19 pm
Credit line » Team may take on debt to match Blazers' offer.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2009, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Brother, can you spare $10.3 million?

While Utah Jazz CEO Greg Miller, president Randy Rigby and vice president of basketball operations Kevin O'Connor haven't hit the streets and started panhandling in search of the quick cash they need to keep Paul Millsap, the team's decision-makers have been exploring urgent ways to raise money.

The solution, apparently, could come in the form of a bank loan.

The Jazz have until the end of the week to match the four-year, $32 million offer sheet that Millsap signed with the Portland Trail Blazers and keep with young power forward in Utah.

The total amount of the offer did not blindside the Jazz, team officials have said. But the tricky part about matching it -- as least from the perspective of a small-market team like the Jazz -- is that Millsap must receive $10.3 million within one week.

Portland's offer mandates an immediate payout of a $5.6 million signing bonus -- the most allowed under NBA collective bargaining agreement rules -- and $4.7 million of his first-year salary.

That's a total of $10.3 million.


Right now.

For an owner like Portland's Paul Allen, coming up with that kind of money in a hurry isn't a problem.

Allen is the co-founder of Microsoft who also owns the NFL's Seattle Seahawks and Major League Soccer's Seattle Sounders.

In 2007, Forbes magazine estimated Allen's net worth at $18 billion, making him the 19th wealthiest person in the world.

Although the global economic crisis has hurt Allen -- Forbes estimates he is currently worth a mere $10.5 billion -- he still has enough resources to effortlessly hand Millsap a $10.3 million check.

For Miller, Rigby, O'Connor and the Jazz, such a one-time payout won't be as easy to digest.

So, how do the Jazz come up with $10.3 million in cash, assuming they want to keep Millsap under contract?

Like John Q. Fan and most other NBA teams, the Jazz do not have the money sitting in a desk drawer at Miller's Jordan Commons office or tucked away in a savings account, waiting for the proverbial rainy day.

Instead, Rigby said, the team can easily afford to take out of a short-term bank loan to cover the immediate cost of matching the Blazers' front-loaded offer sheet.

"With companies like the Miller Group, there are cash flow changes all the time," Rigby said. "A lot of our businesses are seasonal -- automotive and entertainment and so forth -- so this isn't anything new.

"For that reason, we have developed strong banking relationships. We have always had a very good line of credit and have been able to count on it when necessary, which is a credit to the Miller family."

For perspective on the size of the loan, consider what $10.3 million will purchase these days:

» 465 Toyota Camry SEs, at the manufacturer's suggested retail price for 2010 models;

» 16,416 round-trip airline tickets on Delta between Salt Lake International and JFK, as of Monday afternoon;

» 20,437 season tickets to the Triple-A Salt Lake Bees;

» 412,000 rounds of golf on public courses in Salt Lake County;

» 6.8 million games of bowling at Karen Pullman's, per a special rate for July, as advertised in The Salt Lake Tribune .

No problem.

According to Rigby, local banks consider loans to the Jazz a good investment, with little risk.

"They are comfortable doing business with us," he said. "So we can handle something like this."

luhm@sltrib.com" Target="_BLANK">luhm@sltrib.com

Millsap's money

» Signs four-year, $32M offer sheet with Blazers.

» Due to get $10.3M within a week.

» Signing bonus is $5.6M, and first year's salary is $4.7M.

» Jazz consider bank loan to meet match Portland's offer.



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