I was wrong about Leiweke's endorsement comment (bonus: more Leiweke love)

Helene Elliott revealed more of yesterday's great interview with Tim Leiweke. Yesterday, I wrote this:

A Leiweke comment that slipped through the cracks - Jewels From The Crown

When I read Helene Elliott's initial barrage of tweets on her Leiweke interview, one comment in particular jumped out at me [...] This was the tweet:

"Leiweke also said Doughty, as young, elite player in big market can make up the difference in endorsements easily."

This is an important comment, I think. Because, if you think about it, it makes absolutely no sense at all unless Doughty is contemplating accepting an offer from another team.

[UPDATE: (...) I'm not saying that I think there IS an offer and Doughty is contemplating accepting it; I'm saying I think that Camp Doughty may be soliciting -- i.e. trying to attract -- offers from other teams in order to force the Kings' hand. (...)]

That argument [...] only applies when comparing two different sports markets, i.e. two different cities and two different teams. The argument says, "sure, you might be able to get more money from Team X, but you won't get the rich endorsement deals you will get here in Los Angeles." This comment is telling Drew not to sign an offer sheet. Which tells me that they think it's possible.

However, in Helene's blog post today (last night?), it doesn't sound like that at all.

More from Tim Leiweke on stalemate with Drew Doughty - latimes.com

"Drew Doughty can step in here tomorrow and from an endorsement standpoint, being a cornerstone and a nucleus of this franchise long term, he can make more money on endorsements than we’re fighting over for whatever he’s asking for and whatever we’ve offered. And the way you protect that is goodwill, being a guy that’s a team player.

"If he burns the bridges with everybody, then he loses that revenue. So what I’m mystified by is, his value to this marketplace is not just his salary, it’s what he’s going to earn being part of a team that has the potential of competing for the Stanley Cup every year now for long term. Instead of fighting over a little bit here and a little bit there, let us save that money to go after the final pieces. He’ll make more on endorsements than he ever would on what we’re fighting over. It makes no sense at all."

So, allow me to disagree with my previous self. Leiweke is not making a comparison between the LA market and some other market; he's making a comparison between the LA market for a good-but-not-great team, and the same LA market for a much more lucrative cup-winning dynastic team.

That doubles back to Leiweke's other point about the extra money that, if given to Doughty, would be coming out of the pockets of other Kings, whether those are future essential missing pieces, players acquired at the deadline, or through UFA signings, or extensions (etc.).

That's an interesting but not entirely persuasive point. The problem is, Doughty would have to sign before any of those other pieces could be added; he would be taking it on faith that the Kings are going to spend to the ceiling and become that cup-winning team that earns him even more in endorsements than he already earns. That's the "there's gold in them thar hills!" argument.

[...] "The other point I’ll make is we never asked Drew to take a hometown discount, ever," Leiweke said. "The money we’ve offered him is high end and, in fact, many people in the league look at us and think it’s too far. But we’ve offered what we’ve offered. We are comfortable with him being one of the four highest-paid defensemen in the NHL because I think that’s his potential.

"And we’re comfortable with him being equal to [Anze] Kopitar as the highest-paid player on the team at the age of 21. That’s how much we respect this kid. Drew, I love him. But Drew’s going to have to stand up here and take charge of this decision. And understand I’m 100% supportive of Drew Doughty. I think he’s a great kid and he is a good player and he’s going to be a great player."


"This is not for lack of effort on Dean’s part. Dean loves that kid and I think he’s frustrated that Drew doesn’t realize that. [...] We want Drew to come back. I want the animosity to disappear. I want our fans to take a deep breath here. Let us finish this off. It’s just a business decision. If we get Drew done in the next week we should welcome him back with open arms here." [...]

"Dean’s taken a lot of heat from other GMs. There are a lot of people in the league that look at this offer and go, 'What the heck are you guys thinking about here, making him the fourth-highest paid defenseman in the National Hockey League?’ That’s how much we love Drew. But hearing that maybe he thinks we’re disrespecting him with that offer, I back Dean 100%. Dean’s done not only the fair thing here but Dean has probably been aggressive because that’s how much we believe in this kid."