Over the course of the past 37 years, Ozzie and Dan Silna collected approximately $300 million from the NBA and four of its teams thanks to an agreement the brothers forged as part of the 1976 ABA-NBA merger.
As owners of the Spirits of St. Louis, the Silnas agreed to give up their dream of bringing their team into the NBA in exchange for one-seventh of the television revenues of the four teams -- the Nuggets, Nets, Spurs and Pacers -- that joined the league.
An announcement was made Tuesday that the NBA and the teams have come to an agreement that will allow them to minimize future financial exposure with a new TV deal on the horizon. The four teams will invest in the Spirits' entity in exchange for an accelerated up-front payment.
The New York Times, which first reported the story, said the brothers will receive $500 million as part of the deal. The payment will not completely buy out the Silnas, but a source confirmed that the new terms provide for that possibility.
"My guess is that for the NBA, the upside is that in the foreseeable future there will come a time when they will not have to look at this," NBC broadcaster Bob Costas, who was the voice of the Spirits, told The Times.
The settlement results in the Silnas dropping a lawsuit they filed in federal district court against the league and the teams in hopes of collecting on new revenue streams, like NBA League Pass and foreign TV deals, which obviously were not envisioned in the original agreement.