Adam Silver will help push for a Collective Bargaining Agreement that substantially cuts, as a proportion of all revenue, player salaries.
He’ll publicly campaign for restricting players’ rights to work through an age limit.
But when it comes to sleeved jerseys, he’s on the side of the players.
Commissioner Adam Silver told Bleacher Report he intends to revisit the issue after the season. He plans to meet with LeBron James, one of the loudest critics of the jerseys. The NBA could decide to curtail the use of the sleeved jerseys, leave it up to individual teams or simply kill the program for good.
“Ultimately, if the players don’t like them, we’ll move on to something else,” Silver told Bleacher Report. “I don’t regret doing it for this season. But it’s intended to be something fun for the fans and the players. And if it becomes a serious issue, as to whether players should be wearing sleeves, we’ll likely move onto other things.”
“I’ve had conversations with LeBron about the jerseys, and we agreed that we would park the issue until the end of the season. And that once the season is over, he expressed an interest in sitting down with me and Sal LaRocca (the NBA’s president of merchandising) and discussing his point of view.”
Announcement: Pro Basketball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $60,000 Fantasy Basketball league for Monday’s games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $8,500. Starts at 7pm ET on Monday. Here’s the FanDuel link.
After Mark Cuban criticized the sleeved jerseys, Silver didn’t back down. Apparently, LeBron’s voice carries a little more weight (though someone from the league office already said the same thing Silver does here). Several other players have expressed their displeasure with sleeves, too.
Though eliminating sleeved jerseys could cause some complications – the NBA reportedly planned to expand their use, and adidas says reaction has been positive – it’s probably the best move. If players keep publicly trashing the sleeves, fans won’t want to buy them. If fans don’t buy them, there’s little point marketing them by having players wear them (though the league could also be going for hiding players’ tattoos and/or creating more room for ads).
Sleeved jerseys might have been a fine experiment in theory, but at some point, the NBA must either get players to buy in or admit it hasn’t worked.