Tag: Lockout


Kobe Bryant: “We are overpaid, at the same time so are the owners”


Kobe Bryant is a great interview at this point because he has reached the “I don’t give a s— what people think” phase of his career, which makes for some interesting copy.

Like on Tuesday when he was asked at practice about the new TV deal and how much money is coming into the system, and with that how it impacts the next CBA.

I can guarantee you Kobe Bryant speaks here for a lot of other players. Which is why we should be nervous about the coming 2017 lockout. (Thanks to Shahan Ahmed at my old stomping grounds of NBCLA for the story, and they have the video if you want to see it.)

“Business is business and I think people get that confused very easily, the understanding that players should take less than their market value, substantially less than their market value, so the team can win championships. It’s very easy to look at the elite players around the league and talk about the money they get paid, compare that with the average (salary in America), but we don’t look at what the owners get paid, the revenue they generate off the backs of these players. And now you have a TV deal that comes out and you look at it being up like a billion dollars (a year) from the previous one, and this is coming off the back of a lockout in which the cap, it’s not a hard cap, but it’s pretty close to a hard cap.

“And now it will be interesting to see what happens in this next labor agreement. It’s my understanding this TV deal kicks in the last year of this current agreement, so I’m sure they will try to lock us out again and harden the cap even more and I think as players you got to hold your ground a little bit. Not be afraid of what the public perception is and instead try to educate the public a little bit and understanding that it’s not about complaining about how much you’re making, because that’s ridiculous — we are overpaid, at the same time so are the owners. And you have to fight for your value.

From the players’ perspective they gave the owners a lot in the 2011 lockout, at least six percentage points of the league’s revenue annually (basketball related income, the players used to get 57 percent, this last season it was 51 percent).  Then they see the Clippers sell for $2 billion (money the players do not see), and they see that new massive television deal (they do get half of that money) and they say “we’ve given plenty, it’s time for the owners to bleed a little.”

You would like to think that all that money on the table will be too much for either side to walk away from, that cooler heads will prevail in 2017. But more money often leads to more greed. Some owners are ready to still push for a hard cap and some players are ready to be out to get more concessions (they know the percentage points are gone, or at least they should know that). If the hardliners on either side control the agenda (and I think that’s more likely on the ownership side), this could get ugly.

As for Kobe talking about his oft-criticized two-year, $48 million contract, of course he’s good with it.

“I’m the luckiest basketball player in the league because I got an organization that takes care of its players.”

Hunter: Jeremy Lin could wind up on NBPA executive committee

Sacramento Kings v New York Knicks

Jeremy Lin has been at the forefront of the positive things to help lead the NBA out of lockout hell. And it turns out, he could be at the forefront of what winds up leading us back into it in six to ten years. Billy Hunter recently told Bloomberg that Lin is likely to wind up as the player’s representative to the NBPA and could get a spot on the executive committee. From Bloomberg:

Jeremy Lin probably will be the next player representative for the New York Knicks and might win a spot on the union’s executive committee, the head of the National Basketball Association players union said.

Billy Hunter said Lin, the second-year point guard with an economics degree from Harvard University who has led the Knicks on a seven-game winning streak and sparked what’s become dubbed “Linsanity,” expressed an interest to be more involved in the National Basketball Players Association.“

At the least he’d be the player representative for the Knicks,” Hunter said in a telephone interview. “If not something higher.”

via Knicks’ Lin May Utilize Harvard More Than Hoops as NBA Union Rep – Bloomberg.

See, because he’s wicked smaht.

I’m torn on this one, because at one level, Lin shouldn’t have to be treated any differently from any other NBA player just because he happens to have a higher IQ or series of test scores than the average player, nor should his expectations for being some sort of genius exist just because he went to Harvard. Lots of people went to Harvard. (I did not go to Harvard. They would not let me go to Harvard.)

But on the other, Lin’s sudden explosion is affording him opportunities, and let’s face it, the more brains the NBPA can get on the exec committee the better. Which isn’t to say the committee isn’t comprised of smart individuals, “How U” to the contrary. But they did run out of options and inventive solutions during the beatdown throughout the lockout (though, all things considered, they came out pretty well. This is complicated. And giving me flashbacks. I hate you, lockout.)

It’s another opportunity Lin is playing his way into. Which is nice for him, really.

Report: Age limit under review, but could stay the same for 2012

2011 NBA Draft

Among the so-called “B-List Issues” being worked on before a formal vote will be held, the age limit consideration could be the one that impacts the NBA the most and certainly draws the most fan interest. And Yahoo! Sports reports that it’s such a big issue, it may not get resolved right away.

The NBA and Players Association are discussing the formation of a committee to study the age minimum for the league’s draft with the possibility that no immediate changes to the “one-and-done” rule will come in the finalization of the new collective bargaining agreement, a league official told Yahoo! Sports.

“Only the agreement to have the committee may be part of the new CBA,” the source said. “I doubt it will have any affect on e 2012 draft.”

via Committee could study NBA draft rule – NBA – Yahoo! Sports.

That’s good news for players like Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Quincy Miller, and other freshmen in a loaded class looking to make the jump. It’s also a more fair approach since players may have made their choice on college based on the one-year system (cough* Kentucky* cough). But what’s getting lost in all this is an item towards the end of Woj’s piece which outlines what the real system will likely be. Instead of just a straight “two-and-through” system wherein players must wait two years, it’ll likely be an “18-or-2” system. Under that system, players could jump at 18 to the draft, but if they are undrafted, they can return to college eligibility. From there, they’d have to wait two years. That’s a much better system overall, allowing players who are ready to make the jump immediately (see: Rose, Derrick) while making sure players that aren’t get two full years of seasoning. Imagine how much better Hasheem Thabeet’s career, or at least draft positioning would have been for him under that system.

But that will have to get worked out later. The best news about the committee is that it means this won’t hold up ratifying the new CBA this week. It’s another potential pitfall to the deal that could save the system avoided. Rationality and common sense! Where has this been for six months?

Players might vote for deal, season, if given vote, which they won’t be

NBPA Representatives Meet To Discuss NBA Lockout

ESPN’s Shaun Powell reports on Twitter:

Source told me if full membership votes on the owner’s deal, NBA would open for business by Wednesday.Sat Nov 12 17:11:26 via web

This is much akin to “Unicorns may cure cancer, if they exist.” The primary problem is that unicorns don’t exist. Similarly, the rank-and-file NBA players that would vote for such a deal don’t have a voice. Those that don’t want to accept any concessions have a voice, that of the agents and the players those agents rep. Those that don’t want this deal but want to keep talking have a voice, the NBPA leadership. But there isn’t anyone to speak up for those players, no powerful voice, no strong element of leadership to say “Look, before we go all half-cocked and start chasing a victory on the wings of the decertification hippogriff, maybe we should vote on the measure to see how close we really are to it.” That player would look weak, would look like a scab, would look to be sniffing at the owners’ boots, despite the fact no one on the players’ side wants this deal, it benefits no one, and a vote simply gauges where they’re at.

So instead, we’ll just have rabble rousing and decertification and a hefty “unified” no on Monday, an opt for the courts and the loss of the 2011-2012 season. Unless someone powerful steps up to say this deal needs to get done it won’t be. The silent majority has no power if it remains silent.

Bluffing or not, David Stern gets his deadline

NBA And Player's Association Meet To Negotiate CBA

For all of the emphasis on David Stern’s recent ultimatum to the members of the National Basketball Players Association, this is hardly the first time he’s issued a deadline threat against the union. The lockout has been laced with cancellation dates, each with the accompanying acknowledgement from Stern that the league’s offers would reflect the damage of games lost. That doesn’t seem to have been the case thus far, as the league’s stance has remained more or less the same. If anything, the offers have become more favorable for the players in recent weeks.

With all of that in mind, it’s natural to wonder if — as Henry Abbott discussed earlier this week on TrueHoop — Stern and the owners will actually follow through with their most recent threat: a reset to a 47-53 proposal that the union would likely never agree to. Stern’s threat record speaks pretty clearly, but there’s always the chance that this is where Stern and the owners legitimately draw the line. There’s a chance that for whatever reason, they’ve picked today, an otherwise nondescript November 9th, as the day when the fate of the basketball universe will be decided.

For all of the rhetoric about the union “calling Stern’s bluff,” this ultimatum has created a sense of urgency. The players may not have accepted the deal the NBA put on the table, but they’re still granting the ultimatum its gravity by rushing to scrap together a last-ditch attempt to negotiate out some system-related kinks.

Late Sunday night, Howard Beck of the New York Times wrote:

The union regards the deadline as artificial and believes the N.B.A. will return to the table.

If the players truly believe that, their actions betray their belief. The NBPA has responded to the NBA’s arbitrary deadline by formally meeting with the entire body of player representatives to discuss their options, and by returning to the table to discuss the league’s latest offer in an attempt to get the owners to move from their positions on a few holdout issues. The players have done a terrific job of flipping the lockout narrative in the process, but they’ve also made the deadline anything but artificial. Stern aimed to make today a critical point in the negotiations when he made his ultimatum, and it has become just that. At this point, no one can say how this otherwise nondescript November 9th will actually turn out, but a threat — legitimate or not — has pushed both parties back into the negotiating room to stave off an “artificial” deadline. Here’s hoping that we’ll never learn the substance of that now infamous ultimatum.