We tried to explain this to you yesterday — and judging from the comments a lot of you don’t like our explanation — but it remains true:
The NBA players are rejecting offers from the owners because they don’t see them as fair. From their view it’s not about how much money they will or will not make, it’s about fairness, that they are being asked to give a lot and the owners have given nearly nothing. And as long as that stays the core issue, the union will not crack.
Players’ union vice President Mo Evans backed up our point talking to the Washington Post. Look at how he phrases the answer about potential missed paychecks.
“That’s where the owners are miscalculating the players, because we have prepared for this fight. That’s what it is, it’s a fight,” Evans said. “We’re not emboldened in our position due to ego or emotion. We’re making decisions off of fairness and we are trying to negotiate in all fairness. Again, we’ve made concessions, but capitulating is a totally different story and that’s something the players will not do….
“The obstacle is that both are contingent on one another — the economics mean absolutely nothing if the wrong system is in place,” Evans said. “We’re trying to negotiate fairly, in good faith, to put forth a system that will allow the players to grow with the owners and be fairly compensated as the game grows. . . . And to also allow players to accept and be held responsible for some of the risks associated with the game potentially not growing. But we don’t believe this game will not grow.”
Part of this comes back to the luxury tax the owners want — something to stifle the spending of big markets and create “competitive balance.” What the league wants are more close games because they think that is good for television ratings (I’m not sure that a close game makes a February matchup between Minnesota and Sacramento any more watchable, but that’s what the league wants). They want the smaller markets to feel they can win (they can already, see San Antonio).
But the fact remains that this is a negotiation — unless both sides feel they got a win, they will not reach a deal. And to get a deal done both sides will have to give up a little more.
Bringing in a federal mediator can help, but unless both sides really want to cut a deal that will not change anything. And the union doesn’t seem ready to give any more.
Mo Evans, one of the many vice presidents of the National Basketball Players Association (the players union), has been preaching the sermon about how NBA players can make money overseas. How the players have options.
But in the end, Evans isn’t going anywhere. We have this tweet from Alex Kennedy of Hoopsworld.
Mo Evans won’t be joining Valencia Basket, according to sources. He received an offer from the Spanish team, but turned it down.
I wouldn’t read a whole lot into that. Evans will turn 33 next season, has made more than $13 million in his career and is a lot more settled than some players looking overseas. For each player, the decision whether or not to go overseas is a personal one.
If the lockout turns ugly again — right now both sides are playing nice and are in radio silence — you can bet you will hear from Evans again. But for now he is staying put.
You have to love how both sides are making the lockout into some sort of battle of good and evil. Every time you turn around there’s some sort of hyper-dramatic talk about the other side, like they just started discussing euthanasia for puppies or how to steal from children. And today we’ve got an extra nice one from Mo Evans, a players’ rep for the union. From Hoopsworld.com:
“If we were to agree to their deal, it would be the worst collective bargaining agreement in sports history,” Evans told HOOPSWORLD. “We would be a laughing stock. What they proposed to us says nothing about a partnership. We want nothing more than to grow the game and reward these great fans that have shown support for us and the NBA, but their proposal doesn’t reflect that partnership at all. They proposed rollbacks, salary freezes and things that don’t promote any player growth or security. It was such a terrible system.”
via NBA Saturday: Players Won’t Back Down – Basketball News & NBA Rumors –.
Just so we’re clear on this: players will still be paid millions of dollars to play the game of basketball. I’m not trying to oversimplify this. I understand that this is about market value and their strength as the driving source of the league’s income. I am aware of the years, the literal years they spend devoted to getting themselves in a position to play at this level and to remain there. I’m aware of the pain of recovering from injury, the exhaustion, the intensity, the physical toll. I recognize that they are paid what they are worth in our society, and I don’t dispute the price being fair. But let’s not act like the owners are sending them to a coal mine. In the absolute worst case scenario, the average player only makes a couple million dollars.
The owners are taking an unnecessarily hard line. The owners are fabricating stories of how player salaries are the driving force behind losses when they’re actually not. The owners are sinking their own ship to justify building a new one. The owners are not “right” in this argument. But it’s just a business agreement between two extremely well-compensated sides. If the owners win, there’s no big change to the world, nor if the players stay strong. But depriving the fans of the game they love? That affects actual people in a meaningful way. But you won’t hear much of that during this process. Both sides are too busy painting the other as a force of darkness.