One of the theories on why the owners were going to get the best of the players in this round of NBA labor negotiations was the old “millionaires vs. billionaires” premise. Basically, the owners have more money, the players make a lot of money but spend a lot of money. Once the players missed a paycheck, they’d cave.
Except, they are about to get a paycheck.
It was money still owed NBA players from last season, but it is a payday, as Chris Sheridan explains at Sheridanhoops.com.
The money represents the 8 percent of each player’s salary that was withheld from their paychecks last season under the NBA’s escrow tax system, which was put in place to ensure that the players received no more than 57 percent of basketball related income in the 2010-11 season.
A total of $161 million in escrow funds were withheld last season, and the league office sent a stack of more than 350 checks to the Players Association last week to begin issuing the refunds, SheridanHoops has learned.
For Kobe Bryant, that is $1.9 million. But that is also a drop in the bucket for him. Where it matters more is guys like Knicks rookie Landry Fields — he made $473,604 last season. Which is good money, but when you take out taxes and factor in the cost of living in New York, he’s not living the crazy high life of some NBA players. The check he gets for $37,888 matters. That staves off some money crunch for him.
All of which is to say if this labor negotiation goes sideways and loses its apparent current momentum, both sides can hold out for a while. Which means only we fans lose.