Michele Roberts has big plans for the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA, what you call the players union) — she comes in with a desire to make the entire organization more professional, less Billy Hunter’s mom-and-pop store. Oh, and she might get to throw her two cents in on the Atlanta Hawks mess and the next steps for the new owner.
She just hasn’t got to do any of that yet.
She hasn’t started her new job yet but should around the end of this month, reports Sam Amick at the USA Today.
Meanwhile, Roberts hasn’t been able to start her new job yet because of obligations in her prior job and ongoing contract negotiations with union officials to formalize her deal. But the new challenge should finally be hers soon enough.
According to a memo written by NBPA Secretary Treasurer/Cleveland Cavaliers guard James Jones and obtained by USA TODAY Sports, Roberts is slated to officially begin at the end of the month.
Her contract, which will pay her $1.2 million annually over four years and could include an annual performance bonus of up to 50%, has already been approved by the NBPA’s Executive Committee but must still be approved by player representatives from teams.
By the way, she will make considerably less than the last director of the union, Billy Hunter, who was closer to $3 million.
Roberts may barely get to try out the new chair in her office right as her phone starts ringing off the hook about the Atlanta situation, but that and making the union more professional is not where she will ultimately be judged.
The real test will be the 2017 lockout/CBA negotiations (oh, you can bet on a lockout, the only question is will it cost games). During the last CBA the owners cried poverty and how teams could not make money with the old economic system, the players gave back a big share of revenue (the players went from getting 57 percent of the league’s gross basketball revenue to 51 percent, or 50 in some years). The owners can’t cry poverty and the system now (well, some will try). The players will never get those percentage points back, but they will have other demands now, especially with the new television deal and the escalation of franchise values in the wake of the Clippers sale.
But all that is three years away. For now, let her get her family picture up in the new office and deal with the Hawks mess.