Michele Roberts has taken a hard-line against seemingly every idea that’s been publicly posited by Adam Silver, and as executive director of the union for the players, this has many concerned that the league may be headed for a work stoppage in advance of the 2017 season.
Silver, however, is not one of those people.
Speaking to reporters in Indianapolis on Monday, the NBA’s commissioner believes the possibility is too far off to begin worrying about just yet.
Silver praised front-office personnel (Larry Bird, Kevin Pritchard and Donnie Walsh) for the Pacers’ success since February, calling the team’s 13-3 record “just fantastic.” However, not once during Silver’s whirlwind tour — that also included a luncheon at the local rotary club — did the topic of a potential NBA work stoppage in 2017 arise in conversation.
“Believe it or not — I can’t speak for the union or anything — but it’s not something I’m talking to teams about yet,” Silver said. “I think it’s premature.” …
Roberts is on record as stating that the union plans to opt out of the current collective bargaining agreement as soon as it is able, which means another round of labor negotiations are in store. And the last time that happened, we had a lockout that cost us the first three months of the 2011-12 season.
The hard-line stance Roberts has taken on recent issues — like Silver’s salary cap smoothing proposal and the NBA’s age limit — is posturing at this point more than anything else. She needs buy-in from the players before going to battle at the negotiating table, and publicly sticking up for the issues they care about is one way to get it.
But we have no idea what will actually take place behind those bargaining session closed doors, or which issues Roberts will choose to prioritize when it’s truly time for the deal-making to begin. And Silver knows that better than anyone else.