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THE JERSEY SOLUTION; PLAYERS REACT TO NBA LOCKOUT
Published September 17, 1998
"Both parties are at fault," according to Dave D'Alessandro of the Newark STAR-LEDGER, who offers his "solution" to the NBA's labor woes. D'Alessandro writes that the players' "main problem is that they are mesmerized by the misguided notion that fiscal stupidity should be the basis of fair market value." The owners, meanwhile, say that the players earned 58% of all basketball-related income (BRI) last year, but "what they don't tell you is that the BRI includes only" 40% of luxury-box income, 40% of signage, none of the revenue from NBA theme stores "that exploit the players' names, and none of the naming-rights revenue on arenas." D'Alessandro: "The only logical solution is to keep the present system but find a way to restrict annual increases." D'Alessandro suggests a "graduated raise system," in which "the annual increases in the standard contract is contingent on the base salary," and "profit sharing" of revenue sources such as gate and signage. He also suggests a new rookie scale whereby picks 1-10 are "bound" to five-year contracts, picks 11-20 for four years, 21-29 for three years, with all becoming unrestricted free agents when their contracts expire. D'Alessandro, noting that the NBA's last proposal to the union included a minimum salary of $350,000, with an extra $50,000 per season after five years of service: "The union should take the money and run, but not before asking for the $50,000 raises to kick in after two years" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 9/17). PLAYERS FRUSTRATED, BUT UNITED: Sonics player rep Vin Baker: "This is definitely discouraging. We can come to an agreement to make this thing work. There has to be a happy medium. ... If we lock out for a long time, and if Michael Jordan retires, those are significant things that could really put us a big step back" (Portland OREGONIAN, 9/15). Raptors rep Dee Brown: "We might have a shortened training camp, a few pre-season games, but I'm optimistic we won't miss any regular-season games" (TORONTO SUN, 9/16). Pacers F Chris Mullin: "From what I've heard, it doesn't look like training camp will start on time. After that, who knows?" Pacers G Fred Hoiberg: "We just have to stay positive and stay together. If the guaranteed players do get paid, there can't be any jealousy" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR-NEWS, 9/16). Rockets C Hakeem Olajuwon: "It's sad. Both sides know there's so much at stake" (AP/S.A. EXPRESS-NEWS, 9/16). Grizzlies F Shareef Abdur-Rahim: "This is something you think would happen more to truck drivers or pilots. In professional sports, you wouldn't think this would be going on. ... As players, we have to put up the best deal, but hopefully we can do a deal where both sides are comfortable" (Vancouver PROVINCE, 9/15). Warriors rookie Antawn Jamison, on coming out of college early: "Honestly, I don't regret (my decision) at all. ... I definitely didn't think it would last this long and be this serious. I thought everything would be fixed by now. At most, I thought we'd miss a couple of days of training camp. But I didn't know it would be this much of a headache" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 9/17). MOVING CAMP: In Toronto, Frank Zicarelli reports that NBA teams "have been put on official notice to seek alternative training camp sites" (TORONTO SUN, 9/17).