NBPA ENGAGING IN "WAR OF WORDS"
The memo sent by the NBPA to its members on Wednesday "seeks
to convince players that decertifying the union would not, as
some agents contend, force the NBA to lift its lockout, but
instead would imperil the 1995-96 season," according to Thomas
Hill in this morning's N.Y. POST. An earlier quote from NBA
Deputy Commissioner Russ Granik was contained in the NBPA memo.
Granik, in the memo: "We understand you may have been told that
decertification of the [NBPA] will force the league to operate
under a system of rules that is even more favorable to players.
To the contrary, whether or not the Player's Association is
decertified, the NBA will not operate without a system that is
fair to both players and owners. Without such a system, there
will be no NBA season" (N.Y. POST, 7/14).
MEMORANDIS DISSIDENTIA: John Helyar of the WALL STREET
JOURNAL reports this morning that the "dissidents" also sent a
memo to the players this week, accusing "the union of being in
cahoots with management." From the memo, co-signed by Michael
Jordan, Patrick Ewing, and other plaintiffs in the anti-trust
suit: "Right now, the owners are locking us out, and our Union
is helping the owners defend and continue the lockout."
According to Helyar, this memo "recites a litany of complaints
about the union-negotiated deal, under such headlines as 'Real
Free Agency Would Be Destroyed' and 'The End of Large Signing
Bonuses.' It concludes with the assertion: 'At a time when the
NBA is the most profitable sport in the world, there is no reason
for multi-million dollar givebacks'" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 7/14).
DOLLARS AND SENSE: In its memo, the NBPA "said average per
team profits on operating revenue had dropped from $7.2 million
in 1992-93 to $4.3 million last season, based on audited
financial statements provided by the league." The memo also says
that "while league revenue was increasing at a annual rate of 8
percent, player compensation increased 20 percent." According to
Mark Asher, NBA Senior VP of Legal Affairs Jeffrey Mishkin "said
yesterday the league is projecting per-team profits of $2 million
on operating income for next season" (WASHINGTON POST, 7/14).
PLAYERS SPEAK OUT: In an interview with the ORLANDO
SENTINEL, Charles Barkley says, "greed" aside, the current
dispute "will get settled." Barkley: "Obviously, we're both
making great livings. The owners are greedy and the players are
somewhat greedy, but I understand it from both perspectives. ...
I think the owners know we have them over a barrel where they
have to sign us. I think if they do not pay us when the season
starts they will breach our contracts and make everybody
unrestricted free agents" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 7/14). The Sonics'
Gary Payton on the notion the new CBA would not allow players to
earn a "livable" wage: "People would have to cut their
lifestyle, and they'd live like penny pinchers. People have
mothers and fathers they want to spoil. We make a lot of money.
Don't take that away. We make a lot of money, that is true. But
I'm just saying that (owners) make more money. They make
billions of dollars. We're making money, but they don't see the
other side of the thing. We go out on the floor and make money
for them" (SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER, 7/14).