THE JERSEY SOLUTION; PLAYERS REACT TO NBA LOCKOUT
"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).