NBA Lockout Watch, Day 137: Players Speak Out Against Current Offer From Owners
Several NBA players this weekend spoke out against the CBA offer currently on the table from the owner. Thunder C and NBPA Exec Committee member Nazr Mohammed on Twitter wrote, "This deal is so bad that it amazes me that the league would bring this to the table after all the concessions we have already made" (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 11/13). Thunder F Kevin Durant said of the proposal, "I know it's not a good one. It's not the one that we want" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 11/12). Cavaliers F Omri Casspi on Twitter said of decertification, "I know that it won't be good for the nba that the court will make them open the books and we all find out that there's big difference." He also wrote, "It's sounds like we are the bad guys here after we agreed to 50/50 which means 2.8 billion dollars to the owners in the course of 10 years" (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 11/12). Pacers F and player rep Danny Granger said, "I would expect that proposal to be rejected after all the players learn more about the deal. The next step I don't know" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 11/12). Grizzlies G and player rep Mike Conley: "We care about getting this thing right and being able to have a good agreement going forward. I do believe the players are ready (to miss the season). We've known this was coming. We knew we were going to miss games. You just hope enough guys prepared for it. We've had great guys leading the way and giving us direction" (Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 11/14). T'Wolves F and player rep Anthony Tolliver: "The NBA has played the P.R. side of this great. I'm on Twitter and I got 10, 15 tweets since yesterday asking me to take the deal." Tolliver said of decertification, "I'm on the fence. I still think we have time to get a deal done. The only thing that would make me swing the other way is the fact that the owners are being unreasonable" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 11/14). Bobcats G and player rep Matt Carroll: "If this deal gets rejected by the players, I think there's a strong possibility we'll decertify. If we go that way, we have to do it quickly to have a chance to have a season" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 11/14). Mavericks G and player rep Jason Terry: "We are trying to grow the game of basketball, and under the terms that have been presented to us, the game of basketball for us from a players' perspective financially will not be growing" (L.A. TIMES, 11/12).
IS IT REALLY ALL THAT BAD? In N.Y., Howard Beck wrote although some agents and players believe the league's offer is worse than the last, a "review of the NBA’s previous proposal and the revised offer does not support the claim." In many areas, the league "improved its offer, albeit modestly." But Beck noted, "By any measure, the proposed deal would be a major win for the owners." The players are being "asked to take a $280 million pay cut, with shorter contracts, lower raises and tighter restrictions on the top-spending teams." But league officials "insist that the deal is not nearly as bad as the rumor mill suggests" (N.Y. TIMES, 11/13). Beck today analyzes the current offer, noting "contracts would be shorter" and players "would become free agents sooner." Beck added, "Making trades would be simpler. The gap between rich and poor teams might be smaller. There might be fewer superteams and more parity, too. ... The goal -- aside from slashing player salaries -- is a more vibrant league with more player movement" (N.Y. TIMES, 11/14). USA TODAY's Jeff Zillgitt notes the current offer "addresses the league's financial issues and, in the owners' view, gets them closer to competitive balance." Asked if "B-list issues" would prevent a deal, Stern said, "I don't think either side will blow up the season over B-list issues" (USA TODAY, 11/14).
A TALE OF TWO MARKETS: In N.Y., Mitch Lawrence wrote if players accept the "owner-friendly deal," then the "next CBA won't have any new safeguards for the little guy." If a "big-market team makes cap room to get the next Kobe Bryant, who happens to be stuck playing in small-market oblivion and yearns for the bright lights of a major city, there's nothing the small-market team can do if he decides to leave." Lawrence wrote, "For all the talk about hard-line, small-market owners putting it to the players on this issue, it turned out that it was over the money split, not about protecting themselves from losing their No. 1 asset and seeing the value of their franchise bottom out" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 11/13). In Akron, Jason Lloyd writes the players "have evolved into the Washington Generals," and have been "blown out at the negotiating table by the Globetrotting owners." The owners "are the clear winners in this," and the "truth is, the owners never really negotiated at all." The owners who "weren't part of the old collective-bargaining agreement were determined to wrestle back control of their league -- much to the anger of players" (AKRON BEACON JOURNAL, 11/14). In Ft. Lauderdale, Ira Winderman wrote when the "smoke clears, it is going to become evident that the schism between big- and small-market ownership is as severe as at any point for the league" (SUN-SENTINEL.com 11/13). In San Antonio, Buck Harvey wrote Spurs Owner and NBA Labor Relations Committee Chair Peter Holt has "been a facilitator, trying to keep his peers in line" during the negotiations. He is "doing what Jerry Colangelo once did for Stern, and Stern likely chose Holt because he wanted the perception Holt provided." Harvey: "Stern needed such a partner. Whereas he once was a one-man consensus, Stern now faces more than a dozen new owners, many of whom have wanted an even more radical economic model" (MYSANANTONIO.com, 11/12).
WORTH NOTING: In Orlando, Josh Robbins reports Magic C Dwight Howard "lured about 8,000 basketball-starved fans into UCF Arena for a glorified exhibition and made them cheer pro hoops again." Yesterday "might be remembered for the way the crowd responded at a difficult time for the NBA." Robbins notes the crowd "booed only once all night: as Howard was on the public-address system introducing controversial boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr., who was a celebrity coach" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 11/14). The AP's Kyle Hightower notes Howard "deflected all questions about the current NBA labor dispute." Fans "paid between $25 and $100 for their tickets," and all proceeds "benefited Howard's charitable D12 Foundation" (AP, 11/13).
THOMAS DISPUTES REPORT: Florida Int'l Univ. men's basketball coach Isiah Thomas Friday disputed "a claim he has designs to become executive director" of the NBPA (N.Y. POST, 11/13).