Players far from optimistic heading into next meeting with owners
And that, for anyone holding out hope that the season might be started on time, counts as welcome news.
National Basketball Players Association vice president Maurice Evans revealed that and much more in a wide-ranging interview with SI.com on Wednesday evening. The veteran free agent had just landed in Chicago after meeting with approximately 10 players in New York, with both locations part of a six-city tour designed by the NBPA to educate and update their players on the status of the negotiations.
But Evans and his NBPA colleagues have spent much of the time discussing NBA Commissioner David Stern's
The owners' proposal, Evans made clear, will simply never be accepted even if its means losing "this season and more."
The last [players'] offer was [a giveback of] $630 million over a six-year period. That's over a $100 million a year and they told us that it was pathetic. ...If they think that's what this negotiation is about, then they're miscalculating. Again, even with the 57 percent of BRI -- when you total out the total revenue, we receive 50 percent [in the old system]. We allow them to deduct expenses and deduct things, so when they overpay coaches and fire them and then they have three coaches on payroll that, in effect, goes into BRI. We've never told them that they could take that out, even though it's one of the highest expenses.
We don't want anyone to take a loss, not even the owners. But they seem to be hellbent on contracting [teams] and, as David Stern said, have a huge reset [of the entire system]. If we're going to reset ... then they're going to have to reset the entire league. And even they're going to have to take a reset. We're unified with the agents. We're getting them back on track, getting the players back on track, so now we just need to get the owners back on track.
To say that it's the players' salaries [causing the problem] -- it's not our salaries. Our salaries are the main constant. If [owners] take back another $160 million, keep our salaries at $2 billion, then you're not even guaranteeing the $2 billion. And then secondly, that $2 billion, if you're keeping that for 10 years, you've got to account for the growth that takes place each year. The NBA grew by between 3 and 6 percent every year, and we didn't even take [into account] the full growth. If you take the full growth, it's over 40 percent [in salary reductions they're being asked to accept] and it's over $7.6 billion total. For 10 years, that's not even a reality to think that we would accept a deal of that notion.
We don't share in that growth [of the owners' proposal] until that eighth year. And that's when the national TV deal has already come into effect by then, the Lakers' 20-year, $3 billion TV deal -- and that's minimum numbers -- we don't share in that. ...The league is healthy. There's nothing that says that the league is unhealthy.