How Much Financial Pressure Are NBA Players Dealing With?

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The NBA is set to return but not without concerns. Safety and whether the league might take away from the Black Lives Matter movement are both topics that have come up and so have the financial implications.

Sports Illustrated host Robin Lundberg talked with SI's Rohan Nadkarni about the financial pressure players are facing to return and whether that is fair for a league that has such a progressive reputation.

Read below for full video transcript:

Robin Lundberg: The NBA is set to return, but not without its concerns. Maybe the biggest being of the financial variety. For more, I'm joined by our Rohan Nadkarni. Now, Rohan, obviously you know that there's a lot to deal with here. The Black Lives Matter movement, the coronavirus, but also players have to reckon with the finances.

Rohan Nadkarni: For sure, I think a really interesting thread is starting to emerge here. And that the players basically, if they don't come back, you know, we've seen now there's some kind of we don't know how many players it is, what percentage of the union it is. There is some pushback to the idea of playing. If players don't come back, the assumption is that the owners will tear up the CBA and kind of hammer the union in the next round of negotiations. And I think the players right now are kind of in a catch-22 where, you know, if they don't play, then no one makes money. But if they do play, they have to deal with all these other concerns they have right now. And it's putting them in in a very difficult situation.

Robin Lundberg: So, you know, how does something like that get resolved? Because there is the reality of it, right? I mean, it is a difficult situation, but it's a difficult situation because if the season were to be canceled, the loss of money would be huge, and it would affect that negotiation

Rohan Nadkarni: I mean, my assumption is that they're going to have to play no matter what. There's just too much financial motivation on both sides. I mean, one way it gets resolved is if the owners and the league kind of agree to negotiate in good faith. But instead, what we're hearing is they're gonna tear up the CBA. They're gonna ask for a bigger percentage of basketball related income in the next round of negotiations. And I think that's part of the problem right now is, you know, for all the trust that there is on both sides, if the assumption is the owners are going to use this situation to take more money from the players if they don't want to come back, what does that really say about their partnership?

Robin Lundberg: But, to counter that, if they are giving an option whether to go or not, is that not fair?

Rohan Nadkarni: It's definitely better. I do agree that, you know, it's better. But to me, I think it's a little bit less about maybe the option right now and more what are the kind of concrete things the league are gonna do to, you know, ensure a player's health during this bubble? I mean, there's all kinds of liability questions that haven't been answered yet. And beyond that, I think something that, you know, it's impossible not to notice as much as we've seen players kind of show up at these protests, show up to talk about, you know, social injustice and police brutality. We haven't really seen the league talk about that or the owners talk about that. So I think the players are right to be concerned about what coming back would do to that movement.