NBA lockout looms for the summer
Billy Hunter, the NBA players’ association (NBAPA) executive director stated on Nov. 22nd that he’s about 99 per cent positive that there’ll be a lockout in the league next summer. He said he’s preparing for it and has told players to start saving their money because the negotiations on a new collective bargaining agreement aren’t going anywhere and the current agreement runs out in the summer.
The NBPA and league met last week, but nothing was accomplished and they’re planning on meeting again in December. But team owners are attempting to reduce contract lengths, salaries, the rookie pay scale and annual raises to players and Hunter said the players are fighting the changes.
The league and players’ association have been try to work out a deal for over a year now, but both Hunter and NBA commissioner David Stern said there hasn’t been any progress in negotiations. The league is trying to cut between $700 and $800 million from player salaries and wants a stricter salary cap put in place.
However, Hunter and the players believe there’s nothing wrong with the present system because the owners are earning record amounts of money from ticket sales and television ratings are very strong. The association also said total salaries have fallen for three years in a row while revenues are increasing.
Roger Mason Jr., a New York Knicks guard who’s on the players’ executive committee said the players are willing to do anything that makes the game better, but they don’t think the new propositions are fair to them.
Hunter said the association gave the league a proposal back in July, but the league hasn’t responded to it. He didn’t say what the proposal consisted of but said the union may be willing to negotiate their 57 per cent guarantee of revenues, which is a major issue in negotiations. However, Hunter said the owners are looking for a deal that would guarantee them a profit of at least $10 million a year each.
Hunter said the players won’t strike, so the only alternative looks like a lockout by the league once the current agreement expires. If there is a work stoppage it’ll be the first one in the NBA since 1998. Hunter said the owners are being unreasonable and he’s hoping everything can be resolved by the time the All-star game ends in February.