This is Part V in a series of posts discussing issues of the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement. Part I of this series discussed why there will be a lockout and Part II looked at the possibility of contracting teams. Part III was on age limits and Part IV on the D-League.
If there is one thing NBA Commissioner David Stern has been tasked with doing in the current Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) negotiations, it is cut costs. Despite record high revenues, many teams in the league claim an inability to continue with the current system. Stern claims that the Association needs to reduce player salaries by 1/3rd for the league to become profitable.
The nuclear solution being tossed out by the owners is simple: a hard salary cap similar to what the NFL employs.
For many reasons, the Players Union will fight to the death (also known as, “decertification”) to prevent this from happening. Under the system that is now in place, the NBA has a salary cap framework that really is easy to circumvent for teams that desire to spend more. To illustrate that point, all but six teams (including the Thunder who are exactly at the threshold) currently surpass the imposed salary cap limit. Putting it into solid numbers, the NBA teams are collectively paying members of the union $287.4 million more than would be allowed if the cap were restrictive. Make that salary cap a valid barrier, instead of a line in the sand, and the league is about half way to cutting the costs they desire.
With the Union’s role being to increase their member’s share of the pot, one can understand why this is unacceptable to them. Their first, and strongest, argument is simply that it is not the NBPA’s objective or best interest to save the owners from themselves. While Stern and his staff toss out figures showing financial data rigged to look like massive losses, the players simply have to say they do not care. If owners are truly offering contracts that they cannot afford, it should not be the players to say, “You’re paying us too much,” it should be team management making that call and reacting appropriately. Keep Reading…