NBA Player’s Assoc. Vice President Maurice Evans – no longer smiling big
I remember when the NBA lockout was merely a twinkle in the eye of some forward-thinking UK fans who were praying that it would allow Calipari to hold on to his NBA-level players a bit longer and create an all-star team for the ages. Well, it turned out it did partially aid us keep one phenomenally talented player in Terrence Jones (possibly two if you count Doron Lamb, but he truly was not ready for the NBA regardless). While we didn’t keep the entire core of a Final Four team together with the looming lockout, we did get a benefit from it.
Now, the NBA lockout seems like more of a terribly sad thing for basketball fans. Yes, I know that in this era, people claim to ‘hate’ the NBA for reasons such as lack of defense (not really true), overblown personalities, overpaid guys, and lack of excitement until the playoffs – but sometimes these reasons are just silly. If you love basketball, then the NBA can be great entertainment because they are the best players in the world. I do enjoy the college basketball season more, and that may be because 1) I’m a UK fan and 2) March Madness is the best event in sports. But I also love basketball as a sport and, thus, enjoy the NBA.
And, at this point, it is nearly certain we will not get to witness a 2011-2012 NBA season.
Now to the news part of this post (thanks for indulging me above) – the certainly continues to grow. NBA Player’s Association Vice President Maurice Evans stated that the owner’s latest proposal is the worst in the history of sports. Here are some highlights of what Evans had to say:
“If we were to agree to their deal, it would be the worst collective bargaining agreement in sports history.”
“We would be a laughing stock. What they proposed to us says nothing about a partnership. We want nothing more than to grow the game and reward these great fans that have shown support for us and the NBA, but their proposal doesn’t reflect that partnership at all. They proposed rollbacks, salary freezes and things that don’t promote any player growth or security.”
“We’ve been ready and willing. We’ve made major concessions. We offered to give back over $500 million. At no point did I truly feel that the NBA owners consciously tried to make a deal. Every time we would try to address the competitive issue, they would jump to the profitability issue. Then, when we would address the profitability issue, they would jump to the system is broken issue. When we would address the system, they would go back to the competitive balance. It felt like we were a dog chasing its tail.”
“The owners have been led to believe that this is going to be better for them – that a lockout would break the will of the players and allow them to implement their system.”
“It would be better for the players to have a lockout than to play under a system that doesn’t allow for any player growth, player security and abandons everything that all of the great players before us worked for over the years.”
The player unanimously agreed that there was no way they could succumb to the latest terms proposed by the owners. Evans reports that many players are seriously considering going overseas to Europe, and that he strongly encourages them to do so (he was former Player of the Year overseas).
Talks are to resume as July’s end nears, but the tension keeps getting worse. The impending doom of this lockout situation has been known, but the more and more we see from each side slinging mud shows the desperate measures willing to be taken. I do think Evans made some great points, especially regarding the owners thinking a lockout is what is best for them.
Neither side is innocent, as NBA players make millions of dollars for playing a game – but since we here at the UK are of the ‘player’s first mentality’ (h/t to Coach Cal), I think owners are really hurting the fans (and the struggling lower-level players) here by trying to make up for the bad deals and contracts they made in the past. If there is no NFL or NBA this coming year, it will be a tragedy. Chalk it up to greed, yet again.