After a little more than 50 days of being locked out of all NBA facilities and now unemployed, players are looking for answers that would provide a fair deal for both parties before losing part of the 2011-2012 seasons. It will be very difficult to get a deal done between owners and players and will be much more contentious than the recently resolved NFL lockout.
Players are confused as they set about preparing for a season which may not even begin. Many players are well set financially, but others are not so fortunate and are looking for an agreement quickly.
The first proposal from the owners introduced a hard salary cap system, in which the length of player contacts would be reduced. Also, contract guarantees would be eliminated, and player salary costs would be reduced by nearly $750 million annually.
This proposal immediately caused a rift between players and owners, and progress since has been nearly non-existent. Despite several meetings, NBA commissioner David Stern cites a “huge philosophical divide” between owners and players.
From the outside looking in, it may be easy to place the blame solely on owners, but in recent years players’ salaries have grown to extreme levels. In free agency, teams are busy trying to outspend one another and many players wind up getting overpaid.
Not only that, many of the top 10 rookies taken in each year’s draft can almost make superstar money before even stepping on the court. Owners want to end this system before rookies are paid like Kobe Bryant. Many players believe that owners are just trying to be greedy, and some have even claimed unfair and disrespectful treatment by owners.
In a tweet, Orlando Magic guard Gilbert Arenas wrote, “I heard an owner tell a player who was making 20 million…I make 5 times your amount a year… so what you make is pocket change to me.”
As a result, some players consider deals from teams overseas. European owners are willing to pay hefty salaries for NBA players. New Jersey Nets guard Deron Williams reportedly signed a one-year contract with Turkish club Besiktas for $5 million, which includes housing, a car and a 24-hour personal assistant with the option of returning to the NBA if the lockout ends.
Boston Celtics guard Delonte West wrote this tweet in desperation:
“It’s Official… Pride 2 the side… just filled out a application at Home Depot..
Lockout ain’t a game…”