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Players talk lockout, sticking together at Durant’s event

Oct 24, 2011, 11:24 AM EDT

Kevin Durant, Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony AP

Fans are pretty sick of the appetizers — charity games like the one Kevin Durant hosted Sunday in Oklahoma City — they are ready for the main course. They want NBA basketball back.

As it was at every one of these games for the past month, most of the questions thrown at the players are about the lockout. And when it’s going to end.

Like, when Royce Young of Eye on Basketball asked Durant if we’d see NBA games by Christmas.

“I wish,” he said. “But I really can’t say right now. We’re just trying to work to get a deal done. We’re going to continue to play in these games and show the fans that we love the game and we want to play.”

There are a number of things holding up the negotiations, but at the core of it is money — specifically the split of basketball related income (which is essentially most of the revenue that flows into the league). Last labor deal the players got 57 percent of that, now the owners want a 50/50 split (which really isn’t 50/50 because they want to take more off the top) and the players are saying 53 percent (or 52.5 which was their last offer according to reports).

“No, no. Fifty-three. That’s where we’re staying at. We’ve had plenty of talks and we’re not dropping,” (James) Harden said. “We already dropped and set our number at 53 so that’s what we’re sticking to.”

We can debate who is winning the public relations battle, I think the owners are taking a black eye but players who make millions cannot really win that fight. Bottom line, everyone is a loser. But Chris Paul — a vice president in the union — said all the players can do is keep playing games and preaching their side of things.

“We try to explain (the situation) as much as we can, but it’s really hard to understand unless you’re in the situation. But I just want the fans to trust us and know that we’re far from greedy. We just want a fair deal. We want to get out there and play more than anybody. But we understand that at the end of the day, we’re the product. We’re the reason the fans come and we just want a fair deal.”

Most fans just want basketball.

  1. zblott - Oct 24, 2011 at 12:24 PM

    There are a lot of reasons for fans to stick with the players throughout the lockout, including all the ways owners play with the accounting to invent losses for themselves (that’s why they won’t open their books to prove they’re losing money), we enjoy the game for the players not the owners, and the owners truly aren’t negotiating in good faith:

    • Chris Fiorentino - Oct 24, 2011 at 1:56 PM

      I don’t understand how a 50/50 split of profits is such a terrible deal. I truly do not. If the players are going to continue to look at the last EXPIRED CBA, then the owners are just going to take a year off to help them forget about it because it’s obvious that to the owners, that last CBA is a long distant memory and not close to what they are going to give up this time around.

  2. zblott - Oct 24, 2011 at 3:09 PM

    This isn’t about splitting profits (owners are the only ones who make profits); it’s about how much players make. The players draw right around 100% of the fans and their money into the game, so screwing them over so that investors can make more when they’re already fudging the books so bad they won’t even show them to anyone seems like a really greedy thing to do. Again, owners are the only ones who make profits on a team (like when a franchise is sold for $250 million more than it was purchased for 10-20 years prior). This is about sticking it to the workers who make the game the one we love.

    • Chris Fiorentino - Oct 24, 2011 at 3:24 PM

      When I say profits, I mean money coming into the league after expenses. Maybe a better term would be Net League Income. You want to harp on the owners fudging the books, then you are just cynical. The fact is that the league is offering a 50% split of all Net Income into the league and the players want 52.5% of the Gross Income. Period. The owners have come up 7% on their initial offering of 43% while the players have come down only 4.5 from their initial offering. Once they get it out of their thick stubborn skulls that the previous CBA is no longer a starting point, they will sit down and negotiate from a better starting point. Maybe it takes a season of lost wages to do that.

      In the meantime, the owners, most of whom don’t depend on NBA profits to survive, will do just fine making money in their other endeavors. The players don’t know how bad they are going to feel…they should look to the NHL players who pissed away a whole season over a couple percentage points, only to get a worse deal when they came back the next year.

      • zblott - Oct 24, 2011 at 3:49 PM

        You’re right – screw the players. I want to see the owners who inherited their wealth, don’t know the game of basketball, and who continually make boneheaded decisions that casual fans can recognize a mile away making even more money off of the NBA. Why give money to the employees when billionaires are around to take it? That would be absurd.

  3. loza6984 - Oct 24, 2011 at 9:04 PM

    None of the current owners inherited their wealth. I believe all of them are first generation wealthy. They do however make many bone-headed moves.

  4. zblott - Oct 25, 2011 at 12:39 AM

    That’s a laughably incorrect fact right there. If you believe they’re all first-generation wealthy, then they’ve already won the battle that makes the rest of us feel lazy and stupid for not making millions like them. Robert Sarver founded The National Bank of Arizona at 23 right out of college, but I’m sure it had nothing to do with his father being a very successful and prominent banker and businessman in the state, and the Fed would just let any 23 year old open a huge chain of banks. Try reading before making these types of statements.

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