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Channing Frye says idea that athletes should take a hometown discount is ‘absolutely ridiculous’

Jul 17, 2014, 11:05 PM EDT

Channing Frye

Channing Frye has been with the Phoenix Suns for the last six seasons, though he only played in five of them due to a heart condition that sidelined him for the 2012-13 campaign.

He bounced back after being medically cleared last season, however, and started all 82 games for the first time in his career while being a key part of a team that won 48 games in the West, especially on the offensive end of the floor.

Frye went to school at the University of Arizona and attended high school in Phoenix, so staying with the Suns as he entered free agency this summer may have seemed like a foregone conclusion. But Frye and the team were fairly far apart from a contract standpoint, so he took the offer from the highest bidder for his services — which happened to be the Orlando Magic.

Some believe that Frye should have taken less to stay “home,” but he couldn’t possibly disagree more with that assertion.

From Vince Marotta of ArizonaSports.com:

“The question I always ask is ‘would you take a hometown discount?'” Frye told Burns and Gambo Wednesday on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. “People say that, it’s just absolutely ridiculous. Because the thing that happens is someone takes a discount. Let’s say the market says they’re worth $10 million and they take $5 million. The next day they get traded, so they’re like ‘well dang, why did I take $5 million if you’re just going to trade me?’

“Think about it, our careers are short-lived. So why not go somewhere where you’re going to be extremely appreciated, where you’re going to be part of the future? People just say ‘take a discount,’ why? I’m 31. Why would I do that? I’m not asking for $15 million a year — I’m not crazy. The market dictated what was going on and I took the best deal.”

Frye admitted he was a bit surprised the Suns didn’t do more to keep him in Phoenix, but you honestly can’t blame him for taking the money Orlando chose to offer. This might be his last chance at a high-dollar contract at age 31, and the health scare he had the season before last may have (rightfully) impacted his decision.

But Frye is on to something that goes beyond his personal situation. It’s along the lines of people saying that guys should take less money to join a winning situation.

Nothing is guaranteed from a basketball standpoint; the Heat went to four straight Finals by assembling their group of stars, but lost as many championships as they won before LeBron James bolted back to Cleveland in free agency. Players should do what’s best for them in each one’s individual situation, and Frye is among those who realize it.

  1. lakerade - Jul 17, 2014 at 11:25 PM

    Take the money, yes, of course. However, only the reliable and elite players get to take the money AND their ideal destination too. Aging role players in a contract year? Get what you can, your act is wearing thin, at least among teams on the rise.

    • sprest83 - Jul 18, 2014 at 6:21 PM

      This is true, but the bigger problem is that players are almost forced to take discounts just so team can build. The cba situation is broken.

  2. antistratfordian - Jul 17, 2014 at 11:36 PM

    Well that makes sense for a guy like Frye. Other guys aren’t worried much about getting traded.

    • Mr. Wright 212 - Jul 18, 2014 at 1:54 AM

      However, those guys’ FANS are worried about them going elsewhere in free agency, though.

      Right?

      Ohhhhhhhhhhh.

    • mickdamill - Jul 18, 2014 at 11:15 AM

      I bet without Google you couldnt even name the last time he was traded.

      • antistratfordian - Jul 18, 2014 at 2:28 PM

        That’s kind of my point. It makes sense for guys you’d have to google.

  3. deadeyedesign23 - Jul 17, 2014 at 11:41 PM

    About time someone said it. The owners are the ones who fought for a cap, now you’ve got to deal with that. You already artificially suppress player salaries…now you want them to take a pay cut on top of that? How about you get rid of the cap and pay players what they’re worth…since franchises are selling for billions and they’re all owned by the richest men in America.

    • 1friendofthepeople - Jul 18, 2014 at 12:18 AM

      I was going to comment similarly. 100% agree. It is a ridiculous double standard. I’m sick of players being criticized for being a part of a capitalistic society and economy. That’s America. Gms/owners trying to guilt players into taking less than their worth is dumbfounding.

      Micky Arisen would know a thing or two on this subject. Trying to skimp on his roster despite Lebron sacrificing millions to spend more money on talent. Owners have deep deep pockets and still the vast majority of owners put money over winning. Why in the hell should the players be criticized for not taking discounts.

      • deadeyedesign23 - Jul 18, 2014 at 8:14 AM

        Yeah Mickey Arison who needed the big three to all take pay cuts on top of their deflated salaries to fit under the luxury tax that he and his fellow owners fought for. Meanwhile in addition to turning a huge profit, the value of the team goes up every year. Oh also he’s one of the 50 richest men in America, and yet he “needs” this like reverse welfare where labor is supporting ownership.

      • borderline1988 - Jul 18, 2014 at 10:04 AM

        There is a salary cap for a reason though. It gives smaller market teams a chance to compete. The last CBA was a major win for owners, but on the other hand, I think within a few years there will be more competitiveness in the NBA than ever before. The East is wide open this year, with a bunch of smaller market teams making FA signings and looking like they could compete in the playoffs (New Orleans, Washington, Toronto).

        If there were no salary cap, the Lakers or Knicks would offer Lebron James $60 million/year to play for them. Then they would offer Durant $50 million/year to play for them.

        It’s true that the owners have a massive conflict of interest here because the salary cap also ensures that they dont need to pay as much for players. So I am not exactly singing their virtues.
        Just recognizing that a salary cap system is essential for the NBA to have a competitive league (more than baseball for example). Obviously a balance of how to split the revenues needs to be struck, but that’s a business negotiation in a capitalist market. Let them sort it out.

    • Mr. Wright 212 - Jul 18, 2014 at 1:47 AM

      They were doing that before, and they claim that it was what was causing them to lose money. Remember, the NBA was heading toward where it was in the late 70s once again about 10 or 11 years ago. You had average players making $120 Million galore.

      The problem wasn’t the lack of a cap on individual player salaries (or the leaguewide cap before that), but the fact that the owners were FOOLS in paying that kind of money to guys who couldn’t start on half the teams in the league then OR now.

      The owners always have to be saved from themselves when it comes to paying players and issues regarding the cap, but the players are the ones who get the bear the brunt. Maybe because they are visible and the majority of the owners are behind the scenes. Either way, it is wrong.

      • 1historian - Jul 18, 2014 at 7:02 AM

        Good post, but at some point you should have mentioned that this madness goes on and on only as long as the FANS keep putting up with it.

      • deadeyedesign23 - Jul 18, 2014 at 8:02 AM

        That’s if you believe they were losing money…which they were not. Maybe a handful of teams in small markets were, but if you’re a team in a market that can’t support itself then that team needs to go away, not be supported in this like backwards socialism where labor has to make up for the difference between New York and Salt Lake City.

    • jrh54824 - Jul 18, 2014 at 2:12 AM

      If the Players don’t want a salary cap then the solution is simple. They need to get rid of the union. Look at how many players in the NBA who make over 10 million actually live up to that contract, very few.

      • deadeyedesign23 - Jul 18, 2014 at 7:16 AM

        That’s a gross misunderstanding of economics. This is what happens when you screw with a market this much. Those players may not be worth 10 million in a league where LeBron is only worth 22 million, but the reality is LeBron is worth 50 million. Is someone like Tyson Chandler at 14 million worth half as much as LeBron? No, but he’s probably worth 20% of what LeBron is, which is what it would be if salaries were able to operate unhindered.

      • therealhtj - Jul 18, 2014 at 9:45 AM

        You act like the players union has no say in all this. Their only real goals in the negotiations were to maintain a soft cap and guaranteed contracts. Everything else was up for debate.

        The problem for the fans is the small, undesirable markets now outnumber the strong, traditional markets, and it’s those who demand this socialism for the owners. The players can probably get some more short term money if they agree to a hard cap and non-guaranteed deals, but it may take losing a year to get them to cave that hard.

        When you had a snake like Billy Hunter running the union, the players never really stood a chance. He fought to keep the union together for his own (and family’s) interests, and that’s where the players gave up the only serious leverage they had. This next lockout in 2017, the union should IMMEDIATELY decertify and file an antitrust suit.

        For now though, they agreed to this lopsided deal, now they have to live with the consequences.

      • 22yearsagotoday - Jul 18, 2014 at 12:55 PM

        Either you’re an owner or you serve them well.

  4. infieldhit - Jul 18, 2014 at 12:01 AM

    Not sure who Suns fans are putting the blame on here, but I’m sure most fans in general can’t relate to “settling” for $5M a year.

    • zerole00 - Jul 18, 2014 at 1:51 AM

      Yeah, and I’m sure no fan (or anyone) would just give up $5 million dollars to keep already rich people richer.

      • whoisferg - Jul 18, 2014 at 11:09 AM

        They might if they’ve already made $75mil during their career.

  5. seattlesuperchronic - Jul 18, 2014 at 12:02 AM

    I bet this next CBA meeting is going to be a lot different. The owners are going to have a tougher fight this time around.

    • 1friendofthepeople - Jul 18, 2014 at 12:20 AM

      I really hope you’re right

    • Mr. Wright 212 - Jul 18, 2014 at 1:39 AM

      This is the thing. The owners got a larger share up front, but the players are wielding their leverage when it comes to free agency. If the owners had left it at 55/45, I doubt they would be pushed into the corner and having to overpay so many guys (as has been the case this summer) who clearly aren’t worth what they’re garnering, plus what it does to the cap of each respective team. It’s a nice push and pull that is necessitated by the CBA itself. Just last summer players were barking about the free agency dollars being barely above veterans’ minimum and in the MMLE range. Now guys who aren’t even as good as the players who got those minuscule deals last summer are getting paid 5 times as much one year later.

  6. devarajaswami - Jul 18, 2014 at 1:34 AM

    Instead of demanding basketball players who are earning a living to take a “hometown discount”, why don’t we demand that billionaire basketball club owners should offer their hometown players a “hometown premium”?

  7. Mr. Wright 212 - Jul 18, 2014 at 1:36 AM

    He didn’t owe anyone any explanation. Even if I hadn’t known his health history and so forth, he owed no one a discount, nor does Bledsoe. See several Suns fans on my social media pages whining about his contractual demands. But if someone else pays him and the Suns don’t match, then guess what? You’ll have to get over it. These guys’ window for earning at this rate of pay is SMALL.

  8. devarajaswami - Jul 18, 2014 at 2:27 AM

    If players have to suffer the effects of a “salary cap”, the billionaire owners also should face the effects of a franchise “valuation cap”.

  9. footballfather - Jul 18, 2014 at 8:38 AM

    Channing Frye is a guy who obviously doesn’t feel bad at all for signing contracts that pay him way more than he’s worth.

    • scrummymustard - Jul 18, 2014 at 2:58 PM

      You are worth exactly what the market will pay for you.

  10. pdixon920 - Jul 18, 2014 at 9:38 AM

    That’s fine and I couldn’t agree with him more…my problem, and I think the problem for a lot of people, are the guys who tell you it’s not about the money it’s about winning. Don’t lie to me, its insulting, be a man and admit you wanted to make as much money as possible and you hope to win but you did it for the money. I respect that more, just like I respect Frye for answering the question honestly. There is a way to be honest without being rude or rubbing it in people’s noses, Frye accomplished that and I applaud him for it. However, the Carmelo Anthonys of the world who take the money from a team like the Knicks who have no shot of competing for the next few years and tell me it’s about winning. C’mon Man!!! Don’t pee in our faces and call it rain! It was about the max contract!!!

  11. patsmiley - Jul 18, 2014 at 9:47 AM

    Well taking a paycut to stay home is just dumb. But taking a paycut to play for a contender is a different story. I think younger players should try to get their money, but as a veteran who has probably made a good amount of money, a paycut to win a ring isn’t a bad move if winning a championship is one of your priorities.

  12. blurocpurp - Jul 18, 2014 at 10:05 AM

    hes right. cuz if these guys keep taking discounts they will screw up the market! they already got taken for a ride in the last cba so might as well get every dollar you can. same people saying take a discount probably wouldnt do the same in their choosen feild of work.

  13. bsaundaz - Jul 18, 2014 at 11:31 AM

    nah, all the players complain about money. maybe at one point you had no money, but theres no need for any of the players to make as much as they do, nor the owners. the fans perpetuate the problem of greed in the nba, or in any sport by continuing to attend the events. but anyways, loyalty can be shown in multiple ways. team pays you big early, give them relief later. look at duncan and dirk; dont follow kobe or melo

  14. stl333 - Jul 18, 2014 at 2:37 PM

    Salty old man

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