Don’t get too warm and fuzzy about the start of what will be an epic 2010-11 NBA season. League commissioner David Stern reminds us there’s a bit of labor strife on the horizon, telling the Associated Press he and the NBA’s owners are hoping, in the course of collective bargaining, to cut players’ salaries by a third.
That’s a lot of change, roughly $700 million based off the 2009-10 season’s numbers. Players currently take a 57-percent cut of the league’s basketball-related income. Cutting salaries by a third would lower the players’ share to about 48 percent. Previous owner chatter had targeted a players’ split as low as 45 percent.Obviously, the players’ union will fight this tooth and nail, and maybe hammer and chainsaw. Is it a case of Stern simply reflecting the wishes of his bosses, the owners? Or is he setting the stage for a grand compromise where both sides — owners and players — win, the owners by cutting costs significantly and the player might not giving up as much money as the owners would like?
It’s worth noting that if Stern is being honest in reporting that the league’s 30 teams will lose a combined $350 million, then the proposed salary cut would turn that $350 million deficit for the owners into a $350 million profit. There is no way on Earth, Mars or Jupiter players will accede to such a request.