NBA

NBA dropped ball in this CBA

Share This Story

Jason Whitlock

Jason Whitlock writes about the sports world from every angle, including those other writers can't imagine or muster courage to address. His columns are humorous, thought-provoking, agenda-free, honest and unpredictable. E-mail him, follow his Twitter or become a fan of Jason Whitlock on Facebook.

MORE>>
 
   
 

No offense to Curt Flood, but unrestricted free agency has outlived its usefulness and fairness in professional sports.

With superstar athletes earning anywhere from $18 million to $25 million a year in salary and players as a whole guaranteed a healthy percentage of revenue, it is not unreasonable or Draconian for ownership to exercise some control over where LeBron James, Dwight Howard, Chris Paul and others play during the peak of their careers.

Flood and professional athletes of previous generations never participated in an economic partnership with ownership. The "reserve clause" that they struck down was a tool used to unfairly control player salaries and keep them from earning their market value.

That is no longer the case. Player salaries are basically decided during the collective bargaining process. In the latest NBA agreement, the players agreed to receive 50 percent of basketball-related income. This agreement reaffirms the players’ investment in the overall growth of the league.

At $15 million a year, it is not a hardship to expect any athlete to play in Oklahoma City, New Orleans, Indianapolis, Sacramento, Portland, Orlando, Cleveland or Minneapolis.

The NFL figured this out and developed the "franchise player" stipulation that allows teams to hold onto their brightest stars. The NFL’s modified version of unrestricted free agency is one of many reasons the NFL brand is stronger and more profitable than the NBA brand. The NFL is the one sports league that doesn’t need a franchise in Los Angeles to survive and thrive.

Meanwhile, now that free-agent-to-be Chris Paul has forced his way out of New Orleans, the NBA is on the verge of stocking its two LA franchises with three of the five best young players (Paul, Blake Griffin and eventually Dwight Howard) in the league.

The NBA, with its global appeal, should rival the NFL as an economic force. That will never happen as long as the players see themselves solely as individual commodities.

Obviously, an opportunity was blown during the latest NBA lockout. David Stern and ownership did not take advantage of their chance to remake the NBA system. They settled for an additional 7 percent of basketball-related income rather than a system that would lead to steady growth. Their greed reflects the era in which we live. We don’t fix problems in America. We reach into the next guy’s pocket and pretend our problems are solved.

Rather than making repeated threats about reducing players’ basketball-related income to 47 percent, the league should’ve been offering the players 53 percent of BRI in exchange for a complete overhaul of the system.

Right now everyone is focused on Stern’s lack of credibility with the players. During the heat of the lockout, Bryant Gumbel compared Stern to a plantation overseer, and now Stern’s former media defenders are agreeing with Gumbel because of the commissioner’s heavy-handed handling of Chris Paul’s trade to Los Angeles.

Stern’s biggest problem is with ownership, not the players. If Stern had a firm grip on the men who pay his salary, he would’ve handled the lockout negotiations far differently. It wouldn’t have devolved into a quick cash grab. If league ownership had faith in Stern’s vision, the lockout would’ve been focused on installing a system that put the NBA in position to chase down the NFL. Owners and players would win in that scenario. Instead, the lockout produced no winner, only pain, embarrassment and hard feelings.

In the business world, pain without gain produces unemployment.

 

CONTACT JASON WHITLOCK

 
If you have a question or comment for Jason, submit it below and he may just respond.
 

I guess that is why two of the foremost authorities on the NBA — Bill Simmons and Adrian Wojnarowski — agree that it is time for Stern’s reign to end. His leadership is stale.

Just like in his handling of the Paul trade, I have very little doubt that Stern’s intentions and instincts are correct. By vetoing the Lakers trade, Stern wound up getting a better deal from the Clippers for Chris Paul. Stern did not become the idiot commissioner overnight. He’s still smart.

He’s simply compromised by the situation. The players are spoiled, shortsighted, delusional, immature and tired of his voice. The owners are spoiled, shortsighted, delusional, tired of his voice and Wall Street greedy.

It’s going to take a new voice to excite NBA ownership about a system overhaul. Stern had his shot to catch the NFL during the Michael Jordan era.

I wouldn’t make Stern’s deputy, Adam Silver, the next commissioner. I’d get someone from the NFL, someone who could make the players see that giving up a little freedom will put more money in everyone’s pockets.

You can follow Jason Whitlock on Twitter, email him or like him on Facebook.

Tagged: Pelicans, Clippers, Magic, Dwight Howard, Chris Paul

More Stories From Jason Whitlock

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by


More Than Sports on MSN

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    adidas Blake Griffin Los Angeles Clippers Revolution 30 Performance Jersey - Red http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Los_Angeles_Clippers/browse/featuredproduct/491845/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_491000/ff_491845_xl.jpg&w=100 59.95 adidas Blake Griffin Los Angeles Clippers Revolution 30 Performance Jersey - Red
    adidas LeBron James Miami Heat Revolution 30 Swingman Performance Jersey-Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Miami_Heat/browse/featuredproduct/498609/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_498000/ff_498609_xl.jpg&w=100 89.95 adidas LeBron James Miami Heat Revolution 30 Swingman Performance Jersey-Black
    adidas Carmelo Anthony New York Knicks Revolution 30 Swingman Performance Jersey - Royal Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_New_York_Knicks/browse/featuredproduct/620470/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_620000/ff_620470_xl.jpg&w=100 49.99 adidas Carmelo Anthony New York Knicks Revolution 30 Swingman Performance Jersey..
    Mitchell & Ness San Antonio Spurs Black Solid Script Snapback Adjustable Hat http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Antonio_Spurs/browse/featuredproduct/692239/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_692000/ff_692239_xl.jpg&w=100 25.95 Mitchell & Ness San Antonio Spurs Black Solid Script Snapback Adjustable Hat
    Majestic Kobe Bryant Los Angeles Lakers Logo Man T-Shirt - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Los_Angeles_Lakers/browse/featuredproduct/851828/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_851000/ff_851828_xl.jpg&w=100 23.95 Majestic Kobe Bryant Los Angeles Lakers Logo Man T-Shirt - Black
    Majestic Kevin Durant Oklahoma City Thunder Logo Man T-Shirt - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oklahoma_City_Thunder/browse/featuredproduct/851842/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_851000/ff_851842_xl.jpg&w=100 23.95 Majestic Kevin Durant Oklahoma City Thunder Logo Man T-Shirt - White
    adidas Miami Heat 2012 NBA Eastern Conference Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Miami_Heat/browse/featuredproduct/890174/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_890000/ff_890174_xl.jpg&w=100 21.95 adidas Miami Heat 2012 NBA Eastern Conference Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - Wh..
    adidas Oklahoma City Thunder 2012 NBA Western Conference Champions Locker Room Flex Hat - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oklahoma_City_Thunder/browse/featuredproduct/890384/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_890000/ff_890384_xl.jpg&w=100 19.99 adidas Oklahoma City Thunder 2012 NBA Western Conference Champions Locker Room F..