Judging by the 2011 season, which ended in an estimated decrease of somewhere between $350 million and $400 million for the league, Jordan could be very accurate on his comments regarding money.
The NBA’s lucrative new TV deal would also have to be taken into account. ESPN and Turner just laid down $24 billion over nine years for a slate of regular season games plucked from an 82-game schedule. Would the deal have to be renegotiated (for less money) with less total games?
But to James, it’s more important to have the players at their top form.
"At the end of the day, we want to protect the prize and the prize is the players," James said. "We have to continue to promote the game and if guys are being injured because there are so many games, then we can’t promote it at a high level."
Maybe down the line this will be an even greater topic of conversation — James said it’s an issue players and owner "will have to sit down and try to figure out" — but for now at least, the lines are drawn in the sand with prominence on both sides.