Finally, NBA Commissioner David Stern could not take it anymore. “All right, you want to go tit for tat, I’ll go tit for tat,” Stern said, according to the participants. “I’ll see you J.J. Barea and raise you Eddy Curry.” A shot to the gut, just like that.
HoopsVibe`s Very Quick Call: Touché David Stern.
Players and owners met last June during the Finals to discuss the state of the NBA’s finances, and the two sides, as expected, argued over the amount owners were paying players.
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban complained that a former player, Tariq Abdul-Wahad, didn’t do much of anything after signing a multi-year deal for $40 million.
The players countered by saying Cuban was getting a deal by paying combo guard J.J. Barea a relatively low annual salary of $1 million.
Then Commissioner Stern ended the conversation by mentioning Eddy Curry, who earned an appalling $33 million for playing in 31 games over the last three years.
He's right. NBA players are overpaid, specifically the very well-to-do middle class. And the list of players stealing money is in the dozens.
Here’s the question: is this the players fault?
Last I checked the owners signed the checks. Last I checked the owners hired general managers, who were supposed to have the ability to pass on bad contracts.
For instance, nobody forced Abe Pollin and the Washington Wizards to bid against themselves and sign Gilbert Arenas to a six-year, $111 million contract.
Arenas was coming off several knee surgeries. No team was willing to give the combo guard anything close to $111 million. Except, of course, Pollin.
Since signing his mega-deal, Arenas has been suspended for bringing guns into the team’s locker room and was shipped to Orlando, where he rarely played. And the Wizards haven’t been the same since.
So Stern is right. Players earn too much. He should look, in part, to the owners he represents, and not just the players.
However, we doubt Stern will will raise this point when owners and players finally meet next week to start negotiating the new collective bargaining agreement.
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