A letter to David Stern


 I just wanted to write to you so you can understand my feeling on this whole lockout thing. Maybe my opinions are seriously misguided and you can set me straight. The NBA has flourished in the last 12 years, we have about as much parity as you can have in basketball and the game has grown exponentially both at home and over seas. You claim that a lockout is necessary for the betterment of the game. The owners are losing money and the game can not be sustained going forward.

 Thru all of this you have painted a picture of the players being greedy and made it seem like they are the main reason for all of the red ink in the ledger books. I never recall seeing a player to force any offer, the owners offer the contracts so they should be on the hook. Players get what they can and if owners want to pay absurd amounts to put a winning team on the court that is there decision. You placed limits/escalators on what players can earn and that doesn’t benifit the top tier players, they are earning far less then what their market value would be, for instance if basketball had the same structure as baseball then you would see several players making in excess of 20 million per year. I know that’s apples to oranges but with the way the league is structured the only way teams loose money is cause they do overpay.  

 5 of the top 10 highest players in the NBA are undeserving of their contracts, Vince Carter, Gill Arenas, Michael Redd, Yao Ming and Rashard Lewis. These guys accepted offers that the owners made but they didn’t hold a gun to any ones head to get it. The owners have to take onus on how they operate and be accountable. Instead you want the players to give back 240 MILLION $$$ Why? Because of the bad deals owners have shelled out over the years? I some how doubt DR. Jerry Buss or Mark Cuban regret giving their star players the contracts that they have earned. Teams that win have smart owners who do the right thing. Just because some owners have run their franchises into the ground it doesnt mean there is a problem. Guys like D-Wade and Lebron are paid far less than their market value it’s the middle tier that’s overpaid. Instead of rolling back salaries you should look at placing limits on guaranteed contracts.

 Say each team gets to guarantee 6 contracts and every one else can be cut at any time. A team can move a player off the guarantee list when they sign another contract that is equal or greater than the one it is moving off. By implementing a system like this, players can’t quit or fall out of shape after signing a big deals. Owners would have a chance to back out of Bad contracts at any time and put the onus back on the players to perform. It would limit the need to pay Brian Cardinal 6 years 39 million, or Eddie Curry 5 years 60 million. The list goes on with these types of contracts and its contracts like these to bench players that bloat salaries and cause teams to lose money and be uncompetitive.

 I guess my point is that you can not blame the players entirely; this is the system you agreed to in 1999. This is what it has been for the last 12 years when you saw the sport get bigger and bigger. Ratings are up, arena’s are filled, player movement generates tons of buzz and all the momentum that the league has built up will vanish with a prolonged lockout. You threatening to cancel the season is just ridiculous, work at it and figure it out and come to a solution that benefits everyone, while still making both owners and players accountable.


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