The NBA’s players and owners have a very important decision to make. They will either agree to restart the season in late December, just in time for Christmas, or they will opt to wait until Martin Luther King Jr. day in mid-January. LeBron James and several of the league’s notable stars prefer the latter option, while many owners and lesser paid players prefer the former. The difference of opinion has caused a noticeable divide.
An NBA star who spoke to The Spun on the condition of anonymity this week accused James of only thinking about “himself and his image.”
“It’s amazing how many people when we got ours forget about majority of players who don’t,” the anonymous player said.
“Sometimes we act like everyone has a max deal. We already know due to a lot of reasons the cap is gonna drop and drop big. It’s time for some of them, the one percenters they love to hate on off the basketball court to get their s*** together and think about the guys at the bottom.”
The player then added that, “nobody disrespects LeBron’s game.” Rather, he believes James’ problem is that “he needs to start thinking about other people and not just himself and his image.”
James’ position is clear. He and the Los Angeles Lakers just wrapped up this past season in mid-October. A late December turnaround is a big ask. That said, if the season starts later – player compensation will suffer as a result. That is not as big of a deal for someone like James who has made a fortune already, but it matters to the lesser paid guys.
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— Game 7 (@game7__) November 3, 2020
On Monday, ESPN NBA insiders Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe reported that “time was running out” to get a deal done for a December start date. If something is not agreed upon soon, January will by default become the earliest possible opportunity to get the 2021 season going.
“On a conference call with the league’s general managers on Monday, NBA commissioner Adam Silver told the top team basketball executives that ‘time is running out’ on the possibility of starting the 2020-21 season prior to Christmas Day and potentially salvaging hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue,” Wojnarowski and Lowe wrote.
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— Game 7 (@game7__) November 2, 2020
This past week, NBPA vice president and Indiana Pacers guard Malcolm Brogdon gave an update on where negotiations currently stood.
“The way talks are going, this is a super-complicated issue, and there’s a lot to balance,” he said. “[There’s] a lot of minds working on this collaboratively, on both sides. So it’s going to take some time. I don’t think a few weeks, but I think it will take at least a few more days.”
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— Game 7 (@game7__) November 1, 2020
At the end of the day, Brogdon believes there are only two options to choose from.
“I think those are the two options,” he said. “We’re either going to start MLK Day, which I think a lot of the players are leaning towards, or we’re going to start the 22nd, Christmastime.
— Game 7 (@game7__) October 30, 2020
“But the huge difference is revenue. Revenue, and trying to get the season back on track to start in that September-October range. So I think calculations are being done on both sides on how much revenue would be lost for each potential date, and we’ll have to come to some type of agreement and go from there.”
One way or another, this issue will get resolved in the coming weeks. How happy various players will ultimately be with the resolution remains to be seen.