Michele Roberts: Players overwhelmingly oppose NBA’s Dec. 22 start plan
The NBA wants to begin next season Dec. 22.
The league and union are currently negotiating. A Friday deadline for either side to terminate the Collective Bargaining Agreement looms. So does the draft, free agency, training camp and everything else that must be completed before the season.
National Basketball Players Association executive director Michele Roberts, via Shams Charania of The Athletic:
After both sides projected cooperation for so long, this is the biggest sign of labor strife yet. A lockout or something similarly extreme isn’t necessarily imminent. But it’s at least possible to see how this could spiral.
There are also questions about how aligned players are. Though Roberts called it an “overwhelming response,” the union shouldn’t blindly be trusted to assess the desires of its members.
However, players on the eight teams not invited to Disney World have been idle a historically long time. With generally shorter careers and lower salaries, non-stars would be hit harder by a delay that reduces players’ salaries by a percentage.
Discussion of whether the union prioritizes stars could return to the forefront.
In the meantime, Dec. 22 approaches. As does the following season. The longer owners and players take coming to an agreement, the less time they’ll have to play basketball and make money.