Gasol Brothers Await NBA in Spain
With the NBA locked out of training camps, Los Angeles Lakers forward Pau Gasol is currently in Spain with his brother Marc (free agent center with the Memphis Grizzlies), where he recently gave a press conference to outline his plans until an agreement is reached. For now,the Gasol brothers will work out with Barcelona.
“This is the club where we learned our trade and where we mainly developed and grew up as players,” said Pau Gasol. “We also live here, so with the lockout situation, it was something that made and makes sense for us. A proposal was made that gave us the option and opportunity of coming to train with the team.”
“We’re grateful that we have the chance to train with one of the best squads, if not the best squad in Europe,” continued Pau.
The NBA and the NBPA need to reach labor resolution by Monday in order to prevent the first two weeks of the season from cancellation.
“I’m delighted and proud that we, the players, are standing our ground regarding what the teams over there in the NBA are demanding of us,” said Pau. “So, from this point on, as soon as the owners are ready to sign an agreement that is fair for all concerned . . . at that moment, we’ll be more than ready to start the competition again.”
“I think that’s what we all want,” said Gasol. “Until that moment, which I don’t know when it will be, each one of us has to look out for himself as best he can and stay fit and ready for whatever happens.”
A delay could mean a couple of weeks or even months. The shortest number of games the NBA would allow before cancelling the season is thought to be 50, which was the result of the last lockout in 1999.
A solution may be near with both sides about three percentage points apart which works out to be roughly $120 million in the first year of the deal (but a more significant $840 million over what could be a seven-year agreement).
Resolution at the eleventh hour remains a possibility but equally, the Gasol brothers may end up doing more than training in Barcelona but eventually signing up to play if cooler heads are unable to prevail.
Pau noted that teammate Kobe Bryant might be welcome to join him in Barcelona but acknowledges that’s probably not in the cards.
“Well, regarding Kobe I don’t know. I think if he wanted to be training here in Barca, well I imagine he could but I can’t speak for Barca,” said Gasol. “Obviously that’s not his intention. He aims to sign for an Italian team and sign for a considerable sum of Euros. I think we are all wanting to compete, to play as a top level pro, whichever one we have a chance to. I can understand when players like Dirk [Nowitzki] would want to go to any top club such as Madrid in this case.”
(Thanks to basket4US for translating Gasol’s words from his native Spanish).
Deal Should Get Done
As close as the NBA and union are to a deal ($120 million), both will easily lose that amount and more if the season is delayed.
The issue then becomes . . . is it worth it to lose now to get a bigger stake in the remaining difference of $720 million over the six following seasons?
The players seem adamant, as urged by NBPA President Derek Fisher, that a 50/50 split of Basketball Related Income (BRI) won’t do.
If the players say they’re at 53/47, it’s not a leap to get to 52/48. If the owners are at 50/50, it’s not a leap to get to 51/49.
Executive Director Billy Hunter suggested in a recent press conference that deductions would mean 50% is really 47% but comments by the league and even by Fisher in a letter to players seemed to indicate the idea of a true 50/50 split was broached by the NBA.
So if both sides are at intractable positions but then take a one-point step past that point each . . . there’s only one percentage point left to cover.
With the Jewish day of atonement (Yom Kippur) making Friday night to Saturday night off limits, the window would appear to be Sunday through Monday to strike at least the meat of a deal.
If the league has truthfully came off of multiple steadfast positions (hard cap, salary rollbacks, 10-year deal, etc.), then it’s time to get this thing done.
Nothing is scheduled, at least publicly . . . but common sense would say they’re just too near actual resolution to blow this.
But then common sense isn’t always so common . . .