Information the NBPA’s Biggest Asset?
The most precious commodity in basketball during these dark times isn’t Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, Dwyane Wade or Kevin Durant. The King himself, LeBron James, has been successfully dethroned and replaced by a far more valuable asset: information.
As players begin digesting what is, for all intents and purposes, the last offer from the league that will give them a 50 percent share of the sport’s revenues and preserve the 2011-12 season with only one missed paycheck, the battle between accurate and inaccurate interpretations of what that proposal contains is more epic than any Lakers-Celtics Finals could be — more important than Kobe vs. LeBron in June with a championship on the line.
This is the NBA labor championship happening Monday, when player reps from all 30 teams — and potentially a much larger group of players — gather in Manhattan to consider their options. They’re pretty simple, really: send the league’s latest proposal to the full union membership for a vote, presumably with some minor amendments if word comes down from the owners’ labor relations committee that it would accept them, or decline the proposal and invite chaos. The choice behind curtain No. 2 would incite mother of all anti-trust fights, one that would inflict mortal wounds on both sides and jeopardize the chances that a single NBA game will be played before November 2012.
A third choice — rejecting the proposal and betting that the NBA would continue negotiating from the 47 percent, hard-cap proposal it has threatened — is viable, too. But it’s also true that the players may never again see this good a deal, and certainly not one that would provide a 72-game season with only one missed paycheck.