NBA Sunday: Players Already Taking A Hit
Lost Money Is Never Found
The NBA has canceled four weeks of basketball, which equates to about 14-15 games per team, but that’s all information we’ve heard basically nonstop for the better part of the last few days. When the website for Entertainment Weekly is running stories about game cancelations, you know the news is truly ubiquitous.
However as players wait out a better deal they obviously lose a ton of money. Four weeks is two paychecks, the same as it would be for the rest of the world, the only difference being the paychecks these guys are missing are quite a bit larger than the ones average Americans are accustomed to seeing.
How much cash have these guys lost already? Here’s a look at losses experienced by some players with a full month of games already completely wiped from the slate:
The league minimum salary is dependent on how many years the player has been in the league, but an undrafted rookie can sign a deal worth at least $473,604, and a veteran with ten or more years of experience will earn $1,352,181. The amounts that these guys will lose in the month of November will fall between $80,500 and $230,000.
In other words, the lowest-paid guys in the league will lose significantly more in one month than the average American will make in an entire year.
But let’s look at some of the bigger name players’ losses:
Dwyane Wade will lose $2.64 million this month, while his teammates LeBron James and Chris Bosh will both lose out on $2.72 million. Deron Williams, Chris Paul, and Elton Brand all will lose between $2.75 million and $3 million, and there are still ten players that will lose even more than that.
Four players—Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan, Rashard Lewis, and Kobe Bryant, would’ve made over $20 million in 2011-2012, and the losses they take are the most drastic. Garnett and Duncan will lose about $3.6 million, Lewis will lose $3.77 million, and Bryant, the highest-paid player in the league, will lose almost $4.3 million.
Some of those losses will be made up by the handful of these players that have decided to do a little work overseas in the meantime, but for the most part we’re looking at a ridiculous amount of money just flying out the window.
This doesn’t take into consideration the strong majority of players that are considered the league’s middle class, nor does it consider owners’ losses, or the losses of thousands of arena employees who are sitting at home instead of working the 200+ games that simply won’t happen at this point.
It’s easy to see why so many people are saying, “Even if the deal isn’t as great as you’d like it, take it so you don’t lose more money waiting around than you’d be saving with a better deal.” Most of us don’t understand the intricacies of the numbers, but at some point the financial hit of missed games has to be more detrimental than the financial hit of a worse-than-hoped-for labor deal.
That means we’re not looking to make a deal strictly because a deal makes financial sense; we’re looking at deal that’s going to be made on principle. Money is apparently no object, not even $4.3 million in Kobe Bryant’s case, and that’s led the league into quite a bit of a mess.
It’s a mess we’re all still waiting to see get cleaned up.
Can the League Still Salvage 78 Games?
All of the numbers above are based on the fact that the canceled games will not get made up, but according to Marc Berman of the New York Post, there’s still a chance that the league could play the majority of the 82-game schedule if the framework of a deal is agreed to over the course of the next week.
According to Berman, “Multiple sources predict a 78-game slate will be staged if the sides compromise on the revenue split by next weekend. The final schedule has to be an even number, sources said.”
What that means is even though team websites have a list of remaining games, that schedule most likely is not completely accurate because things will be largely reorganized to accommodate as many games as possible if and when a new CBA gets figured out. Right now we’re talking about the possibility of 78 games, but if things go longer, the league would still try to squeeze more games in.
Even if we have to wait until the first week in January to get a deal, just like we did in 1999, the NBA would likely find a way to fit in more than the 50 games that were played in that shortened season. If there’s a way to minimize those financial losses, teams and players alike are going to agree to the extra work, even if it means more back-to-backs and fewer days off.
Reportedly, there are several contingency schedules already drawn up for different time frames, meaning that depending on when something gets agreed to, we could have a totally different schedule than if something was agreed to a couple of weeks later. High profile games like those scheduled for Christmas Day wouldn’t see any changes, but the day-to-day schedule could see all sorts of alterations. Sources still are saying we shouldn’t rule out the possibility of pushing the regular season into later April, then condensing the first round of the playoffs in order to accommodate the drop-dead date set for Mid-June.
It’s a mess, for sure, but it’s apparently a mess the league has planned for. One way or another, they’re going to squeeze in as many games as possible, but the fact that there won’t be 82 games will always mean that the winner of the 2012 championship won’t come away with a clean title. I’m sure the 1999 Spurs don’t mind having the extra jewelry, even with the shortened year, but it’s impossible to view that title the same way as all the other ones in league history.
This one, apparently, is going to have to be viewed similarly, but if we can have a mostly-full regular season and playoffs, I think we’d all be okay with that.