Former Portland Trail Blazers Vice President of Basketball Operations and current ESPN analyst Tom Penn writes on ESPN.com that we shouldn't lose sight of the fact that NBA players will still have the best perks of any group of professional athletes regardless of how much the owners turn the screws to them during the ongoing Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations.
Even with union givebacks, NBA players will still be the best paid, best taken care of athletes in their peer group (all professional athletes). The new proposed deal still makes a ton of dollars and sense for NBA players, especially compared to the deal that was recently accepted by their NFL brethren.
In August, when NFL players agreed to reduce their share of revenues from 50 percent to between 47 percent and 48.5 percent and to lower the per team salary cap from $128 million to $120.4 million, I thought they set a horrible precedent for NBA players. NFL business has been booming and virtually all teams have been making money; yet, NFL players were willing to take less. How could NBA players expect to earn a greater share of their league's money than NFL players at a time when most NBA teams are losing money and many are absolutely hemorrhaging cash annually? Yet the deal on the table for NBA players, whether a 50/50 or 52/48 split in revenues, remains appreciably better than the NFL players' deal by all measures.
Penn goes on to list guaranteed contracts, the highest minimum wage and even things like no mandatory offseason works as supporting arguments for his thesis.
Penn also commented on the NBA lockout in a recent column by Brian T. Smith of the Salt Lake Tribune.
"You still essentially come down to the people that own the league saying, ‘We're worried about the next 10 years, not the next six months ... and there's a desperate need for a long-term correction,' " said Tom Penn, an ESPN analyst and former NBA small-market executive.
Penn was abruptly let go by the Blazers in March 2010.
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter