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Wednesday, August 24th, 2011 at 9:00 am  |  57 responses

LaMarcus Aldridge: Season Worth Losing to Get a Fair Deal


by Marcel Mutoni@marcel_mutoni

It’s widely believed that most NBA team owners are prepared to wipe out the 2011-’12 season if that’s what it takes to get a new Collective Bargaining Agreement that they want. Most players, though, have publicly expressed a desire for games to get started on schedule.

LaMarcus Aldridge looks at things with a long-term persective, and thinks that losing an entire season may be worth it (should that result in a favorable deal for the players.)

From the Oregonian:

Is there going to be a lockout? Uh … No matter what kind of audience Aldridge runs into these days, the L-word inevitably surfaces, and Tuesday was no exception. And after the Trail Blazers’ power forward finished signing autographs and posing for pictures at the camp, he acknowledged there does not appear to be an end in sight for the NBA lockout, which is approaching the conclusion of its second month. “No,” Aldridge said, when asked if there was reason for optimism. “Both sides are pretty (far) off right now. So it’s going to be a while.”

Aldridge, who is the Blazers’ player representative in the NBA Player’s Union, said he does not expect the season to start on time but does believe there will be a season eventually. That said, he is prepared to sit out all of 2011-12 if necessary. “If that’s what it takes to get a fair deal done, then yes,” Aldridge said.

Of course, most NBA players aren’t like LaMarcus Aldridge. He did, after all, sign a lucrative contract extension two seasons ago, and can probably afford to miss out on a few paychecks next year.

What remains to be seen is how many others will be able to stand strong until a deal deemed “fair” is agreed upon.

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  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    Hear, hear!!!

  • mike

    But is it a fair deal to the fans? I think not…

  • Shem

    I think that they should make the hard cap like 60 mill, give rookies less money and veterans more money. Make sure teams have a better chance at signing their own superstars and take out some exceptions in free agency. But then again I’m not an owner or player and this isn’t my money I’m talking about.

  • MikeC.

    Huge deals for stars isn’t the issue. The mid-level exception is the great satan of NBA salary caps.

  • MikeC.

    And also the great santa for those who get a MLE contract.

  • http://www.slamonline.com UNFROZEN CAVEMAN LAWYER

    ALDRIDGE IS THE PLAYER WHO HAS IMPRESSED ME THE MOST WITH HIS DEVELOPMENT OVER THE PAST TWO SEASONS. HE HAS BECOME A VERY GOOD PLAYER. STILL CANT BELIEVE THE BULLS TRADED HIM FOR TYRUS. WOULDNT HAVE EVEN NEEDED THE EVIL PARROT FACE

  • http://tempdog1 stephen

    shoosh cunt^

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    You do know that apart from the NHL, NBA rookies receive the lowest contract out of the 4 major sports? Rookie contracts is not the problem, stupid owners and GMs paying JJ 120 million, Arenas 62 mill over 3yrs, and Haywood 44 mill (really?). A kindergarten class could do a better job judging talent than most NBA GMs.

  • bike

    They won’t get a fair deal. Not now. Not ever. Better to wave the white flag and cave now then after losing an entire season. There is a slight chance the big market owners might turn on the small market owners but that is the only hope the players have.

  • slamfan4life

    wow

  • http://slamonline.com walt williams

    I am so tired of this. Get me my season. The players need to bend a bit, the

  • J.O

    C’mon LA- Dude, you get paid MILLIONS of dollars. What about the fans all over the WORLD? What about the people who WORK for peanuts in the Arenas all year, so they can make money to feed their families?? The players need to suck it up. Stop being selfish! You have ENOUGH money as it is. Owners, stop giving average players FAT contracts….Joe Johnson…C’mon now!

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    Well, not everyone is as fortunate as LA and don’t have a fat contract. In addition, sure losing a season for a kid in their mid 20’s may not be a big deal, but what about those vets in their mid to late 30’s whose windows at having a shot at a title are closing?

  • http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/blog/ball_dont_lie/post/Video-Don-t-tell-Kobe-Bryant-what-he-can-t-do?urn=nba-233572 nbk

    Right….and what about all the fans y’all are gonna lose if you lose a whole f*ckin season.

  • respect

    ITS LIKE THERE NOT EVEN TRYING!!!!

  • CubicleWorker

    Co-sign respect

  • Allenp

    After reading this article and several others throughout the last couple days, I’m switching my pro-player stance and taking the sides of the owners. The players should concede all major negotiating points and get back to what they are paid MILLIONS to do (namely play basketball). Enough already.

  • http://dskjfl.com Jukai

    I hope this happens too. Honestly. The owners need a wakeup call.

  • http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/blog/ball_dont_lie/post/Video-Don-t-tell-Kobe-Bryant-what-he-can-t-do?urn=nba-233572 nbk

    Allen – what do you suggest they do? Take the deal offered? Lamar Odom is the example I have read, his contract next year is slated at $8.4M, if the PA accepts the deal offered by the owners then his salary next season will be $2.8M. That sound fair too you?

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Somebody impersonated me. Badly.
    I guess I can now join the club.
    Y’all know damn well I wouldn’t have written that crap.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    I’m fine with missing a season so that the players can get the best possible deal for them. Most fans are too shortsighted to see how caving to management demands is a bad thing for everyone, whether they make millions or “peanuts.”

  • http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/blog/ball_dont_lie/post/Video-Don-t-tell-Kobe-Bryant-what-he-can-t-do?urn=nba-233572 nbk

    Ok thought that might be the case, either that, or you were drunk.

  • http://twitter.com/BeezKneezy LA Huey

    @AllenP, Impersonation is the sincerest form of flattery? Sounds like the work of cubicleworker or bull22

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    I don’t drink. Or smoke.
    @LAHuey
    Nah, it don’t think Cubicle Worker would do that. And Bull22 would have problems typing that neatly, and not mentioning Derrick Rose at least once.

  • http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/blog/ball_dont_lie/post/Video-Don-t-tell-Kobe-Bryant-what-he-can-t-do?urn=nba-233572 nbk

    Well as far as I can remember there is only 1 regular who is on the Owner’s side of this whole thing…..

  • http://twitter.com/BeezKneezy LA Huey

    Guys, I’m already planning my fall, winter, and spring with no NBA. You should all do the same. And IF the L has any games this year, consider it a surprise treat.

  • bike

    Caving to management is a bad thing but will missing a season really give the players any leverage with the owners? Seems like many players, with something like an average career life of 4-5 years, probably can’t afford to miss an entire season’s pay. Which could work to the owners advantage by trying to force an even crappier deal. In a battle between billionairs and millionairs–who is going to win?

  • http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/blog/ball_dont_lie/post/Video-Don-t-tell-Kobe-Bryant-what-he-can-t-do?urn=nba-233572 nbk

    Bike, your right. This is what happened in the NHL, the players said they’d be willing to miss a season, and they did. But (logically) the 30 billionaire owners did better with the missed season then the 400+ pro hockey players financially, so when the dealing began again, the Players got totally taken advantage of. Which is exactly what will happen to these NBA guys, and they are apparently by this comment from Lamarcus Aldridge, ignorant to it.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    I think you all are wrong. I don’t think missing a season has the same impact on the NBA that it does on the NHL.
    There is money to be made by a lot of owners. In the NHL everybody was really, really losing money. I think the NBA has way more to lose from a lost season, both the owners and players.

  • http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/blog/ball_dont_lie/post/Video-Don-t-tell-Kobe-Bryant-what-he-can-t-do?urn=nba-233572 nbk

    whether that’s true or not Allen, my point was, even if the Owners have something to lose from a whole missed season, the Players have a whole lot more on the line and will eventually be taken advantage of.

  • http://slamonline.com the nerve

    all these nickas is phagits man. all these muthaphukkas. lazy ass punks anyway. git all that money. they don’t hustle and then they cry like hos when they daddy wanna take they phukin money back. them owners pay these ni99as this money thinkin that they gonna keep workin hard 4 tha shtt. Nah they wanna cry and not hustle. lazy azz hos. yall never see that bullsiht in football. u don’t hustle in football they’ll find a way 2 git that jive ass nicka tha phuck off the cot damm field playa!
    PARTNA!!

  • http://www.slamonline.com Wayno

    wow…

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    double wow…

  • bike

    Can’t tell if the nerve is serious or not…but that is the most outrageous/hilarious post I have seen in a long time on this site.

  • CubicleWorker

    Being from Canada I experienced the NHL lockout first hand, although this isn’t exactly the same, there are a lot of similarities. A lot of these players are reminding me of the NHL players during the negotiating phase. Namely Chris Pronger, was one of the highest paid players in the league, was making $10 million/year said something very similar to LA right here. As it turns out they missed a season and accepted a desperate deal. The benefits were so positive though, the league is super competitive now. Infact the season after the lockout the finals were played by the 7th and 8th place teams in each conference. In the NBA I dont even think there’s the possibility of seeing a 3rd/4th place teams face each other in the finals. I’m not so much on the side of the owners, as against the players. Obviously its two evils and the fans stand to lose the most. My opinion all along is that the players should realize what’s at stake for them, get a deal done so people can play basketball. I bet if you polled players anonymously the results would indicate that the majority of players just want to get back on the court…

  • CubicleWorker

    Oh and Chris Pronger ended up in Edmonton (sadly my team) which has been ranked one of the top two least favored destinations in the NHL, for $4 million/year (cut from $10M). He made it to the finals, lost in 7 games, cheated on his wife with waitresses, got caught, demanded a trade and did like Biggie Smalls and went back to Cali..

  • http://slamonline.com Tae

    I think he was serious…but he is right. U wanna be lazy in football n thats yo a*ssssss

  • http://slamonline.com Tae

    Speaking of football, tha NBA should look at their situation. They sat down n got that lockout over with now they’re ready for a full season. They should do tha same. I dont think tha football players are as selfish thou, like someone said its like they are not even trying. Minnesota Vikings>>>>

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    You’re not for the owners, you’re just against the players?
    Wow

  • chingy

    Cosign CubicleWorker. I remember that. The league is better for it because more teams have a shot to win it all. In the NBA, really only a handful of teams can hope of making the the finals.

    But really? Edmonton one of the two worst? It does have some history with Gretzky winning the cup…

  • CubicleWorker

    Yea, unfortunately the reputation has gotten torcheddd after the past few seasons which is unfortunate. Those results were also extrapolated from a players poll (EDM was only behind NYI :s). They’ve made smart GM moves for multiple top level superstars only to have the deals nixed (RE: Heatley refusing the trade, Pronger demanding a trade, and Vanek got his RFA contract matched). The competitiveness is unreal under the new CBA. You have teams above .500 in both conferences missing the playoffs, and the playoffs are a complete toss up. The NBA doesn’t rely on teams as much (adding a superstar to an NBA team can take them to the next level, the same isn’t guaranteed in hockey), but it would be nice to see a more well-rounded product. With that in mind, it’s actually the Eastern conference that is the biggest problem. Western conference basketball has a lot more parity.

  • Heals

    Unfortunately the fans and the jobs of those associated with league and teams can’t be considered by the players when negotiating. This is their profession, not ours. It’s awful that those lowest on the todem pole (vendors, seat attendants, etc.) will be stuck in some of the most dire financial situations, but this lockout is about player finances. Owners can still pay their arena employees if they want and fans can go hit up their nearest courts until the dust settles. Next time one of you guys calling for the players to cave in is in a financial negotiation at your job let me know how much care about LA’s opinion on the matter…

  • http://www.kb24.com The Seed

    Players need to just give up, take a pay cut and call it a day. Because the owners will win, like they won in the NFL. Players in the NBA make good money, just learn how to invest better. If these players were the owners they would do the same thing. If I am a owner, I want a profit and paying players less turns the profit. Make a money scale, longevity pay like teachers, add things, have players have to spend two years in school if go college. Allow high schoolers to go to NBA–but have their pay less than a player that went to college to prove themselve, but players need to quit. LaMarcus is wrong. BOOK IT!!

  • CubicleWorker

    And allenp I’m more anti-union and against Billy Hunter than anything. I think that the majority of players just want to play and they havent had things explained to them appropriately. If more players knew the risk of missing a season I think negotiations would be progressing more favourably. Secondly, I think the “save face” comment by Billy Hunter is a microcosm of the reason negotiations have been so stagnant. Thirdly, you have guys who may have alterior motives (keep in mind, we don’t know the personal balance sheets of a lot of these guys) saying “lets stick together, wait for a better deal”. My prediction is per team of 15 you have probably 2 guys saying “lets stick together”, 3-4 who agree but probably aren’t very well informed of the big picture, and the rest of the team really wanting to get back to playing ball but won’t say anything. We’ll see this division become public starting in November when the guys in the middle of the roster (spots 4-9)- who haven’t gotten international jobs, and who’s bills start piling up – become vocal about making sacrifices.

    My stance all along is that players have more to lose than the owners, the union is the only group of people getting paid right now; lawyers, executives, administration… no wonder no deal is getting done….

  • chingy

    The thing about parity is do people want to see upsets? Or do people want the finals to be the best against the best? Ultimately, we all know the players will lose. Let’s just get the season rolling like in the NFL. Thank goodness there’s football, I can’t watch any more baseball.

  • poohead

    Whatever happened to 1 million $ being a lot of money? I think if your hotels,travel,food are free then 1-2 million a year is enough, drop the price of tickets and jersey’s selling for over 100$ a piece, for piece of mesh? Fat owners can take a cut too. Does anybody play for the love of the game anymore or just the almighty dollar ?

  • Dr. DL

    I may be remembering this wrong but if memory does in fact serve me here didn’t the last NBA lockout take place reasonably soon after that big MLB lockout? The one that took years to heal from and that preceded/ushered in some reactionary disinterest on the part of fans everywhere? I thought that a lot of analysts back around that 1999 season thought that both sides in the NBA lockout were committed to reaching an agreement due to fear of losing fan support in the same way baseball had seemed to. I could be wrong about that, but the point is shouldn’t fan support be a concern here? Shouldn’t we have some sort of motivating stake in all this? After all, the revenues that both sides are fighting over do come out of our pockets, directly or indirectly. It seems like everyone is taking for granted that the excellent ratings of these last finals will continue even if we fans can no longer count on the NBA to even produce a product for us to consume. If I had to choose sides I would still probably lean towards the players, but the millionaire players and billionaire owners are going to be fine no matter what. Only loyal fans really appear to stand to lose here.

  • IDOT

    The NBA needs to look at what the NFL did and see if they can get a deal done. Not only do they want to get paid, people that work in the arenas have families they have to take care of too.

  • Dr. DL

    @The Seed, I hear you and sure the players could probably stand to spend less impulsively or invest more responsibly but that’s not really the issue here. Nobody questions how NBA owners handle their money. The reason why is that they were all obscenely wealthy before they became franchise owners. Paul Allen, who owns my Blazers, has his hands in plenty of different piggy banks and his overall business interests will likely continue to crank out net worth no matter what he winds up paying Lamarcus. It’s easy to forget we are talking about a group of men here for whom the investment in a major sports franchise is akin to a hobby. In Paul Allen’s case even that seems like an overstatement since his cronies at Vulcan seem to do all the work (including head- scratchers like firing Kevin Pritchard); I honestly find myself wondering if I am more attached to the Blazers organization than its owner. The point is I have trouble siding with absentee owners in all this. Mark Cuban is the exception in NBA ownership; the rest project an attitude ranging from outright apathy to an interest only in the bottom line. The players (for the most part) at least have to continually train, practice, and generally do things related to basketball. Sure some owners have overpaid players, but let’s not act like JJ’s contract was conceived in a vaccuum. He got that money because he was and still is a pretty valuable player. If some owner chose to overestimate his value and invested too much money in him it doesn’t mean the owners need to be protected from their own stupidity by the league. Any casual fan could have predicted that Rashard Lewis would not be able to play to the level of his contract in Orlando, but that doesn’t mean he or other players should be punished for his willingness to sign it. I feel like owners want the league to protect them against their own tendency to take bad risks or make poor investments. No commodity on the open market comes with a provision that an investor can be financially let off the hook if they happen to overpay. As Isaid, NBA teams are hobbies or investments at most to the average owner, so why should there be a regulatory agency limiting the dollar value of any commodities in the NBA market. I promise every single NBA owner owes his fortune to the free market, but in this case their argument is that since they have repeatedly demonstrated that they as a group don’t have the basketball savvy to seperate potential and hype from actual value they are entitled to demand that restrictions be placed on the market to protect their dollars and maximize their profits. Investors don’t get that protection in the stock market and I don’t believe they should here either. Fans like parity so salary caps and certain types of regulation are necessary, but they should exist to preserve the overall value of NBA basketball to its fans, not to turn NBA ownership into an exclusive stock market for the ludicrously rich where dollars are insured against human error. Whew.

  • Quincy

    I don’t understand how these players are paid so well and yet they are concerned about losing paychecks! Do they not save at all? Do they not invest? Don’t they have financial advisors who help them with these kind of things?

  • mike

    the world economy has changed, the nba should too. players need to understand that fact…. owners and teams lose money, i never heard of players losing money.

  • Samco

    Shut up you greedy spoiled brat.

  • http://dskjfl.com Jukai

    Dr. DL freaking NAILED it with one comment: The owners made millions by playing the open market. Now they failed when they overvalued players and they want to fix that? Calling BS on all of this.
    Lower salaries 5%, level the BRI to 50-50, cut guarentees past 4-years and profit share— that is SO MUCH and will draw in so much profit… there is no reason salaries have to be cut in the double digits, owners need a majority share of the BRI and a hard cap has to be in place so teams can’t overspend on anything. It’s unreasonable. It’s outrageous. It’s negotiating in bad faith.

  • Harlem_World

    Fundamentally the ‘right’ is with the players – but we’re talking about business here, so when does ‘right’ win out over ‘wrong’? Ethics ultimately don’t play a big enough factor in business to determine who will win in a situation like this. Money and power will win every time. Owners have the money and can turn the screws/increase the pressure on mid-level and lower-level guys to the point where you’ll see the union disband or at the very least form 2 groups of ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’.

    What is interesting is, ultimately you have a complete reversal of representation in both camps: with the owners, the highest paid/most profitable owners want to get back to basketball and do not want to lose the season, while the small market/unprofitable teams are happy to sit out the season as they have nothing to lose. Yet with the players you have the highest paid/most profitable players happy to sit out the season (or as long as it takes to get them the deal they want) and can afford to do so, while the mid-low level guys will want to get back to work and can’t afford to lose the season. Both parties have similar dynamics but reversed interests.

  • Yesse

    Fans can watch european basketball if there is not a season, so i don’t find that as too big of a deal. It doesn’t really matter to me if Nba would go down for years. There is always basketball somewhere.

  • Dr. DL

    I hate to say this but this argument has less and less to do with basketball every day. Owners make bad investments, usually because they hear words like “length” “potential” “wingspan” and get so excited they forget to consider professional athletes are greater the sort of Frankenstein’s monster rundown of their attributes that we often describe them as. So players get quickly overvalued, overhyped, and whether the player buys into it or not doesn’t matter because the owners and agents are now entering their area of expertice turning a player’s value (be it an accurate assesment of such or not, into a clear contract as far as how to put it to use. Of course both sides can spin their words to make bad ideas sound more favorable, but that is part of haggling and compromise. This, to me, is all business. At least players are still out their playing their asses off to keep us (and probably themselves, close to something they do out of love to have for a career. Values get overinflated in the stock market all the time. Nobody would allow a rich man special provisions under which he could have a trade back if found out months or years later that one or more of the risks he took didnt pan out. It’s always a risk. Essentially the owners here are begging the nba to step in and protect them from their own stupidity, People will pay to watch Kobe and Lebron play anywhere, and if the nba as an is so disinterested in its product maybe it will just fizzle out. Or better yet, usher in a new era of owners whose goals are to continue the magic, drama, and excitement of nba basketball. Right now i feel like as a paying nba fan I’m putting out chunks of the cash that owners need to play on in their exclusive, private stock market where they get to make all the rules

  • CubicleWorker

    Jukai… your proposal is basically what the owners have proposed… if the players offered that today we’d be having free agent signings tomorrow

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