Former Union Head: NBA Players Should Have Taken Deal

by November 18, 2011

The man who used to have Billy Hunter’s job says that NBA players should give up, on what he considers the fantasy that a better labor deal is forthcoming. Per a Q&A with USA Today: “Charles Grantham was executive director of the National Basketball Players Association from 1988-95, guiding them through record growth until he resigned after a disagreement with the executive board and then-union president Buck Williams. Grantham was part of the union during the signing four collective bargaining agreements since 1980. … So what do you make of the players’ decision to dissolve the union and go the legal route? ‘I certainly think the overall players should’ve had the opportunity to vote on whether or not to proceed. You’ve got the group that disclaimed the union which are the reps and the executive committee, the 200 or so players who are (supposedly) being led by 25 agents and that big middle group we haven’t heard from — the average guy who is risking his salary between $4 and $5 million. I’m perplexed as to how we go from agreeing to 50% ready to move forward and not recognizing that you can’t get more than that no matter what the system says. When you start talking about missing the season, you have to consider a cost-benefit analysis. How much is it going to cost me as a player to get a system change? Is it worth me losing up to 25% of my salary? … They should probably spend more time on what that average salary is and if that average salary growth is guaranteed. … We’ve agreed to 50%. The 50% is still going to allow our average salary to grow to $8 million (over the life of a 10-year deal because of projected 4% growth each year). What it sounds like the NBA is saying is that your 50% in this deal going forward is going to, in real numbers, be more than the 57% you’re receiving in the last deal. The average salary is going to go up every year.’ … Do you view this is as a partnership between players and owners? ‘They are quasi-partners. Where the players get confused, they are not partners. They’re employees. They’re not partners. Theoretically they are partners because they’re sharing revenue and that it can be a partnership in that we’re both trying to promote the game of professional basketball, but (players) make no partnership decisions. (Players) have no input on decisions going forward as a team, or as a league. I help define an agreement between the players and owners which defines how they both make money vis a vis the collective bargaining agreement. Let’s not get this twisted. (Players) don’t sit in the boardroom.'”