Players Ready to Lower Share of Basketball-Related-Income to 52%?

by October 18, 2011

NBA players and their reps have insisted that they will not go any lower than 53% on the split of the BRI (down from their previous share of 57%), but according to CBS Sports, they may be prepared to come down yet another percentage point: “As we can all hear deputy commissioner Adam Silver saying in our sleep, the NBA came into this negotiation with two goals in mind: to create a system in which all 30 teams can compete for a championship and, if well managed, have the opportunity to make a profit. With the National Basketball Players Association having agreed to reduce its share of BRI to 53 percent from 57 percent, the owners already have achieved the lion’s share of their economic goal. Based on the infamous letter that seven super agents sent to their clients recently — and corroborating information from multiple sources — the players appear prepared to go as low as 52 percent. Such a percentage would represent a transfer of $1.3 billion from players to owners over a six-year deal — more than $200 million of the $300 million the league says it is losing on an annual basis. But the owners remain committed to addressing not only their aggregate losses, but also a system that they believe is tilted too much in favor of big-market, big-spending teams. Initially, they wanted an NFL-style hard salary cap; the players rejected it. They shifted gears to an NHL-style flex cap, with a spending band for each team; the players rejected it and suggested a more punitive luxury tax instead. So the owners obliged, proposing an increase in the dollar-for-dollar tax to $1.75 for the first $5 million over the tax threshold, with 50 cents added for each subsequent $5 million. Under such a system, the Lakers — with a $90.4 million payroll — would’ve paid $50 million in tax as opposed to $20 million under the old system. The problem is, neither the Lakers nor anybody else would pay such an exorbitant amount. In other words, assuming Jerry Buss was willing to pay not a penny more than the $110 million he spent last season in payroll and taxes, the Lakers’ payroll would need to be reduced to $80 million to avoid exceeding that expenditure. So basically, Derek Fisher — the union president himself — would no longer be a Laker.”