Players Union Director: ‘The NBA’s Cries of Poverty Will Not Fly This Time’

by October 31, 2014

Michele Roberts, the NBA Basketball Players Association’s new Executive Director, remains a firebrand and continues to gear up for the inevitable labor war with team owners in 2017.

Roberts, sounding a lot like the players she represents, says she’s not buying commissioner Adam Silver’s recent claim that a third of teams remain unprofitable.

Roberts also has major reservations about Silver’s pitch to artificially lower the future salary cap to incrementally raise payroll spending, given the influx of cash from the NBA’s $24 billion TV media rights deal.

Per Yahoo! Sports:

“I can say that I was more than surprised,” Roberts said. “I am not suggesting that Adam is telling a lie. I am sure that the owners told him that. But it’s difficult for me to believe that, especially after looking at the 2011 CBA negotiations and seeing all the money the players don’t have now. There’s $1.1 billion that the players would’ve been otherwise entitled.


“I find it very difficult to appreciate how any owners could suggest they’re still losing money. It defies common sense. We know what the franchise values are. I don’t have to say ‘$2 billion’ again and again, do I? […] The gate receipts, the media deals. What else do you need to make money? We are not going to reengage in a process where this happens again. The NBA’s cries of poverty will not fly this time.”


“I am suspicious of any proposal where the model is based upon artificial decreases of the compensation that an individual player can negotiate. […] Historically, when salary has gone up for some, it has gone up for all. If you’re not a free agent now, you may be one next year when the salary cap remains high. I have significant concerns over this.”