The increasing reports of NBA players departing overseas makes me nervous… not that I believe most of them. It’s posturing and gamesmanship; I see your bet and raise you 53% revenue share and a soft cap.
Players are saying they are strongly considering the move, as if their thoughts were driven by a metronome; every other day we get a new announcement. Deron Williams. Dwight Howard. Kobe Bryant. It’s an epidemic. And the job openings seem to be endless. Chris Quinn to Russia, ZaZa Paculia to Greece, Moochie Norris and Cuttino Mobley are getting back together and forming a backcourt in Korea.
The players hope the owners start thinking, churning. These guys can get through a lockout comfortably, while we sweat our basketballs off, losing revenue, laying off staff, losing goodwill with fans, etc…
It’s a game, a negotiation. Hey, the players are not breaking any rules of negotiation. My hat is off to Mr. Billy Hunter. I imagine his assistant coordinates public releases with star player agents to properly spread the “announcements” to maximize media coverage. “Tell Dwight, don’t tweet his thoughts on playing for China till Thursday.” It’s shrewd, effective and every NBA fans worst nightmare, especially if you live in a small market.
Ultimately, though, the flood of stories of star players signing overseas is a symptom of negotiations gone sour; positional, rights-based, a scrum for the largest slice of the revenue pie. No talk about what’s best for “us”, or the league. How to grow the pie? It’s a kind of trench warfare. What does it all point to?
Who knows? There’s still plenty of time before training camp. Reportedly, staff members of each side are gathering to strategize some new round of negotiation. Man, talk about the dog days of summer.