The NBA’s new 9-year, $24 billion television deal will almost triple the league’s annual TV revenue.
But players feel they’re not getting a fair slice of the pie after the recent revenue increase. LeBron James and Deron Williams recently weighed in about it on Monday, and Kevin Durant and Kobe Bryant shared their thoughts on Tuesday.
Durant specifically ripped max contracts, and said players aren’t being paid what they’re worth in terms of the amount of revenue they can generate.
Kevin Durant on the idea of doing away with max deals: “A lot of these guys are worth more than they’re making.”
— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) October 7, 2014
Bryant focused on discussing how the revenue is being divided up.
Players are “encouraged” per new CBA to take less to win or risk being called selfish+ungrateful while nbatv deal goes UP by a BILLION #biz
— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) October 7, 2014
And they’re not the only ones to come out, as James was one of the first to voice his opinion. He spoke about getting a fair shake from the owners on Monday (via The New York Times).
“The whole thing that went on with the negotiation process was that the owners were telling us that they were losing money,” James said. “There is no way they can sit in front of us and tell us that right now.”
It’s hard to see the owners budging on this issue in the near future. But in 2017, players will have some leverage, as they (or owners) can opt out of the current collective bargaining agreement to renegotiate how to divide up the revenue. Deron Williams recently spoke about what could happen at that time, and he did not hold back.
Was trying to ask Deron if he was looking forward to market after new TV deal and he said: “To what, a potential lockout? Nah not really.” — Rod Boone (@rodboone) October 6, 2014
The players do have a point. At the end of the day, they’re the ones that inspire fans to buy tickets and merchandise—often pushing their bodies to the limit during brutal stretches and arduous road trips. Durant elaborated on that point (via The Oklahoman’s Anthony Slater).
“Look at it like this,” Durant explained. “Kobe Bryant brings in a lot of money to Los Angeles, that downtown area. People go to watch the Lakers. Clippers are getting up there, Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and those guys are bringing in a lot of money as well. Look at Cleveland, look at Miami when LeBron was there. These guys are worth more than what they are making because of the amount of money they bring to that area. That’s a conversation you can always have, but until it’s changed you never know what will happen to it.”
This impasse isn’t going away anytime soon. It’s highly unlikely that the owners will do away with max contracts. And the players are seeking more money after the recent revenue increase.