NBA Lockout update
by Gerry Brown
The labor impasse that has preempted the NBA's regular season thus far continues to drag on with little sign of abatement. The season, originally scheduled to begin on November 3, will most likely not get underway until January, if at all. Many owners remain resolute in their willingness to cancel the season entirely in order to get a favorable deal.
The players have lost a combined $300 million in salary so far, and for the first time a player has spoken out against the union. Many of the lower-paid and younger players like Washington's Tim Legler are publicly asking whether the leadership of the players' union has their best interests at heart. They wonder if big-time players like Patrick Ewing and Michael Jordan are only interested in protecting their massive contracts, and the precious "Larry Bird exception". This rule allows teams to exceed their salary caps in order to re-sign free agents - something the owners want removed from the new collective bargaining agreement.
"They're the ones who are going to feel it if we sign this deal," Legler told the Washington Post. "That's why the deal is not being signed.
"What this whole thing boils down to is the superstar players don't want to be maxed out on what they get paid individually... We're fighting for stuff only a few guys are going to benefit from." Meanwhile, union leadership has refuted Legler's assertions as uninformed and pointed out that he has been absent from union meetings since the lockout has begun.
Other players have stayed in the news during the hiatus. Karl Malone has been hosting a radio talk show in Los Angeles and has issued and then backed down from a trade demand. Dennis Rodman married former Baywatch and Singled Out beauty Carmen Electra in what was described as a drunken ceremony in Las Vegas. Detroit Pistons center Brian Williams changed his name to Bison Dele.
The owners and players are scheduled to hold a formal bargaining session on Friday, November 20.