UnNews:Stern discusses ways to stem NBA losses
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14 February 2010
DALLAS, Texas -- David Stern said the National Basketball Association (NBA) will lose $400 million this season and has lost hundreds of millions each previous year of the player agreement. The commissioner said he has shown the union the numbers to demonstrate the need for "significant changes" in the next deal.
Stern's press conference came after a meeting with union executive Billy Hunter that Hunter called "contentious." He said that having owners and the commissioner "plead poor-mouth" just before the start of important labor talks is unprecedented.
Stern said the league has considered several ideas of climbing out of its financial hole. He said the most promising one involves rescinding the season-long suspension of Gil Arenas for having a handgun in the Washington Wizards locker room last December 19. The U.S. Constitution guarantees the right to bear arms and is notably silent about bringing them into the workplace to brandish at a co-worker who owes you money.
"Basketball obviously isn't selling in the capital, but armed robbery might," said Stern. He said the name of the team could be changed back to the Bullets and working pistols could be given out to the first 1,000 fans.
Reducing players' pay is foremost on the NBA agenda as the current contract expires on July 1, 2011. Stern did not disclose details, but a person who saw it told UnNews that rookies would be forced to play for free, and players at the maximum salary would receive some of their pay in shares of the concessions franchise and time during television broadcasts of games, which they would be free to re-sell.
Stern said the NBA could also "create a better value proposition for the fan" through rules changes. "For example, a fifth and sixth 12-minute period would give fans more for their ticket purchase."