The announcement the NBA had reached a new, lucrative television deal with ESPN and Turner Sports means more money for the ever-popular league. And as a result, more money for its players.
But it’s not all high fives and slaps on the backside.
Some players are wary of another lockout now that projections put the salary cap for 2006-17 when LeBron James and Kevin Durant could be free agents at $91.2 million.
“The Walt Disney Company and Turner Broadcasting share responsibility for the growing popularity and interest the NBA enjoys, and we are thrilled to extend our partnerships,” said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver in a statement. “With these new agreements, our fans will continue to benefit from the outstanding NBA coverage and programming provided by ABC, ESPN, TNT, NBA TV and their digital platforms.”
Owners want to control spending on salaries, while players say the new television deal, reportedly worth $24 billion starting in 2016, proves owners cannot cry poor in labor talks in 2017, when talks about a new deal are expected to begin.
“We’re excited and we’re preparing ourselves for a possible lockout again,” said Kings player rep Carl Landry. “Anything is possible, but that (television deal) definitely helps us out.”
Landry is in his first full season representing the Kings. He was John Salmons’ assistant last year, and then Salmons was traded to Toronto.
“I tell my teammates all the time if they have any questions Ill be more than happy to answer them,” Landry said. “And if I can’t I’ll make sure I get an answer for them and report back to them with the proper answer as soon as possible.”
Since the last lockout three teams (Kings, Milwaukee, Los Angeles Clippers) have all sold for massive sums, giving players the notion they deserve their fair share of basketball-related income.
“The new television and media deals are good news for all of the stakeholders in the business of the NBA,” said National Basketball Players Association executive director Michele Roberts in a statement. “Although we have seen strong revenue growth and significant increases in franchise values over the past three years, it is clear that the league is now entering a period of unprecedented revenue growth.
Our job will be to ensure that the players receive their fair share of the results of their efforts and that we do everything possible to maintain the growth and popularity of the game.”
Landry said he’s looking forward to working the union to help the players receive the best possible outcome from labor talks.
Landry said all players need to be educated on the collective bargaining process.
“I’m learning, everything is new to me,” Landry said. “I don’t know everything but i’m excited to represent the Sacramento Kings.”
• Kings coach Michael Malone said he would change his starting lineup for Tuesday’s preseason game against the Toronto Raptors at Sleep Train Arena.