Lines are being drawn by the two sides of what is setting up to be a contentious negotiating session between players and owners who contend avoiding a work stoppage in 2016 is a must.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver said he would like a harder salary cap but is willing to hear the argument from players who want to eliminate the maximum contract threshold.
The response from NBA players’ union executive director Michele Roberts is not just pushing for change — the renowned trial lawyer intends to steer the league’s power back to the players.
“Why don’t we have the owners play half the games? There would be no money if not for the players,” Roberts told ESPN The Magazine. “Let’s call it what it is. There. Would. Be. No. Money,” she added, pausing for emphasis. “Thirty more owners can come in, and nothing will change. These guys [the players] go? The game will change. So let’s stop pretending.”
“I can’t understand why the (players’ association) would be interested in suppressing salaries at the top if we know that as salaries at the top have grown, so have salaries at the bottom,” she said. “If that’s the case, I contend that there is no reason in the world why the union should embrace salary caps or any effort to place a barrier on the amount of money that marquee players can make.”
“We couldn’t disagree more with these statements,” Silver said in a statement in response. “The NBA’s success is based on the collective efforts and investments of all of the team owners, the thousands of employees at our teams and arenas, and our extraordinarily talented players. No single group could accomplish this on its own.”
–The Phoenix Suns announced they assigned point guard Tyler Ennis, the 14th overall pick in this year’s draft, and forward T.J. Warren, the 18th overall selection in that draft, to the Bakersfield Jam of the NBA’s D-League.
–Los Angeles Lakers guard Ronnie Price will serve a one-game NBA suspension Friday for hitting New Orleans Pelicans guard Austin Rivers on the side of the head with his right forearm as Rivers elevated for a layup.
–For the first time, the fans’ NBA All-Star ballot will feature all players, the league announced.
Previously, a panel of media members determined a list of 60 players from each conference that would be put on the ballot used by fans to select the All-Star starters.
—Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin faces a Dec. 8 arraignment in Las Vegas on a misdemeanor battery charge resulting from an altercation with a man at a nightclub in October.
“I’m really not allowed to speak on that,” Griffin said Thursday, according to ESPN.com. “But I’m very confident in the situation so once I can [speak on it], I will.”
–Philadelphia 76ers point guard Michael Carter-Williams, last season’s rookie of the year, was scheduled to make his season debut Thursday night against Dallas after missing the first seven games following offseason shoulder surgery.
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