Jermaine O’Neal Breaks Down The Player’s Perspective On The NBA Lockout

Today in Las Vegas the NBA players union will hold a meeting to catch players up on what happened in Tuesday’s meeting with the NBA. Basically the owners said this deal (the same one they’ve been offering forever which includes a hard cap and no revenue sharing) is all they’re prepaired to offer. The players have offered to give back $300 million and want to keep guarenteed contracts. The owners want $800 million back from players and an end to guaranteed deals.

Celtics center, Jermaine O’Neal did a great job of breaking down the player’s perspective on the issues including a side effect of removing the middle class from the NBA (midlevel excemption)

Check out a few highlights from his interview with USAToday:

What’s so unrealistic about the owners’ proposal?

You put in a system where every team profits? There’s no business structure in the world like that. … You can’t hold players hostage for decisions that have been made in the past. We hear that a lot from the league, “Guys aren’t living up to the contracts.” What do you do? Basketball is no different than any other workplace. You get guys that perform. You get guys that overperform. You get guys that go under, whether for injuries or whatever. It’s just one of those things.

Aside from the hard salary cap, you believe the lack of revenue sharing among owners is a major stumbling block?

Their debate is that teams are losing money. If you profit-share, the top-market teams, they’re going to pack the house, they have the highest ticket sales. I don’t understand your concerns if you’re telling us and the general public that you’re concerned about some of the lower-tier markets that are not profitable. Then just profit-share.

So you think the owners’ proposal seeks to eliminate the “middle class” in the NBA?

It’s bad timing overall. Every player wants to be playing. If the owners are going to just sit on the deal they’re proposing, then there’s just no way. Taking out the mid-level (exception to the salary cap) is going to ruin our game. It’s going to individualize our game so much. Basketball is based off a system. Everybody is given a role in the game. It’s not just everybody running up and down. We have some really good mid-level players in our league, borderline All-Star players. If you’re going to say, basically, we’re going to roll back salaries and we’re going to give two of the top players on the team the top deals and take out the mid-tier and let everybody else fend for the $1 million, $2 million, $3 million (shakes his head). … Doing that is going to make guys go for their own. It really is.

Is this another case of the owners putting themselves in a position to be saved? The 2010-2011 season was incredible, the systems the owners want to put in place as well as being comfortable missing games is a backwards strategy. The owners can’t believe that any product they put on the floor will still keep the $$ rolling in. That only works for Donald Sterling (owner of the Clippers.) Basketball is a global game and the players won’t just sit around and wait for this to work itself out.

Side, I Love that he understands the entire process and what’s at stake for the players and the owners. The union did a fantastic job on educating the players on the entire issue for not only the players but the future members of the NBA.