On Monday, Andre Iguodala was teeing up at the Trump National Golf Club in Philadelphia, playing on behalf of the Stars Within Reach charity.
In speaking to reporters, he teed off on the NBA lockout drama.
“I didn’t think it would be this bad,” Iguodala said, per CSN Philly. “I thought with the season we had and the TV ratings that we had and this being one of the largest grossing revenue season’s in the history of the game, you would think that we would be able to reach an agreement. But we are so far apart.”
Like the recently ended NFL lockout labor mess, the NBA and the NBA Player’s Association have decided to fight their battle in court, which doesn’t sit well with Iguodala.
“I knew it would be similar to football just because I knew both sides were watching,” the seven-year veteran said. “I think the owners jumped the gun early and were just trying to beat us to the punch as far as going to the courts, so we will see what happens. As far as decertifying, there are pros and cons to both. I think we are still weighing our options as players, but it may come to that.
“We are supposed to have a few meetings coming up in a few different cities, with a big one coming up in Los Angeles. We will decide something there I believe.”
The NBAPA is also threatening to decertify as a union, the same way the NFL version did, though nothing has happened officially. It’s an obvious leverage ploy by the players, the same way it was in the NFL. However, in an interesting twist, the NBA will attempt to have all existing contracts voided if the players are allowed to lawfully decertify.
Either way, no one is getting paid if the season is cancelled. Iguodala, who has three years remaining on his existing six-year, $82 million contract, stands to lose substantial cash if there are no games. He will lose $13.5 million if the upcoming season is cancelled. He’s also scheduled to make $14.7 million the following season and $15.9 million the year after that.
It’s unlikely those final two years won’t be paid but the way things are going it’s a good bet that Iguodala will be losing a substantial chunk. One avenue some players are exploring is playing overseas, with Dwyane Wade recently being offered $2 million a month to play in China, but with so much money remaining on his contract, Iguodala may not be willing to expose himself to the liability playing for another league would open him up to.
“You have guys who have three or four years left on their contract, so the liability is really tough,” he said. “It puts you in a tough situation. If you are a guy that has only one or two years left you can do that. But if you are a guy that has a lot of income in the upcoming years, it would be hard to go. I am kind of in that situation and I need to play my cards right.”
If the lockout continues into the season players will find themselves with a lot less spending money but a lot more time on their hands. And just like in the NFL, players like Iguodala are planning to work out together on their own.
“That is very important,” Iguodala said. “I just had Jrue (Holiday) to the house the other day. I went to Lou’s (Williams) camp. I had lunch with Jodie Meeks. I missed Elton (Brand), but I was supposed to meet up with him. We have a good group of guys. That is something we have always had, solid guys with good personalities who would come together, so that won’t be a problem for our team.”
Iguodala seems cautiously optimistic that the NBA lockout at worst will cost only one season.
“I was thinking how weird will it be if we didn’t have a season and there wasn’t a deal done and we were back in the same position next year at this time, and they may go for college guys. You never know,” Iguodala said. “There is a lot at stake. I think the players are doing a good job of staying together so far. Both sides are waiting to see what’s the end point, what’s the split going to be and who’s going to budge first. Hopefully, both sides want to get it done.”
Ultimately, while there have been similarities to the NFL lockout, the NBA owners seem willing and able to fight the players to the end, with a lost seaon an acceptable consequence to getting their way. The NFL owners talked a good game about sacrficing the season, but it always seemed both sides knew a deal would get done at the absolute last minute.
Unfortunately for the NBA players and fans, that’s likely not going to be the case here. Bottom line — this fight is going to go until the owners get their way.
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