NBA commissioner David Stern was making the media tour today as he continued to express confidence that a deal is close that could save the NBA season.
On the day before Stern’s deadline to players on a 50-50 split on basketball-related income, the commissioner made several public comments about his confidence that a deal would be made.
Stern adamantly expressed his confidence to Stephen A. Smith of ESPN New York that a deal eventually will be made. (Hat tip: Sports Radio Interviews.com)
When Smith asked him if the league has prepared for the eventuality of a missed season, Stern expressed forcefully .
“Stern: I refuse to contemplate it or discuss because we are going to make a deal.
“Smith: So you’re confident?
“Stern: Unlike any other deal, if I don’t bid enough for your house you don’t have to sell it to me. Or if you ask too much I don’t have to buy it. Our players, there’s going to be a deal. The only question is how much damage is done to the game and our fans and the people who work in our industry before we make that deal.”
Stern also refuted charges by some players that their group is making all of the concessions in the negotiations with owners.
“I would argue that if I were them also,” Stern said. “But another view on this is by working together with us over the last number of years, 30 years or so, we’ve taken the average player salary from $250,000 to well over $5 million. If we make the changes that are in the owners current proposal we will take a small step back from the $5.5 million average salary to something above five and we will grow it over the life of the proposal to well over $7 million. This at a time when there’s 9 percent unemployment, when all of the risk on this business is on the owners and the five or six thousand other people who help make it.
“We think it’s a very fair accommodation. We’re giving them the benefit really of keeping them pretty close to where they are under a system that is no longer sustainable. If you ask the people at the Ford plants, the GM plants, the other plants that no longer exist and you look at public workers and the cutbacks that are going on, we think that our players deserve to be kept as close as we possibly can to what they’ve earned under the old deal and keep them growing after we take that reset. We think it’s eminently fair and reasonable and we think that when you look around and look at the deals that are being made out there in the public sector, the private sector with give back after give back, being a member of the highest paid union in the world whose wages and compensation continue to rise is not a bad deal.”
How about it Spurs Nation? Do you share the same optimism that Stern has about settling a deal soon?
But more importantly, at this point do you really care?