It seemed pretty obvious yesterday that Draymond Green’s vague, frustrated tweets, which coincided with news that the NBA and the NBPA had agreed to a new collective bargaining agreement, were criticisms of the deal. The Golden State Warriors forward confirmed as much today when he went on a long diatribe against the CBA.
The Mercury News has the full transcript of the 10 minutes that Green spent addressing his concerns with the CBA after practice. Green clarified that he wasn’t angry about his own salary and understood how fortunate every NBA player is to make a living playing basketball, but he still felt that the players making smaller salaries were getting screwed, and should be the ones the more established players look out for. An excerpt from the Q&A:
Sounded like you weren’t pleased with the new labor deal.
“I’m not. For several reasons. It’s not about me. I am by no means mad about my salary. I’m blessed. I get to play the game I love for a living and make a lot of money doing it. So to sit here and act like I’m mad at what I make, it’s not about me. That’s not what I’m mad about. When I look at these things, I look at a guy like Ian Clark or a James Michael McAdoo, the other guys and yet we’re all fortunate. At the minimum, we’re making, what, $600,000 to play basketball. I’m not going to sit here and act like I’m pissed off that anyone is making that because that’s less than 2 percent of America making that. We’re all blessed. But when you sit and look at the circumstances about how much money is involved in this league, in terms of that, I’m upset. It’s not about, like I said, where my status is at as an All-Star. You’ll be taken care of. As a superstar in this league, you’ll be taken care of. It’s not about us, it’s more so about the guys who aren’t on that level. When I look at my career, I didn’t expect to be at this level I’m at now. I kind of identify with those guys who haven’t made it to the level I’ve been fortunate enough to make it to. So when I think of contract negotiations in the CBA, I think about them, how can we help them. How can we help the guys who aren’t making as much make more? I left money on the table. So it’s not a matter of me making money. If I can’t live the rest of my life off my contract, that’s my fault. That’s nobody else’s fault. It’s not about me being mad for me. It’s about me being frustrated for other guys. When we go in these negotiations, guys are overlooked.”
As Green explained, the plight of the minimum salary player hits particularly close to home for him. Green, a four-year college player drafted in the second round, likely never expected that he would develop into the All-Star he is today. It’s easier to keep the minimum salary players in mind when you thought you’d have a career as a minimum salary player yourself.
Green is spot-on with his criticism, even if he acknowledges that he hasn’t really dug into the specifics of the language yet. It doesn’t matter that $600,000 per year is a hell of a lot of money to the average American, a point of view that might make the players look like whiners by wanting a higher salary floor. What matters is how much money the NBA itself is taking in, how much of that is going to the labor that creates the product, and how that money is distributed among the workers. With the enormous amount of money flowing into the league today, it’s not at all ridiculous to consider $600,000 a year inadequate compensation.
Still, the players’ union is currently led by the biggest names in the league. Chris Paul is president, LeBron James is vice president, and Steph Curry and Andre Iguodala are the Warriors’ reps on the executive committee. The early evidence shows that the new CBA is slanted in favor of those kinds of players at the top of the food chain.
Whether the rest of the league’s players are okay with that is a matter to be settled now, before the agreement is put to a vote. Green, for one, is not.