This morning, ESPN The Magazine published an interview with new NBPA executive director Michele Roberts, in which she laid out why NBA owners aren't worth shit to the league, and are functionally the most replaceable bodies. This afternoon, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver issued a statement comprising shifty accounting and brazen non-sequitur. It's NBA lockout season, everyone!
Here's the full statement from Silver:
"We couldn't disagree more with these statements. 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. Nor is there anything unusual or "un-American" in a unionized industry to have a collective system for paying employees – in fact, that's the norm.
"The Salary Cap system, which splits revenues between team owners and players and has been agreed upon by the NBA and the Players Association since 1982, has served as a foundation for the growth of the league and has enabled NBA players to become the highest paid professional athletes in the world. We will address all of these topics and others with the Players Association at the appropriate time."
Let's start with the highest paid athletes note on the back end first. Strictly speaking, that's true (sure LeBron wouldn't crack the top 25 MLB salaries, but whatever), but only in the way it's true to say that Floyd Mayweather is the lowest paid major American sports team. Basketball has an inherently smaller roster than other sports, and salary pools are typically agnostic to the number of employees when they're pegged to overall revenue shares. So this point doesn't really matter.
But at least it's feinting at having something to say, unlike the section above, completely devoid of any actual meaning. Nowhere in there does it name anything that Jerry Reinsdorf or Clay Bennett or James Dolan or any other shithead bring to the enterprise of putting on successful NBA basketball programs other than being offensively wealthy—a quality they share with many other offensively wealthy shitheads who would he happy to own and operate an NBA team, as is demonstrated every time a franchise comes up for sale.
Implicitly, Silver is making a case that the infrastructure that's been built by the league over the past several decades is where the value lies—You didn't build that, to crib the man—but this is even more specious since so many of the owners around now had so little to do with growing that infrastructure, or with growing it now.
So in summary, Michele Roberts says, We're about to do this. And Silver replies, Literally nothing you say matters, we are going to crush you in 2017.
We'll miss basketball.