The Los Angeles Clippers sold for $2 billion last week to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, a sale that was approved by the league over the weekend. On one hand, it was a positive for the league because—barring a potential court battle with Donald Sterling—it allowed the league to start to turn the page on a controversy that doesn’t need to be extended. The sale price, however, also provided an opportunity for some players around the league to speak out about owners who spent the 2011 lockout crying that teams were losing money.
Ty Lawson of the Denver Nuggets tweeted:
2 billion for the clippers??? Hmm I thought the owners were losing money??? The next collective bargaining agreement is gonna be crazy
Andrew Bogut of the Golden State Warriors added:
Bogut is referring to the original purchase price that Donald Sterling bought the Clippers for. The large price tag that Ballmer paid was partly a product of the quick bidding process. But most NBA franchises are valued at around the $500 million mark, with the past three franchise sales setting new records.
The NBA’s national television deals expires at the end of the 2015-16 season and it’s expected that the $930 million contract will double; With the salary cap number expected to rise, it means the league is doing well. The players are right to express resentment if only because they lost in a huge way in this collective bargaining agreement, going from receiving 57 percent of total revenue to 50 percent. Add to the act that the players union was a mess at the time, and it’s easy to see why some of the players would be frustrated hearing that a franchise was going for $2 billion.
The current collective bargaining agreement allows for either side to opt-out in 2017. If the league continues to thrive, there is the possibility that the players will want to renegotiate their position. Even though the current CBA is working in the owners’ favor at the moment, don’t count out the potential of them wanting even more of the pie in 2017. Stay tuned.
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