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Thread: Jermaine O'Neal on NBA labor impasse: We want to make a deal

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    Default Jermaine O'Neal on NBA labor impasse: We want to make a deal

    http://www.usatoday.com/sports/baske...out/50409536/1

    With the NBA and the players union failing to make significant progress in labor talks this week, Boston Celtics center Jermaine O'Neal addressed the shortcomings in the owners' proposal and how fans likely see it as a millionaires-vs.-billionaires dispute. O'Neal, playing in the player-organized, two-week Impact Basketball Competitive Training Series in Las Vegas, spoke with USA TODAY NBA reporter J. Michael Falgoust:
    By Nathaniel S. Butler, NBAE/Getty Images

    Celtics center Jermaine O'Neal says of the NBA owners' proposal, "You put in a system where every team profits? There's no business structure in the world like that.



    Celtics center Jermaine O'Neal says of the NBA owners' proposal, "You put in a system where every team profits? There's no business structure in the world like that."


    Are you upset or surprised by what has taken place the last 24 hours?

    We want to make the best decision for ourselves and the business of basketball. A guy like myself, going into his 16th year, who's been in love with basketball since I was 8, you want to see development of the brand. You want to see it grow globally. At the same time, you want it to be fair. I feel bad for the families out there that support our league, that are barely making ends meet but find a way to come to our games. It's a terrible time for any sports league to be negotiating millions and billions of dollars.

    So why isn't there a compromise?

    We understand there should be some adjustments based off the economic structure of not only our country, but the world. We're willing to do that. To the severity of what the owners are asking, there's no way as a union we can do that.

    What's so unrealistic about the owners' proposal?

    You put in a system where every team profits? There's no business structure in the world like that. You can't hold players hostage for decisions that have been made in the past. We hear that a lot from the league, "Guys aren't living up to the contracts." What do you do? Basketball is no different than any other workplace. You get guys that perform. You get guys that overperform. You get guys that go under, whether for injuries or whatever. It's just one of those things.

    Aside from the hard salary cap, you believe the lack of revenue sharing among owners is a major stumbling block?

    Their debate is that teams are losing money. If you profit-share, the top-market teams, they're going to pack the house, they have the highest ticket sales. I don't understand your concerns if you're telling us and the general public that you're concerned about some of the lower-tier markets that are not profitable. Then just profit-share.

    So you think the owners' proposal seeks to eliminate the "middle class" in the NBA?

    It's bad timing overall. Every player wants to be playing. If the owners are going to just sit on the deal they're proposing, then there's just no way. Taking out the mid-level (exception to the salary cap) is going to ruin our game. It's going to individualize our game so much. Basketball is based off a system. Everybody is given a role in the game. It's not just everybody running up and down. We have some really good mid-level players in our league, borderline All-Star players. If you're going to say, basically, we're going to roll back salaries and we're going to give two of the top players on the team the top deals and take out the mid-tier and let everybody else fend for the $1 million, $2 million, $3 million (shakes his head). Doing that is going to make guys go for their own. It really is.

    Are owners' claims about bad attendance in some markets legitimate?

    Teams that aren't winning aren't going to have the best attendance. That's where profit-sharing comes into place. Then you don't have all those issues with that. If people running teams don't make bad decisions, we won't be talking about bad deals.

    How much different is this lockout from the one in 1998?

    As good as (Commissioner) David Stern is, and he's really good, he's done a great job on branding the game. As owners, you got to put your ear to the product. You've got to listen to the product a little bit. I'm not talking individually. I'm talking about a body of players. We couldn't be any stronger than we are now. You look at where we were in '98. I was young; I was only two years in. I went to every meeting and it wasn't like this. Guys are very interested in what's going on. Guys feel very strong about our stance. We want to make a deal. But we can't do the deal that's being proposed right now. It's just not fair.

    We're more educated about it. The union did a good job positioning us last season to the point we knew what was going to happen. Guys did a good job positioning themselves economically. You hear all the conversation. You see more text messages, more phone calls, more unity right now. Nobody wants to be on strike. It took us a long time to recover from the last strike. We had to win the love back. We had to get out in the communities and damn near knock on doors to get them back out there. We're just coming off the best season of all time, and for us to even be talking about stoppage (is crazy).

    Whatever deal is reached, you won't be around for most of it. What's your personal stake in this?

    I'm probably in the last year of my career. I'm more concerned about the young guys, the future of the NBA players that's going to carry the league. My 5-year-old son loves basketball. I'm more concerned about the development of our brand. I'm always going to be alumnus of the league. You're in a difficult situation, but as a player, you've got to stand strong. We are the product. We just want to be fair. We're not asking for more money.

    So the current impasse is a bridge that must be crossed before any real progress can be made?

    I spoke to my agent (Monday), so we had an idea of what was going on. Somebody from the union was in the gym early (Tuesday) talking about it. It's just sad that we even look at President Obama fighting to put in a bill for people to get jobs, and there are people out here who are not going to understand this, not understand the NBA is not playing because of millions and billions of dollars. I have family that's barely living, working 9 to 5 and working hard as hell every day. As a fan, not as a player, I want both parties to be fair. Let's just resolve it and let's talk real negotiation. We're going to stand strong. The NFL (owners) did a great job. They set the tone on how you should negotiate. They were proactive about it. The (NBA) owners only met with us twice in two months. If you're sincere about getting a deal done, twice in two months is a long time doing nothing.
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    Default Re: Jermaine O'Neal on NBA labor impasse: We want to make a deal

    "Dominating" interview from JO, as usual.

    If only the NBA situation were like the NFL, where players don't have long term fully guaranteed contracts like JO regardless of their ability to perform. If only the NBA had just come through one of its best ever season from a financial perspective like the NFL had. If only the NBA faced a situation where the worst outcome for both the players and the owners is to have a long lockout.

    Oh, and JO, why didn't you voluntarily share some of your $22 million salary during each year you were injured so that the rest of your teammates could have a better life while producing what you should have been? Profit sharing is no different than that. Better yet, why don't you refund the majority of your salaries for your injured years to the Pacers and the rest of the teams who held your onerous contract despite your inability to perform?

    Yep, JO, why can't the NBA follow the lead of the NFL? Look in the mirror.

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    Default Re: Jermaine O'Neal on NBA labor impasse: We want to make a deal

    I am not bashing you bro , but why so angry at JO?

    For a guy who was a highschool graduate and extreemly young (17) enetering the league and you have not heard one peep of trouble form him throughout his 16 year career (not the brawl, that was sporadic)

    I think he has become a very well spoken and intelligent man

    I also remember him resigning with the Pacers over the Spurs

    and it was just a one on one interview with JO and the USA Today

    again though I am not picking a battle with you fam, just voicing my opinion
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    Default Re: Jermaine O'Neal on NBA labor impasse: We want to make a deal

    Loved this:

    What's so unrealistic about the owners' proposal?

    You put in a system where every team profits? There's no business structure in the world like that. You can't hold players hostage for decisions that have been made in the past.
    JO was always a class act and he continues to be one of my favorite players.

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    Default Re: Jermaine O'Neal on NBA labor impasse: We want to make a deal

    Basketball is no different than any other workplace. You get guys that perform. You get guys that overperform. You get guys that go under, whether for injuries or whatever. It's just one of those things.

    Except for one minor detail, you guys have guaranteed contracts, most work places do not have guaranteed contracts, therefore if you sign a huge deal and don't perform (*cough*Jermaine*cough*) you are looking for new work. Really not that hard to understand.


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    Default Re: Jermaine O'Neal on NBA labor impasse: We want to make a deal

    Quote Originally Posted by TheDanimal View Post
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    Basketball is no different than any other workplace. You get guys that perform. You get guys that overperform. You get guys that go under, whether for injuries or whatever. It's just one of those things.

    Except for one minor detail, you guys have guaranteed contracts, most work places do not have guaranteed contracts, therefore if you sign a huge deal and don't perform (*cough*Jermaine*cough*) you are looking for new work. Really not that hard to understand.
    Most entertainment industries, though, do have pay or play contracts for the top level workers. And as much as people hate to admit it the NBA is in the entertainment industry.

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    Default Re: Jermaine O'Neal on NBA labor impasse: We want to make a deal

    Quote Originally Posted by 90'sNBARocked View Post
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    I also remember him resigning with the Pacers over the Spurs
    Apparently only to stay with Zeke (and a ton of $$$). He said that he would've signed with SA if he would have known Thomas wasn't going to be here.

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    Default Re: Jermaine O'Neal on NBA labor impasse: We want to make a deal

    Quote Originally Posted by King Tuts Tomb View Post
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    Loved this:



    JO was always a class act and he continues to be one of my favorite players.
    ...and there are not many businesses that stay viable after losing money year after year.

    The reality is, the NBA depends on more than a few teams to stay viable. Boston, LA, New York and Chicago are all fine clubs, but they can't do it alone. It's also a much less interesting league because only a handful of teams have won championships in its history. This is just one reason the NFL is a better structured league.

    As I've said before, owners have no incentive to participate in a league where they don't profit nor do they control the product. That's the issue that needs to be resolved.

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    Default Re: Jermaine O'Neal on NBA labor impasse: We want to make a deal

    Quote Originally Posted by King Tuts Tomb View Post
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    Most entertainment industries, though, do have pay or play contracts for the top level workers. And as much as people hate to admit it the NBA is in the entertainment industry.
    It is not exactly the same. A performer doesn't need other "entertainers" to work his or her craft. Nor do they need a CBA and a union. They have their own independent contracts and their own marketing and management staffs. Also, nothing is guaranteed except a single performance usually. If a singer loses her voice, she isn't going to get more deals unless she has a Vegas contract in place. JO should thank God he is not a real entertainer.

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    Default Re: Jermaine O'Neal on NBA labor impasse: We want to make a deal

    BTW, the NBA as a whole has no guarantee of profiting in any one year. So, JO's statement isn't true.

    Also, the teams raking in the dough, if they were truly independent, would just tell the other franchises to take a hike. The fact is, they are dependent based on the business structure and the product. As a result, this is an example of a good business move by small market teams who happen to be in power because there are more of them and they have much less to lose by the league shutting down.

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    Default Re: Jermaine O'Neal on NBA labor impasse: We want to make a deal

    "You put in a system where every team profits? There's no business structure in the world like that. You can't hold players hostage for decisions that have been made in the past. We hear that a lot from the league, "Guys aren't living up to the contracts." What do you do? Basketball is no different than any other workplace. You get guys that perform. You get guys that overperform. You get guys that go under, whether for injuries or whatever. It's just one of those things."

    While no business is guaranteed a profit they do have control over their #1 expense which is payroll.
    When almost any other business loses sales and profits they reduce expenses. It's sad, but necessary to reduce payroll by laying off employees or cutting salaries to remain profitable and stay in business. My business lost sales and profits when the recession hit. If we didn't reduce expenses then we wouldn't be here today and would have gone the way of so many other unprofitable business over the past few years. The NBA can't do this with guaranteed contracts, a guaranteed split of the bri, and a guaranteed # of players on each team even if the business loses money.

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    Default Re: Jermaine O'Neal on NBA labor impasse: We want to make a deal

    Quote Originally Posted by BlueNGold View Post
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    It is not exactly the same. A performer doesn't need other "entertainers" to work his or her craft. Nor do they need a CBA and a union. They have their own independent contracts and their own marketing and management staffs. Also, nothing is guaranteed except a single performance usually. If a singer loses her voice, she isn't going to get more deals unless she has a Vegas contract in place. JO should thank God he is not a real entertainer.
    If you're a writer, actor, director or technician on a film or TV set then you're most definitely in a union with a CBA.

    NBA teams run a business with a significant risk of injury (from the work they're doing) as well as a high degree of uncertainty when it comes to player potential and effectiveness. If they don't want to pay injured or under-performing players then don't buy a franchise.

    BTW, the NBA as a whole has no guarantee of profiting in any one year. So, JO's statement isn't true.
    No business has a guaranteed profit every year.
    Last edited by King Tuts Tomb; 09-15-2011 at 08:12 PM.

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    Default Re: Jermaine O'Neal on NBA labor impasse: We want to make a deal

    Quote Originally Posted by Pacerized View Post
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    While no business is guaranteed a profit they do have control over their #1 expense which is payroll.
    When almost any other business loses sales and profits they reduce expenses. It's sad, but necessary to reduce payroll by laying off employees or cutting salaries to remain profitable and stay in business. My business lost sales and profits when the recession hit. If we didn't reduce expenses then we wouldn't be here today and would have gone the way of so many other unprofitable business over the past few years. The NBA can't do this with guaranteed contracts, a guaranteed split of the bri, and a guaranteed # of players on each team even if the business loses money.
    NBA teams can very easily cut payroll by trading players or negotiating buy-outs.

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    Default Re: Jermaine O'Neal on NBA labor impasse: We want to make a deal

    Quote Originally Posted by King Tuts Tomb View Post
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    NBA teams can very easily cut payroll by trading players or negotiating buy-outs.
    Not easily, and it's not even close to being the same. Any other business can cut their worst employees. An nba team can only give away an all star if they want to reduce payroll. If it were easy we would have cut some serious payroll with Dun, TJ, Tinsley, ect. over the past few years.
    If any other business let's an employee go they don't have to buy them out for 90% of what they make for the next 4 years.
    Just because it's been this way in the prior cba doesn't mean it's right or that it has to be that way.

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    Default Re: Jermaine O'Neal on NBA labor impasse: We want to make a deal

    Quote Originally Posted by King Tuts Tomb View Post
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    If you're a writer, actor, director or technician on a film or TV set then you're most definitely in a union with a CBA.
    Writers, directors and technicians are back stage participants, hardly comparable to an entertainer. If you want to go that far, the janitor at a casino is in the entertainment business. It simply doesn't compare to what we were discussing.

    Yes, actors are in a union...but that doesn't answer any of my other distinctions.

    Quote Originally Posted by King Tuts Tomb View Post
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    NBA teams run a business with a significant risk of injury (from the work they're doing) as well as a high degree of uncertainty when it comes to player potential and effectiveness. If they don't want to pay injured or under-performing players then don't buy a franchise.
    Many businesses have a significant risk of injury. The NBA is not particularly special. All of them have a high degree of uncertainty regarding effectiveness of a particular worker as well. In fact, the certainty that an NBA player will perform well or not is probably more, not less foreseeable.

    In any event, if the small market owners don't want to pay injured or under-performing players they need to adjust the CBA and force that issue if they need to do it.

    [/QUOTE]

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    Default Re: Jermaine O'Neal on NBA labor impasse: We want to make a deal

    "It's bad timing overall. Every player wants to be playing. If the owners are going to just sit on the deal they're proposing, then there's just no way. Taking out the mid-level (exception to the salary cap) is going to ruin our game. It's going to individualize our game so much. Basketball is based off a system. Everybody is given a role in the game. It's not just everybody running up and down. We have some really good mid-level players in our league, borderline All-Star players. If you're going to say, basically, we're going to roll back salaries and we're going to give two of the top players on the team the top deals and take out the mid-tier and let everybody else fend for the $1 million, $2 million, $3 million (shakes his head). … Doing that is going to make guys go for their own. It really is."

    What world is Jermaine living in? EVERYONE goes for their own already. Not just players but in every part of life.

    Basketball is already the most individualized game out there. I'm not buying that taking out the mid level exception will ruin the game. It will just make some guys play for less.

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    Default Re: Jermaine O'Neal on NBA labor impasse: We want to make a deal

    If JO wants to use the business analogy then guaranteed contracts have no place in the NBA. Revenue sharing is certainly important to all the teams but also is total payroll.
    Somewhere in those two areas is where the product can flourish.
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    Default Re: Jermaine O'Neal on NBA labor impasse: We want to make a deal

    Quote Originally Posted by Young View Post
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    "It's bad timing overall. Every owner wants a chance to compete. If the players will not accept a deal that leads to a competitive league with a reasonable revenue structure, then there's just no way. Allowing the large markets to have all the profits is going to ruin the game. It's going to individualize our game so much. Basketball is based off a system. Every team should have a role in the game...and not one that has no chance for a championship. It's not right that small markets take all the losses and only the big markets get the best players and all the profits and championships."
    Fixed.

    BTW, I wouldn't mind "fending" for 1, 2 or 3 million a year. It's so very sad...

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    Default Re: Jermaine O'Neal on NBA labor impasse: We want to make a deal

    Quote Originally Posted by BlueNGold View Post
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    ...and there are not many businesses that stay viable after losing money year after year.

    The reality is, the NBA depends on more than a few teams to stay viable. Boston, LA, New York and Chicago are all fine clubs, but they can't do it alone. It's also a much less interesting league because only a handful of teams have won championships in its history. This is just one reason the NFL is a better structured league.

    As I've said before, owners have no incentive to participate in a league where they don't profit nor do they control the product. That's the issue that needs to be resolved.
    Great point man,

    parody (sp?) gives fans in all market hope. I remember as a kid thinking "man , will anybody besides the Lakers or Celtics win a title in the 80's"
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