Michele Roberts Rumors
Some agents believe Roberts is still determined to opt out of the labor deal, based on her heated rhetoric. But most of the sources who spoke to Bleacher Report believe Roberts is simply sending a message to NBA officials—”I’m no pushover”—and that she recognizes this deal is benefiting her constituents.
Now, James has a seat at the negotiating table. “I can’t speak for LeBron, I think LeBron spoke pretty well for himself. I took him at his word, I take him at his word,” said Michele Roberts, executive director for the players’ union. “It’s a difficult pill to swallow, given all that even the commissioner has said about the health of the game. I can’t speak for what may have motivated that, I assume he was given information, that’s not the information I’ve seen.”
Roberts said James will “bring a certain amount of excitement” to Monday’s meetings. “We all look forward to watching and hearing how he’ll interact with the players,” she said. “This is an important time for the game and it is critical that we have some of our marquee players involved in the discussion.”
Roberts took issue with Silver’s characterization of the players’ compensation as coming out of the league’s gross revenues. “We do not have a gross compensation system,” she said. “The players’ 50 percent share is calculated net of a substantial amount of expenses and deductions.” She also questioned Silver’s assertion that arena renovations and expenses were cutting into the owners’ profits, referring to arenas as “revenue drivers, profit centers and franchise valuation boosters. … Many teams also receive generous arena subsides, loans and other incentives from state and local governments as part of their arena deals.
“Virtually every business metric demonstrates that our business is healthy,” she said. “Gate receipts, merchandise sales and TV ratings are all at an all-time high. Franchise values have risen exponentially in recent years, and the NBA has enjoyed high single-digit revenue growth since 2010-11.”
Two people familiar with league finances project that the players will receive another shortfall check after the 2015-16 season. A shortfall approaching $500 million will exist after the 2016-17 season due to a spike in the salary cap from $70 million to $89 million as a result of the infusion of new TV revenues. The league’s $24 billion, nine-year TV deal came in much higher than the league and union contemplated when they negotiated the 2011 CBA.