A California appeals court on Monday rejected the National Basketball Players Association’s appeal in former executive director Billy Hunter’s lawsuit against the union, sending the matter back to a lower court where the two sides will battle over the validity of Hunter’s contract, CBS Sports has learned.
Players are making more money than ever, too, despite those concessions. And while more money might create more reasons to fight, the opposite could also be true: It might convince everyone not to mess with a good thing. And there are an increasing number of voices on both sides who believe the latter axiom just might win the day. “The recognition is that this is an embarrassment of riches for both sides, and what’s the point?” said a longtime observer with intimate knowledge of NBA labor relations.
In 2017-18, basketball-related income could exceed $7 billion, with the players earning 51 percent, or $3.57 billion. “You miss a third of the season, you lose a billion dollars,” the longtime observer said. “What are you going to gain? The numbers are just so extraordinarily high.”
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.
SI.com attended the taping of the Players’ Awards, seated at a floor table with two other media members, union staffers and BET public relations executives. For a launch event conceived by a union that hasn’t exactly been known for its competency over the years, The Players’ Awards did surpass expectations on a number of levels.