NBPA, owners are 'way further apart' than NFL, Tolliver says
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On a day where the NFL players' union decertified, sending the labor dispute to the court room, Minnesota Timberwolves' player representative Anthony Tolliver didn't have encouraging words for NBA fans regarding a potential lockout.
(The NFL) aren't that far apart compared to us," Tolliver said before Friday's 122-101 victory over hte Utah Jazz. "So I was really surprised that they didn't figure something out by now but we will see how the next steps go and hopefully we'll learn from what they're doing."
The NBA collective bargaining agreement is set to expire June 30th 2011 and a work stoppage is almost a foregone conclusion at this point.
"We are way farther apart (than the NFL). So it's not very encouraging. At the end of the day I think that we'll make some sacrifices as long as they are willing to make some sacrifices."
The dispute between NBA owners and the NBPA -- much like the NFL -- is allocation of money. The owners believe the current CBA is severely flawed and needs to a massive overhaul. The players, on the other hand, think the current system just needs to bet tweaked.
The owners and players association are said to be far apart on a myriad of issues, including a hard salary cap, revenue sharing, adopting an NFL-like franchise tag etc.
Tolliver says he plans on getting an update from NBPA vice president and Milwaukee Buck Keyon Dooling soon but says the option of decertifying has already been talked about.
"It's something that is looming," he said. "It's something that's been talked about. But it's not like we are for sure doing it, it's just something that is an option. We've taken the necessary steps to make it to where if it does come down to that, it's a quick transition. We don't have to do too much but make it happen."
Tolliver says the players association has been prepping players as if a lockout is a certainty. A handbook has been distributed to players about how to be smart with their money in the event that the checks stop coming in. Essentially, it is advising players to avoid the lavish lifestyle that comes to mind when people think of the NBA.
"As players, we just assume there is going to be a lockout," Tolliver said. "That's just what you kind of have to do. That's what we have to do. Assume there is going to be a lockout because, if there isn't, great, you still get a paycheck and everything else. But just assume there is going to be one so you'll be prepared for it."
A potential silver lining for the impending labor dispute is that June is still a ways off and the players will have the benefit of watching how the things play out for the NFLPA.
"That's why I am trying to follow (the NFL situation) and learn from it as much as I can personally. Just see kind of how things go and how see how quickly they resolve things and maybe it will give us an idea of how ours idea is going to go. Hopefully ours is smoother, that'd be nice," Tolliver said.
"Just hard to tell from this far out."