NBA Overpaying Players: What Was the Point of the Lockout?
Remember when NBA owners and players were embroiled in a savage lockout because the owners thought the players were getting paid too much, and finally, after months of deliberation, the two sides ultimately came to a solution?
Well, based on some of the contracts that have been handed out thus far during the 2012 offseason, I think it's safe to say that that "solution" wasn't really much of a solution at all.
The owners played hardball during the entire lockout, adamant on the fact that the players' contracts were becoming too rich. Then, you see guys like Ryan Anderson getting four-year, $36 million deals and Omer Asik getting signed to three-year, $25.1 million offer sheets.
That raises the question: what exactly was the point of the lockout?
To be perfectly honest, the players are making the owners look silly. They are still absorbing whatever amount of cash is in their wallets and laughing all the way to the bank. The funniest thing about all of this? The owners technically have the power in free agency.
Think about it. If all of the front offices wait the players out and don't give them the money they want, then the players will be forced to accept lesser deals. Either that, or they don't get paid at all. But, for some reason, owners and general managers are so eager to hand out ridiculous contracts to undeserving players, and I don't get it at all.
Asik is a prime example. Yes, he is a great defensive big man, but the guy averaged 3.1 points and 5.3 rebounds per game last season. He also only played 14.7 minutes a contest. So, you're going to give a guy who has never even played 15 minutes a game during the regular season a deal that big? Not only that, but in the final year of that three-year pact, Asik will be making $15 million. What?
One has to really wonder what Houston Rockets' general manager Daryl Morey was thinking when he decided to come up with that offer, but it's not just Morey and the Rockets: what about the Minnesota Timberwolves inking Nicolas Batum to a four-year, $46 million offer sheet? Batum is a nice player, but he isn't that nice, and I'm not sure if he ever will be.
For comparison's sake, let's take a look at one of the rather good deals of the offseason thus far. The Boston Celtics gave Kevin Garnett a three-year, $34 million deal. Put that into perspective: Batum got four years and $46 million while K.G. got three years and $34 million. Per year, Batum will be making more. Now I understand that Garnett is not the Garnett of old, but still, he is a much, much, much more impactful player than Batum, and yet, Batum will be getting paid more.
Anderson's contract that he received from the New Orleans Hornets in a sign-and-trade deal may very well have been the worst of them all. Anderson put up solid numbers with the Orlando Magic during the regular season this past year, averaging 16.1 points and 7.7 rebounds per game. However, that was with Dwight Howard on the floor. Now, let's look at Anderson's playoff numbers, when Howard wasn't playing: 9.6 points and 4.6 rebounds per game, and he shot an abysmal 34 percent from the floor.
You're telling me that Anderson is worth $36 million to the Hornets, a team that can ill afford to make any mistakes right now? Well, count that as mistake number one, as I don't envision Anderson getting the same kind of looks from beyond the arc that he got with the Magic. It is an entirely different system, one that doesn't have Howard patrolling the middle.
I'm sorry, but the owners are making themselves look like absolute fools right now. They pushed and pushed and pushed last offseason, and look where they are now: handing out monster deals to guys who probably should be making half of said deals.
Do I understand the owners' beef with thinking the players are getting paid too much? Absolutely, but hey, it's hard to take them seriously when they are the ones handing out the contracts.
So, the next time the NBA goes into a lockout (and based on this offseason, I'm guessing it will be soon) and you want to side with the owners, think about what happened during the summer months of 2012. Then maybe you will realize that the owners were just being senseless from the beginning.
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