When NBA owners meet before Saturday’s crucial bargaining session with the National Basketball Player’s Association (NBPA), a group of 10-14 owners, led by Michael Jordan, will take a stand against making collective bargaining agreement (CBA) concessions, according to the New York Times.
Jordan’s group, according to the report, was upset by the league’s offer of a 50/50 basketball-related income split last month and will oppose any deal that would give the NBPA a larger split.
The NBPA, of course, has issues of its own that dovetail with the owners’ infighting—a group of 50 players, including Dwyane Wade and Dwight Howard, are prepared to push for decertification next week, according to multiple reports, if Saturday’s negotiations don’t result in a basketball-related income (BRI) split that would net the players 52.5 percent.
While a majority of owners is believed to support an even split, “there’s no one who’s interested in going above 50 percent,” the Times reported, citing a person who has spoken with the owners.
Owners like Jordan, who owns the Charlotte Bobcats, are seeking to recoup past losses and ensure long-term profitability for their franchises. The Bobcats have long struggled to make money, and Jordan took on a sizable amount of debt when he bought the team for $275 million in 2010.
When Jordan closed the deal, team president and COO Fred Whitfield told ESPN.com that the six-time NBA champ wasn’t interested in running the team at a deficit.
“He doesn’t like losing money. Believe me. He pounds us on how we can continue to move the needle to reduce our losses. It really is a true business. I think he’s really taking the initiative to dive in deep with us,” Whitfield said. “He’s really learning as much as he can and now he realizes what an impact he personally can have.”
During labor negotiations in 1998, Jordan, then still building his resume as the league’s greatest player ever, took a slightly different tone with then-Washington owner Abe Pollin. “If you can’t make a profit, you should sell your team,” Jordan, who went on to manage and play for Pollin’s Wizards, said, according to the New York Daily News.
“I’m not trying to disrespect Abe, and I wouldn’t expect him to disrepect us as players, but if they’re gonna make a hard stand, we have to make a hard stand. And quite naturally, you’re gonna have some angry positioning, but you have to set that aside,” Jordan later said.