Kobe Bryant and LeBron James have voiced concerns about the ramifications of the multi-billion dollar television deal signed by NBA owners this week.
When all is said and done the new TV deal with ESPN and Turner sports is set to be worth $24 billion over the next nine years - a tidy 180 percent increase annually for the NBA, and more specifically the 30 franchise owners, per season as of 2016.
And that is the kind of thing that annoys NBA superstar Kobe Bryant, with the Lakers legend taking to Twitter today to vent his frustration at the juxtaposition between fat cat owners milking the cash cow and players perceived as greedy for seeking big pay days:
"Players are "encouraged" per new CBA to take less to win or risk being called selfish+ungrateful while nbatv deal goes UP by a BILLION #biz."
With the Lakers and Kobe having been scrutinized for handing Bryant a two-year $48 million contract in 2013, the Black Mamba is certainly in a position to discuss player contracts.
And it looks like he is far from happy that those who criticised his desire to get paid have not turned their magnifying glass over to those who run the franchises and hand out the contracts.
LeBron chimes in
LeBron James meanwhile voiced similar sentiments to those expressed by Kobe this week. The Cleveland Cavaliers man insisting the new mega-deal means any future talk from owners claiming they are losing money has just lost all credence.
The above excuse of course being that put forward by owners during the 2011 NBA lockout.
James told the USA Today on Monday that that theory "will not fly with us this time."
The new TV deal could however still have huge benefits for the likes of LeBron.
The four-time NBA MVP only signed a two-year deal with the Cavs this offseason despite his declaration that he plans to finish his career with his home state franchise.
That, it is widely believed, is because he expects to make significantly more come 2016 when his initial contract runs out and he can negotiate a new one safe in the knowledge that the Cavs are seeing the benefit of their share of the $24 billion.
Because the salary cap is directly linked to NBA revenue the influx of money means the cap will inevitably rise (perhaps to as high as $90 million in comparison to the current $63 million ceiling). Unless of course owners seek to implement changes before then.
If the current situation stands therefore Bloomburg reports that James, whose salary is 35-percent of the Cavs cap, could earn an extra $9.5 million per season come the 2016-17 season - making his annual salary around $31.5 million.
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