NBA Lockout News: Chauncey Billups Doesn’t Believe that Players Will be Willing to Give Up a Year’s SalaryNovember 3, 2011 – 6:00 am by Eric Schmoldt
There has been a lot speculation during the NBA lockout that many players won’t be willing to give up a year’s salary and would instead rather just settle for a 50-50 revenue split and get paid. Chauncey Billups, a veteran player and a current member of the New York Knicks, seems to lend some credence to that.
Billups says he’s willing to miss out on his first year of a contract extension, but he realizes that there are more than 400 players and a lot of them aren’t in the same situation as he is. He says he doesn’t think other players are willing to give up a year’s salary when push comes to shove.
Chauncey Billups joined ESPN New York with Stephen A. Smith to discuss his thoughts on the season not starting on time, how it feels to get an extension and now not be playing, what he’s hearing from players around the league, his involvement, if he expects there to be a season and why players won’t be willing to give up a year’s salary.
The season was supposed to have opened, but there’s no basketball. What are your thoughts on that?:
“Of course I’m disappointed that I’m not in the Garden opening it up, but it is what it is and we’re in the process of a lockout, of course. We’ll just kind of see how it goes down.”
You just got a contract extension, but now you’re not playing. How does that make you feel?:
“It’s unfortunate because I worked really hard for that and I was underpaid for a lot of years. I was looking forward to getting that, but at the same time, with what’s at stake, I was a part of the last lockout when guys were in my position — Jordan, Ewing, Karl Malone, all of those guys — were in position that they were going to lose a lot of money with a shortened season or no season. But they were able to sacrifice for the betterment of the league going forward. This is something that I’m going to have to sacrifice.”
So you’re saying that’s how you truly feel, that you need to sacrifice for players going down the road?:
“I am saying that. Do I want to get that money? Of course. I’m human. But, yeah, I am saying that. To be honest with you, whatever deal that they cut is not going to affect me that much because most of my career is in my rear-view mirror. My thing right now is for the young guys — the Derrick Roses, the Blake Griffins. .. It’s a stance that we kind of have to make.”
What are you hearing from other players? Is it getting to a point where they feel like it’s just time to make a deal even if it’s a 50-50 split because it’s better than no deal at all?:
“Honestly, you’ve got 400-some players and obviously the general body of the league are not in my position … that are maybe as in stable position of myself or some of the older, aging veterans. We have to be sensitive to the fact that some of those guys are young, although we, for the last two and a half, three years, said, ‘Prepare yourself; save your money.’ … We’ve got to know that some guys didn’t. … Then you’ve the guys that are really, really involved in the situation saying, ‘No, you don’t really understand what that 50-50’s really going to do going forward. You’re just worried about today.”
How involved are you?:
“I’ve been very involved. I don’t go to all the meetings, but as soon as all the meetings are over, I’m in tune to everything that’s going on. I’ve been there pretty much every step of the way.”
Do you expect there to be a season?:
“Man, I think the only way I can really answer that question is just with being hopeful and saying, ‘Yeah, I hope so.’ I hope so, but I could see it going either way.”
You really think the players would be able to do that?:
“I’ve spoken to a lot of players and I could see a lot of players wanting to do that. If you’re asking me if the general body of the NBA is willing to do that, willing to lose a year’s salary, I don’t think guys would be willing to do that. That’s going to be a position and a bridge that we’re going to have to cross when we come that.”