In an interview with ESPN.com's Henry Abbott, NBA Players Association head Billy Hunter rejected the league's claim that all but a few franchises are losing significant amounts of money, necessitating a fundamental restructuring of the NBA's revenue and salary system. Commissioner David Stern had previously claimed teams were losing a collective $300 million a year.
Hunter says instead that only a few teams are in the red, and that the problem could be solved with greater revenue sharing between the high-revenue and low-revenue teams.
"Our belief," Hunter said, "is that a small number of teams are suffering, and their problems can be addressed through revenue sharing."
The NBA continues to deny the union's position, with a league spokesman claiming that financial reports submitted to the players' association prove the owners' veritas.
"The NBA has shared with the players' union audited financial reports for all 30 teams which unequivocally demonstrate why Mr. Hunter favors the expiring agreement and why it does not work for us," spokesman Tim Frank said.
If the two sides can't even agree on how much money the teams are or are not losing, there's precious little hope they can agree on how to fix the real or invented problem. This episode perfectly illustrates why so many are so pessimistic about the NBA as we careen toward a lockout.