The NBA lost 26 games to a lockout between players and owners last season, a labor dispute nasty enough to place terms like "basketball-related income" into the public lexicon. Like most wars of labor vs. management, those signing the checks eventually won out. The end result saw the players give back a significant percentage of the BRI, though it hardly curbed the wild spending that got owners into trouble in the first place. Look no further than the Portland Trail Blazers inking center Roy Hibbert to an offer sheet for a maximum contact last summer, and the Indiana Pacers' decision to match it.
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Many NBA players did not believe or appreciate the owners crying poor, and Sunday's news of the imminent sale of the Sacramento Kings to Seattle's Chris Hansen only gave them more ammunition. Hansen's group is set to buy the Kings for a valuation for $525 million, acquiring 65 percent of the franchise for approximately $340 million. A year ago, Forbes projected the Kings' total value at $300 million, the 23rd-most valuable franchise in the NBA.
Shortly after reports surfaced on Sunday night, reigning MVP LeBron James took to Twitter to cast doubt on NBA owners not being able to turn a profit.
So the Kings getting sold for 525M!! And the owners ain't making no money huh? What the hell we have a lookout for. Get the hell out of here— LeBron James (@KingJames) January 21, 2013
#lockout! My bad. U know what I meant— LeBron James (@KingJames) January 21, 2013
James may have a point. The NBA is the only professional sports league with fixed "maximum salaries" for top players, and it's not hard to see that James can very easily make a case that he is underpaid. In a free market, James surely would have drawn more than Joe Johnson or Amar'e Stoudemire -- two players who actually walked away from the famed free agency class of 2010 with more guaranteed money.