On Thursday, the current collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between the NBA Player’s Association and the NBA–which has been in effect since 2005–expired. As a result, today marks day one of the first NBA lockout since 1998. If you haven’t followed the CBA talks, the basic premise is the NBA wants to lower the salary of the players in order for team owners to improve their net gain. Understandably, the players don’t want a cut in their salary. However, as former Wizard Antawn Jamison explained in a recent interview with the media, this time around could be less chaotic.
Jamison was a rookie during the last NBA lockout, which resulted in a 50 game season which began in February rather than at the end of October. The ’11-12 lockout may very well run the same course. However, Jamison is more optimistic this time around. “I think in ’98-99, we didn’t think it would be a long, drawn out process. Just the unity, the guys understanding what we’re facing and what we’re up against is totally different than what it was when I first got into the league.” While the Player’s Association is better prepared, the economy is in a poor state. However, for the working man, it’s hard not to look at this debate as anything more than a group of billionaires arguing with millionaires.
“I understand when they (the team owners) say they’re losing money and so forth. I get that,” Jamison continued. “We said we’d give a certain amount of that money back. But some owners have to take the onus on themselves because they put themselves in a situation where they’re overpaying for certain guys.” The Washington Wizards have one such guy on their roster: Rashard Lewis. In Seattle, Lewis and Ray Allen made sense–then again, the Supersonics franchise ended up folding in 2008. Still, for Seattle, Lewis provided an inside and outside stretch small forward, who complimented the in-his-prime Allen. In Orlando, Lewis played more off the ball, in a foreign support role. It’s fair to say the Magic paid too much for the role they gave him. The contract wasn’t nearly as bad as some contracts of late–Jermaine O’Neal comes to mind, Miami Heat–but owners have to take that gamble.
Lewis was bothered by his knee most of last season, which limited his return to small forward glory. With forward Jan Vesely on board, as well as defensive wing Chris Singleton, the Wizards have positioned themselves to buy-out Lewis or to work on a trade deal. However, here’s a look at Washington’s depth chart following the 2011 NBA Draft.
C – JaVale McGee
PF – Andray Blatche
SF – Rashard Lewis
SG – Jordan Crawford
PG – John Wall
C – Kevin Seraphin
PF – Trevor Booker
SF – Jan Vesely*, Chris Singleton*
SG – N/A
PG – Shelvin Mack*
Free agents Washington wants back:
C – Hamady N’Diaye
PF – N/A
SF – Othyus Jeffers, Larry Owens
SG – Nick Young
PG – N/A
Free agents unlikely to return:
C – N/A
PF – Yi Jianlian
SF – Josh Howard, Maurice Evans
SG – N/A
PG – Mustafa Shakur