Just keep in mind how we got to this point: After the players agreed to a salary cap, a rookie wage scale, a maximum player salary and a luxury tax designed to slow the escalating contracts, can they really be expected to just say no to whatever money the owners kept offering?
Or, as Lewis puts it, “You sign me to a deal, you think I’m going to say, ‘No, I deserve $50 [million] instead of $80 [million]?’ I’m like, ‘Hell, yeah.’ I’m not going to turn it down. You can’t blame the players. If anything, we don’t negotiate the deal. We’ve got agents that negotiate the deals with the team. Y’all need to go talk to the teams and the agents.”
But Lewis’ quote classifies the players’ side: The owners are the ones offering these mammoth contracts to begin with. No one made Otis Smith give Lewis max money. No one forced the Hawks to give a ridiculous deal to Joe Johnson last summer. Gilbert Arenas didn’t put a gun to the Wizards’ head — OK, maybe that’s a bad choice of words — to sign him to a monster extension in 2008.
This isn’t the entire reason we have a lockout, but it sure is part of it. The right answer, as with anything, is probably somewhere in the middle. Owners need protection from themselves offering these ill-advised contracts, and they want a way to get out of these deals when they make a mistake. But you can’t blame the players — the ones putting butts in the seats — for expecting to be paid what they agreed on.
Lewis’ logic makes a lot of sens in this case – who’s going to turn down more money?
Of course, like Zach said to, you can’t blame the players for expecting what they (literally) signed up for and although it’s not entirely the owners fault, he makes an excellent point.
(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger, ESPN 1080′s Magic Insider (http://espn1080.com) and is the co-host of the ESPN1080.com Insiders Show Sunday mornings at 10:00 am EST. Subscribe to his RSS feed, add him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter to follow him daily. You can download the HTD app here).