NBA Union Chief Michele Roberts Blasts League Imbalance Complaints

By John Carlo A. Villaruel
on Jul 10, 2018 09:24 AM EDT
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National Basketball Players Association executive director Michele Roberts believes that competitive imbalance of the league has nothing to do with cap smoothing.

Roberts has been receiving numerous criticisms after the Golden State Warriors signed DeMarcus Cousins into a bargain deal this offseason. The Warriors inked Cousins to a one-year $5.3 million deal this offseason after coming off a stellar season averaging 25.2 points, 12.9 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 1.6 steals, and 1.6 blocks.

The 27-year-old who is currently recovering from an Achilles tendon injury was projected to be a max player prior to the injury. He also received interests from the Dallas Mavericks, Washington Wizards, and the New Orleans Pelicans.

"Just the same way that they shouldn't be faulted for seeking to meet teams' expectations. Folks should recognize how important we felt it was to meet the reciprocal expectations felt by the players." Roberts explained in an email. 

Roberts pointed out that the 2016 salary-cap spike has nothing to do with the soft market this year. She added that the Houston Rockets, Oklahoma City Thunder, Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers will give the Warriors a run for their money next season. 

Yahoo Sports' Dan Feldman projects that cap smoothing can do great damage to the players' increased compensation. Feldman added that the provision would result in a delayed or reduced compensation. 

General Managers Should Be Blamed

Roberts reiterated that the general managers and coaches should not put the blame on the players for failing to compete for an NBA championship. It can be brought to mind that the Warriors benefitted from the salary-cap spike in 2016 as they were able to sign Kevin Durant while other squads offered huge deals that turned out from bad to worse once the cap leveled off. The salary cap-spike also allowed the Warriors to re-sign Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston. 

Four years ago, the league signed a new television deal that spiked the amount they received for its television rights from $930 million to $2.66 billion. The salary cap enjoyed a $24 million increase in 2016 thus giving each team more money to spend on players.

The Portland Trail Blazers are just one of the many teams who failed to make the most in 2016. The Blazers signed Evan Turner to a four-year deal worth $70 million before signing Meyers Leonard and Maurice Harkless to contract extensions worth $83 million. Experts are positive that Blazers general manager Neil Olshey had a chance to create a title-contender with his newfound money but failed to do so.

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