Andre Iguodala likes to speak his mind. Sometimes that gets him into hot water because his words arent always what people want to hear. So Monday morning, when on the 13th fairway at Trump National Golf Club, Philadelphia, the seven-year NBA veteran said You know theres not going to be a season one wanted to respond Say its not so.
Instead, there was a thought that Iguodala is just speaking the truth.
I didnt think it would be this bad, Iguodala said, playing in an outing for Stars Within Reach, a foundation that encourages and helps children pursue their dreams. I thought with the season we had and the TV ratings that we had and this being one of the largest grossing revenue seasons in the history of the game, you would think that we would be able to reach an agreement. But we are so far apart.
Iguodala holds on to a glimmer of hope that when gut-check time rolls around, say October, that the league and the players association understand whats at stake. Therefore, the collective would be able to get something done. To date all either side has done is file lawsuits.
Last Tuesday, the NBA filed an unfair labor complaint with the National Labor Relations Board as well as a federal lawsuit in New York.
The NBPA had previously filed an unfair labor practice suit against the league in late May.
I new it would be similar to football just because I knew both sides were watching, Iguodala said. I think the owners jumped the gun early and were just trying to beat us to the punch as far as going to the courts, so we will see what happens. As far as decertifying, there are pros and cons to both. I think we are still weighing our options as players, but it may come to that.
We are supposed to have a few meetings coming up in a few different cities, with a big one coming up in Los Angeles. We will decide something there I believe.
The union has only threatened to decertify, but the league is trying to establish that if decertification is found lawful then all current player contracts would be voided.
Iguodala has three years remaining on what was a six-year, 82 million contract. If the 2011-12 season never occurs, that would cost Iguodala 13.5 million. He stands to earn 14.7 million the following year and in 2013-14, if he opts to remain with the Sixers, he would earn 15.9 million.
Since Iguodala has multiple years remaining on his deal, the possibility of going overseas is, in his opinion, not a viable option.
You have guys who have three or four years left on their contract, so the liability is really tough, he said. It puts you in a tough situation. If you are a guy that has only one or two years left you can do that. But if you are a guy that has a lot of income in the upcoming years, it would be hard to go. I am kind of in that situation and I need to play my cards right.
The hand he wouldnt mind being dealt is playing for an NBA exhibition tour in this country.
You go through a couple cities and play some intense games at a high level, but its not that grueling NBA schedule, Iguodala suggested. You get a chance to travel the world. You see this summer that Kevin Durant is a prime example. The fans just want us to get out and play. Hes helped the players out by showing what he can do and people will come out and see us.
Oklahoma Citys Durant, who led the NBA in scoring this past season, scored 66 points in a pick-up game at the famed Rucker Park in Harlem last week. One night later, in a different New York City park, Durant dropped 41 points, while a lesser-known NBA player, John Lucas III of the Bulls, scored 60.
In addition to discussing an exhibition tour, players are talking with their current teammates about getting together in an organized fashion this fall to work out in a similar way to what football players did before they settled the recent NFL lockout.
That is very important, Iguodala said. I just had Jrue (Holiday) to the house the other day. I went to Lous (Williams) camp. I had lunch with Jodie Meeks. I missed Elton (Brand), but I was supposed to meet up with him. We have a good group of guys. That is something we have always had, solid guys with good personalities who would come together, so that wont be a problem for our team.
Still, whatever basketball happens for Iguodala this fall, it most likely wont equal the kind of competition he has grown accustomed to over the course of his career. The next time he experiences that could be next summer when he attempts to land a spot on the Olympic team and play in the 2012 games in London.
Iguodala was an integral part of the national team that won gold at the World Championships in Turkey last summer, qualifying the United States for the XXX Olympiad.
I was thinking how weird will it be if we didnt have a season and there wasnt a deal done and we were back in the same position next year at this time, and they may go for college guys. You never know, Iguodala said. There is a lot at stake. I think the players are doing a good job of staying together so far. Both sides are waiting to see whats the end point, whats the split going to be and whos going to budge first. Hopefully, both sides want to get it done.
For clarification, the USA national team is a completely separate entity than the NBA and those players invited could play if they so choose.
Those are decisions for down the road. Right now, Iguodala will concentrate on being informed about the collective bargaining discussions and working out, while still squeezing in a few walks on pristine fairways as he did Monday morning.
E-mail Dei Lynam at firstname.lastname@example.org.