The Washington Post

Wizards offer support for union after Goodman-Drew game

John Wall does not want the players union to back down on Monday when it engages in a last-ditch bargaining session with the NBA. After scoring 55 points in the Goodman League’s 151-144 loss to the Drew League at Long Beach State, Wall told Kurt Helin of ProBasketballTalk that he hoped the National Basketball Players Association would hold firm at accepting no less than 53 percent of basketball-related income.

The players received 57 percent of basketball-related income in the previous collective bargaining agreement but NBA commissioner David Stern has pushed for a 50-50 split of revenues for the players and the owners. Neither side has shown a willingness to budge much more, but Stern has pledged to cancel the first two weeks of the regular season if the two sides cannot come to a resolution this afternoon.

Wall is still on his rookie deal, so whatever agreement the NBA strikes with the union would greatly affect how much money he makes in his first contract extension. “I’m a young person so I’m looking down the road to see what I can make and what I can do with it,” Wall said. The owners “tried to give us a 45 percent deal. It’s not even all about the percentages it’s about the system. . . . I know they were trying to talk 50/50 but 53 percent is where we’re going to stick at.”

Wall, Nick Young and JaVale McGee were playing a relatively meaningless game while the NBA and its player union were conducting serious negotiations in New York to salvage the start of the regular season. Players union president Derek Fisher said the two sides were “not necessarily any closer” to a new collective bargaining agreement after a five-hour bargaining session.

Young told’s Kevin Arnovitz that he would stand behind the union. “I believe in Fish and I believe in the whole thing,” Young said. “Whatever they do, I’m behind it.”

As for a 50-50 split, Young replied, “I’m not sure. Whatever they think.”

McGee offered a rather confusing response when asked his thoughts on the labor dispute. “We all have to act as a whole and come up with it,” McGee said. “So we can’t really say one by one.”

Michael Lee is the national basketball writer for The Washington Post.


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