Larry Fleisher, general counsel for the NBA Players Association, says the union intends to seek an end to the draft when its contract with the league expires next year and insists it's not a means of extracting more money.
"I can't say whether we'd give this up for X or that up for Y but, no, it's not a negotiating ploy. We're a year and a half away from the end of the agreement," Fleisher said.
NBA Commissioner David Stern said he would defend Fleisher's "right to have as long and extensive a wish list as he cares to bring to the negotiating table. The draft and everything around it is an annual rite of renewal."
The existing contract, which ends in June 1987, includes a players' salary cap. "It is the players' position that we allowed a salary cap to help the league get on its feet. It is the players' position that since the commissioner and everyone else says the league is in wonderful condition . . . and we helped them get where they are, we want the right to be treated like everyone else" in careers where there is no draft, Fleisher said.