The Washington Post

Former Wizard Etan Thomas on NBA owners: ‘We want the rules to protect us from our own incompetence’

There has been a lot of letter writing this week as it relates to the NBA labor situation. A group of powerful agents came together on Monday to urge their clients not to accept a bad deal to end the lockout. National Basketball Players Association president Derek Fisher wrote a letter that evening urging the agents to get out of the way of the negotiations.

Then, after the last bargaining session crumbled and forced the league to cancel the rest of the preseason and place the start of the regular season in peril, Fisher and union executive director Billy Hunter issued another letter to union membership telling the players that negotiations are “far from over” but that they need to continue to display resolve.

Those letters were basically written to rally players, but former Wizard Etan Thomas took a slightly different approach in a letter, published on, that is written from what he believes is the perspective of the owners. Thomas, an executive vice president of the union, has always been one of the league’s more politically active and outspoken players. In the letter, Thomas explains how the owners have framed an argument built around several talking points. He writes, “Our system is broken. We want competitive balance. Twenty-two out of 30 teams are operating in the negative. We’ll just keep saying it.”

Thomas obviously doesn’t believe what Commissioner David Stern has been repeating for the past year. He also explains how the agents could do more harm than good by seeking decertification. It’s an interesting read overall that includes this zinger: “We want the rules to protect us from our own incompetence.”


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