NBA players union will use its giant revenue spike to pay for retired players' health care
By JOHN DORN
The NBA's new television deal will officially kick in after this coming season, when NBA and Turner will pay a whopping $2.6 billion per year to carry broadcasts. Much has been made of what that'll mean for the league in coming seasons -- namely an unprecedented $100 million salary cap -- but the NBA Players Association has realized a separate perk.
The players will receive half of the multi-billion dollar annual payout -- for context: the current deal's total value, spread over eight years, is $930 million. With that gigantic boost in revenue, the NBAPA is expected to spend between $10 million and 15 million -- an affordable slice of the pie -- to cover health care for retired players.
According to Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski:
The plan is estimated to cost between $10 million-$15 million a year and a vote on passage of the union's initiative is set for the NBPA's July 20 membership meeting in Las Vegas. The union's 30 team player representatives are expected to pass the plan with ease and start the process of covering the retired players quickly, league sources said.
The NBPA has been researching the names and addresses of the approximate 1,500 living ex-players and hoping to offer three separate health-care options to them, sources said.
The plan seems to be a win for all parties involved. Under the current structure, players stop receiving medical aid from the league during the month of August after their retirement.
As Deadspin's Kevin Draper notes, this should garner the players union a great deal of goodwill among its former members who will be on the other side of the negotiating table when the league will potentially face a lockout in 2016.
Read a bit more cynically, this plan is a brilliant bit of maneuvering in advance of a possible strike or lockout in 2017. For less than 2% of the increase in money the players are set to receive due to the new television contract, they are buying a massive amount of goodwill among the former players who coach teams, run teams, and comment on basketball matters.
Considering the poor care that players in other sports have received from their former employers after retirement, this is a decent move by the union. Taking care of players as human beings should be the first priority -- bringing the sides to avoiding a work stoppage would be icing on the cake.
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