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JEREMY HOBSON: The NBA All Star Game is this weekend. But the real matchup will be off the court. We’ve reported on the labor talks going on in professional football.
But as Marketplace’s Jennifer Collins tells us, the negotiations going on between players and owners in pro basketball may be even more intense.
JENNIFER COLLINS: On the one side, you’ve got players like LeBron James. He’s sitting on a $110 million contract. On the other, you’ve got the NBA teams, which reportedly took in around $4 billion last year.
Sports economist Allen Sanderson looks at it this way:
ALLEN SANDERSON: There are two pigs, there’s one trough. It’s just how fast can you eat.
And the league is saying players are eating too much. The NBA says owners stand to lose $350 million this year. Owners want to cut player salaries and benefits by about a third.
David Berri is an economist at Southern Utah University.
DAVID BERRI: The owners have taken what I would think is a fairly radical position.
Berri blames the economic downturn for team losses. The players also question the league’s accounting and aren’t eager to take a pay cut.
BERRI: I just find it hard to believe we’re going to reach some kind of agreement. I think they’re probably going to have to stop the games.
The league’s current contract with players expires at the end of June.
I’m Jennifer Collins for Marketplace.
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