Report: Chris Paul unpopular as union president, because he has prioritized stars

Dan Feldman

The NBA’s 2017 Collective Bargaining Agreement helped star players.

A new super-max contract allows players with eight or nine years experience to earn more money than they would’ve otherwise. The regular max increased. The over-36 rule became the over-38 rule, which applies to everyone, but stars are far more likely to get offered long-term deals that deep into their career.

The National Basketball Players Association president: Chris Paul. Two members of the executive board at that time: LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony.

Paul and LeBron were too experienced to benefit from the super max. But they signed larger max deals last summer than they could’ve under the previous system – Paul with the Rockets, LeBron with the Lakers.

With Paul getting traded to the Thunder for Russell Westbrook, players don’t exactly sound enamored with their union president.

Ethan Sherwood Strauss of The Athletic:

The reign of CP3 is not popular with the NBA’s lower classes

Some players around the league laughed when union president Chris Paul and his massive contract got dealt to the rebuilding Thunder for Russell Westbrook. Why? Because Paul’s regime is not viewed as one devoted to serving the NBA’s middle and lower classes.

“They advocate for the interests of max players and super-max players,” one veteran player said of Paul and company. “Basically, the CBA has helped the whole banana boat crew from back in the day. It’s taken from the midlevel. I think middle-tier players aren’t getting that mid level money anymore.

“I think just that huge super max has had cost. Teams are putting all their eggs in one basket to keep that super-max guy. It’s dried up the salary cap. I don’t see it as sustainable long term.”

Players collectively receive a certain percentage of revenue. Two major questions in CBA negotiations: What percentage of revenue should that be? How should players divide that share?

This griping is about the second question.

If no there were no individual max salary, superstars would get paid even more. They’re so important – both on the court and as marketing forces. A single player can swing a franchise far more in basketball than any other major team sport.

The CBA already restricts stars’ earnings, leaving more money for middle-class players.

Legitimate questions exist about whether stars should face even stiffer restrictions. There are far more middle-class players, after all. In a one-person, one-vote union, the middle-class majority holds more power. They could use it to out-vote Paul and other stars on anything. They could even oust Paul.

But don’t get it twisted: Stars are already sacrificing so middle-class players can earn more.