Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett said NBA players need to recognize a good deal when they see one.
“I think the players have to, at some point, come to a conclusion that this may not be as good a deal as they had, but it's still a pretty good deal,” Cornett said in an interview with HoopsWorld concerning the NBA lockout, which on Tuesday reached Day 145. “The owners, to a certain extent, do think in business terms. We all want to pretend it's a sport, but it is definitely a sport played inside a business. And the owners, who run the business, say the business model is broken and it's got to be corrected.
“You have the players who don't want to agree to the facts or disagree with the facts.”
Negotiations between the NBA players union and owners for a new collective bargaining agreement broke down earlier this month, which led to the union disbanding and players consolidating lawsuits against the league.
Without a swift shift in negotiations within the next month, the entire 2011-12 season will be lost.
The outspoken Cornett has said players have been misled by their agents.
“I think a lot of the issues that they're (agents) concerned with right now have to do with players relocating from one team to another and how salary cap limitations might limit a large-market team from trying to secure a small-market team's players in driving up the salaries for the players as a whole,” Cornett told HoopsWorld. “The agents obviously are very interested in those things continuing to happen.
“Think of all the money that's already been lost right now for the players. They've lost, probably at this point, hundreds of millions of dollars in pure salary. How is that going to be recouped?”
Cornett spoke of local arena workers, vendors and business owners who have lost income due to the lockout.
“Then you have the real victims in this: the few hundred people who work in the arena on game nights as part-time employment,” Cornett said in the interview. “I know some of these people. They've given up their part-time jobs for basketball season — that's what they do at this time of year — and all of the sudden, they're not working. And it's right here at the holiday time, too.”
Cornett also said he believes Thunder fans will not desert their team because of the lockout.
“I think our fans will bounce back quicker than others, so I don't know what the repercussions will be,” Cornett said. “It won't be good for any of the franchises, but I suspect our fans will bounce back more quickly than the other franchises out there.”