The Globe And Mail’s Michael Grange took in the Raptors’ 99-95 OT loss to Detroit last night and took the opportunity to quiz a few of the superstars on hand about the NBA’s economic climate. Unsurprisingly, Pistons F Rasheed Wallace had an opinion to share :
“I follow that [stuff] for how it affects me,” Wallace said. “[Forget] the league, excuse my French. I’m going to be out [of the NBA] one day, but that’s not going to stop the economy from still plummeting. I follow it for me, for my family.”
The Raptors’ own pending free agent, Shawn Marion, had a good game finishing with 17 points and six rebounds. There’s no doubt that Marion’s active brand of basketball will earn him his share of suitors this summer, but at what price?
After all, Raptors forward Pops Mensah-Bonsu has provided much of the energetic basketball Marion is known for, but for a pro-rated amount of the $711,000 (all currency U.S.) veteran’s minimum. Marion is making $17.1-million this season, but according to Wallace, donning his economist hat, the salad days are likely gone.
“Guys who were able to get that big-money contract the last couple of years, kudos for them,” Wallace said. “Myself and other free agents included, talking about signing for next season or the year after that, it’s going to hit us hard. Definitely we’re not going to get the money that guys think they should get and deserve. But that’s all part of it.”
League insiders figure Marion will be fortunate to earn a contract that pays him $8-million annually, and that might be rich for a player averaging just 12.2 points and 8.6 rebounds. Unlike Wallace, Marion is more optimistic about what lies ahead.
“We do talk about stuff like that, but is the NBA going to fold?” Marion said. “You see people in baseball and football signing these big-ass contracts and I’m pretty sure their attendance went down a little bit. Everyone is taking a hit, but at the same time it’s not stopping people spending money.”
Raptors fans might hope that the faltering economic outlook could encourage forward Chris Bosh to sign a contract extension he’s eligible for this summer, as opposed to hitting the free-agent market in 2010, but Bosh says that’s not going to happen.
“That’s part of the reason things don’t work, because everyone operates out of fear,” Bosh said. “I have a plan coming into this and I’m sticking to it.”