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Former Nets Still Getting Paid

New disclosure rules established by the Department of Labor require the NBA's player union to itemize its expenses and in doing so, they have shed light on just how much current and former players get from the league's licensing deals. Sports Business Journal first revealed the filing this week.

Under the collective bargaining agreement, the league agreed to pay the union $25 million for the right to market the players' images...all players going back to 1998, when the first CBA covering such licensing went into effect. Whether a star on the scale of Lebron James or a little used former bench player like Brandon Armstrong, virtually every player who has played in the past eight years gets something, based not on their star power, but on their seniority.

In fact, a cursory look through the hundreds of pages of disbursements shows that a lot of former Nets did quite well, some of them long after they had left the team and the league. Jayson Williams, for example, earned $36,742 from the licensing pool last year. No doubt, he can use the money. Jim McIlvaine who walked away with an $8 million buyout from New Jersey and now spends his time playing with the University of Wisconsin marching band, still got $23,000 from the licensing pool last year. Scott Burrell and Rex Walters got $18,000 each. Two members of the Nets four-headed monster center tandem, Jamie Feick and Eric Monstross got $63,000 each while a fourth, Evan Eschmeyer, got $75,000.

Others got paid as well: Brandon Armstong received $65,000, Jabari Smith $80,000, Tamar Slay $85,000, Rodney Buford $75,000, Donny Marshall $19,000, Johnny Newman, $66,317. Even "Smiling Soumalia" Samake got $5,000, and he has been playing in China for the last few years! John Thomas, who played two games for the Nets, came away with $39,000. (And if you're wondering how Latrell Sprewell did, since there is always concern that he can feed his family, the former Knick was one of the biggest recepients, at $127,127.)

How does it work? According to the NBPA’s LM-2 filing, the NBA paid to the union in licensing fees $6.25 million in each quarter of the most recent fiscal year. In addition, the league paid the union $8 million in logo-use revenue. Like its licensing rights deal, the union gives up control of its logo to the league for guaranteed money.

It's just another pot of cash NBA players get access to beyond their salaries, per diem {$160 a day when travelling) endorsement deals, etc.

[To download the report, go to Enter 068-015 in the File Number box. Then click 2006 Report.]