NBA: Spanish Star Pau Gasol Defends Players in Lockout


NBA basketball players are keen to end a row with management that has cancelled games but will not do so "at any price", Spanish LA Lakers star Pau Gasol said in comments published Friday.

"We are losing money but we think this is a necessary evil to make the owners understand that we players are all united," the seven-foot-tall forward-center from Barcelona told Spanish sports newspaper Marca.

"We want to resolve this the best way possible, but not at any price," added Gasol, one of the heroes of Spain's victory in the European championships this summer.

NBA owners locked out players on July 1 after the expiration of a collective contract and the two sides have been unable to reach terms on a new agreement, including how to divide some $4 billion in revenues.

Talks broke down on Thursday, raising the prospect that more games will be cancelled.

The cancellations to date are costing players some $170 million in salaries and the players' union has warned it is threatening the livelihoods of stadium workers who rely on the games.

"Everyone involved in the NBA is losing a lot, from the last worker in the stands to the top boss of each team," Gasol was quoted as saying by Marca.

Asked about the players' lost pay, he said: "I don't care about that as long as we reach a reasonable agreement in the end. It will have been worth it."

NBA commissioner David Stern has wiped out the scheduled first two weeks of the season, 100 games from November 1-14 and has warned that if some sort of deal could not be reached this week, games in December could be in jeopardy.

Gasol and his brother Marc have been training with their former club Barcelona during the NBA lockout.

If the NBA season fails to resume by January, "I will have to look for alternatives to play in Europe," Gasol said.