Blog Entry

Full labor session not likely before August

Posted on: July 19, 2011 7:29 pm
While the basketball world was obsessed Tuesday with the release of an NBA schedule that may never happen, has learned that the owners and players may not convene for another full-blown collective bargaining session until August.

It is up for interpretation, however, whether that would put the two sides behind the negotiating pace set during the 1998-99 lockout. Back then, it was 37 days between the imposition of the lockout on July 1 and the next bargaining session on Aug. 6.

But this time, the two sides have met once at the staff level -- last Friday -- and are scheduled to gather again this Friday for a second meeting. In the smaller sessions, which have not included commissioner David Stern or union chief Billy Hunter, the focus has shifted from the larger economic issues that led to the labor impasse to smaller-ticket system items such as how a new salary cap would be structured, according to sources familiar with the negotiations.

The highest-ranking figures involved in the smaller staff meetings have been deputy commissioner Adam Silver and Ron Klempner, associate general counsel for the National Basketball Players Association. NBPA attorney Jeffrey Kessler has not been involved, perhaps due to his obligations with hammering out the final details of a new NFL collective bargaining agreement. Kessler represents the players' associations in both locked-out sports.

It is possible that the two staffs could negotiate again next week, but sources said it does not appear likely that a full session -- including Stern, Hunter, Kessler, owners and players -- could occur until sometime in August. Though this technically would put the two sides behind the pace from 1998-99, when the lockout resulted in a shortened 50-game schedule, it is possible that the smaller meetings could create some much-needed momentum before the heavy hitters become involved in the process again.

When bargaining broke off June 30, hours before the owners officially imposed a lockout, both sides alluded to first making progress on less controversial topics when bargaining resumed, and then returning to the biggest philosophical divide -- the split of revenues.

"Both sides left the room still fully committed to getting a collective bargaining agreement done," NBPA president Derek Fisher said.

Since: Sep 5, 2006
Posted on: July 20, 2011 11:38 am

Full labor session not likely before August

You've got a pretty fair and reasonable list, but I'll add a full season to the list of what I want. Like you, I also despise trading good players for stiffs and cap space, but that should be less of an issue if the owners get their way with the cap. I don't think they will (a hard cap is just not happening), but we can say for certain that the cap will be lower and some of the cap exceptions will be gone. That should help. And while the league wants to minimize player movement, I don't see how they plan on doing it. They want to shorten the length of contracts, which actually encourages player movement.
I think the NBA needs to borrow a few pages from the NFL playbook. First, franchise tags. The very point of a franchise tag is to allow teams to hold onto their best player. Second, signing bonuses. Why not? The NFL has a cap. The NFL also has ways around the cap. See: signing bonus. Third, revenue share. Please. The gulf between the haves and have-nots can be directly tied to the revenue each team generates. The Lakers, for example, will make $150,000,000.00 per year for their television deal. The Blazers will make $12,000,000.00. The league chose to greedily overexpand. Now they can pay for it themselves instead of having the players foot the entire bill (which is exactly what the owners want).

Since: Aug 17, 2006
Posted on: July 20, 2011 10:52 am

What do the fans want

Do we really matter?  Of course we do we buy the ticket, shirts, watch the ads, click on the online ads and the owners and players are paying attention to the "value of the brand"  of the NBA.   

So at this moment what do we want?    I admit I am a not a true fan, like I am of the NFL and MLB.   I have been to one game in 10 years and the ticket was given to me as a gift.   Part of that is my team the Washington Wizards have been good for 25 years (2nd round of playoffs is my definition of good).  Here is my list.

1. Better competative balance.  It is too hard for a bad team to become good.   Too many teams have no chance each year,  in fact only about 6 teams had a chance to win last year.    Oklahoma City joins them if they play a full season this year.   That is awful.   The NFL gets this right,  MLB does not really, although the Giants and Rays have bailed MLB out by making the world series without Gonzo payroll.  I vote for hard salary cap with a salary floor and shorter contracts.    

2. More interesting regular season.   I just do not see the effort in the regular season I see in the playoffs.   

3. Reduce the trades of players for almost nothing and cash.   Really some of the mid season trades and 2nd round draft pick trades are silly.  

4. Keep players on the same team, but not in favor of better competative balance. 

What else do we want? 

Since: Sep 5, 2006
Posted on: July 20, 2011 10:27 am

Full labor session not likely before August

And why would the league and Union prioritize meeting ASAP? It's not like both sides are talking about being galaxies apart at the negotiating table. Oh wait, yes they are. But at least they learned their lesson from the 1998 lockout when they delayed meeting for five weeks and we lost 32 games. Oh wait, no they didn't.

Since: Jun 5, 2011
Posted on: July 19, 2011 7:58 pm

Poor NBA

Poor NBA.  They finally get playoffs with a decent storyline, and have a team in Miami that gets more "heat" than the biggest heel in the WWE, and then the owners try to "fix" things.  

Here's how to fix both leagues.  First, do a non-negotiable rookie scale for their first year, then let them negotiate after they have proven themselves for one year.  The rookies can save money by not cutting their agents in on a non-negotiable contract.  There won't be any rookie holdouts.  And if someone says they won't sign, then they have to play for the rookie price next year.  Second: a hard cap is needed.  No exceptions, no loopholes.  Make all signing bonuses count in the year they are given.  

The players have to get a little something here, too.  Third: NFL contracts have to be guaranteed.  If a player signs for two years, he gets paid for two years.   No more situations where the team owns the player's rights but doesn't have to hold up their end of the bargain. Fourth: all signing bonuses are final.  Once they are received, there is no suing the player to steal it back.  

The problem is that the agents and owners have made the system so complicated that nobody wins except the agents.  The agents drive the wages up, but the players don't get all of it because agents take too much off of the top.  Let agents get paid for endorsements, but simplify the system so that they aren't needed in team negotiations.  As if a bunch of million and billionaires would listen to my suggestions anyway...

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or