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Blog Entry

Looking for a deal on Black Friday

Posted on: November 25, 2011 11:51 am
Edited on: November 25, 2011 7:11 pm
NEW YORK -- Negotiators for the NBA owners and players were meeting Black Friday for litigation settlement talks in the hopes of laying the groundwork for a collective bargaining agreement to save the 2011-12 season.

The starting point in the negotiations essentially is where the bargaining talks left off Nov. 10, when the players were left with an ultimatum from the league to accept the framework of a 50-50 revenue split or face a far worse offer. Instead of sending the proposal to the union membership for a vote, the National Basketball Players Association dissolved Nov. 14 and launched multiple antitrust lawsuits against the league's owners.

UPDATE: With those dynamics in mind, the talks take the form of a legal settlement as opposed to a collective bargaining resolution -- with many of the same participants still involved but some new faces, too. The players' lead attorney in the antitrust action, David Boies, has teamed with former NBPA lead outside counsel Jim Quinn in an effort to push the deal across the finish line. But neither Boies nor Quinn was present at Friday's negotiations. Kessler, stripped of his role as lead negotiator for the players, also was not present.

Representing the players Friday were former union officials Billy Hunter and Derek Fisher; executive committee member Maurice Evans; general counsel Ron Klempner; economist Kevin Murphy; and one of Quinn's law partners. For the league, it was commissioner David Stern; deputy commissioner Adam Silver; Spurs owner Peter Holt, the chairman of the labor relations committee; general counsel Rick Buchanan; and deputy general counsel Dan Rube.

So the so-called litigation settlement talks had very much the same dynamics as the bargaining talks that broke off Nov. 10, leading to the players' decision to dissolve the union and launch antitrust lawsuits against the owners on Nov. 14. This, with one exception: there were strong indications that Quinn, one of the key figures in ending he 1998-99 lockout, had laid important groundwork during secret discussions he brokered earlier in the week. Stern and other league officials were seen Tuesday at the same location where Friday's talks were taking place. 

Multiple people connected to the talks have told that the discussions could move quickly towards a deal after the momentum gained in the past week from back-channel talks spearheaded by Quinn. But one person in frequent contact with ownership cautioned that it may take the entire weekend to find common ground, adding that there "could be some anxiety" in the room Friday.

On the 148th day of the lockout, but the first since the labor impasse was transformed into a court battle, there seemed to be little effort to hide the appearance that the faces and issues hadn't changed. A key difference was the absence of Kessler, though the tempestuous attorney was still "very much involved" behind the scenes, according to a source.

The players are hopeful that the owners will be willing to offer substantial movement on a handful of system-related issues around which the talks crumbled two weeks ago, resulting in the unprecedented disclaimer of the NBPA and threatening that the season would be swallowed up by lengthy, costly and unpredictable antitrust litigation. To account for some of those concessions, which would result in a more flexible and opportunistic free-agent market than the owners last proposed, it is possible that the split of revenues could inch upward above 50 percent for the players -- with the remaining difference accounted for by an escrow system capped at 10 percent as teams and players adjust to a reset of player salaries and more restrictive system than the one that existed under the CBA that expired July 1.

The most difficult issues to resolve will be the availability of the mid-level exception for luxury tax-paying teams; sign-and-trade transactions for tax payers; and the definition of a tax payer. Coming out of the collapsed bargaining talks, these were the items that bothered the players the most in terms of restricting player movement -- especially the notion that a team would be considered a tax payer prior to use of an exception that pushed it over the tax line, as opposed to afterward.

But while league negotiators were not expected to fully move toward the players on all the outstanding system issues, there has been "positive movement" from the owners in recent days "to get a deal done," according to the person in contact with ownership. The biggest factor in the potential for a deal by the end of the weekend is not the players' lawsuits, but something much more predictable and relentless: the calendar.

Both sides understand that a season tipoff on Christmas, which would deliver a 66-game regular season with the NBA Finals pushed back only one week, would require an agreement by Monday at the latest. Even that would be pushing it; the league will need about 30 days to finalize the deal and hold an abbreviated free-agent period, training camps and preseason games.

As necessitated by the union's disclaimer, any legal settlement wouldn't be able to take the form of a CBA until the union reformed and was recognized by the owners.

Since: Sep 27, 2006
Posted on: November 25, 2011 7:08 pm

Looking for a deal on Black Friday

Black Friday... surely that's a rather racist name for it?

(Yes, I'm joking, but I can't believe Sharpton or Jackson haven't agitated for a name change yet!)

Since: Nov 24, 2006
Posted on: November 25, 2011 6:39 pm

Looking for a deal on Black Friday

I'll predict the NHL will generate more revenue than the NBA in 3 - 5 years. If you watched this afternoons game between Detoit and Boston, it's an example why
Lol...thats so funny....BET IT!

Since: May 29, 2010
Posted on: November 25, 2011 6:27 pm

Looking for a deal on Black Friday

Come on disagreement!

You can still be in time to un-save the season!

Since: May 21, 2009
Posted on: November 25, 2011 6:02 pm

Looking for a deal on Black Friday

Okay, I'll comment one more time than I'm done.

This whole talks start, talks break down, start again because some mystery third party negotiator shows up, talks break down because someone gets treated like a slave, talks start up because the government steps in, talks break down because someone threw their mocha/coffee latte at another becaause they were dissed..............this reminds me of the end every game that is not a blowout (74% of the games) , end of games where it's nothing but team timeouts, fouls, free throws, injury timeouts, tainted referees and their video reveiws...all squeezed in between 1.2 second of play over the last 2 minutes.

Since: Apr 13, 2011
Posted on: November 25, 2011 5:48 pm

Looking for a deal on Black Friday

Here we go AGAIN, I've said it before and I'll say it again, "get the deal done already or just go ahead and cancel the season, i'm tired of hearing a deal is possible or they're getting close etc., just do something instead of talking about it getting everyone's hopes up.

Since: May 21, 2009
Posted on: November 25, 2011 5:47 pm

Looking for a deal on Black Friday

 , I haven't been able to smile and laugh since the lockout, but you managed to lift my spirits. 

You obviously have the talent and ability to breath hope and life into someone who has lost faith. Please apply as a writer to CBS or ESPN or some other website.

Since: Jan 2, 2011
Posted on: November 25, 2011 5:42 pm

Looking for a deal on Black Friday

When are the wners and the players gonna realise.Nobody cares?

Since: May 21, 2009
Posted on: November 25, 2011 5:38 pm

Looking for a deal on Black Friday

How I see it, the people who are selling the cokes and hotdogs, waiters, and perhaps the local media ad reps are the ONLY ones who are and will suffer.................okay, also maybe some of the BBall players who didn't look ahead and properly budget their money by spending it all on posses, bling bling, wax for their 8 BMW's, tatoos and ammunition,  basically the same ones that go bankrupt 2 years after their careers are over.

Since: Apr 14, 2011
Posted on: November 25, 2011 5:38 pm

Looking for a deal on Black Friday

Other than the Lakers not being able to start the NBA season 82-0, there is nothing wrong with the association as it now.  There have been no controversial calls, no significant injuries, KG has yet to receive a technical foul for dunking on JJ Barea and shouting him down during a Mavs 150-99 blowout win and best of all, there are no threads about fixed games.  The association should just postpone this season and go to a 164 game schedule season next year.

If there is no season, although it looks like there will be a done deal before Christmas day, the NBA should award the Lakers the NBA title for the 2011-12 season. It will bring the real fans back to professional basketball.  There is no better sight than to see all around good guy Kobe hold the championship trophy aloft to the cheers of adoring Laker fans. To the owners and players, save the season for the 100 million or so die hard Laker fans who really don't give a crap about money and all we care is about championships.

The term Black Friday is an obvious racist slur.  Do you crackers really think we don't see  that you are pointing out the irony of a labor deal on Black Friday?  Shame on yourselves.

Since: Feb 16, 2009
Posted on: November 25, 2011 5:24 pm

Looking for a deal on Black Friday

As for as I am concerned the NBA season is already cancelled!  And I hope NHL and all the other sports leagues surpasses the NBA in popularity.  Im tired of greed!  What about the people sell hotdogs and cokes?  They are suffering because of greed!

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