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: Jan 31, 2007
Posted on: November 25, 2011 4:07 pm

Looking for a deal on Black Friday

Lock out for the next couple of years!!!  Nobody cares!!!!

Since: Mar 19, 2008
Posted on: November 25, 2011 4:01 pm

Looking for a deal on Black Friday

I could care less if any kind of a deal is reached or not.  I haven't paid much attention to the NBA and their overpaid, ignorant and uneducated, tattooed thugs and punks who go into some kind of a ridiculous tribal ritual everytime they score and don't intend to start watching again in this lifetime.

Since: Nov 25, 2011
Posted on: November 25, 2011 3:55 pm

Looking for a deal on Black Friday


NBA Fans Unite and join the strike!!!

Let the owners and the players know that we are feed up! Boycott this season. The only way to let them know we are tired of hearing about their greed is to hit them where it hurts. Go to no games, watch no games. GO ON STRIKE.

Since: Sep 5, 2006
Posted on: November 25, 2011 3:37 pm

Looking for a deal on Black Friday

Agree 1,000% about the removal of Kessler being a positive development. That's two CBA negotiations he had to be kicked out of before a deal could be completed. And aside from who isn't there, look at who is there. I really don't think the NBPA would risk bringing Fisher back into the room unless a deal was close. They can't. It lends credibility to the league's "sham" disclaimer of interest argument if Fisher (or Hunter) is in the room. The NBPA must be confident that this litigation won't get to further hearings in the courtroom.

Since: May 20, 2011
Posted on: November 25, 2011 3:22 pm

Looking for a deal on Black Friday

Two signs of progress: the removal of Jeffrey Kessler from the negotiations and the silence from David Stern this past week. 

Since: Apr 15, 2008
Posted on: November 25, 2011 3:02 pm

Looking for a deal on Black Friday

Using attendance was not a bad example. Depspite some people saying attendance was down, most buildings did fairly well in that aspect. It was a rough year across the board in the US as far as the ecnonomy went. A lot of leagues attendance was down. Just get sick of people making it seem as though there is 5 to 10 thousand people a game on average or something when that is highly un true. Five teams out of thirty averaged under 15,000. The rest were 16,000 and up. It's pretty much in line with NHL attendance numbers. 

People might get mad, and deservingly so. But basketball is a huge sport and there is no way that everyone who is a b ball fan is just going to suddenly not want to watch the best players in the world compete. 

Since: Sep 5, 2006
Posted on: November 25, 2011 3:02 pm

Looking for a deal on Black Friday

And as a side note / irritant, for the one millionth time, there is no such thing as the NBAPA. The players belong to the NBPA. It is NOT the National Basketall Association Players Association. It's the National Basketball Players Association. To recap:
NFLPA = yes.
NBAPA = no.
NBPA = yes.

Since: Sep 5, 2006
Posted on: November 25, 2011 2:56 pm

Looking for a deal on Black Friday

I'm amused by the idiots that care enough to angrily tell us all that they don't care. That makes sense. Do these people also drive to stores, walk in, and yell "I don't care about your product!" before heading to the next place they don't care about to proclaim their disinterest? If you don't care, fine. Keep it moving. But despite their self-annointed status as voice of the nation (no one cares, they'll tell you, because they are the voice of all mankind), people do care. The league is not bringing in record revenue because no one cares. Find something you do care about and bother those people.

Since: Oct 15, 2007
Posted on: November 25, 2011 2:54 pm

Looking for a deal on Black Friday

That's a lot of presumptions by bignasty. I haven't seen one poster on here self-identfying themselves as a hockey fan while cheering on the lock-out. Are there really some posters that are so naive that they can't see that disgust with the current state of the NBA is causing most to show apathy towards the lockout and not something lame as wishing to see another league get more airtime?

Since: Sep 13, 2011
Posted on: November 25, 2011 2:29 pm

Looking for a deal on Black Friday

They are professional athletes who I'm sure do their own training during the summer and did this offseason. You are probably the fat outta shape eat pizza on the couch guy. They will get a training camp and some preseason games, as a bball player myself as long as your not obese it does not take that long to back in cardio shape, in fact it took me about a week of sprints everyday to get in good condition for a game. The game has always been a one-on-one battle the bulls in the jordan era always looked to isolate him, it happens at every level you look for mismatches and make that guy beat the other. Being pros they have probably more fundamental skills then you will ever have, however some are better at a certain fundamental skill, such as Nash is an excellent passer he will look to setup those three point shooters to chuck up threes and make them not just chuck them up. Perkins doesn't score much at all but his best fundamental skill is rebounding and defense, and if you played bball before which I doubt it's not just jumping up and grabbing the ball there is a art to it such has angles and trajectory the best rebounders know where to be. Then you have your scorers like LeBron, Wade, Kobe, Rose their job is self explanatory, they are your best scoring options so yes teams isolate these guys to score points, however I've seen them many times dish the ball off to an open shooter when the D collapses to the basket to stop them. And yes any team that plays D will win the title, come playoff time every team plays defense, nice to see you mentioned the top 3 teams in the league in defense, and as a Celtics fan I will say they truly do play team D. Your pretty much just another troll and an idiot who needs to stay off the NBA boards with nothing new to say than what has already been heard from you morons.

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