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: Nov 7, 2008
Posted on: November 25, 2011 2:13 pm

Looking for a deal on Black Friday

I expect the next NBA season their be a sharpe drop in the attendances, I just have doubt that this season can be saved.
Also, remember who the brunt of attendess are.  Rich, white guys and corporations buy up most the bottom 2/3 of most stadiums, with the actual fans (black, white, anyone else) who live paycheck to paycheck can only afford those top level seats.  I'll take my $30 to a bar and watch college football instead.

So it really doesn't matter what John Q. Public fan thinks since we are not the ones the teams care about in terms of ticket sales.  We buy up the $10-$30 seats, which don't pull in a lot of revenue.   

Since: Nov 7, 2008
Posted on: November 25, 2011 2:09 pm

Looking for a deal on Black Friday

Who cares?  Most of the players don't even know what they are holding out for (based on various articles stating this), so it just depends on when the richest couple players tell them to vote yes.  And the owners are clueless as well.

It has been pretty damn funny to watch.  The NBAPA has done massive damage to the players reputations and has just time and time again shown that the are ignorant, petulant children who have no idea what is going on (black, white American, or European) with their bloated incomes.  They have turned down deal after deal that would have made the life of the average player better while the richest players who are leading the union fight for more money for themselves.  And it really makes you wonder how most of these owners still have money based on the stupid decisions they keep making.  And finally the media, who keeps telling us it is over without any actual information to base it upon.  I wonder if Berger and the other just have a suite next to where the negotiations are happening and they are all just sitting back doing shots and making up news....

So we will have a bad 66 game schedule with players getting injured left and right (should be a lot of hammy problems) because few of them have stayed in shape and the owners want to rush out as many games as possible.  So the game that has already deteoritated into one on one battles, three pointers chucked up from everywhere, little or no fundamental skills, and all iso plays instead of actual basketball will only get worse.  If a team (maybe the Bulls, Heat, Celtics?) can play an ounce of team D this year, they will cruise to the title.

Since: Sep 19, 2011
Posted on: November 25, 2011 2:09 pm

Looking for a deal on Black Friday

Here's how many people care about NBA games:
Using the NBA attendance was bad example, The  2011 NBA attendance went down 2% from 2010. Now we know that Attendance's go up and down from year to year, there are an lot fan's that only follow their team when they are winning. I expect the next NBA season their be a sharpe drop in the attendances, I just have doubt that this season can be saved.

Since: Sep 13, 2011
Posted on: November 25, 2011 2:06 pm

Looking for a deal on Black Friday

I love the trolls on every NBA board saying how they wish the season was canceled already. Most of them are NHL fans and know if the NBA starts again then hockey will get less airtime. Oh wait I forgot it doesn't anyways college bball is going on. Here is me doing what others do, "NHL sucks it isn't even a real sport, who cares about the NHL, they should have stayed locked out when they DID cancel their season." I bet more people know the Mavs beat the Heat in the finals, than the Bruins beat who??? I can't remember because NHL sucks and I didn't really watch it or care.

Since: May 29, 2010
Posted on: November 25, 2011 2:01 pm

Looking for a deal on Black Friday

I'm sure if the majority of star players in the NBA were white you'd be singing a different tune.

Since: Jul 24, 2011
Posted on: November 25, 2011 1:50 pm

Cancel the season

Here is to hoping they will cancel the season

The NBA is so overrated   

Since: Apr 26, 2010
Posted on: November 25, 2011 1:36 pm

Looking for a deal on Black Friday

Snyde, you can quote ESPN stats all you want, but you are looking at old data, and irrelevant data at that. First, whatever the attendance totals were last year, they are guaranteed to go down because of the strike/lockout. Second, the place where the attendance numbers are going to be hurt the most is in the average fan who has to pay $100 a ticket or more to sit in the nose-bleeds. Those people aren't coming back for a while. Just ask the NHL. It has been a long time since their little childish fight, and the NHL still isn't what it was before. Not too mention the fact that the guy who posted this is simply conveying his own opinion, and likely that of a LOT of others. The NBA is going to be hurt by this, that is for sure. And there have been and will continue to be "trolls", as you call them, voicing their disgust with a bunch of millionaires crying over a 5% paycut.

Since: Mar 26, 2011
Posted on: November 25, 2011 1:13 pm

Looking for a deal on Black Friday

Agreed PSU, the window would be about mid-January at the latest like it was in 1998. The reason we haven't had a deal is that the owners collectively must really be losing that $300 mil per year. In the NFL, everybody was making $$$ and we all knew it. As for the players, they are looking for a way to "save face" and the owners can give it to them here. I think most of them know this is a terrible move they've done. Who would risk at median $4.5 mil salary over essentially fringe benefits and a 5.5% pay cut that they had already agreed to?

Even if a deal does not get done, the season does not go down the drain. That's the aforementioned mid-January clock.

Since: Nov 25, 2011
Posted on: November 25, 2011 1:11 pm

Looking for a deal on Black Friday

Here's how many people care about NBA games:


Not to mention those who watch on TV:



Please go troll elsewhere.

Since: Dec 19, 2006
Posted on: November 25, 2011 1:05 pm

Looking for a deal on Black Friday

A lot of people care about the NBA, just not at the moment.  They will care when football is over and baseball still has 2 months to go before the start of thier season.  A 60 day hole in the calendar, filled with NCAA basketball (not bad, better in late march/april) and hockey (who cares until late may). 

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