Blog Entry

'Relieved' Stern vows new CBA will work

Posted on: December 25, 2011 4:05 pm
DALLAS -- While admitting that he was "a little bit relieved" to be presiding over an opening day that almost didn't happen, NBA commisssioner David Stern vowed Sunday that the new labor agreement reached last month is "going to work over time" to create a competitively balanced league.

"We think we're going to come out of this pretty well," Stern said before his first opening-day stop, the NBA Finals rematch between the Heat and Mavericks. Afterward, Stern was set to make his way to Oklahoma City to watch the Magic and Thunder.

"We're beginning to see shorter contacts already under the collective bargaining agreement as teams cast a wary eye on two years from now, when the enhanced tax gets to be considerably higher and you have to be mindful of that," Stern said.

Of course, this being the NBA -- which has endured a rocky transition to the start of a 66-game season after a contentious, five-month labor fight -- some unresolved issues remain.

First, Stern addressed the fact that the owners of the two teams he was about to watch, Miami's Micky Arison and Dallas' Mark Cuban, were among the five who voted against the new labor deal. Arison has acknowledged that his no-vote was registered in protest, presumably over elements of the revenue-sharing plan that was a major sticking point for owners.

"That doesn't send any signal whatsoever," Stern said of the formal disapproval registered by Arison and Cuban, saying the revenue-sharing plan will amount to close to $200 million by the third year of the CBA -- giving "all teams the opportunity to compete," he said.

"The shorter contracts will make more free agents available on the market, and the enhanced tax system will make it more difficult for teams to use their resources simply to get a competitive advantage," Stern said.

But while Stern said the new agreement continues to embrace the concept of free agency, he solicited suggestions from the media audience as to how to address a more burning issue: the practice of players who are not yet free agents trying to force their way to the team of their choice, as Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul have done, and as Dwight Howard is in the process of doing.

"I'm an avid reader of many of your rants ... so what would you suggest?" Stern said to me when I asked him about the topic

"For example, a franchise tag," I said.

Stern pointed to a new measure in the CBA that allows a team to extend a star player by paying him 30 percent of the salary cap, as the Bulls recently did to retain reigning MVP Derrick Rose.

"After that, when a player has played a number of years in the league -- seven or eight -- and says, 'I don't want to re-sign in this particular city, I have a different choice,' it doesnt concern us at all that he has that option," Stern said. "This league has embraced free agency ... and has for decades. And that's fine."

Stern also pointed out that if a team decides to call an impending free agent's bluff and "try to persuade him" to stay after the season, there is a "strong incentive" in the form of the five-year contract with 7.5 percent raises that the home team can offer as opposed to a four-year deal with 4.5 percent raises that other suitors have available, he said.

"The difference at the max end is going to approach $30 million," Stern said. "So we'll be watching some interesting situations play out, whether players will forgo that difference."

Stern said the concept of players pushing to be traded to a team of his choice "goes back to Wilt (Chamberlain) and Kareem (Abdul-Jabbar). It's well-grounded in all sports, actually. And in fact, the NFL hasn't had to use its franchise player designation a lot. Either the player wants to stay or he doesn't want to stay, so I don't think we need it."

Among the other topics Stern addressed on opening day in Dallas before heading to Oklahoma City:

* On the trend set by the Heat with the formation of their Big Three last summer: "I don't think it's a slippery slope at all. I think the fact that players are able to move from team to team, having played under their contracts -- their rookie extension, whatever it is -- and find a team that is managed well enough so they are under the cap and they can acquire more than one player, we think that's fine. The ultimate for the league will be whether that's an interesting and fun team, and the Heat are an interesting and fun team."

* On the rising cost of stockpiling stars: "I don't think that free agency should be looked askance at because that's what players are entitled to do. It will get expensive over time for teams to acquire players with increasing contracts and the like, but it will have a way of working itself out. And I would say to you that this is going to be a system that is more likely than not to be here 10 years from now."

* On his role in the Chris Paul trade debacle: "I don't think it affected the integrity of the league. But I do think I could have done a better communications job."

* On the new CBA's impact on small-market teams: "A team that goes into the tax for a $20 million player in Year Three is going to pay $45M in tax money. We'll see who does that. And the way this is going to help the small team is that there will be more free agents available over time, playing out their four-year contracts and shorter -- because contracts are getting shorter. ... I hate to use the term 'small market,' because three of the smallest markets in our league are Oklahoma City, New Orleans and San Antonio. Don't cry for any of them, but they're small markets."

* On how and why the labor deal finally got done: "This process got speeded up because we sat down with the players and we agreed that Christmas Day was a wonderful magnet. If we were going to be able to play 66 games -- a 20 percent reduction, a 20 percent reduction in pay, etc. -- let's do it this weekend or we'll see you whenever. And whenever was going to be a very contentious whenever."

* On Cuban's criticism of Stern vetoing Paul's trade to the Lakers: "In the middle of this criticism of me throwing him under the bus, he managed to pick up Lamar Odom. Not bad."

* On what would've happened if the league had not taken over the Hornets: "We thought the team was gone. That would've been it. We wanted to give the team a chance in New Orleans, and we thought they could succeed there."

Since: Jan 22, 2011
Posted on: December 26, 2011 10:10 am

'Relieved' Stern vows new CBA will work

The commish is delusional. His system allows poorly managed teams like the Knicks always dig out of there massive holes by clearing cap space and waiting for the next cry baby to clamour for the bright lights of NYC.

Since: Nov 23, 2006
Posted on: December 26, 2011 9:27 am

'Relieved' Stern vows new CBA will work

I really do not know what good to say anymore about the NBA.  For one thing, it is absolutely NOT better than it use to be.  At least years ago the players had some class.  This current crop is above all else too ignorant to know when they have more dollars than they will ever spend.  Many are so adulterous how could anybody with half a brain consider these guys any kind of roll model.  Lebron James not only didn't go to College but he could not even qualify academically.  It's like Tiger Woods in golf.  Is Tiger an excellent player?  Sure he is.  Is he a decent person otherwise? Absolutely not.  How would you ever respect these players?  You would have to be so in awe of their talent and so much in dreamland that you forget just what it really means to be a decent person.  These are ignorant thugs in the NBA period.  Guys who would be related to gang violence if they didn't play in the NBA.  Hey, go ahead and give me flack.  Call me a player hater if you want.  I am entitled to my opinion and I think I have seen enough to know better.  The tattoos, the earrings and piercings, these stupid name changes, all to very ignorantly try and grab a spotlight.  There is such a thing as promoting the game in a positive manner.  That has been around for years.  Such things as the before mentioned along with fighting and violence on the court, still allowing a guy to play in the league after he attacked fans in the stands, the rap crap mentality the game has become has tunred this league into a thug league.  There is such a thing as perception and the negative message this sends.  For those of you that feel this doesn't "keep it real" need to check yourselves.  You need to grow up and pull your pants up while your at it.  The NBA ia a league of thugs and they also promote the fact that if you don't win the Championship your season is a failure a waste.  Poor Miami Heat last year.  All that talent and they made it to the finals and lost.  What a failure.  Please!!!  How do you feel sorry for a team that made it where only two teams, including themselves, made it to?  That is just stupid.  Even if Lebron NEVER wins a title he has more than 99% of men and women in this world have.  Gives these guys in the NBA a lesson in real life, if for nothing else, the sake of those that follow in their footsteps and are foolish and ignorant enough to idolize these thugs.  "World Peace"  please.  "Ron Artest" is a darn good name.  Like he can promote World Peace himself.  You want to play Basketball, play Basketball and clean yourself up.  You want to help promote World Peace, grab a weapon, put on a military uniform, like that NFL Player formerly of the Arizona Cardinals, and stand a post along with our other men and women in uniform.  I wore that uniform myself for over 23 years.

Since: Sep 13, 2010
Posted on: December 26, 2011 7:44 am

'Relieved' Stern vows new CBA will work

You can say many things about Stern, almost all bad, but the bottom line is this guy wants to manipulate the leaugue. He wants to control the drama and the balance of the league. That is why the NBA is unwatchable and has been for years. Lets not forget the Donahey Referee scandal, in this case we learned the leaugue has official at each game who direct the referees how to call the game, ie this is a foul, this is not. This sham of a sports league is the WWF with Stern as the man behind the curtian, pulling the strings. Anyone who pays to go to an NBA game is a fool.

Since: Dec 10, 2006
Posted on: December 26, 2011 1:23 am

'Relieved' Stern vows new CBA will work

Maybe with time the league will balance out but as it stands now, there are some teams that are barely better than D League teams. Hard to pay big money to watch one of the elites play a starless roster.

Since: Mar 15, 2007
Posted on: December 26, 2011 12:06 am

Start plans now

The NBA players association should be laying the foundation for a rival league once this CBA expires.  Just put a team of lawyers in place so that when they opt out of this crap-sandwich CBA they can have some leverage.  The winners in this CBA are the owners who are going to make millions more per year.  The amount of $ in the league didn't decrease, just shifted from the players to the owners.   I'd rather pay the players than Paul Allen and Jerry Buss.

Since: Dec 23, 2007
Posted on: December 25, 2011 11:44 pm

'Relieved' Stern vows new CBA will work

good informative column...

Since: Mar 2, 2008
Posted on: December 25, 2011 9:31 pm

'Relieved' Stern vows new CBA will work

Stern does seem to make some dumb statements (like the Odom line near the end), but that is what you get from this old guy that is out of touch with reality.  Players should be allowed top get to UFA status sooner then 7-8 years in any capped league, not something to be proud of actually.

Since: Dec 2, 2007
Posted on: December 25, 2011 9:19 pm

'Relieved' Stern vows new CBA will work

Shut up, Stern.  Yet again, this isn't about YOU.  Who cares if you're "relieved"?  Until you're "humbled" by the ability of the players and owners to work out a deal DESPITE YOU (not because of you), you should shut the hell up.

And saying what Cuban and Arison said WASN'T a statement on the CBA, how arrogant can you possiblly be?  That's EXACTLY what it was.  They said so themselves.  They literally said they voted against it to send a message about their displeasure with the revenue sharing plan.

Oh and wait.  More arrogant schmuckness...  You're not concerned about players having the ability to go wherever they want... Um, really?  Unless it's Chris Paul and the Lakers?  The owners had all worked out that deal-- everyone thought it was a "done deal" then you dictator your way through the room, crashing all the china to the floor, flicking your arrogant cigar ashes all over the place.

You're a horrible leader who lacks all the most important traits of REAL leadership- tact, empathy, and the ability to delegate.

I (and many others) will celebrate the day you're fired from the NBA, and it stops being run like a mafia crime ring, with you as it's self-infatuated Don.  Too bad it's not sometime soon, because there are openings in places like Libya, North Korea, and Iraq at the moment... You'd offer a seamless transition to any of those leadership positions. 

Since: Aug 11, 2006
Posted on: December 25, 2011 9:17 pm

'Relieved' Stern vows new CBA will work


Your sentiment pretty much mirrors that of NBA players.  But what would you do if you were the commissioner?

The ugly truth of the matter is that there ARE 24 Washington Generals in the NBA.  If you're a Lakers fan, or a Bulls fan, or a Heat fan, etc., then it's not a big deal.  You're lucky enough to live in an area where the NBA is viable.  The problem is, though, that the NBA is not viable in a majority of its current markets.

David Stern and the small market owners actually caved by relenting to a bad CBA.  His nix of the Chris Paul-to-Lakers trade (on the very same day this flawed CBA was ratified) is proof positive of that.  In my opinion, the decision to not allow Paul to go to the Lakers is the single greatest instance of business hypocricy in the history of American sports.  If you can find a better example, I'd love to hear it. 

Since: Sep 5, 2011
Posted on: December 25, 2011 8:11 pm

'Relieved' Stern vows new CBA will work

I totally agree with Dan Gilbert there are 24 washington generals out there.

Hey he is just as dumb as the other small market teams to think they will get the same draw as big market teams/city, they knew this before they bought the team, so dont whine now. funny thing is they get mad when players dont want to play in there city, you knew before you bought the team in cleveland, oak, etc that it would be hard to draw type-A FA. so dont get mad at your own dumb/bad business deal. players espically young players want the spotlight and want to live in a city that is happening, not like cleveland. this is like when someone buys a house next to a express way for a great deal then after a year cries about the noise!

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