Blog Entry

Friday 5 with KB: Just how bad are things?

Posted on: September 16, 2011 11:48 am
By Matt Moore

In this week's edition of 
the Friday 5, we look at just how bad things are, how idiotic the Palin-Rice story is, and how much power Adelman will have. You can follow Ken Berger on Twitter @KBergCBS.  

1. What was more idiotic this week, the Glen Rice-Sarah Palin story or the way the negotiations broke down?

KB: The Rice-Palin story was silly, salacious, unnecessary and typical of our current blogissism environment. So, hands down, that was more idiotic than the talks breaking down. You know why? Because I refuse to believe that the talks have broken down. I'm clearly in the minority on this, but I still see the possibility of a deal. First, there is agreement -- or at least an acknowledgement of common ground -- on the econonics. That's huge. Now, the players will not make their proposed economic move -- believed to be 52-53 percent of BRI -- unless the owners give up their insistence on a hard cap. I was told by multiple people involved in the negotiations that what happened Tuesday was nothing like the manner in which talks have broken off in past CBA talks. There was no enmity, no name-calling, no storming out of the room. There was disappointment on both sides that the discussion had stalled on the system issues. But it doesn't have to stall forever. Stern stated Thursday in Dallas what ownership sources have told me over the past few days -- that there is room for negotiation from the league's standpoint on the cap and system issues. I have been told that the players are willing to negotiate certain specific system issues as well. So once cooler heads prevail and the posturing subsides, that is what they'll do. I wouldn't expect the players to move another inch until they at least give the NLRB a chance to rule on their unfair labor practices charge. But there is too much at stake and enough open-mindedness in the process for things to stop on Sept. 15 and never evolve from there.

2. You're urging for the plebeians to keep calm and carry on in the face of the breakdown this week, with there being actual movement with the union offering a lowered BRI. Here's a hypothetical. What would be the owners' reaction if the players did in fact offer a 50/50 split?

KB: I don't have any evidence that the players are willing to move that much, particularly if the words "hard cap" are ever uttered again. But I think while the players wait for the NLRB to rule, you will begin to see an evolution of the owners' bargaining position. I'm not here to do anyone's negotiating for them -- and lord knows, they wouldn't want me to -- but if I were the owners, the next logical step would be to say, "OK, how about 50-50 with a system that addresses competitive balance isssues to a degree, but not through a full-fledged, 100 percent hard cap?" For example, as in the NHL system, guarantees could be limited and tied to age or years of service. The players would have a chance to preserve some of the exceptions and security they're anchored to while making back much of the money they're giving up with a gradually more favorable split as revenues increase throughout the deal -- especially when the new broadast contracts take effect in 2016. Throw in a significant overhaul of the revenue-sharing mechanism, and youv'e got yourself a deal that doesn't give either side what it wants, but delivers most of what both sides need. Honestly, it ain't that hard, folks.

3. It's division week, as civil war rages on both sides. Agents fighting with union leadership, and Sarver-Gilbert undercutting the hopes of a season. Rank the four various factions by power: agents, union, Stern, hawk owners.

KB: Tough question. The outcome of the talks hinges on the answer. I'm going to say 1) Stern, 2) hawk owners, 3) union and 4) rebellious agents. Despite the outside pressures and the appearance that only a handful of mid-level players are invested in the negotiations, this could be construed as a good week for the union, which came across publicly as the side willing to negotiate and compromise and demonstrated calm, strong leadership from Billy Hunter and Derek Fisher. At such time when the union passes the hawk owners for No. 2, a deal will soon follow.

4. The Wolves of course got out in front by laughing at the idea that Adelman has any clash with Kahn. Do you see this becoming a power struggle over their time together?

KB: The man with the power in Minnesota clearly is Adelman. Just follow the money and the resume. It's hard to imagine it becoming a power struggle. For there to be a power struggle, you have to have two people with equal power -- or at least two people with the perception of equal power. Not the case here. Adelman is the man.

5. What is with the players' union and their fascination with clothing coordination? Are they a glee club? Do they think they'll do well at the junior high band competition?

KB: The T-shirts weren't a terrible idea, but I'll put it this way: Clothing is all about who's wearing it. No disrespect to Paroxi-Wife, but if the Victoria's Secret stuff you ordered for her birthday came with Scarlett Johansson inside, it would be a whole different story. So the T-shirts would've looked a lot better, and would've sent an entirely more powerful message, if the were worn by LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, Kevin Durant and Chris Paul. Or Scarlett Johansson. 

(NOTE: Paroxi-Wife got books. Lots of books.

Since: May 12, 2011
Posted on: September 19, 2011 11:33 am

Friday 5 with KB: Just how bad are things?

We had some optumism with the NFL sport only because the "sides" were close a great revenue and had better representatives knowing adjustments from both sides had to be made to make the 2011 season happen. The NBA/pu talks are going nowhere as far as I'm hearing and I do not even hear the sides are close. NBA also is loosing so much money as a whole so I am very sceptical the sides can agree on how the league can agree to move forward toward a mutual success. From what I'm seeing, things in the NBA world are in very bad shape starting with what the players thinking they can continue to milk out of their owners and poor run league. Players signing overseas should be a hint to the lak of a 2011/12 season. My bet is no season and that the NBA is in the worst shape in history. I will be interested in how this all comes out but not loosing sleep or the season.

Since: Sep 18, 2011
Posted on: September 18, 2011 2:40 pm

Friday 5 with KB: Just how bad are things?

Very bad, extremely bad, inevitable bad however you can describe it. Besides hype the NBA lockout looks like a large thing though its not as large as many may think heres what can be acheived

pessimism is in the air for news on the  lockout. It is looking like a dead end, so now, as fans when there is no hope, think of the actual meaning of the NBA lockout.

The NBA lockout seems to be at a dead end and to miss games, it's looking inevitable. So as fans, instead of paying attention to get a deal done, pay attention to a deal that can be done. Many fans, don't realize that there are details to the NBA lockout, and it's not only about the timing but it's about a deal which will be done.

The owners are seeking a hard cap, which would make the NBA a whole lot more fair in several views. Teams are excessively going over the cap, like Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics, Orlando Magic, Portland Trail Blazers, San Antonio Spurs, Miami Heat, and a few more teams.

A hard cap will make the leagues payroll more even, as it seems unfair when teams like the Sacramento Kings, and Denver Nuggets, near a $30 million payroll, compared to the Los Angeles Lakers who have near a $90 million payroll.

Revenue sharing seems to be more of a problem than it is. The players recent idea points out a 53% revenue sharing split, which seems significantly better than 57 percent which they wanted back in June, assuming they go down to 51 or 52 percent, and agree to a flex cap, a deal can most likely be made.

Though the players seem to be nowhere near a compromise for a hard cap, as all the compromising looks to be from the players, and not from the owners.

ESPN points out a scenario in which the league accepts a flex cap of $70 million, which would put teams like the Lakers in a bad scenario, or would it? The scenario also points out you are allowed to go over the cap in order to re-sign players. So yes, this would be a great scenario, and it would be fair for the fans, owners and agreeable for the players.

A new problem could be arriving in the players' minds, an ego issue. The flex cap/hard cap, is now becoming more of a competition than an agreement, the players side is for a regular cap, and owners for a flex.

Owners would almost do anything for a flex cap (realistically the deal above), and realistically it's worth it for both sides, but are the players the real problem? A flex cap is fair for the league, and many teams, and the players won't accept it, so what I'm trying to point out, is that a fair deal is possibly not the goal, a deal for ego can be.


Since: Nov 21, 2006
Posted on: September 18, 2011 12:51 pm

Friday 5 with KB: Just how bad are things?

One page of comments tells you all you need to know about this situation, NO ONE CARES! The NBA is dispensable and the players need to figure out that is why the owners are trying to get the system fixed at all costs.

Since: Sep 22, 2007
Posted on: September 17, 2011 10:15 pm

Friday 5 with KB: Just how bad are things?

What?  The Pee Wee Herman and Barack Obama affair doesn't get mentioned?  I thought they've said that he was such a sports fan!

Since: Oct 29, 2010
Posted on: September 17, 2011 4:35 pm

Friday 5 with KB: Just how bad are things?

all sports need the government to say no more business write offs for season tickets and suites. then let all the sports work off what they will make from there. I gaurantee you they will not get the rediculous money for tickets if it wasnt a business write off. Nor would they get as muck for the beer and food. And I also think the Owners need to say they want the same percentage of money coming from player endorsments. The players want a cut in everything the owners got then the owners should get a cut there also.

Since: May 18, 2008
Posted on: September 17, 2011 4:24 pm

Friday 5 with KB: Just how bad are things?

I agree with most of your argument except: Owners pay these guys a hundred times more than they could make in any other profession.  That is not a valid argument. they are not in any other profession. In your job, would you try to get what you could? The league is making billions so they are not going to get 50,000 dollars a year. Their salaries are to scale. Lawyers earn on a different scale then McDonald's workers And athletes make what their scale is. Within those scales, people try to get what they can. 

Since: Sep 20, 2006
Posted on: September 17, 2011 10:32 am

Friday 5 with KB: Just how bad are things?

WHAT ? Owners have NO RISK ? You and the NBPA need to put down the pipe, dude...owners have ALL the risk...ask Greg Oden.

Players demands are ridiculous. Owners AND players previous greed and stupididty have blindly coddled the opinion that there is always more....well, there isn't, and they,  like the other pro sports franchises (and the banks) have to finally realize it. It just hasn't sunk in yet on all the players, fans and owners. It will...SOON.

No one works if the business doesn't perform for the people that put up the financial investment, in other words, the people at risk. Ask the millions of unemployed auto workers that thought their "unique" skills were worth 3 times what they actualy were, or the millions of foreclosed former homeowners that borrowed future "equity" that dissapeared, and the failed banks that loaned it to them.

The facts are, the big NBA names make most of their money from endorsements outside the payroll of a franchise, and no one is stopping that...the problem is paying players $50 million guaranteed contracts for 2-1/2 years of 8 minutes a night, and for 1-1/2 years after they've been released because they're not in physical or mental conditon to perform, just isn't good business, and isn't justifyable risk.  

Not all, but many NBA and NFL players are only "professional" because technically, they are paid. They are largely immature, irresponsible, uneducated and inarticulate, raised in a culture that has supported the legitimacy of undeserved entitlement... non- existant standards for responsible behavior and work ethic because of exceptions made because of their athletic skills, and constant reinforcement of the idea of getting something for nothing as a life goal, and getting A LOT for as little as possible, is even better. 

Owners pay these guys a hundred times more than they could make in any other profession, regardless if they show up stoned, lazy, uncooperative, and sometimes, even if they don't show up at all. They have to put up with the constant distraction of guns in lockers, strip club fights, palimony and spousal abuse cases, agents, lawyers, throngs of parasites players demand be treated like extended family, and the ever growing network of media. 

It's like trying to run a zoo, where the animals aren't caged, and always want more to eat. If these NBA animals aren't careful, the zookeepers have finally stopped feeding them completely, and the players are going to have to submit, or they will have to eat the fans first...then each other. In the end, they'll be fewer of them, and none of them will ever eat as well again, as the owners are offering now.       

Since: Jan 2, 2007
Posted on: September 17, 2011 8:48 am

Friday 5 with KB: Just how bad are things?

bulldog - that's the catch - the owners do NOT take any risk.  They have a gov't-approved monopoly.

Since: Jun 4, 2008
Posted on: September 16, 2011 5:14 pm

Friday 5 with KB: Just how bad are things?

I understand these guys are the best basketball players in the world. I understand that they want to get paid and make money. What I don’t understand is why they won’t concede a few percentage points in sharing billions of dollars. I think the NBA should keep salaries the same but allow the players to be cut just like the NFL. How hard would these mediocre players making millions play if they knew their career depended on it? Luke Walton would be out of the league. Penny Hardaway, Vin Baker, and others whose contracts killed teams would have been gone. I agree with the owners, lock out the players until they understand you own the team. This is not their business it’s yours, you take the risk, pay the bills, and you should reap the benefits. Players run up and down the basketball court during the day and hump strippers at night.

Since: Sep 20, 2006
Posted on: September 16, 2011 4:49 pm

Friday 5 with KB: Just how bad are things?

The comment about the "clothing is all about who's wearing it" is valid, and supports my observation that the reason this issue IS still an issue, is there aren't enough people impacted by the stoppage yet. LeBron, Kobe, etc. have already made enough money to sit around a cash campfire the rest of their lives. The owners have billions made outside the NBA, and aren't going to miss a payment on the corporate jet anytime soon.

One option obviously not mentined yet is, those players in the "stand"shirts COULD wind up being the next "names" in the NBA, if the owners decide to go forward without the mega-million contract, NBPA union blue chip players. I doubt, if push comes to shove, that those indescriminantly "standing" players will hold out for a deal that would make the obviously missing stars even wealthier, while putting their lower level jobs at greater risk, while they get their cars repossessed and default on their $25,000 a month palimony payments.

Courts can't force private businesses to promise a guaranteed percentage of the receipts to employees, or stop them from operating because employees won't work in an industry where they already make 200 times the average salary, and there are others who gladly would. It might look more like the old ABA, but pro basketball CAN go on without these guys.      

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