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Tag:David Stern
Posted on: November 8, 2011 2:27 pm
Edited on: November 8, 2011 7:25 pm
 

David Stern: 'We are going to make a deal'

Posted by Royce Young



David Stern has started up another media tour, taking his message to radio shows, TV shows, podcasts and basically anyone who will listen. He's not so much trying to go for the PR spin this time though. He's just trying to speak to the rank and file players. He's trying, desperately, to make a deal.

But with Wednesday's doomsday deadline rapidly approaching, there's a legitimate fear the season could be lost. Will that actually happen? Could it? Stern was on ESPN New York and was asked that:
“I refuse to contemplate it or discuss because we are going to make a deal. (Host: So you’re confident?) Unlike any other deal, if I don’t bid enough for your house you don’t have to sell it to me. Or if you ask too much I don’t have to buy it. Our players, there’s going to be a deal. The only question is how much damage is done to the game and our fans and the people who work in our industry before we make that deal.”
It sounds bold and important. It's a pretty snazzy headline. We are going to make a deal. But it's true. At some point, whether Wednesday, in January, or in 2014, the NBA and NBPA will have a deal. There will be basketball again, someday. It's just a matter of when.

NBA Labor
But I like Stern's approach. He's committed to getting a deal done. It sounds like with this 50-50 split, he's kind of hanging his neck out there. He's basically admitted that his owners are split on that but he's going to push through in order to get something finished. Stern's been painted as the bad guy all along, but I think his intentions are genuine -- he wants a deal. He wants basketball.

Stern was also asked about the idea that the players are making all the concessions:
“I would argue that if I were them also. But another view on this is by working together with us over the last number of years, 30 years or so, we’ve taken the average player salary from 250 thousand dollars a year to well over five million and if we make the changes that are in the owners current proposal we will take a small step back from the $5.5 million average salary to something above five and we will grow it over the life of the proposal to well over seven million dollars.

This at a time when there’s nine percent unemployment, when all of the risk on this business is on the owners and the five or six thousand other people who help make it. We think it’s a very fair accommodation. We’re giving them the benefit really of keeping them pretty close to where they are under a system that is no longer sustainable.
He may not be trying to win the PR war, but darn it, is he good at it.

Via Sports Radio Interviews
Category: NBA
Posted on: November 8, 2011 8:57 am
Edited on: November 8, 2011 7:36 pm
 

NBA Labor Buzz: Latest updates



NBA Labor
Since there's going to be so many reports and tweets and nonsense today from both sides in preparation of tomorrow's deadline when the owners will pull their "generous" offer for a considerably stricter one, we thought we'd give you a thread to keep track of where everyone stands with what. This post will update throughout the day.

Tuesday 7:26 p.m:

  • Stern responded to the union's rejection of the current proposal by restating the threat of the worse offer. He also would not commit to a meeting Wednesday but said he would take Hunter's call, and denied that Christmas games would be cancelled if a deal was not made by the deadline. 
  • Luis Scola asked on Twitter the following (in Spanish): "The NBPA rejected the proposal to the owners, why not vote?" So apparently Scola's willing to at least talk about it. You've got to wonder how many players are going to be upset the deal wasn't discussed more.
  • Brian Cardinal followed the NBPA line that the players would bend on BRI if system concessions were made. They are also acting like this has been the case the whole time, after all the rabble-rousing over 53 percent. 

Tuesday 5:36 p.m.
Tuesday 12:14 p.m.
  • Spencer Hawes is taking his frustration out on Twitter. He tweeted: "Voting (and not for this completely irrational proposal from the NBA) rather local elections. Hard when democrats r the only choice #writein." I'm not entirely sure what his point is there.
  • Jamario Moon tweeted this: "Deal or No Deal?..........Deal!!!!! Let's play some ball!" I kind of wish Howie Mandel was David Stern.
  • Jonny Flynn tweeted this: "Starting to see why so many things are outta wack. Ppl aren't held accountable. Let enough things slide & forget what's right." One thing that's out of wack? The amount professional athletes are paid to play a sport. But nobody's talking about that.
Tuesday 9:40 a.m.
  • At the Salt Lake City charity game last night, several players weighed in to the Salt Lake Tribune. Jeremy Evans says take "whatever is given" and get a deal. Devin Harris sounds much more like a decertification guy talking about "tough decisions" but that could be the deal as well, and Derrick Favors has not paid attention to anything regarding the talks. So glad he gets a vote.
Tuesday 9 a.m.
  • J.J. Redick told the Orlando Sentinel that he's not necessarily in favor of decertification, but that he would sign a petition to decertify should a deal not be agreed upon in the next few days. You can interpret that as "I don't think this will work but the deal's not acceptable and I'm not willing to just lie down and take it." 
  • Anthony Tolliver of the Timberwolves, a players' rep who will attend Tuesday's NBPA meeting told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune that "pretty much everything is split" when it comes to the players between decertification and voting to approve the deal as is. You can interpret that as a pretty good read on where things stand, with most statements from players coming down on either side. It's going to be a tense meeting Tuesday.
  • Chris Sheridan of SheridanHoops.com has been an active optimist during this nightmare. He's predicted an end to the lockout about three times because he keeps assuming we have rational actors. He's back on that bus today as he says the two sides are 99 percent done, so they can't turn back now and we'll have a deal in 36 hours. This is us not holding our breath. You can interpret this as some sources close to the talks continue to be stunned that the two sides can be inches apart and still tossing grenades at one another. 
Previously on "Days of Our Lockout":
For more breaking news on the NBA labor front, follow us on Twitter at @EyeOnBasketball and Ken Berger (@KBergCBS).
Posted on: November 8, 2011 8:24 am
Edited on: November 8, 2011 5:48 pm
 

Report: Owners could be open to system tweaks

By Matt Moore



Many of the owners don't want a meeting, but the few that do think there's some room to tweak things so the players can swallow this deal. 

Yahoo! Sports reports that some owners are open to meeting and discussing system issues on the periphery, not the main elements, if it means a deal can get done to save the season.  
As one ownership source told Yahoo! Sports on Monday night, “If there were a couple of tweaks needed around the edges – not fundamental deal points – I believe there could be a deal if everything else is agreed upon. But there needs to be a meeting with David and Billy for anything to happen.”
via NBA owners, players could talk before deadline - NBA - Yahoo! Sports.

Yahoo! also reports Billy Hunter is on the fence about taking a meeting. That's likely because his job is already in jeopardy over how this process has been handled and knows that if they meet which signals a readiness to accept the deal, and it falls through, the hard-line agents and players pushing for decertification will likely be able to remove him once the union reforms.

The report also backs up Ken Berger of CBSSports.com's reportfrom Monday night outlining hard owners who are still uneasy about the deal on the table now. This deal which lops off seven percentage points from the players' BRI, eliminating any advantage in that regard and implementing massive systemic changes isn't enough for some owners who still want more. In fact, ESPN reports that those owners are making their voices heard. 
A group of disgruntled NBA owners held a conference call Monday to express their displeasure with the 50/50 revenue offer commissioner David Stern has presented to the players' association, according to sources with knowledge of the call.

The deal, which the union sees as an "ultimatum" offer, calls for players to receive anywhere between 49 and 51 percent of basketball-related income, but the group of displeased owners, the sources said, are hoping the players reject it.
via NBA lockout -- Some NBA owners express displeasure with David Stern's 50-50 offer, sources say - ESPN.

Great idea! Let's not have a season so that the huge win you already have in your pocket can be scrapped for even bigger win. It's not enough to be up by 40 in the fourth quarter, let's make sure we can spike the football off the face of our opponent. That's what this comes down to.

It's not clear what peripheral changes could be made to the deal outside of some small amount tweaks in years, raise percentages or amounts regarding various elements like the mid-level exception. If a meeting is taken by both sides, it could very well detonate if the owners balk at any change that actually helps the union accept the deal, which is two percent less than they've sworn to accept, after dropping from 53 percent which they swore to hold at. You're sensing a pattern here, I suppose. 

Going to be a busy, acrimonious day in the NBA. Without games.
Posted on: November 7, 2011 10:14 pm
Edited on: November 8, 2011 12:55 am
 

Report: Of course the NBA doesn't want to meet

By Matt Moore 

Wednesday is the latest Judgment Day in a long history of Judgment Days during this lockout, the day when the NBA's "generous" offer to only knock 7 percent of the player's BRI off eliminating any greater share (after an expenses deduction, I might add), along with widespread systemic changes and the elimination of the sign-and-trade for tax payers expires and their new, stricter, more terrifying offer becomes the new reality. In preparation for that day, the NBPA has four options. 

  1. Decertify the union (or disclaim interest, if they want a quicker and riskier route) and file antitrust lawsuits against the owners, initializing a court-based nuclear winter that eliminates at least this season if not next and which will likely fail in court at one of its many risky junctures.
  2. Calmly wait for the deadline to pass and continue negotiating, effectively ignoring the threat. President Kennedy famously used this same tactic in talks with the USSR during the Cuban Missile Crisis. 
  3. Try and get the owners back to the table for a negotiation to try and sweeten the deal to a point where it's at least swallowable for the majority of the players. 
  4. Vote on the deal as it stands right now and go back to work, effectively caving in order to keep the season and the paychecks that go along with it, sacrificing their profession and pride for their paychecks and the fans. 
All in all, not an appetizing menu before them. 

But don't worry. The owners are going to make sure that third option isn't one. Because, really, why would the NBA want to negotiate more? They might get a season then! From the New York Times
 
NBA official says no meeting scheduled with union tomorrow, and none being attempted at the moment. (But things change quickly.)
via Twitter / @HowardBeckNYT: NBA official says no meeti ....

Things do change quickly, but with the NBA owners ready for a scorched earth offer on Wednesday, and with as many owners pushing for a lost season as there are, a meeting doesn't make sense. If the players don't take the deal, they look like the bad guys, and the owners can say they hung themselves. The owner want to keep talks closed because starting Monday, reports started filtering in about players being open to the 50/50 deal. Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reports that NBPA officials will be "open minded" about a vote on the current offer.

The owners smell blood in the water. So they will resist anything that gives light to the tunnel the players are strapped in. On Tuesday, they'll fight it out amongst themselves, the decertification hard-liners, the weary 50/50 sympathizers, and the Executive Committee in the middle, desperately trying to hold onto a situation they've never had the reins on.
Posted on: November 7, 2011 6:31 pm
Edited on: November 7, 2011 6:53 pm
 

Stern sends letter to Hunter detailing offers

Posted by Ben Gollivernba-lockout

NBA commissioner David Stern told reporters during a Saturday evening news conference that he would be presenting to the National Basketball Players Association with two offers in writing. The first, a more favorable one, would be valid only if agreed to by end of day Wednesday. The second, a less favorable one, would kick in if that deadline passed.

The New York Times reports that Stern communicated both offers in a letter to NBPA executive director Billy Hunter, ending the communication with an expression of hope that a deal could be reached.
“Rather than simply proceeding, as we could have, to offer a less favorable proposal at this time, the N.B.A. is providing an additional period of time for the players association to consider our 50/50 proposal,” Stern wrote. “We are hopeful that the prospect of a less favorable outcome for the players will prompt the players association to realize that the best deal that can be reached is the one the N.B.A. is prepared to make right now.”

Stern closes, “Billy, I sincerely hope that we can reach an agreement over the next few days.”
The differences in the two offers, the paper reports, are significant in every meaningful way. In addition to roughly a 3 percent drop in its offer of Basketball-Related Income, the new offer would also promise shorter guaranteed contracts, smaller raises, a smaller mid-level exception, a reduced maximum salary figure and a flex cap rather than a strengthened soft cap.

With these details being released publicly, and thus available to every NBA player, it's possible that calls for a vote on the 50/50 offer will increase. There are reports that Houston Rockets guard Kevin Martin is in favor of the league's current offer and that Los Angeles Lakers guard Steve Blake is agitating to get a deal.
Posted on: November 7, 2011 9:34 am
 

Report: NBPA asking for team reps at meeting

By Matt Moore 

The players have a lot to talk about Monday, and they want a full house for it. 

Ken Berger of CBSSports.com has confirmed an ESPN report that the NBPA has asked representatives from all 30 teams to attend their meeting in New York on Monday. The range of topics on the table will include the NBA's latest offer, though union leadership is firmly against bringing the offer to a vote as it deems it "unacceptable." On the extreme opposite end of the spectrum is the issue of decertification, and whether or not the NBPA should break apart its union in order to pursue antitrust suits against the league as individuals. So there's kind of a wide gap in how the union might go. Accept the unacceptable and get a deal in the face of the league's strongest bullying tactic yet, or decertify and commit professional suicide in order to gamble on a miracle favorable ruling on three different levels. 

Who's bringing punch and pie?

As we outlined here on Friday, decertification is certainly an option, but the odds of its success are extremely limited. It's best used as a negotiating threat, a threat which of course is wasted if you actually, you know, use it.  But there are players for whom this has become as personal as it seems to be to the league. The league wants to prove a point to the players, and the players are responding the same way most anyone would if you pushed them around enough. They want to fight back. Behind that is a group of agents who have larger investments long-term in the league beyond just the players playing now and want to make sure they fight for every dollar they can get over the next 20 years, not five or ten. 

But as Berger pointed out on Sunday, there are a number of agents who don't support decertification and understand what it means financially. Perhaps in July it could have been used as a viable weapon, but Billy Hunter understood the risks involved in taking this to court and putting this conflict into a trench-warfare-type environment. He gambled on being out in the open, able to maneuver and possibly regain some ground. His gamble didn't work, as the owners' onslaught pressed on. So now the union is torn apart, with some players just wanting to go back to work, some players needing to go back to work, some players wanting to talk more, and a number of players and several All-Stars (with the bank accounts to back it) wanting to blow everything up and commit to a full-on battle.

Might want to order the butter knives and not the steak knives for lunch today. That meeting's going to get really serious very quickly.  
Posted on: November 6, 2011 1:37 am
Edited on: November 6, 2011 2:08 am
 

'No deal' Saturday; Stern sets Wednesday deadline

Posted by Ben Gollivernba-lockout

The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association resumed negotiations on a new collective bargaining on Saturday afternoon in New York City -- the first time the sides had met face-to-face in more than a week -- with federal mediator George Cohen once again presiding over the talks. 

Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reported that talks concluded after more than eight hours with "no deal" being reached. There are currently no further negotiating sessions scheduled between the two sides.

Saturday's session began at roughly 2 p.m. and stretched past 1 a.m. and included all the major players: NBA commissioner David Stern, NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver, NBPA executive director Billy Hunter and NBPA president Derek Fisher.

Following the meetings, NBA commissioner David Stern told a group of assembled media that the two sides had endured a "long day," with Cohen making a list of six recommendations regarding system issues -- including a BRI offer with a 49 percent to 51 percent band for the players, modifications to the mid-level exception, heavier restrictions on luxury tax payers, and others -- and that the NBA adopted five of those six suggestions into their current proposal.

"We told the players we would put those in writing so they could be understood and transparent for both sides and we hoped they would accept it," Stern said. "We would be amenable to making a deal on that basis until Wednesday at the close of business."

 After Wednesday's deadline, Stern implied, the owners' proposal would get significantly worse.

"If we are unable to make a deal on those terms by the close of business on Wednesday, we will be making a new proposal, which we will also share very soon with the players in writing," Stern said. "[It] is multi-faceted, but for purposes of this press conference, it would be a 47 percent proposal, a flex cap, and lots of other issues that you have become familiar with. We hope that this juxtaposition [of offers] will cause the union to recess its position and accept the deal."

Stern then noted that the NBPA did not accept the NBA's offer as currently constructed.

"I think it's fair to say that, speaking on behalf of the union, [NBPA lawyer Jeffrey] Kessler rejected the mediator's recommendations and our proposal," Stern said. "But hope springs eternal and we would love to see the union accept the proposal which is now on the table."

Stern said he felt confident and confirmed that he had a "sense" that he could sell the current offer to the majority of his owners needed for ratification.

But, he admitted, the negotiations are starting to wear to him.

"I'm tired," Stern said. "We made the proposal because we hope it will be accepted by Wednesday. I'm not going to make percentage guesses or anything like that. We want our players to play, we want to have a season, these are the terms that we are prepared to gear up and get in as many games as possible."



NBPA president Derek Fisher had a much more solemn take on the day's events.

"Today is another very sad day for our fans, for our arena workers, our parking lot attendants, our vendors, a very frustrating, sad day," Fisher said. "We, for sure, unequivocally made true, good-faith efforts to try and get this deal done tonight. And we're at a loss for why we could not close it out based on the moves that we made towards the NBA and the league in getting this deal done. We made moves that were extremely significant. We made economic moves that were a genuine attempt to try to close the gap between where we were and where the NBA is."

Fisher "respectfully disagreed" with Stern's account of the events, saying that Cohen "never actually proposed any formal ideas or concepts" on Saturday, but that he did lay out "what-ifs" for discussion points. Fisher disputed the characterization of the NBA's BRI proposal, saying that it would be difficult for the players to meet the requirements to achieve the upper compensation end. 

He ended his opening remarks by clearly confirming that the players do not find the NBA's current offer acceptable.

"Right now, we've been given the ultimatum and our answer is that's not acceptable to us," Fisher said.

The offer was so undesireable, Fisher said, that the NBPA was not planning to meet to discuss it prior to Wednesday's deadline.

"There's not a deal that we can present to [all the players to] take a vote on," Fisher said. "I cannot say at this point that we would call a general body meeting to take a vote on what has been proposed at this point."



Prior to the conclusion of the negotiating session, the Washington Post reported that the two sides were "very close" to reaching a new dal while ESPN.com reported that Saturday's meeting was "going very well."

Representatives from all 30 NBA teams also met in New York on Saturday, prior to the NBA-NBPA negotiations.

Entering Saturday, concern had been raised by a number of developments. First, reports of a possible rift between Fisher and Hunter brewed throughout the week. Then, a group of NBPA consulted with a top antitrust attorney to receive more information about possibly decertifying the union. Finally, a report surfaced that a group of hard-line owners, led by NBA legend and Charlotte Bobcats owner Michael Jordan, felt that a 50/50 revenue split with the players was too generous, preferring a 53/47 split for the owners, an offer that would certainly anger the players, who were offering a 52.5/47.5 split in their favor.
Posted on: November 4, 2011 10:17 pm
Edited on: November 4, 2011 10:21 pm
 

NHL Commish: Losing season worth it

By Matt Moore 

The NHL sacrificed an entire season to get the deal they wanted from the players. It was draconian, it was brutal, it was effective. For months, there have been rumors and speculation that the NHL lockout provided a template for the NBA owners. If the NHL could effectively reset everything back to zero, perform a complete realignment, and then walk out as a legitimate sports league that at least in some senses in thriving, why can't the NBA?

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman joined Yahoo! Radio to discuss the NHL and the correlation between its lockout and the current NBA lockout which is currently threatening the entirety of the 2011-2012 season. Our own Brian Stubits of Eye on Hockey caught the appearance and transcribed quotes for us. The theme is pretty simple. First, Bettman discussed how painful the lockout is for everyone involved. Players, owners, workers, everyone. 

"Any time you have a work stoppage for any length of time in any sport or any business, it's very painful. There are the people that are involved, there are the people that are indirectly involved and in a sports context, you've got the fans. 

"It was very painful for us when we lost the season. We didn't have a choice. We had some pretty fundamental problems. And in our case, I'm not necessarily suggesting it's a template for anybody else, we came back stronger. We were back stronger than ever on Day 1 because our fans understood that we had problems and that they had been addressed in collective bargaining and that gave us great optimism for the future. 

"But a work stoppage is painful for everybody, in any context."
Well, I'm sure it was comforting to arena workers to know the commissioner felt the pain for them. But Bettman's comments on not having a choice is the same kind of ideology at play in the NBA. Justifying brutal negotiating tactics that cause job losses and hurt fan interest is easier when you claim there was no alternative. Bettman elaborated on how losing an entire season was unavoidable. 

Bettman was asked if he would tell the NBA owners the pain of losing an entire season was "worth it" for what the owners gained from the process:

"Well I wouldn't be presumptions enough to tell an NBA owner anything at this point. But our case, and that's the only thing that I can address, we didn't have a choice. We needed a new system. We needed to change our circumstance, our model. Without that, I'm pretty sure we couldn't have continued. 

"So in our case we did what we felt was absolutely necessary. We've come back stronger and people believe the game and the business of the game has never been better. But again, that was our circumstance six years ago and it would be presumptious for me to suggest to the NBA or any other league what they should be doing." 
And that's how the NBA will justify the damage they have done and will do to the league. That they had no alternative. If you remove your options, you can claim that you were "forced" into the desperate and extreme measures you undertook. 

This is the model the NHL has given the NBA.

Thanks, hockey.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com