Tag:NBA lockout
Posted on: November 13, 2011 5:00 pm
Edited on: November 13, 2011 7:00 pm

The NBA's answering labor questions on Twitter

Posted by Royce Young

The NBA is doing everything it can to not just win the PR war that's ongoing with players over the lockout, but also educate fans -- and players -- about the intricacies of the league's newest proposal.

David Stern's been ramping up on another media blitz, hitting TV shows, podcats and radio shows, but the league also wants to utilize social media to really secure a foothold. The league already started @NBA_Labor, which is an account dedicated to, as its bio states, "Collective Bargaining news and facts directly from the NBA office." Meaning if you say something about the new CBA and it's wrong or unclear, @NBA_Labor is coming for you. It has corrected players, media and even some fans.

But the league is taking it up a notch Sunday night. Using the official NBA account that has almost 3.1 million followers, the league will be taking questions that David Stern and Adam Silver will be (supposedly) answering at 7 p.m. ET. It's part effort to get the message to fans but it's also a strong way to release the information about the newest proposal to players.

Almost every NBA player is on Twitter and almost every player therefore follows the NBA. If there's one way to try and control the message and prevent players from just hearing from reporters using sources and catching info from scrolling tickers, Twitter might be the best way.

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Category: NBA
Posted on: November 13, 2011 10:14 am

Ron Artest says Michael Jordan betrayed players

Posted by Royce Young

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Michael Jordan has always been every players' hero. But right now, he's every players' enemy. He's the bad guy. He's the owner that's reportedly pushing hardline to a new level and trying to crush the players in every way possible.

Players that have revered him for years are now turning their backs on him. Why? Because Jordan once toed the line for the union famously standing up to Washington owner Abe Pollin during the 1998 negotiations.

And now Jordan's throwing that owner-speak back at the players. Which is why many have spoken out against His Airness. Stephon Marbury went so far as to call M.J. a "sellout." The latest to do it? Metta World Peace. Via TMZ.com:

"We're the same guys that looked up to Michael Jordan when we were kids," he said. "Same guys that wanted to fly like Mike and be like Mike. Even though guys are with different companies, they still love Mike. Love his sneakers and everything. Guys just felt like he didn't support us when we most needed him. He's an owner now, so I guess he's just on the other side."

Artest, who often says wild, nonsensical things, really broke down this Jordan thing better than any player has. It was honest, and true. Jordan has meant everything to so many current players and for him to now toe the line with the owners is really hurtful. They feel like he's betrayed them. It's understandable why Jordan has done it though, like Artest said. He's an owner now so he's going to do owner things.

Some players have called M.J. a hypocrite, but the truth is, he's just an owner. I don't know what's worse right now though.
Posted on: November 13, 2011 10:01 am

Kevin Durant would vote no on new proposal

Posted by Royce Young

The players haven't responded all that positively to the league's newest proposal. It's basically been met with the type of reaction a 3-year-old has when mom tries to get him to eat his veggies.


The players are going to tweak it though and take a vote on that. Because the current one is just no good. One of the most vocal and visible players during the lockout has been Kevin Durant and he reaffirmed that to Yahoo! Sports.

“I know it’s not a good one,” Durant said of the proposal. “It’s not the one that we want. …If it’s not a good deal, I don’t see why we should take it, especially this late.”

Here's a reason: Because the season could be lost if you don't. I'm not advocating that you do take it nor am I saying that you shouldn't, but reality is what it is. Don't take this new proposal and you're almost certainly looking at the league's "reset" offer which is something the players never would accept.

Durant's not alone. Like so many other players, the new offer doesn't come close to bridging the gap the players wanted. After dropping to a 50/50 split, I think the players thought the league would concede some of the system issues. It has, but not as much as the players would've liked. So in order to get to where a deal could be made, this new offer has to be better. Because Durant is one of many that feels this way.

Which is why the tweaked proposal could be important. If the players can keep it within reason, they could put the pressure back on the owners. They'll be taking them an offer that has their stamp of approval meaning that it's decision time. That's what the players have in their hands from the league. Now the players are looking to put one right back in the owners' hands.

If that fails, it could all fall apart. And as Durant said, he will finally get serious about playing overseas. He said he's weighing offers from Maccabi Tel Aviv, Valencia in Spain and BBC Bayreuth in Germany. Anything Durant would sign would provide him with an NBA opt-out though.

“I’m right on the fence with playing overseas and I’m about to jump over,” Durant told Yahoo!.

Durant said he's not necessarily a fan of decertification. Yet. But a lot of players are and if the new offer doesn't work, that's the road everyone will prepare to walk down. It'll get ugly and it'll get worse before it gets better.
Category: NBA
Posted on: November 13, 2011 2:20 am
Edited on: November 13, 2011 2:28 am

Report: Hunter says player reps to vote Monday

Posted by Ben Gollivernba-lockout

Representative democracy has arrived to the NBA lockout. Sort of.

National Basketball Players Association executive director Billy Hunter told SI.com on Saturday that the NBPA's player representatives will vote on a modified version of the NBA's most recent proposal to the players during a meeting scheduled for Monday morning.
When reached on Saturday night, however, Hunter told SI.com that his intention was to have the player representatives vote on a revised version of the NBA's latest proposal before moving forward.

"We will vote on the NBA's proposal," Hunter wrote in a text message. "The proposal will be presented with some proposed amendments."

When the most recent negotiating session broke on Thursday night, NBPA president Derek Fisher said the proposal made by the NBA did not sufficiently address the NBPA's desires on system issues.

"We have a revised proposal from the NBA," Fisher said. "It does not meet us entirely on the system issues that we felt were extremely important to close this deal out."

The plan here, it seems, is to work in the desired system changes, secure enough votes to ensure that the players as a whole are reasonably happy, and then present the modified version of the league's offer back to the league for further negotiations and/or their approval.

(There's also the possibility that the proposal -- even an amended version -- is voted down. In that case, the process is stalled at the same place it is right now.)

It's a plan born of desperation. The NBPA realizes that if the players reject the NBA's current proposal outright the NBA is prepared to revert to a significantly worse proposal that they have said publicly will include a 47 percent revenue split and a flex camp system. But, if the players vote to accept the NBA's current proposal they will, well, be stuck with what Hunter admitted on Thursday was not a favorable deal. 

"It's not the greatest proposal in the world," Hunter said. "But I owe that, I have an obligation to at least present it to membership."

Based on recent public statements from both sides, it's likely the players will focus their amendment efforts, at least in part, on system issues that they believe will allow for freer player movement. Those line-item issues could include the luxury tax structure and penalty system as well as the mid-level exception.

NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver specifically singled out the player movement issue as a point of "philosophical difference" between the owners and players. The owners believe a rigid luxury tax system and a restricted mid-level exception for luxury tax payers will increase competitive balance in the league, while the players believe that those changes would unnecessarily tie players to franchises and thereby limit their free agency options.

So how will this new plan of the union's br received? That will depend on the quantity and scope of their proposed amendments, of course. But NBA commissioner David Stern said in a Friday night interview that the league's most recent offer is effectively a final one.

"The owners have moved to wherever they are going to move to," Stern said. 

Still, if faced with the possibility of hitting a home run the revenue split by reducing the players' share from 57 percent to 50 percent, winning numerous, major concessions on system issues, entirely avoiding any potential court battles or union decertification, enjoying a 72-game schedule that starts in a little more than a month and getting the league back on track, Stern and the owners likely have a measure of motivation to make some final, minor concessions to close out this seemingly endless labor battle.

That would be logical. But logic, as we've learned recently, has no place here.
Posted on: November 12, 2011 7:52 pm
Edited on: November 12, 2011 10:06 pm

President Obama 'won't intercede' in NBA lockout

Posted by Ben Golliverbarack-obama-jacket

Ask not what your country can do for the NBA. Seriously. Because it plans to do nothing.

United States President Barack Obama has said recently that the ongoing NBA lockout has left him "heartbroken" and that he is "concerned" that the league will lose the entire 2011-2012 season. Nevertheless, he does not plan to help the league's owners and players reach a compromise in their current labor struggle.

The New York Times reports that Obama, speaking from a high-profile college basketball game on Friday, says that he is staying out of it.
Asked about the impasse between the NBA owners and players, Mr. Obama quipped, “It’s killing me.” But he said, “I’m not going to intercede. I’ve got some bigger fish to fry.”

“In a contest between billionaires and millionaires,” Mr. Obama said, “they should be able to figure out how to divvy up their profits in a way that serves their fans, who are allowing them to be making all this money — not to mention all the folks who work in the concession stands and in the parking lots of facilities all across the country.”
Aside from his fish frying point -- and there's no question that there are more important issues than professional basketball facing the world today -- entering the lockout morass represents a lose/lose/lose situation for Obama.

If he's been following the day-by-day non-progress carefully, he realizes that he would be dealing with two sides that are fairly well dug in and dead set on their visions of the sport's economics. Crafting a miracle compromise is unlikely. Guess who takes the blame if there's a lost season in that situation? Not the players, not the owners, not even NBA commissioner David Stern. Obama does. The buck always stops there.

But let's say there is a deal. However it's crafted, there are bound to be winners and losers. In all likelihood, the owners will be winners and the players, already having promised billions in concessions, will be losers. Obama, the people's champion, would then open himself up to criticism that he co-signed a new collective bargaining agreement that favored big money interests and not the common man. He does have a presidential re-election campaign to run after all.  

Lastly, entering the NBA mess would take real commitments of time and, likely, money. Given his reputation as a well-known hoops head, critics would jump at the opportunity to say that Obama is putting basketball ahead of (pick your favorite issue out of a list of thousands that people passionately care about). A President, of course, must appear to be of, by and for the people, not just himself or his friends.

Put it all together and Obama is damned if he tries, damned if he succeeds and damned if he fails. As Commander in Chief, he has the luxury of picking his battles. It makes sense that he would run from this one.
Posted on: November 12, 2011 7:27 pm
Edited on: November 12, 2011 10:11 pm

NBPA VP: Lockout parallels Occupy Wall Street

Posted by Ben Golliveretan-thomas

National Basketball Players Association vice president and sometimes poet Etan Thomas has been one of the fiercest advocates for the players in the ongoing NBA lockout. 

In his latest ESPN.com diary entry, Thomas carefully compares the NBPA's somewhat helpless position in its labor negotiations with the NBA to the "Occupy Wall Street" movement that swept the country in 2011, protesting corporate greed and championing the rights of the working class American.

Thomas refers to the NBA's owners as "NBA CEOs" throughout his entry and urges fans to look past the NBA players' million dollar salaries to see that the league's unchecked self-interest has led to the ongoing work stoppage. 
While the issues raised by the Wall Street occupiers differ from the issues of this lockout, aren't there obvious parallels in power imbalance?

Who is in the same position of power as the 1 percent? Who wants a bailout for their own mismanagement decisions? Who is more closely aligned with the corporate interests from which the Wall Street occupiers are looking to reclaim the country?

Why does race always have to be injected into this power struggle? Do people understand that the only color the 1 percent care about is green? They have a lot of it, they want a lot more of it, and they will step on anyone's (black, white, brown, etc.) neck to get it.

During the lockout of 1998, Michael Jordan famously said to Wizards CEO Abe Pollin "If you can't make a profit, you should sell your team." That was then and this is now. Why do people have difficulty understanding that he is no longer a player but currently joined at the hip with the rest of the CEOs of the NBA, who -- like Bank of America, Wall Street and the rest of the 1 percent -- not only want but expect a bailout for their own actions?
To be clear, Thomas acknowledges the large sums of money NBA players receive for their services. He rhetorically asks, "Would the players be lumped in with the 1 percent because of million-dollar salaries?" The answer, for the average American, is "yes, of course." Despite the fact that the average NBA career is four or five years and the median NBA salary is between two and three million dollars -- not necessarily capable of providing a lifetime's worth of luxury -- any salary with that many zeros is unimaginably huge for a vast majority of working class Americans. 

Dollars aside, many people can relate to the frustration in Thomas' words. The average Joe gets short-changed by their banks, bamboozled by money lenders and hosed by insurance companies on a regular basis. For lots of people, even those in unions, the only answer available when confronted with a one-sided power struggle is to take their lumps and move on with life. Thomas aims here to change some of those minds, to open eyes and explain why the NBPA wants to keep fighting a potentially impossible and damaging battle. There is true valiance in his honesty. Lacking leverage in a negotiation and suffering because of it is not a reality that is restricted to certain tax brackets.

Unfortunately, his most importance audience is a collection of deaf ears. A vast majority of his fellow players aren't reading Thomas' words, they aren't attending NBPA regional meetings, and they aren't staying on message on Twitter. They've tuned out the finer points of the labor negotiations and assume a reasonable resolution will be reached at some point. They will vote "yes" on the new deal, whatever it looks like, as soon as they are allowed to by their union so that they can get back to work.

Given that, Thomas reads more like a future martyr than as an active leader. Sadly, his words are most likely to ring true 10 years from now, a time when we're likely to wonder, "Why was he the only one speaking up like this and why weren't the players listening?" 
Category: NBA
Posted on: November 11, 2011 9:16 pm
Edited on: November 11, 2011 9:23 pm

Stern: Decertification will backfire on agents

Posted by Ben Golliverdavid-stern-asleep

NBA commissioner David Stern's talking points have crystallized: the league has officially made its best offer to the players, the 2011-2012 season rests in the hands of the NBPA, the possibility of a canceled season is unthinkable, and the potential decertification of the union is a negotiating tactic that will backfire on the agents who are reportedly pushing for it.  

During a nationally-televised ESPN interview on Friday night, Stern laid out his arguments, point by point, explaining first why he chose to extend the deadline on the league's current offer past its original date of Wednesday.

"Well, we stopped the clock so that we could negotiate," Stern said, "and we came out of last night with a proposal [that is] as far as the owners could possibly reach to the players. That [proposal] provides a 72-game season starting Dec. 15. I'm very, very hopeful that the players and the union will say 'yes, let's have the season, let's begin it on Dec. 15.'"

Stern characterized the current proposal as possessing the largest concessions the NBA plans to make.

"The owners have moved to wherever they are going to move to," Stern said. "This is the proposal that's on the table. If it's not accepted, then we'll be substituting the proposal [with one] that the union knows about when the clock starts again, and it will be very far from where this proposal is."

The fall-back proposal is said to include a 47 percent revenue share for the players -- down from 50 percent contained in the current proposal -- and a flex cap system.

NBPA president Derek Fisher said on Thursday that the owners' current proposal doesn't do enough to compensate the players on system issues for their potential $3 billion concession on the revenue split, thus opening up the possibility of a lost season.

Stern would have none of that. 

"I refuse to contemplate the loss of a season," he said. "It's going to be too painful for the players and the owners alike. But [if it happened] we'll still be here, we'll pick up the pieces and do the best we can under the circumstances. That's not an eventuality that I anticipate or look forward to. It's all in the hands of the players."

For months, player agents have been pushing for the decertification of the union, a cry that drew more support following Thursday's negotiating session, when it became clear that the NBA's current offer was not substantially better than its previous one, which was rejected by an NBPA group meeting on Tuesday. Stern said the threat of decertification is a strategic ploy that would jeopardize the 2011-2012 season.

"[it's a move] actually calculated to, one, [serve] as a tactic to improve their bargaining position and, two, as making it even more likely that there won't be a season," Stern said.

If the union did decertify, Stern predicted the move would backfire. 

"If the union is not in existence, then neither are 4 billion dollars worth of guaranteed contracts that are entered into under condition that there's a union, Stern said. "So if the agents insist on playing with fire, my guess is that they would get themselves burned."

Asked if the NBA would employ "scab" players if the NBPA decertificed, Stern said simply: "I don't want to go there now."

Hat tip: IAmAGM.com 
Posted on: November 11, 2011 4:16 pm
Edited on: November 11, 2011 4:17 pm

Pacers rep Granger says deal is still no good

Posted by Royce Young

The NBA made a new offer to the players. And like last time, the union's player representatives will meet and discuss whether or not to take the proposal to the players to vote on.

It's just a matter of if the player reps like it enough to even take it to a vote. One player rep, Danny Granger of the Pacers, says early feedback on the new proposal isn't all that positive. Via the Indy Star:
"Pacers player rep Danny Granger said early indications are that the league's latest offer will be rejected by the NBPA. Granger: 'From what I've seen and heard, the counter offer is the same they presented us a week ago, making a few minor changes that in the big scheme of things that really did nothing to the deal. I would expect that proposal to be rejected after all the players learn more about the deal. The next step I don't know.'"
Well isn't that just lovely.

The players will meet, take one look at this new proposal say in unison "That's it?" and then immediately start voting on decertification. That's the timeline we're looking at.

Here's what the players are banking on: They obviously don't want to lose a season. They obviously don't want to reject the new proposal. What they want is to push the league into another round of bargaining where there's a new proposal that's improved. The question is, how many more times will they get that?

At some point, David Stern's threats and ultimatums will become the reality. At some point, it won't be bluffing anymore. Stern's hand will be forced and the owners will indeed reset their proposal. The players are toeing the line of trying to figure out when that will actually be and then run up right to it and thereby, get the best possible deal.

Whatever the case, it's not looking like either of those things are happening soon. Well, maybe the reset, because the players certainly aren't excited about this current deal.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com