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Tag:CBA lockout
Posted on: February 17, 2011 6:36 pm
 

LeBron, Wade, Pierce, Melo to join CBA talks

Report: LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony, and Paul Pierce among players expected at CBA talks during All-Star Weekend. 
Posted by Matt Moore

Friday in L.A. is going to feature a lot of fireworks.  The opening of All-Star activities, the Rookies-Sophomores game, media availability for the All-Star and Saturday Night participants, and the D-League dunk contest. But the high explosives are saved for a boadroom.  The much discussed meeting between the owners and the players' representatives will take place that day, and if there was any doubt, it seems that the union will be well represented by those with the most power. 

Kobe Bryant won't be attending the meetings, but he has made his feeling quite clear to Ken Berger of CBSSports.com in regards to the talks, firing out explosive words in telling the owners to "look in the mirror." LeBron James had already said he planned to be at the meeting.  And as Berger noted last year, having the All-Stars present means bringing the big guns of influence. A report today from Yahoo! Sports says that is just what will be brought to Friday's meeting. 

Pessimistic NBPA expects 12 AllStars (james, wade, melo, pierce) and 20 players to attend labor meetings with owners Friday, source tells Y!


Now, what's interesting is that in these four players, we have an interesting subsect of personal agendas in play. James and Wade represent the max-max players who already have their situations sorted out. They're making near the max (minus a few million to play together) thanks to the biggest free agency period in history facilitated by lax player movement policies. They're superstars who still have several years in the league so their big objective will be to hold off on rollbacks which would influence them.  

Melo, of course, has every reason to be in attendance. A new CBA which limits player movement could severely impact his plans for relocation this summer including but not limited to the possibility of a franchise tag. he'll be strongly pulling for as little to change as possible, particularly when it comes to player movement and the cap next year. Melo has as much to lose as any player who will be present at the meetings. 

Pierce? Pierce is a statesman. He's on what is likely his last contract, he's already indicated he'd like to play in Europe when he's through. Pierce will be alongside Derek Fisher and Bryant's interests in protecting the older players, working to improve pensions and watching out for the total health of the union. Pierce doesn't have a personal agenda to pursue outside of his long-term interests as a player headed towards retirement in the next few years. 

Something notable about this? If these superstars are at the forefront, speaking at a meeting which as Bryant points out, is "for the lawyers," and they have the most influence, who exactly is going to be the one advocating for the revenue sharing the union has put as such a vital component? LeBron James, who left the Cavs in ruins for a nice climate in a bigger market? Paul Pierce, an L.A. kid who spent his entire career in Boston? Carmelo Anthony who is currently working to escape to New York? I'm sure Derek Fisher and Billy Hunter will be pursuing that inititiative as it benefits all the players as a whole. But if we're talking individual personalities involved in these meetings, I'm not finding anyone who's exactly going to be sticking up for the need for small markets to be able to compete for player salaries, even if it's only to further the ability for non-mega-market starts to get big paydays. 

And while the superstars have just as much reason to support initiatives that would protect their less-talented/less-compensated brethren, with those stars likely to be some of the loudest voices, the minimum veterans, aspiring young players, and fringe members are forced to put their trust in the All-Stars to watch out for them in the talks. 

The union has held a united front until now and seems to have its ducks in a row. But look at that list of players involved. 

That's a lot of ego in one room, and that's before we even get to the owners. 
Posted on: February 17, 2011 4:53 pm
 

CBA Talks: Could coaches, execs face cap?

Could coaches and excecutives be facing limits to their salaries as the NBA labor restructuring process unfolds?
Posted by Matt Moore

Sports Illustrated reports today the CBA talks and financial restructuring of the NBA and its business policies will not only impact the relationship between ownership and players. It may influence the creation of an informal cap structure for both coaches and executives. From SI:

The players aren't alone in worrying about the values of their future paychecks. Several coaches and team executives have told me they believe they'll be threatened with a major cut in salary next season as part of a new cost-savings approach that will affect all areas of NBA business. 
"The players are going to require it," said a team executive with knowledge of the owners' agenda. "The players aren't going to accept a rollback of 35 percent, and then allow some team to pay Phil Jackson $15 million." 
Two team executives predict that each team will be given a standardized budget (not yet determined, but let's say it's $4 million per team) from which to pay the entire coaching staff, and another budget to cover the salaries of the entire front office. Because there is no collective bargaining agreement between owners and coaches or front-office employees, the owners won't be able to cap their salaries. However, the league could attempt to punish teams that "overpay" coaches by refusing to share certain revenues with them, in much the same way that high-spending is prohibited from receiving their share of revenues from the luxury-tax pool.
via Salary cuts, coaches' pay to come into play at NBA labor talks - Ian Thomsen - SI.com.

Well, then.

This escalates things significantly. 

SI also reports that coaches are concerned for their pensions. And those pensions are the line in the sand for the coaches. One coach tells SI there will be a coaches walkout, which should surprise no one. 

A significant key here is that this is a feeling among coaches and executives, not coming from the league. While a league representative has shown significant interest in coaching contracts, this isn't a league-leaked initiative. Which means it could be a phantom concern. But if it's real, this isn't just a fear for coaches and execs, this is a legal apocalypse waiting to happen. You're talking about an unmandated policy being enforced by arbitrary revenue dispersal. Trying to shove that through would be like rolling out a welcome mat to the mongol lawyer hordes waiting behind every coach's representative agency. 

It make sense within the context of the NBA's rather significant initiative to completely revamp the costs of doing business in a league that sees little to no profit for a significant portion of its representative owners, but the same issues will arise here as they do in the player talks. At what point is the balance struck for owners between curbing salaries within their industry and maintaining the ability of their more fortunate representatives to commit whatever resources they choose to winning? Or, to put it another way, are the Jerry Busses of the NBA going to be comfortable with a situation which decreases their advantage in inking coaches like Phil Jackson? But even that isn't the largest quarrel that will be raised here. It's the same one at the heart of the labor talks. 

At what point is ownership responsible for the decisions it makes? 

That's the central point in this. If a coach elicits $5 million per year, and an owner is willing to pay him that, why should there be a ceiling to what that coach can be paid? Isn't it up to the owners to show discretion in spending, and won't that be the most effective way to curb salaries? The NBA and its owners are seeking to set up guidelines, fences, controls to keep the spending beasts penned in.  But in a situation like this, coaches, who often have the most stress of anyone in the league, will be faced with the question of why their money is being trimmed while player salaries are guaranteed? Finally, again, those pensions are the lifeblood of the coaching fraternity. If the coaches have any ability to organize themselves, they'll put everything they have in front of those pensions to protect their futures. 

The next six months look bloodier and bloodier by the minute. 
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com