Tag:NBA Lockout
Posted on: November 9, 2011 12:10 pm
Edited on: November 9, 2011 9:01 pm

NBA Labor Buzz: Latest Updates

By Matt Moore and Ben Golliver

It's the latest "Judgment Day" in the NBA, and it looks like this one will actually have a substantial impact. To keep up with all the develoments, check back here. We'll have links to breaking content, updates on the "whip count" of players who say they want a deal, and updates from Ken Berger in New York at the meeting scheduled for today. 

Wednesday 8:30p.m.

Nearly eight hours into the negotiations, we are getting our first indication at how Wednesday's meetings are going.
  • Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reports: "a person briefed on talks says they are 'moving slowly. They're trying to get something done.' There've been "no blowups," the source said. Progress is slow, but the effort to reach an agreement is there. As far as tangible progress? Another person directly involved wouldn't characterize it that way. Effort and progress are different issues."
  • Yahoo Sports reports that "the NBA and NBPA have made significant progress Wednesday night toward reaching a deal," citing "two sources briefed on talks."
  • ESPN.com reports: "One pessimistic GM told me he hears that good progress is being made...still, he's only cautiously optimistic."
  • SI.com reports: "There is an interesting level of optimism among the NBA executive ranks regarding tonight's talks and how this night will end. Even some agents who don't necessarily want a deal tonight are of the mind that one will be done."
Wednesday 5:00 p.m.
  • We are still alive. Talks continue. How u.

Wednesday 4:55 p.m.
  • We're about 12 minutes away from the 5 p.m. deadline imposed by David Stern on a deal before the owners retracted to the "Cap Reset" offer. But the New York Times, CBSSports.com's Ken Berger, and other analysts are in agreement that the deadline is irrelevant as long as talks are ongoing. The deadline is effectively extended until after the negotiating session ends. If they get a deal, it's not needed. If they don't, then it'll either go into effect or it will have been a total bluff if they continue to negotiate over coming days. So the wait continues. 

Wednesday 3:15 p.m.

Ken Berger of CBSSports.com emailed this in:

As of 3 p.m. ET, here's how I see the storylines taking shape:

* The players wisely turned the ultimatum back on the owners by signaling a willingness to agree on the economics of the proposal -- a 50-50 split that would transfer $330 million a year to the owners, or $3.3 billion over 10 years.

* The pressure is now on the owners to make the few system concessions that the players need to shake hands on a deal and sell it to the membership.

* Is there a but? Oh, theres always a but. In this case, there are several. Allow me to shatter your optimism and list them:

1) But league negotiators have long insisted that, even if the players conceded every penny of their $300 million in annual losses, it still wouldn't be enough because that would merely make the NBA a break-even business as a whole.

2) But the league feels it needs major system changes -- especially a harder luxury-tax line -- to flatten out the payroll disparity and make the product better so it can grow its way out of zero-profit mode. That is why deputy commisssioner Adam Silver has said repeatedly that the two issues are separate. Presumably, so that when the league finally gets all its economic concessions, it can continue to push for more on the system.

3) But the players haven't even missed a paycheck yet. (The first ones would've been set to be cut Nov. 16). If they haven't lost a dime yet, and are already at 50 percent of BRI, how much further would they go? An inquiring owner may ask himself such a question.

The real question is, as it always has been: How much of a victory do the owners want/need, and how do they balance that against the collateral damage of lost games AND the chaos that would ensue if the players began the decertication process with no deal Wednesday. The uncertainty -- both legally and timing-wise -- that would come with a failure to compromise at this point could outweigh the desire to get more concessions from the players. There is a risk-reward construct here, and it's a serious one, with a big downside.

Not the least which is the fact that you, the fans, are informed about what the players have conceded in the negotiations and that the owners would be trifling with the game over a few system issues when they've already won on the economics in a landslide to the tune of $3.3 billion. Not even David Stern could successfully spin that one.

Remember, though. All of this didn't dawn on the league and the owners in the past 24 hours. They've been planning for all of these contingencies -- including the possibility of the union dissolving and instigating a long, uncertain antitrust battle.

When is enough enough? A case can be made that today is the day, and a case can be made that it isn't.

Wednesday 2:25 p.m.
  • What about the one-and-done age limit rule? Yahoo! Sports reports, "Many keep asking about 'one-and-done' draft rule. It's on B-list of issues they'll get to once/if economic-system points are agreed on."
Wednesday 1:42 p.m.
  • The meetings started on time at 1 p.m. according to Ken Berger of CBSSports.com.
Wednesday 1:04 p.m.
  • SI.com reports: "I think there is a real possibility lockout ends today, as I've been convinced owners will give on some system issues in exchange for BRI."
Wednesday 12:31 p.m.
  • Bill Simmons of ESPN.com and Grantland reports the owners are split 16-13 on the 50/50 deal (with New Orleans being held by the league and essentially able to be used for whatever they want). Simmons says he is "99.9999" percent sure (after an update, so apparently that .0001 percent was off) that the teams who do not want the deal and want to cancel the season to get the strictest deal possible are Washington, Denver, Charlotte, Milwaukee, Indiana, Minnesota, Portland, Oklahoma City, Memphis, Sacramento, Philadelphia, Atlanta, and Utah. 
  • That would leave Los Angeles, Boston, New York, Miami, Toronto, Dallas, New Jersey, Cleveland (in a change of heart, first reported by Ken Berger of CBSSports.com), Phoenix (same), Orlando, Chicago, Detroit, San Antonio, Houston, Golden State and the Clippers with New Orleans as the other presumed vote in favor of the deal. So essentially, if two teams flip and they use New Orleans as the other, the deal could get busted. 
  • SBNation's Tom Ziller points out that the Maloofs would need to support Stern as he's likely to protect their ownership and wishes for relocation against an ownership group that voted against their move last year. 
  • Our own Royce Young in OKC says regarding the Thunder: "From what I understand, OKC's willing to go with the flow, but ultimately, wants basketball back as soon as possible. The Thunder's terrified about this lockout doing long-term damage to the fanbase."
Wednesday 12 p.m.
  • David Stern reportedly has permission to move on the systemic concessions the union has requested in order to agree to a deal with 50/50 BRI split. The degree of movement will determine whether a deal is struck. We are not optimistic. 
  • Head of the labor relations committee Spurs owner Peter Holt will join Adam Silver, David Stern, and the NBA's legal staff. 
Posted on: November 9, 2011 11:39 am

Report: Owners have support on movement

By Matt Moore

Yahoo! Sports reports that David Stern has the support of ownership in aggregate to make concessions on systemic issues in order to secure a deal with the NBPA today and end the lockout. From Yahoo!: 
NBA commissioner David Stern has the authority to make minor system alterations to the owners’ latest labor offer to the players to try to complete a collective bargaining agreement and end the lockout, ownership sources told Yahoo! Sports.

“There can be a few things tweaked along the edges, the periphery and this can be agreed upon,” one ownership source told Yahoo! Sports. “I’m confident that would not be an issue if [Stern] did that.”“It will be a very slight budge,” one high-ranking management source said.
via Sources: Stern authorized to tweak offer - NBA - Yahoo! Sports.

What this means, essentially, is you as fans are being set up for another banana-in-the-tailpipe.  

Each time we've had a situation that indicated one side would concede if the other side budged, and the other side was willing to budge, things have blown up. This is how simple this gets:

  • The two sides are at the one-inch line. The things they're arguing over systemically are non-factors. The sign-and-trade for teams in the tax? It's happened three times according to Ken Berger. The extend-and-trade? That's all based off of Carmelo Anthony. The MLE? It's something teams that elect to be in the tax need in order to improve their teams.
  • Players needs the owners to concede on those issues which aren't important to the owners. The owners have indicated as above that they're willing to conced at least a little on those. 
  • There is no rational reason for a deal to fall apart. 
  • Therefore, a deal will fall apart. 

We've seen this time and time again. Sorry if you're looking for optimism, we're all sold-out here. The two sides have not exhibited rational approaches throughout this process. And the hard-line owners may be out-voted right now, but if the league goes to far with what it offers, they'll regain advantage and detonate a handshake deal. On the other end of it, if the players give up too much and the group lead by Paul Pierce react violently, they could decertify and blow up a handshake deal. So even if we get a deal, we may not get a deal.

That's where we're at. There's every reason to think the season will be saved by 5 p.m. today.

So naturally, it's time to abandon all hope, ye who enjoy the NBA.  
Posted on: November 9, 2011 10:12 am
Edited on: November 9, 2011 12:19 pm

Labor talks set for Wednesday in New York, 1 p.m.

By Matt Moore 

Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reports that players and league officials are close to arranging a meeting for Wednesday at 1 p.m. in New York, with a league-imposed deadline that could spell the end of the season looming at the end of the day. The meeting is reportedly only a small group, which has resulted in progress in the talks in other meetings.

Tuesday, the NBPA met and afterwards described the current offer from the league, which expires at the close of business in less than seven hours, as "unacceptable." After the close of business, the league's offer will revert back to a flex-cap offer that eliminates guaranteed contracts, takes years off of contract max-lengths and generally sends the players' strength back to the stone age. During the press conference after the NBPA meeting, Billy Hunter said he wanted to meet with the league. David Stern responded by saying he would always take Hunter's call, and would discuss it with the NBA's Labor Relations Committee, but would not commit to a meeting.

Hard-line owners don't necessarily want a meeting, feeling they have already surrendered too much in negotiations.  Meanwhile, the players have intimated they're willing to drop to 50/50 if certain system concessions are granted. Unfortunately, the owners consider "concessions" to be defined by "letting the world have a proffessional basketball league" and "not going after the players' houses and personal possessions." 

If a deal isn't made at the meeting, and the NBA decides to follow through on its threat, the NBPA is set to immediately file a petition to decertify (Paul Pierce has told Billy Hunter he has close to 200 signatures at this point), kicking off the legal process. That would pretty much destroy any chance of a season, though the two sides could continue to negotiate through the 45-day waiting period until the NLRB rules on the petition to set up a vote. 

The onus is on the NBA to take a meeting and accept the concessions from the players while offering them some sort of bone to save the season. Otherwise they're electing to own a professional basketball league that doesn't actually play basketball for another year, possibly more.

No pressure, guys. Really. Take your time.
Posted on: November 8, 2011 7:17 pm

Stern won't commit to new meeting Wednesday

By Matt Moore 

Tuesday after the NBPA met with its team representatives and stated the current offer from the league is unacceptable in advance of the league's threat to withdraw to a significantly worse offer Wednesday at close of business, Billy Hunter signalled a desire to meet with David Stern and NBA officials for a further negotiating session in advance of the deadline. 

On NBATV Tuesday night, David Stern would not committee to a new meeting with Hunter, but said he would take Hunter's call and would consult with the NBA Labor Relations committee regarding further action.

"I always take Billy's call, as a sign of respect," Stern said. 

When asked about the players' willingness to drop on the cut of BRI again in return for more systemic concessions from the league, Stern said there was no "wiggle room" to be found from the owners since their last offer Sunday morning at 3 a.m.

Stern defended accusations from Derek Fisher that the current proposal is a "bad deal" by discussing that the elements included were first proposed by federal mediator George Cohen. Stern admitted that if a deal is not struck by end of business Wednesday, at which point the owners' so-called "Cap Reset" plan goes into effect, he would be "losing confidence" that a deal could be reached to save the season.

In response to Hunter's statement that he had heard through "underground sources" that the league was considering canceling games through Christmas if there was no deal reached Wednesday, Stern laughed off the suggestion.

"I don't know what ground he's talking about or under what ground he's looking," Stern said. "But we have no such plan. We need 30 days from the end of negotiations."

Stern revealed little in the interview outside of what we already know. The owners feel they've given all they can, the players don't think it's enough, and the league is prepared to swing the hammer on Wednesday. It's a game of chicken and the seemingly inevitable collision will be the loss of teh 2010-2011 season. 
Posted on: November 8, 2011 5:25 pm
Edited on: November 8, 2011 7:23 pm

Hunter: League could cancel Christmas games Thurs

By Matt Moore 

After the NBPA met Tuesday afternoon, Billy Hunter and Derek Fisher addressed the media. While spinning the tale that the union is united in opposing acceptance of the current proposal offered by the NBA (which, if you track our Buzz post, is not the case at all), Hunter dropped a little bit of a bomb. Hunter said that he heard through "underground" sources that if there is no deal by the league's stated deadline of 5 p.m. Wednesday, the NBA will cancel games through Christmas. 

That's right, it's finally here. The NBA lockout is going to steal Christmas.

It's not surprising, considering the ominous tones David Stern has been giving off for the past month. The league has been cancelling in two-week segments, but with Wednesday's deadline signalling a dramatic turn, whether it's the owners moving back to a much harder deal the players obviously won't accept without more lost games, or the union decertifiying in response to such a move, getting a deal by the end of the month would be nearly impossible. What is most alarming is that signals A. what the union has alleged all along, that the NBA is ready, willing, and in some cases eager to lose the entire season, and they're lopping off larger chunks and B. That's the last milestone we'll likely see before the cancellation of the entire 2010-2011 season. Most analysts have predicted that the league would be forced to sacrifice the entire season somewhere between January 1st and January 15th.

NBA Labor
So if a deal can't be made Wednesday, it's possible the last batch of games before a complete cancellation will be made, and one of the NBA's biggest batch of games will be lost to a lockout that will have sacrificed two whole months of games.

If you're looking for good news... uh... college basketball started? 

Posted on: November 8, 2011 5:05 pm
Edited on: November 9, 2011 6:15 am

Players unwilling to accept deal, want a meeting

Posted by Royce Young

The NBPA and its player reps, as well as just players that wanted to be there, 43 total, met Tuesday in New York for a little more than three hours to discuss a myriad of issues that included voting on the NBA's proposed deal as well as presumably, decertification. Though Billy Hunter said there was "very little" discussion on the latter.

And the message was clear: The deal the NBA proposed is still unacceptable. But it's not too far off and could be something the players could work with if they got another bargaining session.

Billy Hunter put it bluntly: "They're still of the mindset that they're not going to accept a bad deal."

There was some presumption that the meeting would include discussion of voting on the current proposal. But Fisher nixed that. "Today wasn't about voting on the current deal as it stands," he said.

Hunter said he knows who the hard-line owners are and was asked about Michael Jordan's reported stance.

“I would give him the advice that he gave to Abe Pollin. OK? He should take his own advice,” Hunter said. Jordan's advice to Pollin of course was that if you can't make a profit, you should sell your team. So Hunter pretty much told Jordan to sell.

The 43 players represented all but one team, with no Celtics on hand. The Bulls also didn't have a player rep there (Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah) but did have a player, John Lucas III.

What happens at the close of business tomorrow if there's no meeting? Hunter said he's hearing from the "underground" and "gossip" that the NBA will cancel games until Christmas without a deal Wednesday. And supposedly, the offer will just get worse too. The players don't believe that, though. Hunter said he still believes the 50-50 will remain on the table past the deadline. We'll see, I guess.

NBA Labor
But a big takeaway from the press conference: Hunter also said that David Stern can expect a call either Tuesday evening or Wednesday morning to organize a new meeting. And in that, he's been given authorization from the players to move economically as long as the system can fall into a better place. What does that mean? I have no idea.

The ones Hunter mentioned though: repeater tax, escrow, sign and trade restrictions, "cliff" for teams that go into tax, mid-level for tax payers. Basically five of the six "what-if" proposals made from Saturday's ultimatum meeting. Find common ground there and you could find a deal.

But it all starts with getting another meeting before 5 p.m. Wednesday.

Posted on: November 8, 2011 2:51 pm

Stern on Gumbel: 'It's an occupational hazard'

Posted by Royce Young

I would think that when David Stern heard that Bryant Gumbel called him a "plantation overseer" that he wasn't thrilled about it. Just a hunch.

But when it happened, that was when Stern would out with the flu and so Adam Silver was forced to be the one to respond to it. Silver simply called it "outrageous." We never really heard from Stern on it.

Stern was on ESPN Radio New York Tuesday doing another Lockout Media Tour and the question was asked to him what he thought of Gumbel's comments. And Stern basically let it roll right off his back.
“On Bryant Gumbel I think that’s just an occupational hazard. If you’re the head of the league you take what everyone dishes out. With respect to the players, what I tell them is I have been working for 27 years and this partnership that we have had and will have after this ends will continue to, you know continue to grow the game globally, we will continue to have a huge digitally footprint, we will continue to make them stars of international magnitude but I understand when passion is running high and the well has been poisoned by people telling them the owners are lying to them, the owners are greedy, the owners are arrogant and none of that is true by the way.

(Host: They haven’t been saying that just about the owners. They have been saying that about you.) I guess what I’m saying is if I’m leading the way for the owners that’s what they’re going to say about me too. I must tell you the good job that I’d like to think I’ve done for the NBA only works if it’s good for the owners, the players, and the fans. We’ve had a heck of a run. I feel pretty good about the fact that we’re coming off a great season, there’s a continued interest, the demise of our league was premature, and we have a spectacular product which is brought to you by the spectacular players of the NBA. When we settle this it will continue to be brought to you that way.”
"Occupational hazard." What a way of putting it. And he's right. When you're the man at the front of it all, you take the brunt of everything. The criticism, the praise, the downright mean comments -- it's all coming at you. And Stern's always been great at handling it.

Gumbel came with strong words. He wanted to make a splash. He wanted to catch attention. Stern could've called him out on it, but instead, he lets it roll off with a simple description of it just being part of the job.
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
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