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Tag:CBA negotiations
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. 
Posted on: February 4, 2011 2:18 pm
Edited on: February 4, 2011 2:26 pm
 

Friday 5 with KB: Nuts and bolts




Posted by Matt Moore

In today's Friday 5 with KB: All-Star snubs, the upcoming CBA talks, and the league's policy on, ahem ... man-parts.

1. Interesting note from Donnie Walsh yesterday, mentioning that he's more concerned about the trade deadline, among other things, rather than his contract future. Your Post-Ups today cover Walsh's situation in detail, but it still begs the question: Do you think the Knicks are making a move before the deadline? (Shotout to Antonio on Twitter for the question.)

I think the chances are fairly high -- great than 90 percent -- that the Knicks make some sort of trade before the deadline. Not necessarily a Carmelo trade, although that's still possible, but some kind of trade to either give Amar'e some help in the front court, upgrade backup point guard, or replenish future draft picks that were lost in Walsh's monumental effort to get the Knicks under the cap and with roster and cap flexibility for the next two years. Walsh totally deserved the two-year contract extension Jim Dolan just gave him. Wait, what? Dolan hasn't even decided whether to exercise Walsh's option, which comes due April 30? Oh. Oh, that is really bad. Please refer to Post-Ups later in the day Friday for an explanation of Walsh's limbo and where the 'Bockers stand in trade talks.

2. Well, Ken, the coaches didn't heed your words. They took Tim Duncan over LaMarcus Aldridge and Kevin Love. Was that the most egregious selection or was there another that bugged you more?

I felt really good about the rest of the picks -- both mine and the coaches', since other than Duncan they were the same. At the end of the day, it's hard to get too bent out of shape over an immortal player getting a lifetime achievement vote to the All-Star team. So I won't be mad about Love getting snubbed until the commissioner snubs him as Yao's injury replacement. Then I'll be mad at the commissioner. It would've been nice to find a spot for Aldridge, too, as well as Josh Smith. Those were the most deserving guys who didn't make it, in my estimation.

3. So the CBA talk is in two weeks at All-Star weekend. Some are predicting the apocalypse. Some are predicting a peaceful, productive meeting. We had a phalanx of All-Stars blow off the day of service to make a statement at the bargaining table last year. What do you think we're going to get this year?

Probably a lot of rhetoric, and a lame/tame bargaining session that will mostly be symbolic. Not a whole lot of actual negotiating and work will get done due to the nature of the weekend. It seems like time is running out, but actually there is still plenty of time left for the lawyers and number-crunchers to figure all of this out. So in terms of developments, I'd like to see a small concession or baby step forward by each side. For example, if David Stern says the owners won't lock the players out immediately on July 1 if there is reasonable expectation of an agreement, and if Billy Hunter says the players are willing to give up the mid-level exception, those would be small but important signs of good faith on both sides. If both sides remain absolutely entrenched in their positions, the All-Star bargaining session and accompanying news conferences will be a waste of time.

4. Tom Thibodeau's defense has been so superb this year. And he hasn't been at full strength outside of more than a few weeks. Are we overlooking Chicago penciling in Miami or Orlando for the Eastern Finals? 

Given Orlando's defensive struggles and identity crisis at the moment, I think it's fair to say that the Bulls shouldn't be overlooked as a candidate to upset Miami and meet the Celtics in the conference finals. Chicago has the two ingredients that could pull that off -- outstanding team defense, as you mentioned, and an outlandish talent in Derrick Rose, who is good enough to win a playoff series by himself. Having said that, I plan to be in Boston next Sunday for the Heat-Celtics, and I fully expect that to be a preview of the conference finals.

5. Kevin Garnett tapped a guy in the man parts. Eddie House intimated that he has sizable man parts. Kevin Garnett was neither fined, nor suspended. Eddie House was fined. Does the NBA need to re-examine its junk policy or am I completely nuts? 

I have not queried Stu Jackson about the, um, nuts and bolts of these decisions. But knowing how the league office views such things, I believe the distinction was that Garnett's actions came during the course of a basketball play -- defending a 3-point shot, however dirty those defensive tactics were. Garnett got ejected, and that punishment fit the crime. (Easy for me to say.) House's actions fell under the category of excessive celebration and unsportsmanlike conduct -- similar to barking at the opposing bench or standing over a fallen opponent and talking about his mama. So that's the difference.

Have a burning NBA question you need answered? Email us at cbssportsnba@gmail.com, or drop Ken a question for the Friday 5 on Twitter at@cbssportsnba . 
Posted on: January 28, 2011 12:38 pm
Edited on: February 4, 2011 2:32 pm
 

Friday 5 with KB: Who's moving at the deadline?




Posted by Matt Moore

In today's Friday 5 with KB: who's getting moved at the deadline, where's White Chocolate going, and how's Kevin Durant's season going?

1. Guess what, Ken? February's here! Which means it's trade deadline season! Which means you won't get to sleep for a month! Get excited! Okay, give me one guy who if you absolutely had to put money on getting moved before the deadline, you'd put the cash down on. 

Ken Berger (CBSSports.com): With cash on the line, I should take the easy way out and say Anthony Randolph, who's either going to be traded to the Nuggets in a Carmelo Anthony deal or to Minnesota for a first-round pick the Knicks can use to replenish their stockpile after the cap-clearing trade with Houston last season. But that's like stealing candy from a blogger, so I'll be a little more risk-taking and say Joel Przybilla. The Blazers are likely to try to shake things up, and Przybilla's size and expiring contract will be in demand among contenders. Once Marcus Camby comes back from his knee scope, Portland will have the green light to explore how much those contenders will be willing to give up.

2.  Jason Williams released by the Magic this week. Any chance of him winding up in Miami? And if not, where then?

KB: The Heat haven't had any internal discussions of significance about Williams; despite their limitations, Miami seems content with the point-guard platoon of Mario Chalmers and Carlos Arroyo. The latest, as you know, is that the Grizzlies have serious interest -- especially now that O.J. Mayo has been suspended 10 games for using a banned supplement.

3.  Your big feature on Antoine Walker this week showcased the problems with players who squander their money in rather horribly pathetic ways.  Is this an issue of personal responsibility only, or one that either the union or the league will feel compelled to act further upon? There have been classes, resources, advisers, all made available to the players and yet we see things like this. Is it foolish to hope for anything more provided to the players to avoid situations like Walker's?

KB: As you point out, the league and union do try to educate players about the perils of mismanaging their money, trusting it to friends or so-called investment gurus, or simply squandering it on an outlandish lifestyle. As in any walk of life, some players listen and some don't. That is always going to be the case no matter how much education is available. That's why I like this idea, and since the CBA is up, it's the perfect time to implement it. Let's set aside a small percentage of the profit when a team is sold and  put it in the pension fund for retired players. It would be a forced-savings mechanism and a safety net for players who get into financial trouble -- whether it's their own fault or not.

4. O.J. Mayo tests positive for DHEA, which is a borderline substance, but banned nonetheless, with a previous instance of suspension against Rashard Lewis. A bill failed to have DHEA classified as an anabolic steroid, but the considerations of the substance are all over the place. Any impact of this suspension beyond O.J. Mayo's continuing "worst month ever?"

KB: Just another cautionary tale for players to be aware of what they're putting in their bodies. Look around any NBA locker room and you see five-hour energy drinks in multiple lockers and guys chowing down on horribly unhealthy pre- and post-game meals. Then you have Steve Nash, who won't let a single granule of processed sugar pass through his lips. To each his own -- but beware of the consequences.

5. Kevin Durant drops 47 this week on the Timberwolves, days after an 0-5 performance down the stretch in a loss to the Hornets, which was days after a killer fading 3-pointer against the Knicks. What are your thoughts on KD's season, one with heightened expectations but less press than we were expecting from the superstar?

KB: Well, his shooting and scoring numbers are down slightly from last season, but I think that's more about the  emergence of Russell Westbrook as a legitimate scoring option than it is about KD taking a step back. His game is sensational and only growing and getting better. I don't think you'd find too many GMs who'd say that, given the choice, they'd want to start a team today with anyone else. The best way to judge Durant's season so far, and the way he'd do it? Through 45 games, the Thunder (29-16) are five games ahead of where they were last season, when they won 50 games and put a scare into the Lakers in the first round.


Have a burning NBA question you need answered? Email us at cbssportsnba@gmail.com, or drop Ken a question for the Friday 5 on Twitter at@cbssportsnba . 
Posted on: January 21, 2011 12:25 pm
Edited on: January 21, 2011 1:56 pm
 

Friday 5 with KB: Blake Griffin an All-Star?



Posted by Matt Moore


CBSSports.com's Ken Berger answers five questions on the week's NBA developments. This week, Ken touches on ugh ... Melo, still, Rip Hamilton's situation, and the state of the CBA negotiations in this week's Friday 5 with KB

1. Well, the Russian put the kibosh on the Melo trade. You put out the reasons why it might be best for Melo to chance things with the new CBA in order to get what he really wants, the money and playing in New York. So the question then is, should Melo just say he's not going to sign the extension, period, and push for a rental trade to Houston or Dallas, or stay put?

Ken Berger (CBSSports.com):
The best way for Melo to get the Knicks and the money is still through an extend-and-trade, if Denver will come around and accept it. But you have to look at it from the Knicks' perspective, too. The more they give up for him, the less chance they will have of competing with Boston and Miami. Melo knows this, too. It's a balancing act for him between getting the place and kind of team he wants while also giving himself the best chance of getting paid. I think Melo should continue doing what he's doing, and by that I mean leave his options open. Don't sign the extension, and don't commit to whether he'll sign it or not. That's how he maintains the most leverage. Then he can take each variable as it comes. If he gets stuck with a rental deal to a deal he doesn't want to play for long-term, he still has a card to play by opting out and taking his chances with the new CBA. As I pointed out with my Melo Math column , that may not be as risky as some people think -- but there's no question there is some element of risk.

2. So Rip Hamilton really got screwed in this. Is that situation going to get resolved or was this Rip's last chance of getting out of a bad situation in Detroit?

KB:
See the Friday Post-Ups column for a full explanation, but basically your premise is correct. And not only is Rip out of luck, but so are the Pistons. It never made sense to me why Hamilton would be included in the deal because the only people it benefited were him and Joe Dumars. Now Dumars may be stuck with an unhappy Hamilton until ownership -- whoever that is -- agrees to buy him out. If that happens, I could see Hamilton signing with the Celtics and joining UConn pal Ray Allen. He'd give the Celtics a nice jolt of bench scoring.

3. The Heat are 0-4 since LeBron tweeted about karma and the Cavs. So this question is... do you believe in karma, at least in terms of what's going on with LeBron?

KB:
No. I believe in sprained ankles and sore knees, though. That's pretty much all this is.

4. Okay, Ken, give us a teaser of your All-Star picks. Does Blake Griffin make the cut?

KB:
Griffin presents the biggest dilemma for the coaches in years. It's rare -- only four rookies since 1980 have made the All-Star team, and only one of those, Tim Duncan, was added by the coaches. (The others were Shaquille O'Neal, Grant Hill, and Yao Ming.) LeBron James and Derrick Rose didn't make the cut as rookies, and Griffin probably won't, either, considering he'd have to be elevated above Duncan, Dirk Nowitzki, or both. Two things: 1) Griffin certainly deserves it, but I'm not sure the coaches will snub all-timers like Duncan and Dirk, and 2) If he doesn't make it, hide the women, children and sophomores during the rookie-sophomore game.

5. The owners will apparently meet with the players at All-Star Weekend, despite reports they were considering not. I'm of the opinion the players need to stop pouting and stomping their feet when the owners do something they don't like, and start putting together substantive strategies to get the negotiations out onto open field, so to speak. Do you agree or do you think the owners really are making that impossible with their cold blooded approach?


Well, as far as negotiating protocol, it is really incumbent on the owners to make a proposal at this point. The owners made one, the players countered, and the owners have been twiddling their thumbs ever since. That seems to be their strategy, because they want the system that they proposed about a year ago -- max contracts of three or four years, a $45 million hard cap, no exceptions, 3 and 4 percent raises, etc., etc. Conversations have continued in smaller negotiating groups, but the talks aren't going to move forward until the owners make another proposal. The longer they wait, the closer they get to their goal of locking out the players and imposing their will. What can the players do? The superstars can show up at the All-Star negotiating session again and make a big show of it, but it's the lawyers and actuaries who are going to solve this problem, not Kobe Bryant and Carmelo Anthony. Stomping feet and throwing tantrums isn't going to do any good. My questions is: At what point does the owners' indifference and unwillingness to advance the negotiations constitute unfair labor practices? I honestly don't know the answer, but I would imagine that the players' path to advancing the talks will come through a legal channel rather than public rhetoric.

Have a burning NBA question you need answered? Email us at cbssportsnba@gmail.com, or drop Ken a question for the Friday 5 on Twitter at @cbssportsnba .
Posted on: January 20, 2011 12:23 pm
Edited on: January 21, 2011 9:34 am
 

NBA labor talks will be held at All-Star Weekend


Posted by Matt Moore

It would appear cooler heads have prevailed. After yesterday's report from NBA FanHouse regarding a refusal of owners to meet with the players' union, it would appear that report was inaccurate and the two sides will meet during NBA All-Star Weekend. NBA FanHouse reports the same, but also says the players are not kidding around about the seriousness of this meeting, and what the owners' tactics signal to them: 

"If they don't want to meet, then they don't want to meet," he said. "But we'll still be out there. We're still going to have our meeting, to update players and do our due diligence. But I think those guys, the owners, are really miscalculating and getting bad advice. Whoever is advising them is giving really poor advice. If you had heads and CEOs of these Fortune 500 companies, I don't think they would ever run one of those companies like that."
via Notebook: Labor Issues, Tyreke Evans Foot Update, Dunk Contest News -- NBA FanHouse.


So the two will talk, and try and make some progress. But the players continue to freak out throughout these negotiations, showing their inexperience. The stunning thing about all this is that the players could have a lot of leverage were they to play things differently. Instead, they freak out and walk around stomping the ground like they did at All-Star Weekend, and with quotes like the one above. That only affords the owners the ability to further entrench themselves, rather than getting out on open ground. 

Open ground means the owners are talking, negotiating, and gives the players a better chance of causing dissension among the ranks of the owners between the small and big market guys over issues like player movement and revenue sharing. With Ken Berger's report of a possible compromise on all fronts that would make for a significant push towards a deal, the players have a shot at getting more than the scraps if they can get the owners out on the table with some level of dignity. But so far, the players seem content to play softball with their initiatives, then react with stomps and spits when the owners play hardball. 

They're losing on two fronts, but at least the talks will be held. 
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com