Tag:NBPA
Posted on: April 15, 2011 1:45 pm
Edited on: April 15, 2011 3:52 pm
 

NBA: 22 teams in the red, $300 million loss

Commissioner David Stern, Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver comment on league's finances and CBA negotiations, as an owner tells Ken Berger of CBSSports.com that some progress was made at NBA Board of Governors meeting. 
Posted by Matt Moore

During the press conference following the NBA Board of Governor's meeting, NBA Commissioner David Stern and Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver commented on the ongoing CBA process. Stern said they expected $300 million in losses this season, which is a rise in revenue from last year's $340 million loss, but still "nothing to be proud of" Silver said. That's still, you know, $340 million in losses. Silver told reporters in response to a question from our own Ken Berger that most of the loss came from non-gate revenue, as gate receipt numbers were actually up this season. 

Most striking was Silver's comment that 22 of the 30 NBA teams posted a loss this year, with only eight making a profit. I'll let you figure out which teams are those eight.  (Hint: Look at the big cities on the map.)

An owner told Ken Berger of CBSSports.com that there was "progress" on revenue sharing and their stance towards the NBPA, but of course, no plan in place. "It's early" as the old chestnut goes. Stern also made mention of the progress on revenue sharing and revealed that the owners would, in the next few weeks, finally send the players' association a counter proposal, which they have not done since late 2010. The owners refused to respond to the NBPA's last proposal with one of their own until now, though discussions have been held regarding the players' proposal in meetings. Silver commented that the league felt there are "other ways to reach the same goal" in regards to the counter-proposal. 

The lockout situation looks better today than it did yesterday, the Kings' staying in Sacramento looks better, and the Pistons sale will be approved in the next few months. Maybe doomsday isn't around the corner after all. 
Posted on: April 13, 2011 10:24 am
Edited on: April 13, 2011 2:01 pm
 

NBA not canceling Summer League? Updating...

NBA cancels Summer League, summer internships, and planning for European preseason games in advance of expected lockout. Yikes. 
Posted by Matt Moore

Update 1:26 p.m.: Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reports: 

While it's obvious that there would be no summer league involving NBA players or drafted rookies in the event of a lockout, two people with knowledge of the situation said the event has not yet been canceled. There have been informal discussions for months between summer league organizers and league officials about what to do with the scouting event if there is a work stoppage, and the ideas have included bringing international teams to the event, one of the people said. In addition, the D-League -- which will continue to operate during an NBA work stoppage because its players are not NBPA members -- is exploring the possibility of holding a Las Vegas event that would replace summer league. D-League officials, sources said, are exploring this hypothetical event without the assistance of Vegas summer league organizers.

But as of now, summer league is scheduled to begin July 8. Given the current labor climate, that would seem to be wishful thinking. 

Original Report:  Up until now, the NBA has kept its heart and mind publicly open to the idea that the labor dispute would be settled before June 30th when the current CBA expires, or soon afterwards, to avoid any disruption of NBA plans. A report from the New York Daily News  suggests the league is moving forward with facing reality. They are cancelling NBA Summer League for 2011, their summer internship plans, and are not planning for any European preseason games. Gulp. 

Summer League is an NBA tradition, used as an early showcase for draft picks, young players developing, and D-Leaguers and fringe players looking to break in. It was thought that Summer League would go on as planned, even in the event of a lockout, just without the draft picks or any player who is a member of the NBPA. It's not known at this point if the event was cancelled due to a perceived lack of interest that would make the event too costly, or whether this is belt-tightening by the league in advance of lost revenue. There will be jokes aplenty about how this doesn't really matter, but consider three things. 

One, if you don't think any talent comes out of this event, take a look at Gary Neal who made a strong case for a few Rookie of the Year votes in any year where Blake Griffin did not exist murdering unicorns.  That's a heavy rotation player who the Spurs invited to Summer League from Europe, watched him excel, signed him and then made him a consistent player who became a favorite of Gregg Popovich. And without Summer League, the Knicks may not have seen the promise of Landry Fields and what he brings to the floor. Want another one? How about starting two-guard for the Portland Trail Blazers, Wesley Matthews (via Twitter ). Summer League has a lot of washout talent, but the diamonds in the rough are found by some of the best GMs and coaches in the league. 

Two, this is the first real breeding ground post-free-agency for trades. The vast majority of general managers and executives make it out to Vegas for a few days of sun and bad basketball, and that's where conversations start that lead to trades. Without it, all of that is set back. The lockout's got to end sometime, this just sets everything back a few months more. 

Three, there's been discussion of replacement players, conceivably using players from the D-League, and the D-League season is slated to go on regardless of the lockout next season. This was a showcase for teams to see those players. Without it, we'll be seeing more of the Collins-brothers-type signings in the future. 

Outside the box of the event itself, however, the cancelation of Summer League, the internships, and the preseason games in Europe makes for a pretty bleak future. We're not talking just July here. The NBA is makig contingency plans for October, here. This is one-step shy of going ahead and planning for games not to be played. There's no surprise, but it does provide a sobering reality of just how long and painful this lockout will be. As the NBA heads into what many feel will be one of the best NBA postseasons ever, the dark clouds of the impending lockout continue to rain on our parade.
Posted on: February 19, 2011 12:01 am
Edited on: February 19, 2011 12:24 am
 

Despite pleasant tone, NBA CBA talks are nowhere

Posted by Matt Moore

Players and owners meet as issues are discussed, but no negotiations undertaken. Billy Hunter and Derek Fisher represent the players' position in a post-meeting press conference after the NBA labor talks in regards to the CBA. A lockout still looks certain.


The talks were described as "progress." The tone was described by sources as "pleasant" and "constructive."  NBA Player's Association Executive Director Billy Hunter said that everyone felt better when they left the meeting than when they entered it. But the talks between the NBPA and owners group, if the NBPA presser afterward was any indication, were full of dark signs that a lockout is as inevitable as it ever has been. 

Hunter began by revealing that the owners had still yet to respond to the players' last proposal. Essentially, the owners are refusing to even respond to the offer, even after months. That's a significant sign of where these negotiations are. Perhaps the situation was put into context most clearly by Hunter when he said, "If it takes losing a whole season to get what we (want), we're willing to do that." Both sides are still very much apart and are very much working under that threat. As Hunter said, "They showed up with their forces, we showed up with our forces." NBPA President Derek Fisher was clear in pointing out where the onus is in regards to the lockout. "If there is a lockout, it is because the owners have imposed one... (the players) want to play basketball." Hunter did admit a lockout would be "devastating" and that the higher percentage of ownership in attendance, by putting a humanizing factor into play, may create some movement on both sides. But in general, both sides are holding the line. 

The NBPA's post-meeting press conference did provide context to where these talks are at on several issues:

  • Revenue sharing continues to be a central issue in the talks. Hunter said "many of the problems (the owners) articulate can in fact be rectified through revenue sharing." Hunter stated that the NBPA's contention is that a stronger revenue plan which was submitted to the league by eight owners several years prior, had it been implemented, would have prevented many of the issues the owners are bringing to the table now.
  • Fisher stated that the issue of a possible franchise tag has not been raised. "It is not something that has been presented." He did say that this discussion did not involve the particulars of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, but made it clear that had not been brought to the owners. That's good news as its inclusion represents the equivalent of an option for nuclear winter by the owners.
  • There was apparently a major gaffe on the part of an owners' representative. Hunters stated that Kevin Murphy, an economic expert from the University of Chicago, asked the representative if the owners would be making the same demands of the players if they had not suffered losses, the representative answered in the affirmitive. That goes against the core argument the owners have been trumpeting since the start of the economic downturn, which is that the current environment necessitates these dramatic shifts in revenue structuring.
  • Perhaps the most interesting element revealed in the presser was that in response to questions of parity by smaller market owners struggling to compete with the Lakers' payroll (as an example), that the NBPA has brought a recommendation for an alternative solution. The union has suggested a restructuring of the draft process, which would provide two first-round picks to the teams "at the bottom" according to Hunter. It represents a bold and innovative solution to the problems faced by the NBA in regards to parity, but Hunter noted that the owners haven't even opened up to such discussions because of their "intractable" position.
  • The players will not get sucked into a war of words about contraction. That's not the hill they're choosing to die on. Hunter said "We are not at all concerned about contraction. We're not at all afraid, intimidated, not suffering any chagrin when someone raises the issue of contraction." However, Hunter did hint that the union is not rising to fight for that above other issues. "It is what it is. And if they choose to play that hand, we'll have to live with it."
  • One of the popular debates in these negotiations is where the onus lies for the massive overpayment contracts.  The owners state that they need help in limiting those contracts, and the players believe the owners should simply take responsibility for their decisions. Fisher stated that they've heard some owners say verbatim "We need to be protected from ourselves." Fisher acknowledged that the owners were simply trying to be competitive, but that the players' position is that that weight does not all fall on them.
  • Fisher also spoke about the nature of guaranteed contracts, and that the current agreement does not prevent unguaranteed contracts, is simply allows for the possibility to negotiate for a guaranteed contract. "There's a sense that we feel entitled to guaranteed money, to guaranteed income. That's not who we are. The principle basic level, we should have the right to earn guaranteed income because of our special skills... but when I sit down to negotiate my contract with the Los Angeles Lakers on my contract, we have every opportunity to go back and forth over what's guaranteed and what's not."

Hunter said that further negotiations would be scheduled when Hunter and commissioner David Stern meet next week in New York. From there, further discussions are expected to continue. But there was no rapid movement taken in this session, and it does not appear that either side is itching to be the one to move things forward. 

Small steps were made. The tone of the discussions have shifted to a more "human" approach as Fisher described them.  But the key issues remain, and haven't been really touched. Negotiations, in fact, have not begun, simply discussions, and those mostly consist of both sides continuing their refutations of the other's position. And a lockout looks as inevitable as it did on Friday morning.



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: 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. 
Posted on: January 9, 2011 1:17 pm
 

Would NBA owners move to cancel next season?

NBA owners are considering a season-long shutdown next year. Posted by Ben Golliver.

In Ken Berger of CBSSports.com's latest dispatch regarding labor negotiations between NBA owners and the National Basketball Players Association, some new details emerge about ownership's position on a potential work stoppage. Citing "a person who had wielded enormous clout in past NBA labor talks," Berger writes that the owners are considering a take-it-or-leave it posture.
In an intriguing if contradictory prediction, the person said that despite a steady stream of lockout rhetoric, he has come to believe that owners and players will reach an agreement and avoid a work stoppage at the 11th hour before the current CBA expires on July 1, 2011. However, if cooler heads do not prevail, the owners will be so entrenched and determined to make a work stoppage pay off that they will push to cancel the entire season to cripple the National Basketball Players Association and implement the drastic changes they are seeking.
Basically, if a lockout is the only way to get the players to cave, then the owners are really going to make them cave. If there's a lockout, the participant in past negotiations predicted, it will not simply be for show. It will be Armageddon.
"After a year, the players will come back with $2.1 billion less in their pockets," the person said. "Who has more leverage now?"
Before we get into the threat presented, let's applaud the fact that this source seems to be hold promise for a relatively quick resolution to the labor negotiations. That's some badly needed good news.

As for the scenario outlined, a full season shutdown is the latest of many hammers that have been floated by NBA owners, which also include contraction of teams/jobs, salary rollbacks and a hard cap. The stance presented here runs perfectly counter to the tact currently being taken by the players association, which has assembled a war chest in the event of a work stoppage, has told its members to save money throughout this season and to prepare to live without guaranteed paychecks at the start of next season.

The situation described above attempts to torpedo that month-to-month cautious approach and remove the mental safety net created by the notion of a partial season work stoppage. Berger's source is saying, in effect: "Save your pennies all you want, it's only going to cost you more in the long run and you have no idea how long that run could be." This move certainly plays up the fear factor for the players, who, at some level, have to place faith and trust in their union to reach an agreement in an expedient manner. Saving extra seems like a reasonable plan if there is a payoff in the future. If there's not an extra payoff, saving money and passing up the opportunity to compromise can seem foolish, especially to players who have a limited career shelf life as it is. 

Should the players be listening to this latest stance, or is it more posturing? 

I'd argue that they should be listening. One, this just happened in the National Hockey League and it got really, really bad for the players there. Two, there's not much benefit to the owners to compromise once the work stoppage point has been reached. If they're forced to bite the public relations bullet and cancel games, angering their fans, losing season ticket holders and absorbing all the abuse and heckling from the media in the process, won't they be that much more likely to radically alter the financial structure of the game to protect themselves and their interests in the future? 

Berger thinks so, and writes that the players will "get a worse deal after they've lost a year of income and owners have skipped a year of losing money." Resolve, in this case, seems like just another commodity that can be amassed in greater quantity by the super-wealthy.

The lesson to take from this is that the players have a vested interest in keeping negotiations amicable, because if they get protracted and ugly they'll be playing poker heads-up against an opponent whose chip stack is much, much greater. They clearly understand that fact, because their rhetoric has, generally, been blandly positive and focused on unity, rather than divisiveness. 
Category: NBA
Tags: Labor, NBA, NBPA
 
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com