Posted on: September 30, 2011 7:02 pm
Edited on: September 30, 2011 7:46 pm
Posted by Ben Golliver.
CBSSports.com's Ken Berger reports from New York City that labor talks between the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association have wrapped up after more than four hours of negotiations.
Both sides addressed the media, with the NBPA going first.
Berger reports that NBPA president Derek Fisher said during a Friday afternoon press conference that although the meetings were "engaging" the two sides "did not come out of here with a deal today, but we will be back here at 10 a.m."
Talks are expected to continue on Saturday and Sunday.
Asked if a deal will be reached this weekend, Fisher said: "I can't answer that."
The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Fisher said that "no formal proposals [were] exchanged" on Friday and that talks were "contentious" at times. The paper also noted that Fisher said that the NBA did not threaten to cancel the entire 2011-2012 NBA season if no deal was reached this weekend.
NBA commissioner David Stern and deputy commissioner Adam Silver addressed the media following the NBPA press conference.
"There's no bad news," Stern said according to Berger. "Both sides expressed a willingness to make a deal."
Berger reports that Stern, who acknowledged that no formal proposals were exchanged, said that both the NBA and NBPA "agreed that once regular season games lost, both sides harden."
Asked if he can see a framework of a deal, Stern said, "We leave that to the bloggers." If no deal is reached this weekend, Silver said that talks between the two sides would "of course" continue.
NBA.com reported that Stern made public some details of the league's new revenue sharing plan for the first time. Under the proposal presented by Stern, revenue sharing among owners would quadruple within three yeras after tripling in the first two years.
Finally, Stern said that a report that the season could be canceled if a deal wasn't reached this weekend was "ludicrous."
During the NBPA's press conference, Fisher was flanked by a cadre of NBA All-Stars including Miami Heat forward LeBron James, Heat guard Dwyane Wade and New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony. Other players present, Berger reports, include Boston Celtics forward Paul Pierce, Philadelphia 76ers forwards Elton Brant and Andre Iguodala, and Cleveland Cavaliers guard Baron Davis.
Berger also reports that Heat forward Udonis Haslem left the meeting saying that he was "very encouraged" and that "you can see that everybody really wants to make a deal."
This post will update with the latest NBA lockout news.
Posted on: September 15, 2011 5:39 pm
Edited on: September 15, 2011 7:58 pm
Posted by Ben Golliver.
LAS VEGAS -- Yards away from the Vdara Hotel's lobby, where an endless line of tourists stood patiently waiting to check into their hotel room, a large group of NBA players sat in a conference room on Thursday morning, getting briefed on the latest news from ongoing collective bargaining agreement negotiations by National Basketball Players Association executive director Billy Hunter, NBPA president Derek Fisher and other NBPA executive committee members.
The immediate message from the NBPA executive committee after the meeting closed approximated the sentiment expressed in a letter sent Wednesday from Fisher to every NBA player: Player solidarity is important, there is a fundamental split among the owners, and decertification of the union is not imminent.
To underscore that solidarity, the NBPA distributed gray t-shirts, featuring a silhouette image of basketball players above the word "STAND" in yellow block letters. More than 30 players wore the t-shirts and stood behind Hunter and Fisher as they addressed reporters in an adjacent press conference room.
"We had a very colorful and engaging meeting today," Fisher began. "We are together. We are unified. There is not a fracture and a separation amongst our group that in some ways has been reported. We want to continue to reiterate that point."
Despite some players expressing frustration at the lack of progress in the ongoing negotiations between the NBA and NBPA, Hunter said that frustration didn't rear its head in Thursday's meeting.
"I don't get the kind of negative feedback that I get from some of the articles that you guys write," Hunter said.
Roughly 35 NBA players attended the meeting, which was scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m. and was expected to last at least 75 minutes, adjourned around 1:30 p.m. Attendance estimates presented earlier in the week were nearly double the number of players who actually showed up.
Hunter also wanted to make one point crystal clear: "We did not talk about decertification as a strategy." He did say the NBPA presented "a full disclosure" of the facts and circumstances surrounding a potential decertification but that it was simply a part of the education process and not a tactic or plan.
"Any statements or agendas that are being pushed by groups, they don't have a way in as long as we stand shoulder to shoulder," Fisher said.With decertification apparently tabled, at best, the so-called "blood issues" for the players remain unchanged.
"We've been clear on a few main points which are, in a sense, nonnegotiable," Fisher told reporters after the main press conference adjourned. "We're not going to sign a deal if they include a hard salary cap, if they include a limitation on exceptions and guaranteed contracts, those are things we just cannot and will not sign off on."
"The resolve is strong," Hunter concluded. "This is still early in the game, nobody has lost any paychecks. That doesn't happen until November 16. There's still time to get a deal."
Posted on: September 1, 2011 7:36 pm
Posted by Ben Golliver.
Don't look now, but the pace of the NBA's labor negotiation talks appears to be finally, mercifully, picking up.
After meeting just once during the first eight weeks of the lockout, which began on July 1, representatives of the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association plan to meet for the second time in less than 10 days, according to SI.com.
According to two sources close to the situation, the NBA and National Basketball Players' Association have agreed to meet again next week.NBA commissioner David Stern, deputy commissioner Adam Silver and NBPA president Derek Fisher and executive director Billy Hunter all met in New York City on Wednesday, although both sides were tight-lipped about the details of the meeting, going so far as to refuse to characterize it as either positive or negative.
With the pace apparently accelerating, here's what we know: the two sides have agreed to stop taking shots at each other in public and that there is still enough time to get a deal done prior to the start of the 2011-2012 season. We also know that neither side has moved off of their original bargaining positions, neither side seems poised to move off of their original bargaining positions and billions of dollars separate the two sides. We also know that the start of training camp is roughly 3-4 weeks away.
In other words, it's good that the foot is back on the gas pedal, but it's time to really stomp on that sucker.
Posted on: August 31, 2011 4:42 pm
Edited on: September 1, 2011 7:40 am
Posted by Ben Golliver.
Finally, officials from the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association sat across the table from each other in a negotiating session on Wednesday. The big question: Did they make any progress on a new collective bargaining agreement? That is still unclear in the meeting's immediate aftermath.
As Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reported last week, the Wednesday meeting consisted only of a select few individuals from each side, including NBA commissioner David Stern, deputy commissioner Adam Silver and players association president Derek Fisher, rather than full negotiating teams from both sides.
The New York Times reported that Wednesday's meeting at a Manhattan hotel lasted for six hours, but that the sides didn't have much to offer to reporters afterwards, refusing to say even whether the talks were positive or negative.
The USA Today also reported that Fisher was about as mum as it gets. "There won't be much to share," Fisher said. "We still have a lot of work to do, and that's what we're going on at this point."
The paper noted that Fisher "did acknowledge there has not been a drastic ideological change on either side."
Sports Illustrated reported that Stern and Silver were similarly vague, noting that the league officials "didn't offer many specifics [but] did say [meeting in] small groups [was] more productive."
The Times reported that Stern did say that "there is definitely time to make a deal."
USA Today quoted Silver painting the meeting as an important step. "It's good we're meeting," Silver said. "We're not going to get a deal done unless we spend time together. I'd say that's progress onto itself"
Further talks are expected but no specifics as to when, where and with whom attending were made available.
Despite the lack of details and tight-lipped nature of these comments, there was one clear bright spot. The Times noted that Fisher stated that the league and the Players Association "agreed to dispense with the rhetoric and public shots at each other." Civility is certainly a first step towards compromise.
Posted on: July 7, 2011 5:08 pm
Edited on: July 7, 2011 6:05 pm
Posted by Royce Young
The NBA hasn't just been fighting the Players Association over a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. It has also been fighting a pretty major PR battle against the media and public over how truthful all these claimed losses are.
The league says 22 of 30 its 30 teams lost money last season. The league says in total, it lost about $370 millon, give or take. The league says owners are currently operating in a broken system that makes it extremely difficult to turn a profit, especially if you're not in a major market.
Some are having a hard time believing that. After a NY Times piece earlier in the week questioned how true some of the league's claims were, things only ratcheted up another notch. The league responded with a rebuttal, providing more facts and numbers in an attmept to quell some of the skepticism. The league claims $1.8 billion in losses over the past six years, but as many have noted, it's kind of hard to just take the league's word for it. We need to see stuff. Like open books.
Well, CNBC's Darren Rovell got ahold of the New Jersey Nets' books from last season and according to the report, the Nets suffered substantial losses over the past few years. (Click here to read the entire document.)
For the 2008-09 season, the documents reflect that the Nets lost $77,227,184. The team earned $78,783,677 in operating income, including $26 million in ticket sales and $32.5 million in total broadcast revenues. Operating expenses were $147 million, off mainly $66 million in salaries and $33.3 million in "amortization of intangible assets." When the team's $13.3 million interest expense is added, the Nets loss for the 08-09 season hits $77.2 million.
So there's that. According to the audited books, the Nets lost almost $80 million for the 2008-09 season. That's a lot of money. But there's still some skepticism over it all because sometimes bookkeepers are creative with their accounting. Rovell explains:
Rovell also notes that two other numbers could be disputed. That includes the $2 mllion in depreciation and the $13.4 million in interest. The union claims neither of those should be included in losses. But while the players dispute those being included, reality is, those are real losses. The value of the franchise is part of it all because it reflects the cost of expenses related to growing revenue. In terms of interest, that's actual money out of the owner's pocket so of course it should be included. It might not be a "real" loss in the same terms of expenses being more than revenue but as part of the whole pie, it counts.
One more note by Rovell to wrap it up though:
What we have is another team where the financial picture is becoming clear. But that doesn't mean it's still not blurry. This is one of 30. There's a reason the league is locked out and it's because the players aren't buying everything the owners are selling. Like I've said before, the system has issues. No one would deny that. The players accept that as they've flexed on being willing to roll back their percentage of Basketball Related Income.
The matter is how deep the problem goes and how much give there has to be to fix it all. But the more information there is, the better things will get. Better PR for the league, better information for the public to digest, more pressure to make something happen.
Posted on: July 7, 2011 4:03 pm
Edited on: July 7, 2011 6:09 pm
Posted by Royce Young
Talk of losing an entire season is a bit ridiculous to me. There's just way too much at stake. Money, momentum, fan support, money, loyalty, money -- it's just hard to imagine losing any games much less a whole season.
But it's a possibility. And with all this hardline talk going on, it seems like neither the players nor the owners are wanting to budge. There's incentive for teams to get a deal done and not just for the money, but because a year without basketball and more importantly, basketball operations, could greatly affect each and every NBA franchise. Let's start with the Southeast Division.
The biggest question hovering over the Magic isn't about wins and losses or if Gilbert Arenas should stop tweeting. It's all about Dwight Howard's future and July 1, 2012. That's when Howard will become an unrestricted free agent. General manager Otis Smith has already said he won't trade Howard, but that could just be talk. Howard has said he wants to be in Orlando, but hasn't committed, turning down a three-year extension.
But if NBA offices are shut down and all transactions are halted, Howard might be forced to stay with the Magic all season -- except he won't play a game. Meaning Orlando could lose out on A) having a team good enough to convince Howard he wants to stay because he can win there; B) the Magic won't have an opportunity to trade Howard and get a Carmelo-like deal where they can restock the roster instead of letting him walk with nothing in return; or C) the Magic miss out on at least one more year with Howard meaning they miss out on a chance of having a good team that can compete. That's a lot to think about if this lockout starts stretching into 2012.
It's simple and very obvious for owner Micky Arison and the Heat: Lose the 2011-12 season and that's one less year you have of Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James. That's one less year of the spotlight, the attention and all that money funneling right into South Beach. That's one less shot at a title. That's one less season of constant sellouts, through-the-roof merchandise sales and huge TV ratings.
Basically, it's one less season of $$$$$. And one big reason for Arison to be an owner willing to bargain.
The Hawks are in pretty solid shape right now. After the 2011-12 season, they only have six players under contract, including all their big names (Joe Johnson, Josh Smith, Al Horford and uh, Marvin Williams I guess).
But a prolonged lockout could simmer the momentum built from last season's deep playoff run. The roster still isn't quite there and a resolution on what to do with Smith has to be figured out. The earlier he's traded means the more he's worth. Losing that opportunity is bad news for the Hawks, even if they choose to keep Smith.
But on the bright side, it is one less season of overpaying Joe Johnson.
The Bobcats aren't really going anywhere this year, or even next year. The roster needs work. It needs more talent, more ability and better structure.
But the Bobcats used two lottery picks on Bismack Biyombo and Kemba Walker, meaning there's a little jolt of young talent on the roster, which is exactly the direction Rich Cho is looking to take them. Younger, faster and a path to building, not just hanging on with marginal veteran talent.
A year without basketball for the Bobcats means a year of stunted growth. These guys need to play together every second they can and I don't just mean on a blacktop in Greensboro. Even if they lose 60 games, that's progress. But they need to be on the court to even have the chance to learn through losing.
Michael Jordan was a player (if you didn't know). I don't know if that means he's on the players' side because I'm sure he also wants a system that helps his franchise competitively and one that helps him make money, but at the same time, I think he cares more about winning and playing than all the rest.
It's the same story for the Wizards too. John Wall, new pick Jan Vesely, Nick Young and JaVale McGee are all young guys that just get better every night they play.
The bright side though is that Rashard Lewis is owed $21.1 million next season and that could be money well not spent. Which is why Ted Leonsis, an NHL owner who has been through an extremely painful lockout, probably isn't all that worried about things like stunted growth when there's money to be saved and made. The Wizards aren't on the path to prosperity right now and are likely one of the teams hemorrhaging a little dough. The Wizards risk setting back their development, but I think that's a price Leonsis would be willing to pay.
Posted on: July 6, 2011 7:01 pm
Edited on: July 6, 2011 7:15 pm
Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry says that the NBA might prevent team officials from attending his wedding. Posted by Ben Golliver.
The NBA's lockout is a literal term: players are physically locked out from team facilities and cannot have direct contact with team officials. The league has scrubbed its website and threatened to fine teams that contact players, even through social networking sites.
Apparently, weddings are off-limits too, at least without official clearance from the league office.
Yahoo! Sports reports that Warriors guard Stephen Curry is about to get hitched and isn't sure whether Golden State employees will be able to attend.
Curry also has some other plans for July: He and his fiancèe, Ayesha Alexander, are getting married in Charlotte at the end of the month. He expects eight Warriors teammates, other NBA players like Rudy Gay, Ronny Turiaf and Corey Maggette and members of former Warriors coach Keith Smart’s staff to attend. He’s still waiting to see if Warriors’ front office officials and Bobcats assistant coach Stephen Silas, a former Golden State assistant, can get cleared by the NBA to go. Miami Heat officials were recently given permission to attend Chris Bosh’s wedding.Poor Curry thought it was bad when he needed to ask the bride's father for his daughter's hand in marriage. Now he needs to turn to NBA commissioner David Stern for a second level of permission.
"Does anyone here object to this union? Speak now or forever hold your peace."
"I do," shouts Stern as he emerges from underneath a pew in the church's fourth row. "Silas just slapped Curry's back and whispered 'congratulations' in his ear. That will be one million dollars! Please make the check payable to Adam Silver."
OK, OK, it's not quite that ridiculous. Given the recent, clear precedent established by the Bosh wedding, Curry's nuptials should come off without a hitch and with the entire invited guest list in attendance.
Still, what a hassle. Requiring that these players and coaches formally request permission without rubberstamping it? Terrible. As if newlyweds didn't have enough to stress about.
Posted on: July 5, 2011 2:07 pm
Edited on: July 5, 2011 10:14 pm
Posted by EOB Staff.
Update (9:46 p.m.): The NBA has released a statement in which it disputes the figures linked to below, claiming that it is "indisputably" losing money. The league also disputes conclusions drawn from those figures, originally published by Forbes, but has not yet released more accurate figures.
Original Post: The NBA is losing money. Lots and lots of it. Some $370 million.
Or at least that's what the league says. We've all kind of been forced to accept this fact to some degree, even though facts like "22 of the 30 teams lost money last year" is a bit of a controversial "fact" that's lobbed around at every opportunity by Adam Silver and David Stern.
The system has issues, otherwise there wouldn't be a lockout. I think that's obvious. But could there be a little financial trickery going on? Nate Silver of the New York Times did some sleuthing using public financial data and came up with this: The league may not actually be losing any money at all.
Instead, independent estimates of the NBA financial condition reflect a league that has grown at a somewhat tepid rate compared to other sports, and which has an uneven distribution of revenues between teams — but which is fundamentally a healthy and profitable business. In addition, it is not clear that growth in player salaries, which has been modest compared to other sports and which is strictly pegged to league revenue, is responsible for the league’s difficulties.Silver lists three more good reasons why we should be skeptical:
1) The Warriors sold for $450 million (some $90 million more than Forbes' estimated worth), the Pistons sold for $420 million (about $60 million more than the estimated worth) and the Wizards sold for $551 million last year which was about $230 million more than Forbes' valued the franchise.
2) Silver says, "The NBA’s data has not been made public, although it has been shared with the players’ union. If the league expects their figures to be viewed credibly, they should open up their books to journalists, economists and fans." Point, Silver (Nate).
3) His last reason is the one I like most. The league signed a new deal in 1999 -- one that owners wanted so badly that the league sacrificed 30 games for -- and renewed that same CBA with just a few tweaks in 2005. For the most part, that deal was considered very favorable to the owners, at least initially. Yes, costs have risen and the league had to endure a recession, so revenues decreased. But Silver says, "But to hear the NBA owners complain about the current deal now, when none of the fundamentals have changed, reminds one of the old Woody Allen joke about two women kvetching at a restaurant: 'Boy, the food at this place is really terrible,' one says. 'I know. And such small portions,' the other replies."
So digest all of that. Think about it. Should we all really sit here and not raise an eyebrow? Hard not to wonder what's really going on here. Hard not to listen to Billy Hunter and Derek Fisher and say, "Yeah, I guess I can see why you guys are a bit skeptical of this all."
But as Silver notes, that isn't to say the league's CBA doesn't need a restructuring. The system does have issues. Costs have undeniably risen and gate revenue hasn't contributed as much as the league needs it to. Some markets and franchises struggle to keep their head above water both financially and competitively. That's not right.
At the same time, if the league truly is fudging the numbers and massaging facts a bit just to try and make sure its owners score big, and games are lost at a time where the league's popularity is nearly at an all-time high, should we all be downright ticked?
Because think about it: The owners got the agreement they wanted in 1999 and stuck with it in 2005. Now the league is producing all-time revenues highs and projects to be incredibly successful over the next 10 years. And so they want a new deal that cuts into player salaries and "guarantees profitability." I don't know about you, but that smells funny to me. At least enough to make me say, "Hmm..."
Henry Abbott asks a very worthy question at TrueHoop today about this whole thing: If any other normally profitable business soured and started experiencing big losses, who would we blame? Upper management, right? Some blame deserves to go on the league office, but Abbott isn't willing to pin it all on The David's head.
Stern, et al, get off the hook, by and large, because their story is that 22 of 30 teams are losing money (more recently the league has said they have lost $300 million in 2010-2011). Stern works for those 30 owners. If 22 of them want to lavish more on their teams than they should have, he has little power to stop them. So, it's a story of bad management, perhaps. But it's not necessarily a story of Stern's bad management, to the extent the story is Mark Cuban deciding to spend deep into the red time and again to try to win a title.Abbott's entirely right: You can't blame Stern. Owners run their teams, not the NBA -- well, except for the Hornets I guess (I always forget Stern's an owner). But for as great a commissioner David Stern has been -- and he has truly been an outstanding leader for the league -- this is the fourth lockout that's happened under his watch. One short one in 1994, another quickie in 1995, the big 1998 one and now the 2011 stalemate. For as much grief as Bud Selig gets, his league has been humming along for 17 years now without a work stoppage. Think about that one.
Whatever the case, the league and players are extremely far apart and when they get back to the bargaining table in a couple weeks, I'm sure Billy Hunter and Derek Fisher will mention a lot of the exact things Silver pointed out. In fact, I'm sure they've been saying them for two years now. Both sides have a case, but always keep in mind: Both sides want what's best for them. Players don't care about owners' bank accounts and vice versa. But in the end, the people that feel it the most are the fans and extraneous team employees. So get this thing sorted out, will ya?