Tag:2011 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 8:57 am
Edited on: November 8, 2011 7:36 pm

NBA Labor Buzz: Latest updates

NBA Labor
Since there's going to be so many reports and tweets and nonsense today from both sides in preparation of tomorrow's deadline when the owners will pull their "generous" offer for a considerably stricter one, we thought we'd give you a thread to keep track of where everyone stands with what. This post will update throughout the day.

Tuesday 7:26 p.m:

  • Stern responded to the union's rejection of the current proposal by restating the threat of the worse offer. He also would not commit to a meeting Wednesday but said he would take Hunter's call, and denied that Christmas games would be cancelled if a deal was not made by the deadline. 
  • Luis Scola asked on Twitter the following (in Spanish): "The NBPA rejected the proposal to the owners, why not vote?" So apparently Scola's willing to at least talk about it. You've got to wonder how many players are going to be upset the deal wasn't discussed more.
  • Brian Cardinal followed the NBPA line that the players would bend on BRI if system concessions were made. They are also acting like this has been the case the whole time, after all the rabble-rousing over 53 percent. 

Tuesday 5:36 p.m.
Tuesday 12:14 p.m.
  • Spencer Hawes is taking his frustration out on Twitter. He tweeted: "Voting (and not for this completely irrational proposal from the NBA) rather local elections. Hard when democrats r the only choice #writein." I'm not entirely sure what his point is there.
  • Jamario Moon tweeted this: "Deal or No Deal?..........Deal!!!!! Let's play some ball!" I kind of wish Howie Mandel was David Stern.
  • Jonny Flynn tweeted this: "Starting to see why so many things are outta wack. Ppl aren't held accountable. Let enough things slide & forget what's right." One thing that's out of wack? The amount professional athletes are paid to play a sport. But nobody's talking about that.
Tuesday 9:40 a.m.
  • At the Salt Lake City charity game last night, several players weighed in to the Salt Lake Tribune. Jeremy Evans says take "whatever is given" and get a deal. Devin Harris sounds much more like a decertification guy talking about "tough decisions" but that could be the deal as well, and Derrick Favors has not paid attention to anything regarding the talks. So glad he gets a vote.
Tuesday 9 a.m.
  • J.J. Redick told the Orlando Sentinel that he's not necessarily in favor of decertification, but that he would sign a petition to decertify should a deal not be agreed upon in the next few days. You can interpret that as "I don't think this will work but the deal's not acceptable and I'm not willing to just lie down and take it." 
  • Anthony Tolliver of the Timberwolves, a players' rep who will attend Tuesday's NBPA meeting told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune that "pretty much everything is split" when it comes to the players between decertification and voting to approve the deal as is. You can interpret that as a pretty good read on where things stand, with most statements from players coming down on either side. It's going to be a tense meeting Tuesday.
  • Chris Sheridan of SheridanHoops.com has been an active optimist during this nightmare. He's predicted an end to the lockout about three times because he keeps assuming we have rational actors. He's back on that bus today as he says the two sides are 99 percent done, so they can't turn back now and we'll have a deal in 36 hours. This is us not holding our breath. You can interpret this as some sources close to the talks continue to be stunned that the two sides can be inches apart and still tossing grenades at one another. 
Previously on "Days of Our Lockout":
For more breaking news on the NBA labor front, follow us on Twitter at @EyeOnBasketball and Ken Berger (@KBergCBS).
Posted on: November 8, 2011 8:24 am
Edited on: November 8, 2011 5:48 pm

Report: Owners could be open to system tweaks

By Matt Moore

Many of the owners don't want a meeting, but the few that do think there's some room to tweak things so the players can swallow this deal. 

Yahoo! Sports reports that some owners are open to meeting and discussing system issues on the periphery, not the main elements, if it means a deal can get done to save the season.  
As one ownership source told Yahoo! Sports on Monday night, “If there were a couple of tweaks needed around the edges – not fundamental deal points – I believe there could be a deal if everything else is agreed upon. But there needs to be a meeting with David and Billy for anything to happen.”
via NBA owners, players could talk before deadline - NBA - Yahoo! Sports.

Yahoo! also reports Billy Hunter is on the fence about taking a meeting. That's likely because his job is already in jeopardy over how this process has been handled and knows that if they meet which signals a readiness to accept the deal, and it falls through, the hard-line agents and players pushing for decertification will likely be able to remove him once the union reforms.

The report also backs up Ken Berger of CBSSports.com's reportfrom Monday night outlining hard owners who are still uneasy about the deal on the table now. This deal which lops off seven percentage points from the players' BRI, eliminating any advantage in that regard and implementing massive systemic changes isn't enough for some owners who still want more. In fact, ESPN reports that those owners are making their voices heard. 
A group of disgruntled NBA owners held a conference call Monday to express their displeasure with the 50/50 revenue offer commissioner David Stern has presented to the players' association, according to sources with knowledge of the call.

The deal, which the union sees as an "ultimatum" offer, calls for players to receive anywhere between 49 and 51 percent of basketball-related income, but the group of displeased owners, the sources said, are hoping the players reject it.
via NBA lockout -- Some NBA owners express displeasure with David Stern's 50-50 offer, sources say - ESPN.

Great idea! Let's not have a season so that the huge win you already have in your pocket can be scrapped for even bigger win. It's not enough to be up by 40 in the fourth quarter, let's make sure we can spike the football off the face of our opponent. That's what this comes down to.

It's not clear what peripheral changes could be made to the deal outside of some small amount tweaks in years, raise percentages or amounts regarding various elements like the mid-level exception. If a meeting is taken by both sides, it could very well detonate if the owners balk at any change that actually helps the union accept the deal, which is two percent less than they've sworn to accept, after dropping from 53 percent which they swore to hold at. You're sensing a pattern here, I suppose. 

Going to be a busy, acrimonious day in the NBA. Without games.
Posted on: November 7, 2011 10:14 pm
Edited on: November 8, 2011 12:55 am

Report: Of course the NBA doesn't want to meet

By Matt Moore 

Wednesday is the latest Judgment Day in a long history of Judgment Days during this lockout, the day when the NBA's "generous" offer to only knock 7 percent of the player's BRI off eliminating any greater share (after an expenses deduction, I might add), along with widespread systemic changes and the elimination of the sign-and-trade for tax payers expires and their new, stricter, more terrifying offer becomes the new reality. In preparation for that day, the NBPA has four options. 

  1. Decertify the union (or disclaim interest, if they want a quicker and riskier route) and file antitrust lawsuits against the owners, initializing a court-based nuclear winter that eliminates at least this season if not next and which will likely fail in court at one of its many risky junctures.
  2. Calmly wait for the deadline to pass and continue negotiating, effectively ignoring the threat. President Kennedy famously used this same tactic in talks with the USSR during the Cuban Missile Crisis. 
  3. Try and get the owners back to the table for a negotiation to try and sweeten the deal to a point where it's at least swallowable for the majority of the players. 
  4. Vote on the deal as it stands right now and go back to work, effectively caving in order to keep the season and the paychecks that go along with it, sacrificing their profession and pride for their paychecks and the fans. 
All in all, not an appetizing menu before them. 

But don't worry. The owners are going to make sure that third option isn't one. Because, really, why would the NBA want to negotiate more? They might get a season then! From the New York Times
NBA official says no meeting scheduled with union tomorrow, and none being attempted at the moment. (But things change quickly.)
via Twitter / @HowardBeckNYT: NBA official says no meeti ....

Things do change quickly, but with the NBA owners ready for a scorched earth offer on Wednesday, and with as many owners pushing for a lost season as there are, a meeting doesn't make sense. If the players don't take the deal, they look like the bad guys, and the owners can say they hung themselves. The owner want to keep talks closed because starting Monday, reports started filtering in about players being open to the 50/50 deal. Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reports that NBPA officials will be "open minded" about a vote on the current offer.

The owners smell blood in the water. So they will resist anything that gives light to the tunnel the players are strapped in. On Tuesday, they'll fight it out amongst themselves, the decertification hard-liners, the weary 50/50 sympathizers, and the Executive Committee in the middle, desperately trying to hold onto a situation they've never had the reins on.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com