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Tag:Adam Silver
Posted on: July 1, 2011 1:17 am
Edited on: July 1, 2011 12:35 pm
 

A CBA/lockout FAQ: Understanding what's going on

Posted by Royce Young



The NBA's owners voted to lock out the players on Thursday, meaning that officially, the league is operating under a lockout.

We're all hearing that term being tossed around a lot. I overheard two guys talking about it at a restaurant yesterday in fact.

"You hear there's a lockout? I can't believe this!"

"Me either. So ridiculous. What exactly does that mean?"

"Something about a Collective Bargaining Agreement. And money."

Pretty much, yeah. But there's more to it than that. What is a lockout? What happens to the players? Why does the league do it? What's decertification?

So I put together a little Lockout FAQ. Hopefully most of your questions are answered here. And in normal language, not lawyer talk that the two guys at the restaraunt would never understand.

1. First, a did you know:
The current Collective Bargaining Agreement isn't actually expiring, as many have been saying. It's actually being terminated by the owners. The old one signed in 1999 had an early termination option for the owners and they are exercising it. Just wanted to get that out there.

2. Why are the owners doing this?
The league claims it lost $300 million last season and that 22 teams lost money. That might not be entirely true. But the owners and league maintain that they are operating within a broken system that prevents all 30 teams a chance at profitability. Supposedly, that's all they want. Owners are trying to to reduce things like how much Basketball Related Income (BRI) the players receive, guaranteed contracts and the length of contracts.

Basically the why is that the owners want to make money. What else could it be?

3. I don't get it. The league is reportedly pulling in bigger revenues than ever before. How are they losing money?
Rising costs. That's what the league says. It costs a lot more to operate a franchise now than it did 10 years ago. Player salaries have steadily moved up, arenas cost more and on and on. And the players don't really disagree. Concessions have been made such as the players saying they'd be willing to drop receiving 57 of the BRI to 54. That's a pretty big give.

But the owners want more. They claim the number needs to be in the 40s. They want a hard cap. Some would say that this is a lot the owners' fault by giving stupid contracts out -- also known as "Travis Outlaw" -- but that's just the nature of the beast. The system the NBA operates in allows for that and so to remain competitive, bad contracts are just part of the game. Owners want to try and cut down on some of that to, you guessed it, make more money.

4. What do the players want?
More of the same, really. The NBA is on a path to explode financially over the next 10 years and the players want to make sure their piece of the pie is still big. As Kevin Durant said recently, " The way the CBA worked before is something we really liked. There’s no need to change it. Things have been going very well for us, as far as the league, revenue and things like that are concerned. We want to stick with that pace, but of course the owners want to go a different way with it."

That's kind of the mindset, although they are willing to flex some. How much is the question. And when it happens I guess is the other.

5. So what exactly happens in a lockout?
Exactly that. Players are physically locked out from the practice gym, weight room, video room, etc. No contact between teams and players. Essentially, the teams have suspended their employees which in this case, are the players. The reasoning is to encourage them to sign a new CBA, one that the owners like.

During a lockout, players lose their salary, all benefits and basically any connection to the team (sponsored travel, use of practice facilities, equipment and the like). There won't be any trades, no signings, no extensions, no meetings, no practices and most importantly, no games. The league entirely freezes. People will be laid off, money will be lost. It's an effort to bleed the players so that eventually they'll cede and bargain with the owners.

Right now, the players are taking a Tommy Lee Jones from The Fugitive approach though. I... don't... bargain.

6. Why does the league use a lockout?
A lockout isn't anything new. The league locked out players for four months in 1995. They did it for a few hours in 1996. And then the big one that lasted six months spanning between 1998 and 1999 that resulted in 30 lost games.

Clearly, like I said, the league is looking to try and capitalize on irresponsible players that didn't handle their checkbooks wisely. By locking them out, players don't draw paychecks anymore. Which means a lot of players are in big trouble. Which means they'll want to give in to a deal quicker. You're saying, "But they're millionaires!" Yes, in terms of salary, they sure are. But you'd be surprised how many NBA players live on a paycheck-to-paycheck basis. All those cars, houses and needy fourth cousins add up quickly.

But don't misunderstand: The league and owners are losing money during a lockout too. The idea though is that they have more in the coffers and the owners through their other businesses, can handle missing out on on gate revenue from games.

7. So is that why some players have said they'd play overseas?
Some have said they'd consider it, but let's be realistic: Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and others aren't going to do that because they don't need to. Mid-level and lower income players might, but it's a major risk. If a player were to get injured, his NBA team could void his current contract when a new CBA gets settled.

8. When is free agency then?
Whenever the lockout is lifted. That very well could mean a scattered, scrambled two-week free agency period in September. Or January (gasp). For example, during the 1999 lockout, free agency, training camps and two preseason games were all stuffed into two weeks.

9. What about players like Russell Westbrook that are eligible for an extension right now?
They've got to wait. Everything ceases. And I mean everything.

10. Are players going to get retropay then when the lockout is lifted?
No, players won't get paid back. That's the whole idea of the owners locking them out. They're kind of punishing them for not signing a deal. Whatever paychecks they miss out on during the span of the lockout, they don't get back.

11. How many games can be missed and the league still have the NBA Finals?
I don't think there's actually a set number on that. In 1999, David Stern issued a drop-dead date of Jan. 7 to get a deal done so that the league could build a 50-game season, which was seen as enough of a regular season. I would imagine if a lockout bled into February, that the postseason would be in jeopardy.

12. What happens if Otis Smith decides he wants to check in with Dwight Howard about his summer workouts?
Reportedly, that results in a $1 million fine. And the league could actually punish any way it sees fit. Lost draft picks, money penalties, a phone call from David Stern berating you and your extended family -- who knows. The league means serious business about this stuff though. And you don't want to mess with The David.

13. Could the NBA players do what the NFL players tried to do and decertify?

14. Hang on, come back to that one. What's decertify actually mean?
Basically the players would be separating themselves from the union. The union could announce it is "disclaiming interest" in representing players in their employment within the NBA. Without a union representing them, players pretty much become individual contractors, instead of a collective bargaining group. Because of that, legal restrictions such as max salary, the mid-level exception and the draft would become vulnerable to federal antitrust laws.

It's kind of a way for players to hit back at the owners from locking them out. The NFL players tried it and succeeded, but only momentarily before a judge overturned it in the U.S. Court of Appeals' Eighth Circuit.

15. OK, so again, are the players going to decertify?
They could. They aren't going to though, at least not right now, so says Billy Hunter. The NBA has never decertified, not even in the prolonged lockout in 1998-99.

Clearly the union is interested, at least at the moment, in still trying to negotiate a deal. Hunter said that decertification wouldn't really help the cause and he's probably right. When that path appeared to work for the NFL, I'm sure Hunter and the union took notice. But since it was overturned by a judge and the lockout reinstated, that whole mess is something that the players want to avoid. For now, at least.  

The goal for the players is to get back to work. They want to draw their paychecks and play ball. Decertification just makes it all that much more complicated. What's going to fix this is getting back to the bargaining table and finding a deal both sides can live with. Not a legal battle over antitrust laws. The best way to end this is to keep talking, which is what Hunter and the players intend to do.

16. Does everyone have to grow a lockout beard now?
It's not a rule and David Stern already said he's not going to be donning another. But nobody's stopping you if you really want to.

17. Will there be a 2011-12 season? Should we totally panic?
It's just my opinion, but I have no doubt there will be a 2011-12 season. There's a lot of doom and gloom talk going around, but I just can't picture the league really taking the risk of ruining all this momentum and goodwill by losing a bunch of games. I mean, considering how good a place the league is in right now, if the NBA were to lose a whole season or even just a lot of it, it seriously taints David Stern's career. You think he doesn't realize that?

Don't panic yet. If it's September 1 and nothing has been done, start panicking. All you're missing out on right now are some free agent signings, Summer League and maybe a couple trades. No basketball has been lost yet. We're still a solid four months away before that happens. "Lockout" sounds all big and bad, but there is a lot of time left before things actually get ugly.

18. When's the next bargaining session? Please say tomorrow.
That's yet to be determined as of now. Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver said everyone was going to take a break over the holiday but would start prepping to get back to work at it on Tuesday. By all indications, the two sides are going to keep the dialogue going. In July of 1998, after negotiations fell apart and the lockout began, the sides went a month without talking and that was a minor 90-minute session.

Derek Fisher seemed to believe that talks would resume in a couple weeks though.

19. Who is more right -- the owners or players?
I'll be honest: I can't really decide. Both have very valid points. Hence the reason we're at this impasse. Both sides have made fairly major concessions but both sides don't feel like it's enough. Again, therefore a stalemate.

Remember though: This is billionaires arguing with millionaires about money. There's no way around that. And it's the owners that are the ones pushing things to the limit. So if you want to point the finger at someone and get angry, take it out on the owners. Both the players and owners are to blame, but the lockout was imposed by the owners.

Finding a middle ground is going to be a challenge. Finding a solution that keeps players happy and feeling like they will share in the successes of the league over the next 10 years while also making sure owners have a path to profitability won't be easy. But nobody makes money when games aren't being played. Nobody makes money when games aren't on TV. There's a lot of motivation to get something done. Ticking off fans is a pretty good one. Maybe the best one. Don't think for a second that David Stern, the players and everyone else doesn't totally understand that.

But neither side is willing to blink just because of that. The best leverage the players have is the fact the league is in its best position it has been in some 15 years. Eventually someone will. It's just a matter of how long that's going to take.

20. When will players start feeling the affects of this?

Actually, not until Nov. 15. That's when they're due their first check. So that's kind of a scary part. Up until then, the lockout really isn't going to sting anyone's bank account, which means the players might be fine digging in until then.

21. Doesn't this totally suck?
Yes. Yes it does.
Posted on: July 1, 2011 12:13 am
Edited on: July 1, 2011 12:30 am
 

The lockout starts, NBA.com officially goes dark

Posted by Royce Young



Welcome to the new NBA.com, where the second lead story is, "WNBA MVP race heating up." Yeah, this whole lockout thing totally sucks.

What happened? Where'd StatsCube go? Where's all the player profiles? Where are the stories, columns and pictures?

All gone because of the lockout. At exactly 12:01 a.m., the time the lockout officially began, NBA.com transformed to a cut-down version with no pictures, videos or text about players. Kevin Arnovitz of TrueHoop explains why:
Does it really matter if there's an extension of the CBA in July or a lockout? After all, there aren't any games nor do players get paid during this summer.

But for the guys who are in charge of those team websites and NBA.com, the pending deadline is a huge deal.

That's because the moment the clock strikes midnight on the current CBA, all those images and videos of NBA players have to disappear off NBA-owned digital properties. Depending on how you interpret "fair use," the prohibition could include the mere mention of a player's name on an NBA-owned site, though different teams have different interpretations of this particular stipulation.

Over the past few weeks, NBA website administrators and support staff have endured two-hour conference calls and countless planning sessions to figure out how to eliminate all these photos, highlights, articles and promotional features from the sites.
At last check, a lot of team sites still were normal, but we'll see what happens there in the coming days. But there is literally no NBA-related content on NBA.com that includes anything about a player. All content has been wiped clean for now and the only content is either about the lockout or the WNBA.

If you needed a visual, obvious sign of the lockout, just check NBA.com. It's on, people.

Posted on: June 30, 2011 9:22 pm
Edited on: June 30, 2011 10:15 pm
 

League to fine teams $1M for contact with players

Posted by Royce Young

After midnight, the NBA will lock out its players. Not in just a metaphorical sense. No, it will physically shut the doors on every practice facility and cut off all communication with players.

It's natural to assume ,though, that maybe there will be a little leeway in terms of teams talking with its players. No big deal on a phone call asking about a workout or going over a few things from last season. Right?

Wrong. Big deal. Very big deal.

According to ESPN.com, the league has informed teams if there is contact with players, they will be fined $1 million. The league is taking a no nonsense, hardline approach to this lockout. During the NFL's lockout, there has been some questioning of how teams have operated with coaches supposedly being involved in unofficial workouts and such. The NBA is making it clear there will be none of that.

This shouldn't surprise anyone. David Stern doesn't mess around. When he says there's a lockout, he means it. Call up a player to ask how that new diet plan is going and you're getting nailed with a $1 million penalty.

Will teams contact players? I'm sure they will. I don't think the league office is going to be installing phone taps or anything. This isn't going to be The Wire 2: NBA Lockout or anything. I don't think Herc and Carver are going to be on a rooftop across from Carmelo Anthony's condo to make sure Mike D'Antoni doesn't drop by for a cup of coffee.  Actually, I might be able to picture that. Remember, Stern's the guy that reportedly told players during one bargaining session that he "knows where the bodies are buried."

If the league catches wind of illegal contact going on, Stern's going to bring the hammer down hard. And if teams are losing as much money as they say they are, then getting stiffed a cool million should be enough to get their attention about breaking the rules.

Maybe for some players this will be a relief. I bet most Orlando Magic players are nodding right now. A couple months without hearing from Stan Van Gundy might be a little perk to this whole thing.

Posted on: June 30, 2011 8:42 pm
Edited on: June 30, 2011 10:17 pm
 

Derek Fisher speaks about oncoming lockout

Posted by Royce Young



Union president Derek Fisher spoke with reporters following the 2 1/2-hour meeting that ended up not producing enough progress to prevent a lockout. Fisher said the players' new proposal wasn't received well and expressed his disappointment in the failed negotiations.

But he also made the point that this isn't the end.

"Both sides left the room still fully committed to trying to get a collective bargaining agreement done," he said. "If [a lockout] is what we're faced with tonight, that doesn't mean NBA basketball is over. We're going to continue to negotiate in July, August, September  and figure out a way to get it done."

Regardless, there's still a giant gap between the sides. Getting back to the negotiating table will be good, but that doesn't mean a deal is going to get done. Both sides are going to have to give a lot to finally find some common ground in the middle. It's just a question of who is finally willing to bend.

Posted on: June 30, 2011 7:43 pm
Edited on: June 30, 2011 8:43 pm
 

NBA lockout officially announced in statement

The NBA officially announced that it would be locking out its players on Thursday afternoon. Posted by Ben Golliver. lockout-graphic

On Thursday afternoon, CBSSports.com's Ken Berger reported that representatives of the NBA owners had informed representatives of the National Basketball Players Association that the league would proceed with a lockout after negotiations for a new Collective Bargaining Agreement in New York proved unsuccessful.

Within hours, the NBA released an official statement on its website, confirming that a lockout will commence early Friday morning.

Here's the full text of the statement via NBA.com.
The National Basketball Association announced that it will commence a lockout of its players, effective at 12:01 am ET on July 1, until a new collective bargaining agreement is reached with the National Basketball Players Association.

"The expiring collective bargaining agreement created a broken system that produced huge financial losses for our teams," said NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver. "We need a sustainable business model that allows all 30 teams to be able to compete for a championship, fairly compensates our players, and provides teams, if well-managed, with an opportunity to be profitable."

"We have made several proposals to the union, including a deal targeting $2 billion annually as the players' share -- an average of approximately $5 million per player that could increase along with league revenue growth," said Silver. "Elements of our proposal would also better align players' pay with performance."

"We will continue to make every effort to reach a new agreement that is fair and in the best interests of our teams, our players, our fans, and our game."

During the lockout, players will not receive their salaries; teams will not negotiate, sign or trade player contracts; players will not be able to use team facilities for any purpose; and teams will not conduct or facilitate any summer camps, exhibitions, practices, workouts, coaching sessions, or team meetings.
There's nothing groundbreaking in the five paragraph statement. The same themes that have been hammered on for months now are repeated: a broken financial system, aligning pay with performance and creating a better competitive environment for small-market teams.
Posted on: June 30, 2011 6:47 pm
Edited on: June 30, 2011 10:20 pm
 

Union counsel disputes NBA's player salary claim

Posted by Royce Young



The two sides are very far apart.

That's the phrase you've heard already about the labor negotiations, and the phrase you're going to keep hearing until this lockout thing is resolved.

In labor negotiations like this, there's a give and take. One side lays out some numbers and facts, and the other comes back with how those numbers and facts were massaged. Latest example: David Stern and Adam Silver said today in a post-lockout presser that the players submitted a new proposal that actually had the players' average annual salary rising to $7 million per year in six years.

Obviously, Stern and Silver found that ridiculous. Also finding that ridiculous, but in another way, union counsel Jeffrey Kessler. Via SI.com:

Jeffrey Kessler, the union’s lead outside counsel, rejected that $7 million figure and said the union never proposed a specific average salary number. Kessler told SI.com that the union simply tweaked its existing proposal in which the players would be guaranteed some percentage of the league’s total revenue — presumably between 50 percent and the current 57 percent. The league arrived at the $7 million figure by calculating how much players would get if that proposed percentage were applied to a growing revenue pie, Kessler said.

“The NBA is projecting massive revenue growth,” Kessler said. ”If you give the players any percentage of revenue, no matter what it is, if the league’s revenue grows massively, salaries will go up. Their statement about the average salary going up to $7 million must mean they think the NBA is going to be phenomenally successful, which we applaud.”

And that, right there, is exactly why the NBA is locking out the players at midnight. The NBA is foreseeing crazy huge money over the next 10 years and naturally, the main, highest paid employees of the league want a piece of that. The players are willing to concede some of it -- reports have the Basketball Related Income down from 57 percent to the players to 54 -- but aren't willing to watch owners skate away with big profits and miss out on a piece of the pie.

Look at it this way: For every dollar the league makes, the players currently get 57 cents of it. And even if they're willing to take that down to 54 percent, but not down into the 40-cent range which is what the owners are looking for. That's a pretty huge divide. Stern, Silver and the owners see it as a reasonable price to pay to get the league on a path towards profitability. The players see it as far too large of a concession.

As Kessler says, the way the two sides are viewing this BRI is almost entirely opposite. So when people say there's a "gap," a "gulf" or "miles" separating the sides, you can kind of see why.

Posted on: June 29, 2011 10:30 pm
Edited on: June 30, 2011 1:12 am
 

NBA Lockout Primer: questions and answers

A quick primer to get you up to speed on the NBA lockout. Posted by Ben Golliver. 

david-stern-billy-hunter

If you think the upcoming NBA lockout and potential work stoppage boils down to billionaires and millionaires fighting over who gets to make money off of a game, I wouldn't argue with you.

Despite more than a year of rhetoric from both sides, charges that the game's economic model is totally flawed and needs to be revamped and threats that an entire season could be lost, the labor situation facing the NBA boils down, first and foremost, to dollars and cents. NBA owners are looking for a larger share of the pie, less financial risk and a more equitable playing field; the players are mostly aiming to maintain the status quo, which includes a healthy share of league revenues, lengthy, guaranteed contracts and a soft cap system that helps prop up player salaries.

The league's teams are represented by NBA commissioner David Stern, deputy commissioner Adam Silver and an ownership panel. The players are represented by NBA Players Association Executive Direction Billy Hunter, NBPA president and Los Angeles Lakers guard Derek Fisher, and other board members.
 
To get an idea for what the two sides are arguing about and where they stand on each of the major issues, let's break it down item by item.

1. Split of Revenues 

By far the biggest issue facing this labor situation is the division of overall revenues. In the NBA, revenues are referred to as Basketball-Related Income. Under the current system, the players take home 57% while the owners are left with 43%.

Over the last year or so, the owners have raised a number of reasons they feel their share should be bigger: costs associated with stadiums, additional expenses incurred through long-term debts, the rising costs of travel and so on.  The NBA has claimed that 22 of its 30 franchises lost money this past season.

The easiest way to fix that problem, of course, is to drastically reduce costs associated with players. In other words, by cutting their salaries significantly. Options on the table: rolling back future salaries of previously agreed to contracts, reducing the length of contracts (less years = less money) and reducing the amount of guarantees in a contract (allowing an owner to get out of a bad contract more easily or more quickly). It goes without saying that the players are opposed to all of those ideas on principle, given that they represent major concessions to what they have previously negotiated for themselves.    

2. The Type of Salary Cap

Unlike the National Football League, the NBA operates under what is called a "soft cap" as opposed to a "hard cap." In a hard cap system, there's a spending limit that you cannot exceed on player salaries. Once you hit the maximum salary amount, you can't add players without subtracting current players by trading or waiving them. In a soft cap system, teams are able to exceed the salary cap in a number of ways. In the NBA, the most common way to exceed the salary cap is to re-sign your own players to large contract extensions. The NBA also has salary cap exceptions which allow teams that have exceeded the salary cap to sign additional players. These include the mid-level exception, which allows every team  over the cap an extra salary slot that is equal to the average player salary in the league, and the veteran's minimum, which allows a team to fill out its roster with low-dollar salaried players.

The NBA owners have proposed switching the league's salary cap to a hard cap system. This would have the effect of limiting spending overall, as owners would not have the ability to employ their exceptions or sign their star players to lucrative extensions without making cuts from the rest of their roster. Under a hard cap system, if you wanted to sign a star player to an extension, you would have to make room by getting rid of other players first. For example, if the Memphis Grizzlies wanted to sign Marc Gasol this summer, they would have to trade away some of their current players to make it happen.

A soft cap system is ideal for the players. It keeps salaries high, gives them good options in free agency and allows them to be rewarded for their loyalty if they decide to stay with their current organizations when they become free agents. It's worth noting that some teams -- especially big-spending teams -- are going to be opposed to a hard cap system. Star-laden teams with large payrolls like the Miami Heat, Los Angeles Lakers and the New York Knicks would be difficult, if not impossible, to build in a hard cap system. The Lakers have the highest payroll in the league, in part, because they have signed stars like Kobe Bryant, Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom to big-dollar extensions.

The NBA has enjoyed booming popularity this season, in large part because of the success of the Heat, which was built on acquiring multiple, high-dollar free agents. Switching to a hard cap system could kill that golden goose. Still, many owners are pushing to level the playing field when it comes to spending because large-market teams are able to shell out significantly more dollars because their revenues -- in the form of television deals and the like -- are so much greater. One possible compromise that has been raised is a "flex cap" system, which would firm up the current system a bit but still allow for some exceptions.

A balance will need to be found between protecting the owners' ability to retain their own players while also protecting them from being able to spend so recklessly that they are not able to turn a profit. The players believe this boils down to the owners simply needing to exercise greater restraint. The owners believe the system needs additional measures because spending big -- way too big -- has become necessary to put together a winning team. 

3. Revenue Sharing

There's no better way to illustrate the difference between large markets and small markets in the NBA than to look at the TV deals. In 2007, the Portland Trail Blazers reportedly signed a 10-year agreement with Comcast Sports NorthWest to carry their games for $120 million. In February, the Los Angeles Lakers announced a reported 20-year, $3 billion deal with Time Warner Cable. In other words, the Lakers will receive more revenue in the first year of their deal than the Blazers will over the duration of their decade-long deal.

Currently, the league has a system of revenue sharing that redistributes money from teams that exceed what is called the "luxury tax." When teams spend significantly over the salary cap, they pay a dollar-for-dollar tax to a league-wide fund that gets split up and sent out to all the teams that didn't spend significantly over the salary cap. 

Generally speaking, small-market teams argue that the large-market teams couldn't succeed and profit as greatly as they do without the league structure and all of its teams. Therefore they believe large-market teams should share a great portion of their revenues. The large-market teams believe their organizations and brands are the ones generating the revenue and therefore believe they shouldn't need to share those revenues with small-market teams. By and large, the players are mostly indifferent on this issue. They care less about how the owners divvy up their money and more about what slice of the Basketball-Related Income pie they receive themselves. 

NBA commissioner David Stern has said he wants to create an atmosphere where all 30 teams can compete for a title. That's been taken to mean that the NBA will expand its revenue sharing system. It's possible that the revenue sharing discussion would come after the first two issues mentioned above are resolved.

4. Tertiary Issues

Every time these two sides get together to negotiate, smaller issues arise. In the past, these have included things like the dress code, the institution of a one-and-done rule which mandates players attend college for at least one season, and the inclusion of an amnesty clause, which allows owners to achieve some financial relief on a contract that currently exists.

This time around, the owners could push for an expanded version of the one-and-done rule which would require two years of attendance in college. The players generally oppose that revision -- and the current rule -- preferring that high school players be eligible to enter directly into the NBA Draft pool. 

Both sides could be in favor of an amnesty clause as the owners receive financial relief and the players would be paid in full and able to seek a new contract if it is used.

A franchise tag, which would increase a team's ability to keep its own high-demand free agents, has also been rumored.
Posted on: June 22, 2011 5:27 pm
Edited on: June 22, 2011 5:29 pm
 

Doesn't sound like Fisher is all that optimistic

Posted by Royce Young

I'll admit, I got a little excited with yesterday's news out of the big blow-out meetings in New York. By all appearances, progress was being made with a new Collective Bargaining Agreement and it just looked like finally, the league might be on a path to getting this thing settled before June 30.

And then Derek Fisher came along and stomped on all that happiness. Via Sports Radio Interviews:
“Well, we’re hearing there’s some reports out there that there’s been significant progress made on things that the NBA and our owners are proposing to us, but in reality, there hasn’t been much substantial movement at all on a lot of key areas. So we’re still focused on getting a deal done, we’re going to continue to negotiate, and we’re going to meet again on Friday. But even with some of the things that are being released about what has been dropped out in proposals, there isn’t any agreement on anything at this point. We’re still working hard on that right now.

“Well the best way to explain it would be that where we were a couple of months ago as far as the proposal that we were given by the NBA, which was essentially the same proposal that we received some two years ago, that hasn’t changed very much. So what has happened is the NBA has really tried to put us in a position where we’re negotiating from what we consider to be an outrageous proposal to begin with."
Yikes. The way Fisher explains it, things sound a bit more dire. And with the way Fisher explains it, you almost start to say, "Yeah, those darn owners!" Fisher is good like that.

Then he dropped a money quote, basically putting everything on the owners.
“A lockout is an owner-imposed lockout. That’s a decision that only they can make. For now, as President of the Players Association, my focus is on negotiating on the deal. That’s the part that I control over is myself, Billy [Hunter], our Executive Committee, and our player reps are focusing on negotiating the actual deal. If the owners decide they want to lock us out because we don’t agree to the most dramatic rollback in professional sports history, then that’s the choice that they have.”
Good line, Fish. If the owners decide they want to lock us out because we don’t agree to the most dramatic rollback in professional sports history, then that’s the choice that they have. That's pretty strong.

Fisher said the players have made pretty serious concessions, but still sees what David Stern called a "flex cap" system as a hard salary cap. He basically said it's not the players' fault that owners keep dishing out silly long-term contracts.

And he's right. It's not. The owners control their own checkbooks and can sign and not sign who they want. But as owners know, in order to stay competitive and actually sign players, if the current system allows five or six-year deals, someone is going to offer that. Fisher can make that point -- which is valid -- but it's not entirely realistic. Bigger market, bigger money teams are going to be more able to absorb a bad five-year contract than a smaller market team that has to put its eggs all in that basket.

Things are still very much up and down, back and forth. It's touch and go and while yesterday seemed like progress, it might not have been near as much as we thought.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com