Tag:NBA lockout
Posted on: November 27, 2011 12:19 pm
Edited on: November 27, 2011 1:55 pm

NBA lockout's winners and losers

Posted by Ben Golliver

It's over. The 2011 NBA lockout is finally, mercifully over. Let's hail the victors and pity the vanquished in this rundown of the NBA lockout's winners and losers.

The Deal

Winners: NBA Owners

Over the next six years, the owners succeeded in shifting more than 1 billion dollars into their pockets by negotiating their share of the Basketball-Related Income split from 43 percent in the old deal to a 49 percent to 51 percent band in the new deal. That number could grow to more than 2 billion if both parties agree to continue the deal through to its full 10-year length.

In addition to the players' 10-figure financial give-back, the owners received major concessions on virtually every important issue governed by the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). Contract lengths are getting shorter from a maximum of six years to a maximum of five years for players who are re-signing and four years for other free agents, meaningfully reducing the level of financial security players feel while also reducing the burden of bad contracts on a team. The mid-level exception system is shrinking, which hits the middle class free agents hardest while helping to keep owners from overpaying for mediocre talent. The luxury tax system is getting tougher, which limits the very highest-spending teams’ ability to compete and/or set the market for free agents while theoretically creating a slightly more level playing field between large and small market teams.

Whether or not you agree with the logic behind these major changes, their collective impact combined with the clear financial victory makes this negotiation a strong-arm highway robbery. And all it cost: less than 20 percent of the games in one season (and some hurt feelings among die-hard fans).

Losers: NBA Players

Any time you leave a negotiation thinking, “Well, this is bad, but it could have been worse,” you lost that negotiation. National Basketball Players Association executive director Billy Hunter even admitted that a recent NBA offer was “not the greatest proposal in the world", yet he and the players tentatively agreed to a deal very similar to the one he bashed publicly. This happened because the players never had real leverage or good alternatives. They were squeezed and had no escape route.

But, it could have been worse. The mid-level system in the agreement provides more spending power for teams (and thus more money for free agents) than in previous proposals. The luxury tax system is significantly tougher than the one in the previous CBA, but not as draconian as a hard cap – something that the owners maintained that they wanted for the longest time – and not as punitive as earlier reports indicated it might be.  The NBA also increased its spending floor for all of its teams, providing additional suitors for free agents and theoretically helping to prevent players from getting stuck on teams that totally slash-and-burn their rosters with no intention of actually competing.

America's Team

Winners: Miami Heat

Miami’s biggest concerns heading into the lockout: the new CBA would require the Heat to break up the Big 3 and/or the full 2011-2012 season would be cancelled, costing LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh a year of their primes. With a season now salvaged, the Big 3 can get back to their redemption work. And, while the tougher luxury tax system and reduced mid-level exception for luxury tax payers will eventually make it more difficult to add big-name free agents, the tax system won’t kick in for two years, meaning Miami doesn’t need to make any major roster cuts for quite a while. Bosh, who many thought last season might need to be traded so that Miami could conform to a hard cap system, appears safe for at least two years, if not the duration of his deal. Forward Mike Miller, as ESPN.com notes, could very likely be spared because the Heat will have a full mid-level exception based on their current salary cap number this year, too.

Losers: Miami Heat

Despite the salary cap good news, the Heat are also short-term losers. The 2011-2012 season now officially bears the historical taint associated with an abridged schedule. The 2012 Finals winner, no matter who it is, will bear the asterisk of being “lockout champions.” That’s fine if you are the Dallas Mavericks defending your 2011 title or the Los Angeles Lakers adding to your stockpile, but if you’re James, Wade, Bosh and company, your first title needs to be clean or critics will mercilessly work to invalidate it. Winning in 2012 will require Miami to win future titles to prove that their triumph wasn’t a short season fluke. In other words, James and company will carry a burden into the 2012-2013 season even if he finally wins his first ring.

NBA Players Abroad

Winners: Deron Williams, Tony Parker, Nicolas Batum, Rudy Fernandez

Until a recent minor knee tweak by Fernandez, all four NBA players made it through their international excursions in good health. No NBA player made more money playing hoops during the lockout than Williams, who took a risk in broadening his family’s horizons and staying active that paid off in game checks and lack of boredom. Parker and Batum returned home to France, garnering a hero’s welcome, while Fernandez did the same in Spain, where he is extraordinarily popular. All three put up big numbers and gave their fans a chance to see them during their peak years rather just a victory lap when their NBA careers are through. That’s got to be an incredibly fulfilling feeling.

Losers: Anyone that gets stuck in China

The Chinese Basketball Association insisted on preventing NBA opt-out provisions in its contracts, theoretically tying any player who signed with a team in that league through March, when the regular season ends. Kenyon Martin, J.R. Smith, Yi Jianlian, Aaron Brooks, Patty Mills and others agreed to play in China and now their future is uncertain. Best case: their Chinese team agrees to release them so they can return to the United States. Worst case: they remain stuck until March, when finding a good NBA landing spot, not to mention salary number, could be significantly more difficult. The major consolation here is that Chinese teams were reportedly offering seven-figure deals, so guys that are trapped until March won’t be leaving empty-handed.

Saving The Season

Winner: Kobe Bryant

We’ve been saying for months and months that no player needs a 2011-2012 season more than Kobe Bryant. At 33, losing a year of his career would have been a disaster, and not just because he would have lost more than $25 million in salary. Bryant is embarking on dual epic quests: passing Michael Jordan in total number of championships and passing Michael Jordan on the all-time points list. Salvaging a season gives him a much better chance at both goals.

Older vets like Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan are similarly winners in that they save a twilight year from being extinguished.

Loser: Greg Oden

The Portland Trail Blazers center has not appeared in an NBA game since Dec. 2009 and is now a full year removed from his most recent microfracture surgery. Even so, The Oregonian reports that Oden still doesn't have a firm timetable on an expected return to the court and hasn't yet been cleared for basketball activities. Oden is a restricted free agent and now must enter contract negotiations without the ability to prove he can play again. Contract aside, a lost season would have helped delay the return of the enormous pressure he faces as a former No. 1 overall pick; now, Oden will likely come back to Portland, where expectations are still gigantic, after hiding out for most of the lockout, only to face another round of jokes and barbs about his health.

Public Relations

Winners: LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Brandon Jennings and other charity game workhorses

The best way for a player to improve his standing with basketball die-hards is to show off his own unrequited love of the game. James, Durant and Jennings stood above the crowd in their dedication to playing in organized events across the country, connecting directly with fans and providing hope even when the lockout turned ugliest. Twitter and savvy sneaker campaigns – “Basketball Never Stops” and “Are You From Here?” – helped keep the positive momentum going. There’s no question all three guys made lifelong fans with their actions over the last six months.  

Loser: Michael Beasley

Beasley got busted for marijuana, threw an "All-Star Classic" charity game in which all the All-Stars bailed, shoved a fan in the face during a New York City exhibition, and sued his former agent and AAU coach – his surrogate father during high school – alleging major NCAA rules violations. He also hired and was then dropped by a PR firm that was working to help improve his image. To top it all off, he spoke out against his players union, saying that it was "kind of retarded" for the players to be fighting over a few BRI percentage points. Meanwhile, the Minnesota Timberwolves now bring to camp the No. 2 overall draft pick, Derrick Williams, who will be an instant fan favorite and figures to compete for his minutes.

JaVale McGee was another memorable face of player cluelessness, leaving one important NBPA meeting early to tell the media that the players insider were "ready to fold." He quickly denied that he made that comment only to have multiple reporters post audio of his statements instantly. Not his finest hour, to be sure.

Salary Cap Nuances

Winners: Young superstars like Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook

SBNation.com notes that players who excel during their rookie deals -- such as 2011 MVP Derrick Rose and 2011 All-Star Russell Westbrook -- stand to gain millions of extra dollars in attainable salary thanks to new rules that will reward players who produce at an all-NBA level while on subsidized rookie contracts. Elite players have way outperformed rookie contracts for years and deserved this extra financial incentive.

Losers: Small-market teams clinging to superstars

As the Arizona Republic notes, the rule that would have banned players from signing extend-and-trade contracts a la Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks last season was not included in the final CBA. So superstars who are impending free agents like Orlando's Dwight Howard and New Orleans' Chris Paul still have the opportunity to force their way out of town, should they choose to do so. You can hear the rumor mill doing extra laps around the track and stomach crunches to whip itself into midseason form.


Winners: Basketball Video Mix Websites

HoopMixTape.com and other highlight-reel videographers saw major upticks in traffic and interest during the summer pro-am and fall charity league circuits. Their ability to take high quality, professional footage and cut it together seamlessly in a matter of hours feeding the hoops need for basketball's year-round global audience in nearly real-time.  

Losers: NBA Online

The NBA’s decision to strip its websites of references to players and to start a Twitter account to aggressively push its labor message to media members, and even players, came off petty, heavy-handed and way too Big Brother in an arena that is supposed to be about fun, not business. The league has some serious fence-mending to do, especially with its core audience. It’s unclear whether the league knows that or not.


Winners: David Stern and Billy Hunter 

NBA commissioner David Stern and NBPA executive director Billy Hunter are begrudgingly buried here at the end. After months of cringe-inducing public statements, snail-slow negotiations, legal threats, condescending comments and all the rest, these two old adversaries actually struck a deal, which not only saves the league they serve but also manages to protect their own legacies from irreparable damage.

Posted on: November 27, 2011 10:33 am

Billy Hunter sent a memo to players

Posted by Royce Young

With the lockout pretty much ending, there are a lot of questions. And not just from us as in fans and media, but players too. What did they agree to? What's the deal? When do they play? When do they vote?

Billy Hunter attempted to answer a lot of that with a memo sent out Saturday night, via ESPN.com:
As you have no doubt heard, early this morning, we reached a tentative agreement to settle the Anthony lawsuit. My best wishes and congratulations to all the players and everyone involved in this action.

The settlement will be conditioned on reforming a union and executing a CBA by December 9. Training camps are tentatively scheduled to open and free agent signings are tentatively scheduled to begin on December 9, with the season opening on Christmas day.

We will be sending out formal correspondence in the coming days describing the terms of the agreement and the upcoming processes, but for now, you should have a quick understanding of why we reached this agreement. I have prepared a quick list that sets forth all the changes that the owners agreed to as part of the settlement since a week ago Monday, the day the player reps voted to disclaim the NBPA's status as the players' collective bargaining representative. We will follow later with an overview of the general gains players achieved in this settlement.
It's complicated: There isn't a new collective Bargaining Agreement yet, but instead a settlement, since this was taken to the courts. Hunter then point-by-point listing out the major issues involved in the settlement. He started with Basketball Related Income, actually noting that the players first cut of BRI in 2011-12 with be 51.2 percent, which has to sound pretty slick to the players.

Then he lists 11 points about the system details. Ken Berger of CBSSports.com has all of those here as well, but you can be sure that Hunter makes them sound like pretty good wins for the players in his memo.

He closes with this:
The above points will be incorporated into a litigation settlement agreement early this week. The NBPA will then re-form as a union, and negotiations may take place on various other CBA issues. The players will then vote to ratify a new CBA.

I will update you on further logistics over the next few days. Thank you everyone for your support and best regards.
So the gameplan is this: The "deal" becomes an official settlement, then the NBPA re-forms as a union and then more negotiations happens which will include the so-called "b-list" issue things. Then players will vote to ratify a new CBA and then, if is passes, which it will, the doors of the NBA will open once again.

How long will all of this take? Probably a week. Because as David Stern has already said, training camps and free agency get going Dec. 9.
Category: NBA
Posted on: November 26, 2011 2:22 pm
Edited on: November 26, 2011 4:11 pm

Draft limit to change to two and through?

Posted by Royce Young

We're all dancing around on the grave of the lockout but the reality is, it isn't over. Not only has the new deal not been voted on or ratified, it's not even completely finished.

While the big issues are settled like Basketball Related Income and major system structures, the so called "b-list" issues now have to be sorted out. Among those are drug testing, D-League assignments and the age limit.

Right now, the age limit is a player has to be one year removed from high school to be eligible for the NBA draft. But according to Newsday, that could change to two years.

However, Yahoo! Sports reports that "several" team executives believe it will remain one-and-done. Basically, this thing is still way up in the air at this point.

The current rule of one-and-done has been fairly criticized by both college coaches and NBA executives because it didn't entirely accomplish its goal. A lot of people feel not allowing players to go directly from high school to the NBA isn't fair, but that doesn't appear to be changing things.

At the same time, the criticism hasn't been all that strong. Front office types and executives seem to be mostly fine with the current structure of the rule. It definitely won't be a rule that the two sides will really battle over. Players would prefer it stays as is though.

The NFL's rule is a player has to be three years removed from his senior year of high school. The NBA is looking to bring more mature talent into the league that's ready to make an immediate impact.

As for how this change could affect this year's class, that's yet to be seen. If it takes immediate effect, players like Anthony Davis would be required to return to school another year. Which could greatly alter this year's seemingly stacked draft class.
Category: NBA
Posted on: November 26, 2011 11:22 am
Edited on: November 26, 2011 11:40 am

FAQ: Lockout's over -- what do you need to know?

Posted by Royce Young

The lockout lasted 149 days. It caused almost two months of NBA action to be missed. An end was inevitable, but it was just a question of when, not if.

But with it ending, there are questions. Lucky for you, I've got (some) answers.

What does "tentative" mean? Is there actually a chance that this could fall apart?

There's a chance, yes, but there's also a chance that your bowl of cereal starts talking to you one morning. Meaning, realistically, t's not happening. A vote is required from both sides and while there will likely be some resistance from some parties on each side, David Stern would not have agreed to this deal if he knew he didn't have the vote. And same goes for the players union.

When does the season start?

Christmas Day, according to David Stern. The league will kick off with a triple-header as scheduled, presumably with the games that were already on the slate. Which includes the Heat being in Dallas to watch the Mavericks get their rings.

How many games will the season have?


When does free agency start?

Dec. 9.

When do training camps start?

Dec. 9.

What about preseason games?

There will likely be two or three preseason games each for teams, but that's not a priority. With only 16 days to get from training camps and free agency to real games, there's not a ton of time to whip together a bunch of preseason games.

How long did the lockout last?

149 days. Or, 150 I guess since the deal was technically agreed to Saturday morning at about 3 a.m. ET.

Will the playoffs be affected?

It's very likely the league will extend the regular season and extra week or two in April to try and alleviate some of the pressure of cramming 66 games into four months.

Will the NBA release a new schedule or just start up at 66 from the old one?

It will be an entirely new schedule.

When will the new schedule be released?

That likely won't be out until the new CBA is voted on and ratified. The league doesn't want to get too far ahead of itself. But you can be sure they already have a contingency schedule already whipped up and ready to go. It's just a matter of getting all the t's crossed and i's dotted before putting that out. And once it does, tickets will be on sale right away.

What does the new collective bargaining agreement look like?

Details are pretty scarce right now, but some things are leaking out like the full mid-level exception and inclusion of extend-and-trades.

Will the All-Star Game still take place as scheduled?

According to reports, the All-Star Game will still happen in Orlando Feb. 26 as scheduled.

How many paychecks did players miss?

With the league getting 66 games squeezed in, players will only miss two paychecks. Obviously a big part of getting a deal done sooner than later.

How much money did the league lose from this?

Most estimated that losing preseason lost the league somewhere between $200 and $300 million. Each team will lose eight home games and with gate revenue being about $1 million on average for NBA home games, plus concessions and merchandise, I would estimate the league lost some $600 to $800 million because of the lockout.

What happens with those players that signed overseas?

If they had an NBA opt-out, no problems, just exercise that and return to the NBA. That goes for Deron Williams, Lamar Odom, Ty Lawson, Nicolas Batum, Serge Ibaka and players like that. But if they signed in China like J.R. Smith, Wilson Chandler or Kenyon Martin, that could be a bit complicated. It's not impossible to get out of that contract, but it'll be a bit more tedious. For the most part though, any player that wants to return to the NBA should be able to.

What's left to do?

There are still "B" list issues to handle. Age requirement for the draft, drug testing, D-League assignment and other minor things like that. They still need to be negotiated, and will be over the weekend. Don't worry though -- those aren't things that will cause a deal to come crashing down.

Who won?

Hard to really know at this point, but Billy Hunter and the players definitely seem to be coming out shining right now. After being backed into a corner by David Stern and the owners will ultimatum offers and threats of NBA "nuclear winter," not only did they get a few system concessions that they wanted, but they also got a realistic shot at 51 percent of Basketball Related Income.

It's all relative though, because the owners won a long time ago when they got the BRI number down to 50. Basically the players were getting beat by 40 points and they made a nice little run to save face and only lose by 15 or so.

Did the players' lawsuit really work?

Sure seems that way, doesn't it? They didn't probably have a realistic shot of winning anything, but just the fact that they were done being pushed around by Stern's demands said enough to the owners. With the pressure of the calendar plus the pending litigation facing everyone, a new sense of urgency was found to quit messing around and finally get down to business.

Will there be lasting effects from this?

Yes, some. But for the most part, like the league already knew, fan support will come back around. And bad blood between owners and players will subside. Negotiations turned extremely contentious for a while, but in the end, this was a business agreement. When money is the thing in the middle, things tend to get nasty. Both sides understand that and will move on.
Category: NBA
Posted on: November 26, 2011 10:14 am
Edited on: November 26, 2011 10:41 am

Details emerging about new NBA agreement

Posted by Royce Young

There's a new deal on the table. Finally. Question is, what's it look like?

Because it's not a new Collective Bargaining Agreement yet and actually a "settlement," nobody's really leaking out all that much. There are a few things that have wiggled out though.

Here's what we know so far:
  • According to reports, the players will be getting their 49 to 51 percent Basketball Related Income "band," but in this proposal, they have a much more realistic shot at reaching the 51 percent.
  • According to NBA.com, the full mid-level exception will be five years for up to $5 million. Non-taxpaying teams above the salary cap will be able to use it. Previously, owners were pushing for alternating three and four-year maximums on the MLE.
  • According to NBA.com, there apparently will be a “mini” mid-level exception for taxpaying teams for $2.5 million, restricting the amount they can offer to free agents.
  • According to NBA.com, a 10 percent maximum escrow tax will be withheld without the unlimited “true up” amount requested by the owners in the last offer.
  • According to Sheridan Hoops, the entire rookie salary scale and veteran minimum salaries will stay the same as they were last season. Owners had been seeking 12 percent cuts previously.
  • According to Sheridan Hoops, qualifying offers to restricted free agents will become “significantly” improved. Already the sides had agreed the allotted time for a team to match an offer from seven days to three.
  • According to Sheridan Hoops, "the prohibition on luxury tax-paying teams from executing sign-and-trade deals was loosened, although the freedom to execute those types of deals will still be limited."
  • Interesting nugget: According to multiple reports, both sides will have the option to opt out of the 10-year deal after six years.
  • As previously known, the deal includes the amnesty clause, which will allow teams to cut one player and not have his salary count against their cap number.
Category: NBA
Posted on: November 26, 2011 5:25 am
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Posted on: November 26, 2011 5:07 am

Report: Players likely to pass new CBA

Posted by Royce Young

It's not over yet. The confetti is still dropping the dancing is carrying on, but the NBA isn't back... yet. Not officially, at least. For that to happen, the new collective bargaining agreement must be voted on by both the players and owners and then made official.

Question is, is there really a chance that one of the two sides might not vote for the new CBA? As one veteran player texted Yahoo! Sports, "We (bleeping) caved," he said as he indicated he would vote no on approving a new deal.

However, don't panic. Because Yahoo! also reports that it's going to pass.

"There will be a significant number of players who will not vote to approve this deal, but there won't be a majority. The deal will pass."

The vote will likely take place either Saturday or Sunday and as mentioned, all indications are that it will pass with ease. If the way players reacted on Twitter is any indication, it seems they are all ready to play no matter what the new CBA says.

If for some reason it didn't, it would be absolute mayhem. All the hard work would be gone and the season would almost certainly be lost. But don't fear: That's not happening. Both sides have put their full faith and trust in their bargaining groups and you can be sure that the deal agreed to in principle is one that both sides are entirely comfortable will pass.
Category: NBA
Posted on: November 26, 2011 4:56 am
Edited on: November 26, 2011 5:28 am

NBA Lockout Ends: What comes next

By Matt Moore 

Now that the NBA and the players have reached a "tentative agreement" to end the NBA lockout and beging the 2011-2012 season starting on Christmas, the focus now shifts to what happens next. While discussions are clearly fluid at this moment in time, here's what we know, assuming that the tentative agreement is agreed upon by both sides.

Saturday, November 27th - Friday, December 9th: Attorneys on both sides will have to agree to the langauge of the new CBA, which will take some time. Chris Mannix of SI.com reports that process will take until December 9th, which will mean both training camp and free agency will start on Friday, December 9th.

The NBA and players' representatives will bring the deal to the players for their approval during this time. The NBPA will have to reform, which shouldn't take hardly any time at all given their disclaimer of interest vs. involuntary decertification. The NBA owners will have to approve, but it will only need a majority vote. The same vote is needed from the full membership of the NBPA. Pending approval from both parties, the NBA will officially open for business whatever day that can be approved.

During this time, players playing abroad will exercise their NBA opt-outs to return home.

December 9th: The most furious free agency period in NBA history begins as teams rush to get their additional players into camp as quickly as possible. Players will likely be out of shape due to the extended time off. Conditioning will be difficult, and will likely affect the season. Teams will have to balance a competitive environment with avoiding rushing players into injury.

It's assumed there will not be an exhibition season.

December 25th: The NBA season will open. Ken Berger of CBSSports.com as well as SI.com reports that the original Christmas lineup of Heat at Mavericks, Bulls-Lakers, and Knicks-Celtics will lead off the season. That's right. The Heat will open their season with the Mavericks' ring ceremony.


From there, a 66-game season will take place. It's assumed that the end of the NBA regular season and playoffs will be pushed back upwards of two weeks to accomodate for more games. There will be a greater density still in game frequency, which can impact both injuries and fatigue. Get ready for more blowouts and a lower quality of play.

But that's still better than no play at all. Our long, National Basketball Association nightmare is over. Looking like a season. How u.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com