Posted on: November 14, 2011 9:13 pm
Posted by Ben Golliver.
Hours after Billy Hunter declared the National Basketball Players Association dead, he sent a letter to the NBPA's membership explaining why.
Following a Monday morning meeting of the NBPA executive board and player representatives in New York City, Hunter said that he had moved to file a disclaimer of interest which would dissolve the players union, a necessary step so that the players could pursue antitrust litigation against the NBA.
"The collective bargaining process has completely broken down," Hunter said. "As a result, within the last hour, we served a notice of disclaimer on commissioner Stern and the NBA."
Monday evening, Hunter sent a letter to NBPA members, obtained by ESPN.com, explaining the move.
"We will now function as a trade association to assist and support NBA players, but we will no longer engage in collective bargaining with the NBA owners," the letter read. "The Players Association will instead dedicate itself to supporting individual NBA players in the assertion of your non-labor rights to be free of any illegal restrictions on competition for your services."
Hunter's letter went on to express hope that the move would lead the NBA to nd the ongoing lockout.
"With no labor union in place, it is our sincere hope that the NBA will immediately end its now illegal boycott and finally open the 2011-12 season," the letter said. "Individual teams are free to negotiate with free agents for your services. If the owners choose to continue their present course of action, it is our view that they subject themselves to significant antitrust liability."
The letter reiterated that the NBPA can no longer engage in collective bargaining negotiations with the league. It also said that the NBPA has to withdraw its unfair labor practice charge that was submitted to the National Labor Relations Board.
The players will now be represented by union lawyers Jeffrey Kessler and David Boies.
Posted on: November 14, 2011 10:30 am
Edited on: November 14, 2011 12:09 pm
By Matt Moore
David Stern is not being subtle. After the Twitterview Sunday night, followed by their YouTube explanation of the proposal, the NBA posted a memo from David Stern to the players, with an attached copy of the proposal itself. Any player that got it had time to review the deal without it being couched in terms by the executive committee or their player rep. It's an interesting tactic of educating the players on what the actual terms of the deal are. Now, how those elements are interpreted, especially in the body of Stern's email, obviously is subject to the lens the league wants the deal to be viewed through. But it's direct and it puts the deal before the players plainly. Might want have wanted to do that on Friday versus hours before the meeting, but whatever. The complete text of Stern's memo:
MEMO TO: NBA PLAYERSThe league has done nothing but apply pressure and make threats all week, and now on Sunday night they're trying to simultaneously put some sugar on the deal to make it go down. One thing is clear: the league wants the players to accept this deal. This is more of an effort to get them to sign off than we've seen. It may be their last, as well.
Posted on: November 14, 2011 9:20 am
Edited on: November 14, 2011 12:29 pm
by EOB Staff
It could be a quiet day of deliberation. It could be nothing but fireworks and chaos. From decertification to a player vote to a league response, we'll be watching. Check back here for updates today as the NBA potentially fall down around itself.
On the scene coverage from CBSSports.com's Ken BergerMonday 12:25 a.m.
NEW YORK -- A wise, level-headed agent has come up with a way for Billy Hunter to step out of the confines of the league's ultimatum and offer some things in order to get some things.
You know, negotiation. What a concept. I share the ideas here, because they're worth considering.
It seems that Hunter is not in a position to come out of today's meeting requesting more movement from the league without providing incentive. Given the way these negotiations have gone -- all in the direction of the owners -- that is far from fair. But it's the reality.
So Hunter can toss this back to the owners and attach the hot-button talking point of "competitive balance" to it. You want competiitive balance? The union should offer a proposal in which the distribution of draft picks is changed to give, say, the five worst teams in a given season an additional first-round pick.
If you're the Kings or the Timberwolves, would you rather have another $2.5 million or so in revenue-sharing money or tax receipts -- money that could be used to sign a veteran role player? Or would you rather have a first-round pick playing on a rookie salary, who could actually make you better and perhaps become a max player someday?
If the leaugue is really interested in competitive balance, this is one way to achieve it.
Riding shotgun with this proposal would be an offer to reduce the rookie scale even MORE than 12 percent. The level-headed agent suggested doubling that redution to 25 percent. By doing so, the escrow could return to the previous level of 8 percent, and the mechanism requiring additional withholding to account for an overage of the players' 50 percent share may not be necessary. In return, players would be eligible for their first post-rookie-deal contract after three years -- instead of being tied to the team that drafted them for five years. Players who develop into stars or valuable rotation players would be paid accordingly, and the stars who deserve it would have access to a max contract earlier.
With these two carrots, the union would then be in a position to insist that the league relax its stance on the so-called B-list issues, and also ask for movement on the A-list issue that is giving them the most trouble -- the sequencing mechanism requiring non-taxpayers to use their Bird exception first, and if it pushes them over the tax, forcing them to lose access to the full-mid-level.
Gotta start somewhere. Again, nobody listens to me or other voices of reason, but these are ideas worth sharing.Monday 11:45 a.m.
NEW YORK -- So here I am at the players' meeting, and not that it matters -- or that anyone will listen to me -- I have some issues with several deal points the players are apparently vehemently opposed to.
Let's hit them one at a time:
* The 12 percent reduction in rookie scale and minimum deals. The players are calling this an onerous rollback, but there has to be some mechanism to conform with a new 50 percent system, and this is what the two sides came up with -- mainly, in my opinion, because max contracts were off the table for reductions. Reducing the players' salaries from 57 percent of BRI to 50 percent represents a 12 percent reduction. The league already has agreed to phase in certain system elements, such as extend-and-trades and sign-and-trades for tax teams -- for the first two years. But the difference between 57 percent and 50 percent has to come from somewhere. And if max contracts are sacred and there will be no rollbacks of existing contracts, this is the only place left to reduce. My solution, as I've stated several times, would have been modest decreases in max contracts, which would've generated more of a revenue shift than a larger decrease in rookie contracts and minimums would. (This money also could be made up to star players by giving them a larger cut of licensing money.) Also, a 12 percent reduction in rookie wages would mean that the No. 1 overall pick would go down from $4.4 million to $3,.9 million in his rookie season. The 10-year veteran's minimum would go fro $1.4 million to $1.2 million. This is what they're fighting about, folks.
* The escrow. This is the amount withheld from players' paychecks to account for a possible overage in their overall guaranteed percentage. It was 8 percent previously, and a 10 percent withholding has been proposed for the new deal. However, given no rollback of existing contracts, the league has proposed an additional mechanism to account for total salaries exceeding 50 percent -- which is likely in the first two years with no rollbacks. The only alternatives to increasing the escrow to account for this would be 1) rollbacks, or 2) not agreeing to a 50-50 split of BRI.
Latest lockout buzzMonday 12:15 p.m.
Monday 12:00 p.m.
Posted on: November 13, 2011 11:04 pm
By Matt Moore
The NBA, pursuant to the mighty victory it envisions over the players this week, and certain that if they apply enough pressure the union will crack, not only held its Twitterview Sunday night, but released a video. As USA Today obtained a copy of the formal proposal from the league in regards to the deal on the table, the NBA followed up with a YouTube video which reviews the relevant talking points of the proposal and paints the offer in a "this is a good thing, really!" light.
This actually did a much better job than the Twitterview did in explaining the league's position and pointing out relevant elements. It's not going to sway the players, but it continues the league's assault through the media on the union's presumptive rejection of the deal. The league's message it's trying to send is clear: if there's no season, it's not our fault, we gave a fair offer.
Posted on: November 13, 2011 10:57 pm
By Matt Moore
There's been a quiet response to all the decertification talk this weekend, and in a fairly embarrassing Twitterview, the NBA presented it front and center Sunday night. The league has given the players a choice between a proposal they obviously find unacceptable, and even worse deal which will be the owners' new starting point for negotiations should the players reject the current offer. In response, the players have pushed even closer to decertification or potentially a disclaim of interest to dissolve the union and pursue antitrust lawsuits against the league. The league has answered every move the players have tried to make. So their response to the threat of decertification?
They will pursue voiding all existing contracts.
It's not as simple as just saying "your contracts are void," there's a legal process. It involves the suit currently filed by the league against the players which they filed months ago, and even if that didn't go through, they'd file again post-decertification in pursuit of the same goal. It's a complex, and messy situation that could take years to resolve if it came to that. But much like decertification, it works better as a threat than as a legitimate weapon.
If you're a max player, say, Carlos Boozer, and you just landed that last big contract to set you up guaranteed for the next four seasons, and the league says it can nullify that contract and set you back, how do you consider the proposal tomorrow as player reps meet in New York? If you're Joe Johnson, and you know there's no freaking way you get the deal you got in 2010 in a wide-open free agency, how do you respond? Every player earning more than he probably would in an open market would pause. Yes, you have your Derrick Rose's, your Blake Griffins, but there are far more players playing on longer-term contracts with considerable value than there are young players bucking for an open market.
And the threat works both ways for the owners. If you're Donald Sterling, how do you feel about the idea that Blake Griffin could be a free agent? Or Clay Bennett with Kevin Durant? How about Ted Leonsis and John Wall? But still, much like the CBA debate itself, it's not about the stars, it's about the rank and file guys, and those guys would be devasteated financially to lose their current contracts, especially if they also lose the ability to negotiate a guaranteed contract in the next agreement.
It's a hefty threat, the kind of nuclear weapon for the owners that decertification is for the players. Both sides continue to get closer to the button and there appears to be no cooler head to walk things back.
Posted on: November 13, 2011 2:20 am
Edited on: November 13, 2011 2:28 am
Posted by Ben Golliver.
Representative democracy has arrived to the NBA lockout. Sort of.
National Basketball Players Association executive director Billy Hunter told SI.com on Saturday that the NBPA's player representatives will vote on a modified version of the NBA's most recent proposal to the players during a meeting scheduled for Monday morning.
When reached on Saturday night, however, Hunter told SI.com that his intention was to have the player representatives vote on a revised version of the NBA's latest proposal before moving forward.When the most recent negotiating session broke on Thursday night, NBPA president Derek Fisher said the proposal made by the NBA did not sufficiently address the NBPA's desires on system issues.
"We have a revised proposal from the NBA," Fisher said. "It does not meet us entirely on the system issues that we felt were extremely important to close this deal out."
The plan here, it seems, is to work in the desired system changes, secure enough votes to ensure that the players as a whole are reasonably happy, and then present the modified version of the league's offer back to the league for further negotiations and/or their approval.
(There's also the possibility that the proposal -- even an amended version -- is voted down. In that case, the process is stalled at the same place it is right now.)
It's a plan born of desperation. The NBPA realizes that if the players reject the NBA's current proposal outright the NBA is prepared to revert to a significantly worse proposal that they have said publicly will include a 47 percent revenue split and a flex camp system. But, if the players vote to accept the NBA's current proposal they will, well, be stuck with what Hunter admitted on Thursday was not a favorable deal.
"It's not the greatest proposal in the world," Hunter said. "But I owe that, I have an obligation to at least present it to membership."
Based on recent public statements from both sides, it's likely the players will focus their amendment efforts, at least in part, on system issues that they believe will allow for freer player movement. Those line-item issues could include the luxury tax structure and penalty system as well as the mid-level exception.
NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver specifically singled out the player movement issue as a point of "philosophical difference" between the owners and players. The owners believe a rigid luxury tax system and a restricted mid-level exception for luxury tax payers will increase competitive balance in the league, while the players believe that those changes would unnecessarily tie players to franchises and thereby limit their free agency options.
So how will this new plan of the union's br received? That will depend on the quantity and scope of their proposed amendments, of course. But NBA commissioner David Stern said in a Friday night interview that the league's most recent offer is effectively a final one.
"The owners have moved to wherever they are going to move to," Stern said.
Still, if faced with the possibility of hitting a home run the revenue split by reducing the players' share from 57 percent to 50 percent, winning numerous, major concessions on system issues, entirely avoiding any potential court battles or union decertification, enjoying a 72-game schedule that starts in a little more than a month and getting the league back on track, Stern and the owners likely have a measure of motivation to make some final, minor concessions to close out this seemingly endless labor battle.
That would be logical. But logic, as we've learned recently, has no place here.
Posted on: November 11, 2011 9:16 pm
Edited on: November 11, 2011 9:23 pm
Posted by Ben Golliver.
NBA commissioner David Stern's talking points have crystallized: the league has officially made its best offer to the players, the 2011-2012 season rests in the hands of the NBPA, the possibility of a canceled season is unthinkable, and the potential decertification of the union is a negotiating tactic that will backfire on the agents who are reportedly pushing for it.
During a nationally-televised ESPN interview on Friday night, Stern laid out his arguments, point by point, explaining first why he chose to extend the deadline on the league's current offer past its original date of Wednesday.
"Well, we stopped the clock so that we could negotiate," Stern said, "and we came out of last night with a proposal [that is] as far as the owners could possibly reach to the players. That [proposal] provides a 72-game season starting Dec. 15. I'm very, very hopeful that the players and the union will say 'yes, let's have the season, let's begin it on Dec. 15.'"
Stern characterized the current proposal as possessing the largest concessions the NBA plans to make.
"The owners have moved to wherever they are going to move to," Stern said. "This is the proposal that's on the table. If it's not accepted, then we'll be substituting the proposal [with one] that the union knows about when the clock starts again, and it will be very far from where this proposal is."
The fall-back proposal is said to include a 47 percent revenue share for the players -- down from 50 percent contained in the current proposal -- and a flex cap system.
NBPA president Derek Fisher said on Thursday that the owners' current proposal doesn't do enough to compensate the players on system issues for their potential $3 billion concession on the revenue split, thus opening up the possibility of a lost season.
Stern would have none of that.
"I refuse to contemplate the loss of a season," he said. "It's going to be too painful for the players and the owners alike. But [if it happened] we'll still be here, we'll pick up the pieces and do the best we can under the circumstances. That's not an eventuality that I anticipate or look forward to. It's all in the hands of the players."
For months, player agents have been pushing for the decertification of the union, a cry that drew more support following Thursday's negotiating session, when it became clear that the NBA's current offer was not substantially better than its previous one, which was rejected by an NBPA group meeting on Tuesday. Stern said the threat of decertification is a strategic ploy that would jeopardize the 2011-2012 season.
"[it's a move] actually calculated to, one, [serve] as a tactic to improve their bargaining position and, two, as making it even more likely that there won't be a season," Stern said.
If the union did decertify, Stern predicted the move would backfire.
"If the union is not in existence, then neither are 4 billion dollars worth of guaranteed contracts that are entered into under condition that there's a union, Stern said. "So if the agents insist on playing with fire, my guess is that they would get themselves burned."
Asked if the NBA would employ "scab" players if the NBPA decertificed, Stern said simply: "I don't want to go there now."
Hat tip: IAmAGM.com
Posted on: November 11, 2011 8:00 pm
Edited on: November 13, 2011 2:33 pm
Posted by Ben Golliver.
Here's one of the dumber ideas you'll read all day.
The New York Post reports that Detroit Pistons Hall of Fame point guard and former New York Knicks executive Isiah Thomas has designs on taking over Billy Hunter's job as executive director of the National Basketball Players Association.
How many of you would be startled to discover Isiah Thomas has been creepin’ round Billy Hunter’s back door to get his job?The ongoing NBA lockout just keeps devolving. Its pathetic, demoralizing twists and turns are never-ending and it is starting to morph into a weird made-for-television serial drama where well-known characters keep getting reincarnated as new, more despicable versions of themselves. First, it was NBA commissioner David Stern, the great compromiser and champion of social equality, being recast as a "modern plantation overseer." Then, it was the Greatest Basketball Player Ever, Michael Jordan, flip-flopping from the ultimate vocal advocate for players' rights to a hard-line owner bent on vacuuming up the players' every last penny and shred of dignity.
Now, it's Thomas, arguably the worst salary cap manager of the modern era (he gave major dolars to Jared Jeffries and Jerome James and traded for Eddy Curry, Steve Francis and Stephon Marbury), sending in his audition tape to become the chief negotiator of the system that governs hundreds of player contracts and sets the rules that will help guide the economic development of a global, billion-dollar sport.
(It is definitely worth mentioning that Thomas' conduct as a front office executive included allegations of sexual harrassment which resulted in an out-of-court settlement and rule-ignoring scouting scandal which later cost the Knicks hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines. Then, in 2008, he reportedly overdosed on sleeping pills, but denied it was a suicide attempt.)
So, yeah, great idea. Thomas, an emotional former executive with a sketchy track record and a terrible reputation for decision-making replacing Hunter, a life-long lawyer with decades of negotiating experience and high-profile cases to his name. Can't wait for that to happen.
Update: Surprise, surprise, Thomas has issued a denial of the report to the New York Post.
Hat tip: IAmAGM.com