Tag:NBA Lockout
Posted on: July 12, 2011 5:35 pm
Edited on: July 12, 2011 7:22 pm

NBA players to receive $160 M in escrow cash

NBA players will reportedly receive $160 million in escrow money this summer. Posted by Ben Golliver. lockout

Just because the NBA has locked them out doesn't mean that the league's players can't get paid.

NBA.com reports that the players are in store for a nice mid-summer cash infusion of $160 million, as funds that are held in escrow will be returned. 
The escrow funds -- representing eight percent of each NBA player's salary -- are held back each season to ensure that the players' share of basketball-related income does not exceed the contractually agreed-upon percentage, currently 57 percent. This year, for the first time since the system was introduced in the collective bargaining agreement that came out of the 1998-99 lockout, the cut to players will fall short, sources with the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association confirmed.

That cash could ease or delay the point at which some players begin to feel financial hardship from the lockout. Based on the "average" NBA salary of $5.7 million, the escrow rebate would be worth $456,000. A minimum-salaried player ($473,604) would be due $37,888 while a $16 million superstar could expect $1.28 million coming back.


Certainly, this doesn't help the ongoing negotiations. The owners are driving the wholesale changes while the players are essentially cool with the current setup; A transfer of money from owners to players doesn't impact the philosophical stances of either side. It does give the players a bit of breathing room, but 8% of one's salary is not a game-changing amount. It's certainly not enough to carry financially irresponsible players through a canceled season, for example.

But, as NBA.com notes, this could be a bit of a pressure reliever, and it comes at an inopportune time for fans and observers who want to see progress towrds a deal. A resolution won't be reached unless the two sides are exchanging proposals and finding avenues for compromise. Anything, even a cash infusion like this one, that impacts either side's desire to negotiate and compromise pushes back the timeline for a resolution. Guess what? There are no negotiating meetings scheduled between NBA owners and players right now.

Enjoy this pay day, players, you completely earned it. But please find a way to turn this into an opportunity to demonstrate your seriousness and urgency to continue to work towards finding a resolution.
Category: NBA
Posted on: July 12, 2011 2:56 pm
Edited on: July 13, 2011 3:29 pm

NLRB investigating NBPA's claim

Posted by Matt Moore

Back in late May, the NBPA got out in front of things and filed with the National Labor Relations Board, charging that the NBA failed to bargain in good faith. That was two months ago, and since then we haven't heard a thing about it, distracted with the Finals, the Draft, and oh, yeah, this lockout we've got on our hands. 

But Sports Business Journal reports that the NLRB is still very much investigating the union's claim. From the SBJ on Twitter; 
SBJ: In recent weeks an NLRB investigator has interviewed 7-10 witnesses in @TheNBPA's unfair labor practices charge against the NBA.
via Twitter / @SBJLizMullen: SBJ: In recent weeks an NL ....

So the charges are still out there. If the players' perception that the owners have stonewalled them by barely negotiating (i.e. sending a counterproposal only after a prolonged delay, etc.) carries with the board, there may be some fire with the smoke. But the owners likely have a similar feeling about how the players have approached discussions. It's also not clear yet how a ruling would affect the lockout or negotiation process, but you can be sure it would be somewhere between "really bad" and "a disaster" for the owners.
Posted on: July 12, 2011 11:14 am
Edited on: July 12, 2011 11:36 am

Players organizing televised exhibition game?

Posted by Matt Moore

Sports Illustrated's Sam Amick was at the Compton-based Drew League this week, a summer league that features players every year, but is studded this year with no other summer leagues and no league-sponsored events due to the lockout. Plus, there's no team officials telling them they shouldn't play. Convenient. Amick spoke with what seems like everyone short of the maintenance guys and I'm sure those were just off the record conversations he didn't use. In a wide-ranging piece that lists half a dozen players who say they're considering Europe (at this point, pretty much every NBA player is "considering" Europe), Amick also discovered that Kevin Durant and his agency are working to set up an exhibition game between the Drew League and the D.C.-based Goodman League. There are so many star players involved, reportedly, that television is actually getting into the talks. From SI:
In other words, the Plan Bs and Plan Cs are quickly becoming Plan As. The perceived hopelessness of the labor situation is at the root of these ruminations, with players eager to find alternate outlets for their competitive juices. Durant did just that this week, when his plan to create an East vs. West streetball championship came to fruition in the form of an Aug. 20 faceoff between the Drew League and the D.C.-based Goodman League.


Los Angeles natives Wright and Baron Davis are handling the logistics. Wright says he wants to make it a "huge, huge, huge deal," and the game is expected to take place on the court where the likes of Durant, John Wall, Michael Beasley and DeMarcus Cousins so often play in the inner-city D.C. neighborhood known as Barry Farm. Smiley said ESPN has shown some interest in airing the game. The best NBA players from both leagues are expected to team up with some non-NBA players. The trash talk already has begun.
via Kevin Durant, other NBA stars busy playing during lockout - Sam Amick - SI.com.

It's a genius idea. Every summer there are players constantly playing in pickup summer league games but the television rights can't be had due to the players' contractual obligations with their teams who are part of the league's negotiated television rights. Plus teams would freak out over the possibility of their players getting injured in such a game. 

But with the league having locked the players out, which very much is a slap in the face, this allows the players to do what they want, when they want, how they want. The players can set up this exhibition, sell the television rights for a one-off, star-studded event, and make a little lockout cash. It's yet another in a series of initiatives from the players to prove to the owners they can survive without them, which is what this whole thing comes down to.

Plus, we'll get to see dunks like this.  

One side note to these things, or rather a question. Would a player getting hurt really be the worst thing for the union's efforts? First and foremost, there's the pain, which everyone always seems to overlook when discussing a player. Getting injured in any form sucks. And these are often severe. Then there's the treatment, which would have to come out of the players' own pocket, and would be expenesive. And then there's the impact on his career, which could be damaged without constant professional treatment like he'd receive from his team.

But beyond that, wouldn't a severe injury be the best thing for the union? The owners can't void his contract. They can't sue, they're the ones who locked him out in the first place. If the players make it clear that they're going to keep doing things which endanger their ability to play under the lucrative contracts the teams have signed them to, and which they'll still have to pay them, as a response to the owners' approach, isn't that a huge gun put to the head of the owners? It's basically asking, "Do you really want to risk losing a Kevin Durant or a John Wall for a whole year and possible damage the rest of his career after all you've invested in him for merchandise and the hope of the franchise to win this lockout?" Most owners will say yes. But planting those seeds would help the union. I'm not saying anyone should get injured on purpose or that it would be worth it. Neither of those things are true. But it's something to think about it as this chess match continues.
Posted on: July 11, 2011 2:08 pm
Edited on: July 11, 2011 2:19 pm

KFC offers Dwyane Wade a job during NBA lockout

Kentucky Fried Chicken has reportedly offered Miami Heat All-Star guard Dwyane Wade a job during the NBA lockout. Posted by Ben Golliver. dwyane-wade

Back on June 30, when the NBA Lockout went from dreaded future event to reality, Miami Heat All-Star guard Dwyane Wade posted some messages on Twitter that he thought were pretty clever.

"Any1 hiring?," Wade asked his 1.4 million followers. "My strengths: work well with others..My weakness: I sometime get fatigue... I'm available for all bar and bat mitzvah and weddings..but my specialty is balloon animals."

TMZ.com notes that Kentucky Fried Chicken, the fast food chain, replied to Wade's open Twitter question with a formal letter dated July 11 and signed by John Cywinski, General Manager. The letter notes that Wade was an employee of the company prior to joining the NBA and offers to donate $250,000 to charity if he agrees to work for the company during the lockout.

Here's an excerpt of the letter.
Dear Dwyane Wade,

We couldn't help but notice your recent tweet about looking for a new line of work in light of the lockout. We're always looking for folks with precisely your qualifications -- initiative, teamwork and the ability to make buckets in a hurry.

We've always been proud to call you a former KFC employee and, it goes without saying we'd love to have you back on our team dishing out the World's Best Chicken, like you dish out assists on the court.

Our offer: Come serve as an honorary captain at a local KFC drive-thru window. And, while we can't match your most recent salary, we'll honor your KFC service by making a donation in your name to Colonel's Scholars, a charity providing young people with much needed college scholarships, if you accept. How's that for a slam dunk?
Those references to basketball were worked into the letter so smoothly, like Wade finishing a fast break.

Blatant publicity stunt or not, Wade pretty much has to do this now. The joke is on him and the charity stuff only makes it that much harder to refuse. The Players Association should find a way to turn this into a "We're still giving back!" marketing campaign and then everyone wins.
Posted on: July 11, 2011 11:10 am
Edited on: July 11, 2011 11:23 am

Williams says lockout might affect future with NJ

Posted by Royce Young

Deron Williams, now of the New Jersey Nets and Besiktas in Turkey, spoke with ESPN.com about his decision to play overseas if the lockout drags into November or further.

Williams isn't shy about saying he thinks a lot of other players will flock overseas, especially if the owners get what they want.

"If the proposal (the owners) have, if that's what they're sticking with and that's what they want, then I think it would be hard for a lot of guys to come back to the NBA," he said.

Of course Williams will be an unrestricted free agent next summer and acknowledges that a prolonged lockout could greatly affect him re-signing with the Nets.

"I think it will kind of put a damper on things because I want to see where the Nets are going this season," Williams said. "See what kind of additions we can make, because that will definitely help. But I don't know. I still can't really say anything until the new CBA because who knows if I even can opt out? There's no telling."

That, right there, is one of the best bargaining tools the players might be able to use. Mikhail Prokhorov is a powerful negotiator in the labor talks and you can be sure that he wants to protect his new investment. Which means he needs to keep Williams, who he risked a whole lot to go get and build the future of his franchise around. Williams saying that he might just walk away in 2012 has to catch the Nets' attention, even if it's just words.

That's exactly what our Matt Moore saw as the Nets' big risk in a long lockout too. He wrote:
Mikhail Prokhorov did not get into this business to lose an entire season, the last he has Deron Williams under contract before an extension he hopes to sign him to, and then begin to build a contender under a system which negates every advantage moving his team to Brooklyn provides. But that's the reality that faces the Russian mogul.

Deron Williams is the big key for the Nets. They sent a fortune in the trade for Williams, with the understanding they would convince him of their grand vision and build around him on his next contract. It was a gamble. But they need the 2011-2012 season to convince Williams that the plan works, that the vision is in place, that they can succeed as the team Williams wants to commit to. Without the 11-12 season, Williams will end up entering free agency with his only time as a Net filled with failure. He may wind up with more wins with his team in Turkey than he won with New Jersey.
Depending on what happens with the new CBA, Williams certainly sounds a bit frustrated with what's going on. Almost as if he'd be just fine staying n Turkey if that meant he was going to get paid.

But the Nets could be backed into an awkward corner. Obviously Williams hasn't been sold on the future of the franchise and is approaching the 2011-12 season as an important one. But if there isn't a 2011-12 season, the Nets' investment in Williams could be a wasted one.

Something to think about.
Posted on: July 10, 2011 5:22 pm
Edited on: July 10, 2011 5:38 pm

What teams risk in a lockout: Southwest Division

Posted by Royce Young

Talk of losing an entire NBA season is a bit ridiculous. But it's a possibility. And with all this hardline talk going on, it seems like neither the players nor the owners are wanting to budge. There's incentive for teams to get a deal done and not just for the money, but because a year without basketball and more importantly, basketball operations, could greatly affect each and every NBA franchise.

Earlier, we took a look at the Southeast, Atlantic and Central Divisions. Let's continue on with the rough and tumble, yet aging, Southwest Division.

New Orleans Hornets

The Hornets easily present the most interesting lockout case of any team in my mind. First off, the league owns them. Secondly, and related to that, Chris Paul is a free agent in 2012. The league took on the responsibility of the Hornets because David Stern wasn't about to see a franchise lost on his watch and wants to do everything he can to keep the team there.

But a prolonged lockout resulting in a lost season really might end professional basketball in New Orleans. Chris Paul would have the ability to walk with the Hornets never having an chance to get anything in return, meaning the one draw the team has could be gone and the already struggling franchise might not have anything to show for his exit. On top of that, David West opted out and is an unrestricted free agent currently. So not only could the roster be entirely turned over, the already suspect fanbase might take another blow.

Now of course if Stern and the owners can negotiate a deal that makes a franchise like the Hornets profitable no matter what, then the league can sell the team and potentially pocket a bit. That's obviously something in the back of Stern's mind. The Hornets really make this lockout all the more intriguing because now Stern has a stake in things directly. He's not just the mediator trying to produce a good system for his league, but he's an owner too now.

Dallas Mavericks

Here's one benefit of a prolonged lockout: The Mavs get to be champs for two years instead of one. Bonus? I don't think they'd think so. Especially because the window the Mavs have to remain serious contenders isn't going to stay open much longer. Dirk is aging, Jason Kidd is like 78 and there are a bunch of questions surrounding players like Tyson Chandler, Caron Butler and J.J. Barea.

Mark Cuban is a big market owner, but I can see him as someone leaning toward making sure there is basketball over the owners guaranteeing profits. He's a fan first and foremost and he's tasted the top of the mountain. Granted, he gets the chance to soak it up a little longer, but if he wants his roster to keep going, losing a year might be the beginning of the end for the current Mavs.

San Antonio Spurs

There's no hiding that the Spurs are getting older. A year lost means another year tacked on to Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker. A year lost means Gregg Popovich gets a little older and as the longest tenured coach in the league, he might not have many left. The Spurs have a fanbase that will absolutely return in force and Peter Holt is maybe the finest owner in the league, especially in terms of managing a small market franchise, but I'm sure a year of lost basketball isn't something that sits well.

Holt obviously would love a system that levels the playing field a bit and helps smaller markets on the road to basking in the same light the Lakers, Bulls and Knicks get, but basketball is a priority in San Antonio. The window won't be open much longer. Even Tony Parker acknowledged that. And that roster still wants to try and make one more run at it all.

Memphis Grizzlies
Really, Michael Heisley probably isn't all that terrified from losing a season. He's a small market owner who has spent big as of late and saving money on Rudy Gay, Zach Randolph and Mike Conley isn't all bad for him. The core of the team, sans Marc Gasol, is all locked up long-term so while a lost season would mean missing out on all the positive movement and momentum from last season, there's still a lot of opportunity ahead for Memphis.

Still, it's a risk to mess with a potentially fragile fanbase like the Grizzlies'. The FedEx Forum has never been known to be full, but during the postseason run, the Grizzlies emerged with one of the most passionate, loyal crowds in the league. There's clearly something working right now and Heisley and the Grizzlies don't want to jade and sour those fans that have come around by damaging all that goodwill they worked so hard to build.

Houston Rockets
Hard for me to guess how the Rockets see this thing. They are an in-between franchise, not necessarily small market but not big either. Their roster is set up to withstand a lockout and return with good pieces intact. They don't have any major lingering free agents of concern.

What I think would scare them a bit though is missing out on the opportunity to compete in the trade market for players like Dwight Howard, Chris Paul and Deron Williams all season long though. The Rockets have quality trade pieces and good assets to dangle in front of teams and I'm sure Daryl Morey would have some interesting proposals to make. Sure there's always 2012's free agency but opening it up to that puts the Rockets a bit behind the other, more intriguing, brighter markets. A sign-and-trade might be their best chance to land that superstar player Morey so desperately wants.
Posted on: July 9, 2011 3:43 pm
Edited on: July 10, 2011 1:39 pm

What teams risk in a lockout: Central Division

A look at what is at stake for the NBA's Central Division if a whole season was lost due to the lockout. Posted by Ben Golliver.


Talk of losing an entire NBA season is a bit ridiculous. But it's a possibility. And with all this hardline talk going on, it seems like neither the players nor the owners are wanting to budge. There's incentive for teams to get a deal done and not just for the money, but because a year without basketball and more importantly, basketball operations, could greatly affect each and every NBA franchise.

Earlier this week, we took a look at the Southeast Division and the Atlantic Division. Let's continue this series with the Central Division.  


The Bulls won the Central by a preposterous margin in 2010-2011, stacking up a league-high 62 wins and burying their division mates by a ridiculous 25 games, by far the biggest margin of any division winner. Nothing has happened yet this offseason which suggests next year's results will be any different. Even if the Milwaukee Bucks return to full health or the Indiana Pacers make a key free agent addition or the Detroit Pistons finally emerge from their slog or the Cleveland Cavaliers successfully start the Kyrie Irving era, the only thing stopping the Bulls from running away from the competition again is an injury to Derrick Rose. The Bulls are, by far, the most talented and deepest team in the division. They have the reigning MVP, Coach of the Year and Executive of the Year. They're poised to be championship title contenders for the next five years.

With so much going for them, the Bulls clearly have the most to lose in a lockout. If a season is lost, that's a title chase that evaporates. Perhaps most important, the Bulls would lose that visceral desire for redemption that comes with the ugly end to their season. It was a disappointing, frustrating loss to their new archrivals, the Miami Heat, in the Eastern Conference Finals. The pain of that loss subsides with time. It's ability to serve as unifying inspiration will fade too. The Bulls want revenge and they want rings. The pieces are in place. Besides aging teams like the Los Angeles Lakers and San Antonio Spurs, who face the possibility of their championship window closing, the Bulls don't want to sit around and wait. They created some amazing chemistry last season, built strong trust bonds. Losing a season risks all of that.


The upstart Pacers are up to something: they finally committed to Frank Vogel as their coach, they brought on former Blazers GM Kevin Pritchard to serve as Director of Player Personnel, they made a solid draft day trade to acquire point guard George Hill and they sit on a mound of cap space ready to make a splash in free agency. The Pacers risk two things if a season is lost. First, a critical development year to see how their young pieces are able to gel together. Second, A feeling of certainty in terms of team expectations.

Indiana has assembled some nice, young talent: Roy Hibbert, Darren Collison, Paul George, Tyler Hansbrough and Hill are all 25 or younger. Depending on how they use their cap space and whether they decide to move Danny Granger, that has all the makings of a promising core that could reliably make playoff runs for the foreseeable future. But the group needs time to spend together, reps to get things right and an evaluation period to see whether all four belong long-term. They look great on paper but more data -- playing together -- is needed. A lost season risks that and potentially stalls the development of those younger guys.

The real risk is free agency. Indiana has just $36 million committed in salary next season, meaning they have one of the smallest payrolls in the league. They also have an expiring contract in James Posey to move and potentially could move Granter if they were looking to make a major splash. Their combination of flexibility and talent on-hand is near the tops in the league when it comes to rebuilding teams. A delayed season pushes that promise back and while teams with space are definitely sitting in a better position than teams without space, it's unclear what additional rules might be in place that inhibit free agent movement. If you're the Pacers you'd prefer to be able to chase a guy like David West now without any messy collective bargaining negotiations getting in the way. Put simply, the Pacers are a team on the rise, but a lot has to go right for young teams to reach their potential. Even minor things can throw a team off course. The less variables, the better. Unfortunately, the CBA is a major, major variable.


lockoutThis team is just confusing. The Stephen Jackson trade made a bit of sense, given that the Bucks needed a serviceable alternative to Brandon Jennings at point guard and got one in Beno Udrih, but this group isn't going anywhere meaningful, not even if Jennings and center Andrew Bogut are fully healthy. 

About the only thing lost in a lockout for the Bucks is another year for Jennings to bloom. His sophomore years was sidetracked by injuries and poor outside shooting, and he questioned his teammates' desire to win at the end of the regular season. Other than Jennings, Larry Sanders and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute could use more developmental minutes but the rest of the roster is essentially veterans who have reached their potential. 

From a cynical standpoint, Bucks ownership could be cheering a lost season because it would mean cash savings on ugly deals for Jackson and big man Drew Gooden. Is it worth saving the combined $15 million that will go to Jackson and Gooden in 2011-2012 to lose a year of floor leadership training for Jennings? 


The Pistons are another confounding mess, but at least it feels like they've turned a corner thanks to the sale of the team, the departure of reviled coach John Kuester and the drafting of point guard Brandon Knight and wing Kyle Singler. Last year was one, long, ugly grind. 2011-2012 figures to be a step in the right direction.

Knight slipped out of the top five of the 2011 NBA Draft because of questions about his position. Is he a pure point guard? Can he run an NBA offense? Will he be able to execute something besides the pick-and-roll game? His future is incredibly bright but as a one-and-done player he absolutely needs as much playing time as possible to get a feel for the NBA style and to get comfortable with the ball in his hands and a team of professionals that look to him first. There's no other way to learn the point guard position than by on-the-job training, and recent success stories like Rose and Russell Westbrook only reinforce that idea. A year away from the game at this stage would be a critical loss for Knight and the Pistons, and that's a major risk.

The same is true, to a lesser degree, for big man Greg Monroe, who came on strong in the second half of his rookie season and appears to be a potential core piece going forward. 2011-2012 is all about letting Knight and Monroe build up a chemistry together 

A lost season would certainly be welcomed by ownership here too because Richard Hamilton, Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva all failed to live up to their big-dollar contract figures last season. Hamilton and Villanueva, in particular, seem like lost causes. Weighing the savings from these deals versus the lost development of Knight, the Pistons should probably be pretty close to indifferent when it comes to losing a season. They need work, they know they need work and the rebuild can only come as these big contracts get closer to their conclusion and become more tradeable. Still, it would seem to be better to continue that journey with Knight getting more familiar and comfortable day-by-day, month-by-month than it would having him workout solo in a gym somewhere. If you've committed to a rebuild, start it immediately.

Last but not least, we have the Cavaliers, the NBA's second-worst team from last season, who endured an embarrasing 26 game losing streak to set an NBA record for consecutive futility. There's significant light at the end of the tunnel for the Cavaliers, as they have an owner committed to spending money to win, the 2011 NBA Draft's No. 1 overall pick, Kyrie Irving, and Tristan Thompson, who was taken No. 4 overall. 

Cleveland is in much the same position as the Pistons: the biggest risk from losing a season is the lost reps that Irving won't get running the show. There are always some bumps and bruises for a young point guard transitioning from college to the NBA, and the potential for struggles is even more pronounced in Irving's case because he missed much of last season, his freshman year at Duke University, with a foot injury. Time away from the game is not good. The shorter, the better. Irving was clearly the most NBA-ready point guard in this year's draft crop and the Cavaliers would be smart to turn the keys over to him from Day 1, even with veterans Baron Davis, Daniel Gibson and Ramon Sessions on the roster as well. 

That raises a secondary risk of the lockout season for the Cavaliers: losing positional clarity. Cleveland clearly needs to move one, if not two, of their point guards to clear the deck for Irving and surround him with some solid complementary pieces. A lost season just delays that process. Saving the money from Davis' contract is tempting, but it's a non-factor for owner Dan Gilbert who would just as soon pay that tax to watch his young team start the rebuild. Along those same lines, an entire season lost could mean the Cavaliers aren't able to move Antawn Jamison's $15 million expiring contract, a nice trade asset that could potentially bring a rotation player in return.

Posted on: July 9, 2011 12:58 pm
Edited on: July 9, 2011 1:17 pm

Mo Evans: Owners proposal worst in sports history

Posted by Royce Young

Maurice Evans, most recently of the Atlanta Hawks and Washington Wizards, is vice president of the NBPA. He's obviously been a major part of the labor negotiations and along with Derek Fisher, has been sort of the face of the lockout from the players' side.

And in talking to HoopsWorld
, Evans didn't sound like a deal was really ever that close, instead making it seem like the two sides are far apart like in an east from the west situation.
"If we were to agree to their deal, it would be the worst collective bargaining agreement in sports history," said Evans. "We would be a laughing stock. What they proposed to us says nothing about a partnership. ... They proposed rollbacks, salary freezes and things that don't promote any player growth or security. It was such a terrible system."

A "terrible" system is what Evans said. That's encouraging. Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reported that the two sides haven't been in contact since the lockout started, but should come back to the bargaining table at some point soon.

But if a deal is going to get done, I'm thinking the players are going to have to get a deal they don't find as the "worst collective bargaining agreement in sports history." Just a hunch.
Category: NBA
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com