Tag:NBA lockout
Posted on: November 25, 2011 10:11 am
Edited on: November 25, 2011 10:52 pm

Lockout Buzz 11.25.11: Black Friday Push

Posted by EOB Staff.

It's the latest "maybe a season will be saved" day in the NBA labor talks, and we fully expect the rug to be pulled out like it has each time before. But to keep up with the developments today, our Buzz post will update with any and all developments. 

10:50 p.m.

  • NBA.com reports that a source involved in Friday's labor negotiations says that there is a "genuine desire" to reach a deal on Friday.
  • ESPN.com reports that an NBA owner is "optimistic" that a new labor deal will be reached this weekend.
8:45 p.m. 

  • Ken Berger of CBSSports.com notes that the two groups meeting on Friday do not include the antitrust attorneys, only the principal parties from earlier small-group negotiations.
  • ESPN.com reports that the NBA's Labor Relations Committee will have a conference call on Friday night after the day's meetings.. 
  • Yahoo Sports reports that discussion of "actual deal points" did not begin until nearly eight hours into Friday's meetings.
11:30 a.m. 

11:00 a.m.

  • Ken Berger reports that Kessler will not be in attendance, but will be "involved." That's still a great sign. Kessler's real problem was his interaction with Stern et al. His involvement in an advisory capacity is a good thing for the players, it gives them a strong voice who isn't concilliatory. But Quinn being on the forefront is a much better approach.
  • Ric Bucher of ESPN reported last night on SportsCenter that David Stern could give the players yet another ultimatum during today's meeting. Bucher reports that Stern could threaten to cancel the entire season if a deal isn't struck to save the Christmas games. 

10:10 a.m.

  • Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reports that Derek Fisher will join the talks in New York Friday.  Fisher's presence could simply be a legal formality to avoid a "sham" argument from the league if they were just dealing with lawyers, or it could signal a desire to have a player rep in the room if a handshake deal is presented. 
  • And now for the bad news (I know, I know, it's like "Death Becomes Her," "Now a warning?"). Chris Broussard of ESPN.com reported Saturday night a list of the player's demands for this negotiating session. The players must feel that the threat of their antitrust lawsuit really has pushed the owners into a new state of reasonable discourse or at least shaken them a bit. Either that or they're high. Because's it's nuts. 
  • How about the big non-starter, an increase in max salaries, from 20 percent to 30 percent, and increased qualifiying offers for restricted free agents? It's like the players are just ignoring that nearly half of this ridiculous situation is due to the summer of 2010 and the power of players like LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony. And raising the QO is a decent enough idea to not trap players into another year with a team, but as it raises salary amounts when the entire structure of the negotiation is geared at keeping costs as low as possible, it's hard to see this being anything the owners will move on. 
  • Now, some of the other elements the players want are doable. Broussard reports that they want increase on the mini-Mid-Level-Exception (MLE) which the owners have reportedly already softened on. The sign-and-trade for tax teams for the life of the deal is such a small deal affecting so few transactions that quite simply, not even these two collections of geniuses can blow up a deal for it. And the so-called "repeater tax" is a new enough concept to allow for some movement on both sides. If the max and QO elements are built to be face-savers, with the deal coming down to the MLE, sign-and-trade, and repeater tax, it's possible there could be enough room for movement. 
  • The last element Broussard reported was a higher MLE for non-tax teams than proposed, and a cap at 10 percent on the escrow payments. That's already a concession from the players, who last wanted an 8 percent cap. 10 percent was the reported target of the owners, so that should be doable. You know, like getting a deal back in July should have been doable. The MLE is likely a non-starter as well. 

Posted on: November 25, 2011 12:48 am

Report: Lamar Odom signs with Besiktas

Posted by Royce Young

A team combining the talents of Deron Williams and Lamar Odom would definitely be a fun one to watch. Too bad you'd have to move to Turkey in order to see it.

According to ESPN.com, but first reported by Turkish outlet NTV Spor, Odom has signed with Besiktas, which of course is the team Williams is currently with in Turkey. Odom's deal includes an NBA opt-out, and he should be in Turkey as early as next week, provided a new collective bargaining agreement isn't struck before then.

There were rumblings this week that Besiktas had made Odom an offer and were in discussions. Now, it appears he's accepted it.

According to the report, Odom will earn more than $2 million if he spends the rest of the seaso with Besiktas. Final details aren't known yet though.

Besiktas has been targeting a number of NBA players to team with Williams. Names that have been reported as having interest were Brook Lopez, Kevin Love, Nene, Carlos Boozer, Luol Deng and Marcin Gortat. And that's just recently. Besiktas flirted with Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Zach Randolph, Tyson Chandler, Andrew Bynum and Chris Kaman at different points of the year since the lockout started.

Odom, who is 32, is set to earn $17 million over the next two years with the Lakers. And that doesn't include what he makes from being a reality TV star, of course. Important note from the ESPN report: "Despite the fact that his wife, Khloe Kardashian, has Armenian roots, Odom's reality show with Kardashian airs in Turkey and is said to be popular there." Phew, am I right?

There certainly hasn't been quite the exodus to Europe most thought would happen when the lockout started, but if anyone is taking the most advantage, it's Besiktas. Williams didn't just sign, but is playing and playing well for the team and adding Odom really cranks the team's profile a bit. Not to mention their ability.
Posted on: November 24, 2011 4:37 pm
Edited on: November 24, 2011 4:53 pm

Kessler benched for Quinn?

By Matt Moore 

Jeffrey Kessler has not been a friend in these negotiations. His acerbic, aggressive style has provoked the owners. There's no doubt that the owners set themselves up for that dynamic with their intractable, all-consuming maw of greed in these negotiations, but Kessler's approach has included an inappropriate comment and multiple rejections on principle of deals the union may have wanted to disccuss further or attempt to negotiate through. 

But his role in these talks could be changing. After Ken Berger of CBSSports.com first reported the involvement of Jim Quinn in negotiations as a back-channel facilitator for talks, the New York Times reports that his participation could coincide with a move for Kessler to the background.
In fact, Quinn was recently hired by Hunter to help complete the deal, according to a person who has spoken with Quinn. It appears that Quinn may have supplanted Jeff Kessler, the union’s pugnacious outside counsel, as the players’ lead negotiator.

Kessler has a contentious relationship with Stern and is viewed by some on the owners’ side as an impediment to a deal.
via N.B.A. and Players Resume Negotiations - NYTimes.com.

Beck stated on Twitter that Kessler hasn't been taken out, just that Quinn has a louder voice

One of the biggest issues in this ongoing disaster has been personalities and emotions becoming involved when it should be about business and logic. Kessler has been as much of an antagonist as anyone in these talks, even if he's been scapegoated some by the league. It's time for new people to be in charge of getting a resolution to try and avoid losing the season. The players have done their part, according to reports. Maybe it's time for the league to respond by sitting its hyper-aggressive owners down and keeping them from lunging across the table for every scrap.
Posted on: November 24, 2011 3:22 pm
Edited on: November 24, 2011 3:26 pm

Owners position shifts on MLE?

By Matt Moore 

There were a number of issues that caused the last meltdown in NBA talks, leading to the players' disclaim of interest and subsequent lawsuits. Among them was the mid-level Exception. Essentially, the league's proposal called for teams in the luxury-tax to be unable to use the full mid-level, instead limiting them to a shortened (both financially and in length of term) version. There was also discrepancy over whether teams who were under the tax prior to using the luxury-tax but in the luxury-tax after would be considered "tax paying teams" and therefore unable to use the full mid-level. But with both sides angling towards another attempt at resolution (first reported by CBSSports.com last week), there's been movement on the MLE, according to ESPN: 
Sources close to the situation told ESPN.com that Stern has privately surveyed a handful of owners about their willingness to ease the restrictions on the proposed mid-level exception in a new labor agreement.

It is believed the league's next proposal to the players will contain tweaks to some of the "system" issues that the players have strongly objected to in recent negotiations. The players have long insisted -- in exchange for accepting a 50/50 split of annual basketball-related income, after earning a 57 percent share of BRI in the final year of the previous labor deal -- that the league's proposed restrictions against luxury-tax teams must be relaxed.
via NBA lockout -- New NBA talks aimed at resolving lawsuits, sources say - ESPN.

The players' position was that they would accept the lowered BRI split if the league would back off its systemic demands, like the MLE limit. A concession at this level might be enough to push the players off the ledge and get a deal for a Christmas-start season, as the league reportedly desires. However, given the breakdown in talks and increased number of lost games, it's hard to see the hard-line owners surrendering that with the same 50/50 BRI split. A scenario in which both sides agree to the MLE concession from the owners, only to discover the owners now want a more favorable BRI split is entirely possible. 

The question will be whether Stern can get a wrangle on the owners long enough to force a deal through and if this kind of concession is enough to get the players to swallow the huge turkey they're already being forced to down whole. 
Posted on: November 23, 2011 7:13 pm

NY senator organizing 'Occupy the NBA' movement

Posted by Royce Young

It's kind of amazing it took this long. But now, some 140 days into the lockout, one New York state senator is organzing "Occupy the NBA."

Via the NY Daily News, Sen. Malcolm A. Smith is putting together what he calls a "national movement" to protest the NBA's work stoppage along with restaraunt owners, season ticket holders, arena workers and disgruntled basketball fans in general.

And if David Stern and Billy Hunter don’t settle their differences in the next four weeks, Smith said the protest will move across the country in “A Day of Solidarity” on Dec. 11. Smith said he has contacted officials in Chicago and Los Angeles who are willing to organize similar protests in front of their respective NBA arena.

Smith said he reached out to other community leaders — including the Rev. Al Sharpton — after hearing complaints from constituents who “sell T-shirts, park cars or work in the restaurant.” At a press conference last week, the United Restaurant and Tavern Owners Association estimated bar receipts were down about 30% from last year since July — although regular-season games weren’t supposed to start until November.

Yeah, this is totally going to work. But that's probably not the intention. Like the Occupy Wall Street movement, it's more about message than results. (At least that's what I think the point is.) Obviously the overall goal would be for the lockout to end, but Smith is trying to take up the baton for the forgotten of this lockout -- the bar owners, restaraunt owners, t-shirt stand guys, the parking lot attendants. They haven't had a voice during these past few months so Smith is going to try and give them one. A noble effort, I say.

“What you’re really talking about is a number of people on the low end of the totem pole who need their jobs to allow them to continue to keep their families alive and moving forward,” Smith told the Daily News. “If you don’t want to settle it, we have season-ticket holders who want back their money. You have it, give it back. Stop bickering about the millions of dollars that you guys already make. And think about the little person.

“We will definitely be expecting a response from (commissioner Stern and union president Derek Fisher),” Smith said. “If you need me, I’ll sit down and help you negotiate the deal if you have to.”

One thing Smith is pushing for? Refunds on all season tickets whether or not games are played. The NBA has already promised full refunds on purchased tickets for canceled games, but Smith wants the league to pay out for games even if they're played.

Yeah, good luck with that.
Category: NBA
Posted on: November 23, 2011 6:52 pm
Edited on: November 23, 2011 6:55 pm

Stern surveying owners on mid-level exception?

Posted by Royce Young

A lot of people have had a hard time believing that an NBA season could truly be lost over things so minor as mid-level exceptions and the luxury tax. I think you can add David Stern to that group of people.

According to ESPN.com, Stern has been privately calling owners to "gauge willingness to making full mid-level exception open to all teams." That certainly does sound like earth-shattering stuff, but considering that this is exactly the type of thing these labor talks are stalled on, that could potentially be huge.

The league's most recent (public) offer included a "mini mid-level" for teams over the tax limit starting at $3 million per season with a max term of three years. The agreement was that the full mid-level would be available to all teams over the cap, but under the tax threshold, with a starting salary of $5 million and alternating terms of three and four years.

Seems very minor, but these are the types of things the players have decided to make a stand on. And if the league will start to concede some of these system issues, the path to a deal could finally start to clear again.
Category: NBA
Posted on: November 23, 2011 1:25 pm
Edited on: November 23, 2011 5:44 pm

Report: NBA, Players reopen labor talks

Posted by Ben Gollivernba-lockout

Someone finally picked up the phone.

After multiple days spent wondering which side would make the first move to reopen ongoing labor negotiations, Yahoo Sports reports that the NBA and its players have reportedly commenced communicating again for the first time in more than a week.
NBA and players resumed talks on Tuesday to try and end the lockout before the cancellation of Christmas games, two sources told Y! Sports. Talks were expected to continue today, sources said, and one league source tells Y!: "We should know more by later this evening." Derek Fisher isn't a part of the talks now, sources say. 
Ken Berger of CBSSports.com has confirmed the talks.

Newsday reported that NBA spokesperson Tim Frank would not confirm or deny that talks were taking place, stating only that the league "remains in favor of a negotiated resolution."

The New York Times reported that a 66-game regular season schedule, with games beginning on Christmas, is still feasible. 

The last talks between the two sides occurred on Nov. 11, when the NBA submitted a proposal to the players that would have allowed for a 72-game season. Since then, talks stalled completely after the players responded to the proposal by disbanding the National Basketball Players Association and filed an antitrust lawsuit against the league. As the NBPA no longer exists, talks between representatives of the NBA and its players are now an antitrust lawsuit settlement discussion rather than collective bargaining negotiations.

As recently as on Monday, players attorney David Boies said that calling the NBA would be a "waste of time" because he felt the league has "no interest in talking," statements the NBA immediately disputed through a spokesperson.

But Berger reported on Tuesday that Jim Quinn, a deal-maker with ties to both NBA commissioner David Stern and the league, had offered to help get the dialogue going. Also on Tuesday, former NBPA executive director Billy Hunter said that a judge could appoint a mediator to oversee negotiations as early as next week.

Salvaging the NBA's showcase Christmas Day games would likely require a deal to be agreed in principle by Friday, as the NBA has said it needs a full month of preparation time to launch a season. On Nov. 15, the NBA officially cancelled all games through Dec. 15.
Posted on: November 22, 2011 9:56 pm
Edited on: November 23, 2011 12:23 pm

Hunter: Mediation could begin again next week?

Posted by Ben Gollivernba-lockout

Somebody needs to step in and take control of the NBA lockout.

As Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reported on Tuesday, that somebody could be proven deal-maker Jim Quinn, who has recently spoken with both sides and offered up his services as an intermediary in getting the negotiations back on track.

Also on Tuesday, Billy Hunter, executive director of the now disbanded National Basketball Players Association, said that somebody could be a mediator who could begin overseeing talks as early as next week.

The catch? Federal Mediator George Cohen, who participated in two rounds of discussions earlier this fall, could be replaced by someone else, a decision left to the judge who was appointed the players' consolidated antitrust lawsuit against the NBA filed in Minnesota on Monday.

The Associated Press has more. 

Union executive director Billy Hunter said Tuesday he expected that a Minnesota magistrate judge would mediate the players' lawsuit against the NBA, as the court did in the NFL's labor dispute.

Hunter specifically mentioned U.S. Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan, the court-appointed mediator in the NFL talks. Boylan is not the magistrate assigned to the NBA antitrust suit, although the district judge has the discretion to appoint a different magistrate to mediate.

"What may very well be is the judge there directs the magistrate, as they did in the NFLPA case, to host a settlement conference, and that could possibly occur as early as next week," Hunter said.

One reason the players' lawyers decided to consolidate two suits against the NBA in Minnesota, he said, was that the district court there routinely uses magistrates to mediate cases.

Hunter said Tuesday that the possibility of having a magistrate mediate also played into the decision, with the same goal in mind: resolving the labor strife quickly.

"It makes it easier for the parties to get together when the court is involved," he said.

A mediator is a great idea, but he or she wouldn't have much time to work with. The NBA faces an assumed drop-dead date of early-January to reach a deal before the entire 2011-2012 season would need to be canceled. The two sides haven't met face-to-face in nearly two weeks as the players opted to file their antitrust lawsuit rather than respond to the league's most recent collective bargaining agreement proposal.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com