Posted on: November 10, 2011 1:07 am
Edited on: November 10, 2011 1:51 am
Posted by Ben Golliver.
The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association met for roughly 12 hours on Wednesday in New York City -- blowing past a 5 p.m. deadline imposed by commissioner David Stern -- and emerged at 1 a.m. Thursday morning to inform the assembled media that they still have not yet reached a deal on a new collective bargaining agreement.
Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reported that "no deal" was reached.
"We've agreed that we have stopped the clock and we continue to negotiate," Stern told reporters after the negotiating session concluded. "I would not read into this optimism or pessimism, we're just continuing to negotiate."
Talks will resume on Thursday at noon Eastern, Stern said.
Wednesday's talks, which began at 1 p.m., were the first since Saturday, when Stern imposed his deadline, telling the NBPA that the league's offer would get significantly worse if it was not accepted. Following an NBPA meeting on Tuesday, NBPA president Derek Fisher signaled a willingness to re-open negotiations and apparently was ready to accept the league's proposal on the all-important revenue split if the owners would include desired changes to system issues in their offer.
Following Wednesday's talks, both the NBA and NBPA addressed the media.
"Nothing was worked out today," Stern said. "We're not failing and we're not succeeding, we're just there."
Asked why the league has not reverted to its threat of a worse offer yet, Stern said it was still a possibility, although it would only occur after the current bargaining session was over.
"It was our understanding going in, at the end of the negotiating session, whether it ends today or it ends tomorrow, that's when our offer reverts," Stern said. "We're trying to demostrate our good faith and I think the union is trying to demonstrate its good faith."
"We've obviously been here for quite some today," Fisher said. "We spent a lot of time covering all of the issues that we still have remaining but we can't say that there was significant progress today, but we're going to meet again tomorrow... to see if we can continue to make the effort to try to finish this out."
Fisher was asked to comment on the NBPA's decision to concede a 50/50 revenue split -- down from the 57 percent the NBPA had in the previous deal -- in hopes that it would lead to the NBA improving its offer on system issues.
"I think what we stated yesterday was an openness and a willingness to come off our number," Fisher said, "and come closer to a deal on the economics and we would be willing to move on a lot of system issues that we expect from them. We never actually said '50/50 and give us the entire system.' What we've continued to say is that if we continue to make economic concessions on the BRI split, in exchange for that there should be more flexibility from the NBA and the league on the system and that continues to be our belief."
NBPA executive director Billy Hunter specifically said that the BRI issue still remains unresolved and that no progress had been made on Wednesday in resolving specific system issues that continue to separate the two sides.
"Not today, no," Hunter said. "We are still discussing those issues along with a litany of other issues. I think that's part of the problem. There are just so many issues that haven't been resolved, it's pretty copious."
The chatter throughout the day on Wednesday took an optimistic turn. Berger reported that there is "growing optimism in the agent and front-office community that a deal will get done. One person briefed on talks [was] 'incredibly optimistic.'" Berger quoted another person familar with the negotiations who said talks were "moving slowly" and that the sides were "trying to get something done," but noted that progress has been "slow" even though there have been "no blow-ups."
The ongoing NBA lockout has now lasted for 132 days.
Here's video of Stern's comments.
Here's video of Fisher's comments.
Posted on: November 9, 2011 12:10 pm
Edited on: November 9, 2011 9:01 pm
By Matt Moore and Ben Golliver
It's the latest "Judgment Day" in the NBA, and it looks like this one will actually have a substantial impact. To keep up with all the develoments, check back here. We'll have links to breaking content, updates on the "whip count" of players who say they want a deal, and updates from Ken Berger in New York at the meeting scheduled for today.
Nearly eight hours into the negotiations, we are getting our first indication at how Wednesday's meetings are going.
Wednesday 4:55 p.m.
Wednesday 3:15 p.m.
Ken Berger of CBSSports.com emailed this in:
Wednesday 2:25 p.m.
Posted on: November 9, 2011 11:39 am
By Matt Moore
Yahoo! Sports reports that David Stern has the support of ownership in aggregate to make concessions on systemic issues in order to secure a deal with the NBPA today and end the lockout. From Yahoo!:
NBA commissioner David Stern has the authority to make minor system alterations to the owners’ latest labor offer to the players to try to complete a collective bargaining agreement and end the lockout, ownership sources told Yahoo! Sports.via Sources: Stern authorized to tweak offer - NBA - Yahoo! Sports.
What this means, essentially, is you as fans are being set up for another banana-in-the-tailpipe.
Each time we've had a situation that indicated one side would concede if the other side budged, and the other side was willing to budge, things have blown up. This is how simple this gets:
We've seen this time and time again. Sorry if you're looking for optimism, we're all sold-out here. The two sides have not exhibited rational approaches throughout this process. And the hard-line owners may be out-voted right now, but if the league goes to far with what it offers, they'll regain advantage and detonate a handshake deal. On the other end of it, if the players give up too much and the group lead by Paul Pierce react violently, they could decertify and blow up a handshake deal. So even if we get a deal, we may not get a deal.
That's where we're at. There's every reason to think the season will be saved by 5 p.m. today.
So naturally, it's time to abandon all hope, ye who enjoy the NBA.
Posted on: November 9, 2011 10:12 am
Edited on: November 9, 2011 12:19 pm
By Matt Moore
Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reports that players and league officials are close to arranging a meeting for Wednesday at 1 p.m. in New York, with a league-imposed deadline that could spell the end of the season looming at the end of the day. The meeting is reportedly only a small group, which has resulted in progress in the talks in other meetings.
Tuesday, the NBPA met and afterwards described the current offer from the league, which expires at the close of business in less than seven hours, as "unacceptable." After the close of business, the league's offer will revert back to a flex-cap offer that eliminates guaranteed contracts, takes years off of contract max-lengths and generally sends the players' strength back to the stone age. During the press conference after the NBPA meeting, Billy Hunter said he wanted to meet with the league. David Stern responded by saying he would always take Hunter's call, and would discuss it with the NBA's Labor Relations Committee, but would not commit to a meeting.
Hard-line owners don't necessarily want a meeting, feeling they have already surrendered too much in negotiations. Meanwhile, the players have intimated they're willing to drop to 50/50 if certain system concessions are granted. Unfortunately, the owners consider "concessions" to be defined by "letting the world have a proffessional basketball league" and "not going after the players' houses and personal possessions."
If a deal isn't made at the meeting, and the NBA decides to follow through on its threat, the NBPA is set to immediately file a petition to decertify (Paul Pierce has told Billy Hunter he has close to 200 signatures at this point), kicking off the legal process. That would pretty much destroy any chance of a season, though the two sides could continue to negotiate through the 45-day waiting period until the NLRB rules on the petition to set up a vote.
The onus is on the NBA to take a meeting and accept the concessions from the players while offering them some sort of bone to save the season. Otherwise they're electing to own a professional basketball league that doesn't actually play basketball for another year, possibly more.
No pressure, guys. Really. Take your time.
Posted on: November 8, 2011 8:59 pm
Edited on: November 9, 2011 1:25 am
Posted by Ben Golliver.
Here we go again.
Months after television commentator Bryant Gumbel sparked a national controversy by referring to NBA commissioner David Stern as a "modern plantation overseer" -- a comment that NBPA executive director Billy Hunter distanced himself from -- union lawyer Jeffrey Kessler has taken to invoking slavery during the most critical stage of the league's ongoing labor negotiations.
The Washington Post reports that Kessler, like Gumbel before him, made referenece to a "plantation" in a criticism of the NBA's bargaining strategy.
Kessler's comments, the paper reports, led Stern to call him the "single most divisive force in our negotiations." They are, by far, the harshest criticism levied at Stern by someone affiliated with the NBPA during these ongoing labor negotiations and they represent a stark contrast to Hunter's more subdued response to Gumbel's similar attack on Stern.
Back in October, Gumbel said that Stern "has always seemed eager to be viewed as some kind of modern plantation overseer, treating NBA men as if they were his boys." He also referred to Stern's opinion of the players as "hired hands."
Gumbel's controversial comments sparked a round of responses almost immediately given that a vast majority of NBA owners are caucasian while a vast majority of NBA players are African-Americans. Shortly after Gumbel's comments were made, NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver said that they were "outrageous." Hunter said that, while Stern is a "hard-charger" in negotiations, he is not racist "at all." Basketball Hall of Famer and TNT commentator Charles Barkley simply called Gumbel's comments "stupid." The Reverend Jesse Jackson warned such talk could make these negotiations take an ugly turn.
Coincidentally on Tuesday, Stern was asked in an interview for his thoughts on Gumbel's comments. "I think that’s just an occupational hazard," Stern said. "If you're the head of the league you take what everyone dishes out."
The Sporting News notes this is not his first explosion. He has recently accused Portland Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen of "hijacking" negotiations and he recently called the NBA's offer to players a "fraud."
Posted on: November 8, 2011 7:17 pm
By Matt Moore
Tuesday after the NBPA met with its team representatives and stated the current offer from the league is unacceptable in advance of the league's threat to withdraw to a significantly worse offer Wednesday at close of business, Billy Hunter signalled a desire to meet with David Stern and NBA officials for a further negotiating session in advance of the deadline.
On NBATV Tuesday night, David Stern would not committee to a new meeting with Hunter, but said he would take Hunter's call and would consult with the NBA Labor Relations committee regarding further action.
"I always take Billy's call, as a sign of respect," Stern said.
When asked about the players' willingness to drop on the cut of BRI again in return for more systemic concessions from the league, Stern said there was no "wiggle room" to be found from the owners since their last offer Sunday morning at 3 a.m.
Stern defended accusations from Derek Fisher that the current proposal is a "bad deal" by discussing that the elements included were first proposed by federal mediator George Cohen. Stern admitted that if a deal is not struck by end of business Wednesday, at which point the owners' so-called "Cap Reset" plan goes into effect, he would be "losing confidence" that a deal could be reached to save the season.
In response to Hunter's statement that he had heard through "underground sources" that the league was considering canceling games through Christmas if there was no deal reached Wednesday, Stern laughed off the suggestion.
"I don't know what ground he's talking about or under what ground he's looking," Stern said. "But we have no such plan. We need 30 days from the end of negotiations."
Stern revealed little in the interview outside of what we already know. The owners feel they've given all they can, the players don't think it's enough, and the league is prepared to swing the hammer on Wednesday. It's a game of chicken and the seemingly inevitable collision will be the loss of teh 2010-2011 season.
Posted on: November 8, 2011 5:25 pm
Edited on: November 8, 2011 7:23 pm
By Matt Moore
After the NBPA met Tuesday afternoon, Billy Hunter and Derek Fisher addressed the media. While spinning the tale that the union is united in opposing acceptance of the current proposal offered by the NBA (which, if you track our Buzz post, is not the case at all), Hunter dropped a little bit of a bomb. Hunter said that he heard through "underground" sources that if there is no deal by the league's stated deadline of 5 p.m. Wednesday, the NBA will cancel games through Christmas.
That's right, it's finally here. The NBA lockout is going to steal Christmas.
It's not surprising, considering the ominous tones David Stern has been giving off for the past month. The league has been cancelling in two-week segments, but with Wednesday's deadline signalling a dramatic turn, whether it's the owners moving back to a much harder deal the players obviously won't accept without more lost games, or the union decertifiying in response to such a move, getting a deal by the end of the month would be nearly impossible. What is most alarming is that signals A. what the union has alleged all along, that the NBA is ready, willing, and in some cases eager to lose the entire season, and they're lopping off larger chunks and B. That's the last milestone we'll likely see before the cancellation of the entire 2010-2011 season. Most analysts have predicted that the league would be forced to sacrifice the entire season somewhere between January 1st and January 15th.
If you're looking for good news... uh... college basketball started?
Posted on: November 8, 2011 2:51 pm
Posted by Royce Young
I would think that when David Stern heard that Bryant Gumbel called him a "plantation overseer" that he wasn't thrilled about it. Just a hunch.
But when it happened, that was when Stern would out with the flu and so Adam Silver was forced to be the one to respond to it. Silver simply called it "outrageous." We never really heard from Stern on it.
Stern was on ESPN Radio New York Tuesday doing another Lockout Media Tour and the question was asked to him what he thought of Gumbel's comments. And Stern basically let it roll right off his back.
“On Bryant Gumbel I think that’s just an occupational hazard. If you’re the head of the league you take what everyone dishes out. With respect to the players, what I tell them is I have been working for 27 years and this partnership that we have had and will have after this ends will continue to, you know continue to grow the game globally, we will continue to have a huge digitally footprint, we will continue to make them stars of international magnitude but I understand when passion is running high and the well has been poisoned by people telling them the owners are lying to them, the owners are greedy, the owners are arrogant and none of that is true by the way."Occupational hazard." What a way of putting it. And he's right. When you're the man at the front of it all, you take the brunt of everything. The criticism, the praise, the downright mean comments -- it's all coming at you. And Stern's always been great at handling it.
Gumbel came with strong words. He wanted to make a splash. He wanted to catch attention. Stern could've called him out on it, but instead, he lets it roll off with a simple description of it just being part of the job.