Tag: Collective Bargaining Agreement

Kevin Garnett, Shaquille O'Neal

Kevin Garnett hints if there is a lockout he could walk away

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Kevin Garnett has two years left on his contract, this season and $21 million next season.

But what if there is no next season? Not likely, but with a looming lockout it’s possible. There are some owners pushing for a hard line and major changes to NBA finances, which could lead to a doomsday scenario.

Garnett said that is part of his motivation for trying to savor this season, as told to Celtics Blog. . Because if next season is wiped out, who knows if Garnett would return (he would be 36). The question was about the impact of fun-loving Shaquille O’Neal on the court, but the answer was broader

“I do have a certain way and a certain style I like to be when I hit the court. Shaq gets a smile out of me every now and then, but for the most part, I’m still me. At some point, especially with the lockout coming up…Who knows if this is my last year, or (if) we don’t play next year, what it’s going to be. So I’m trying to enjoy the guys now.”

Forbes: Salary caps help make rich owners richer, poor poorer

Houston Rockets v Los Angeles Lakers
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As we watch NBA owners and the Players Association play a game of chicken with our favorite sport, here comes a very interesting article out of Forbes (via Hardball Talk).

Part of that CBA debate will be about the salary cap — keep the soft cap with exceptions that exists now or move to a more NHL/NFL style hard cap. Some owners favor the hard cap as a way to control costs.

But smaller market owners hurt themselves with a cap and the current revenue sharing system, says Matt Ozanian of Forbes (who writes about all league finances for the magazine).

Tying team payrolls to league-wide revenue (currently about 50% of total revenue goes towards player compensation and benefits in each of four leagues) has served to make high-revenue teams enormously profitable and low-revenue teams unprofitable, or marginally so, relative to their rivals. The growing distortion in profitability has resulted in a bigger gap in team values…

The NBA had total operating income of $234 million during the 2008-09 season (our 2010 valuations and profits will be published in February). But three teams (Los Angeles Lakers, Chicago Bulls, Detroit Pistons) accounted for 64% of the league’s profits and 12 teams lost money. So billionaire Michael Ilitch is reportedly pondering buying the Pistons for some $400 million while Michael Jordan snapped up the money-losing Charlotte Bobcats for just $175 million in March.

The conventional wisdom is that salary caps benefit poorer teams. But in reality they benefit richer teams more. The owners know this, of course. Which is why the real bare knuckles fighting in the current collective bargaining negotiations in these three sports is among owners.

As we have said before, if you’re serious about bringing more parity to the NBA — and we’re not sure that you really can in basketball where one player can so dominate the course of a game, nor are we convinced that parity is good for the NBA in the way it has been for the NFL — than the real issue is revenue sharing by the owners. David Stern has said the owners are seriously discussing it and that “more robust” revenue sharing is on a parallel track with the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

But if it is on a true parallel track, then those discussions are stalled because of disagreements about how and how much money should be shared. A parallel track would mean they are talking but nowhere near a consensus.

Still, the thought of a bunch of very rich Republican owners in a room crying out for a more socialist system always amuses me.

Looming lockout or no, there will still be a draft this June. After that? Good question.

2010 NBA Draft
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Yes, we’re still pretty convinced in these parts that there will be a lockout come July 1. Hope we’re wrong, don’t think we are.

But lockout or no, there will be an NBA Draft this June 23. Clippers fans can start debating now whether or not to draft Harrison Barnes with that top pick.

What happens after that, nobody is sure.

Draft picks cannot be signed until after July 1 in any year, according to ESPN’s Collective Bargaining Agreement expert Larry Coon. That means these players will be signed under any new CBA — and if there is a lockout they are locked out. They really have no control over the situation.

The threat of a lockout is not impacting decisions about whether or not to come out or stay in college another year, at least not yet, according to Jonathan Givony, president and director of scouting for Draft Express.

“I imagine at the end of the day players will still enter, except for those rare guys that truly love school and come from the type of background that means they don’t have to worry about financial considerations as much as others,” Givony said via email. “Every year there are a ton of guys who enter without much hesitation at all because they feel like they’ve had enough of college and they are ready to be pros. My opinion is they’ll still enter.”

One interesting side note: As Henry Abbott noted at TrueHoop yesterday, one group that consistently loses in every NBA CBA is young players, particularly those yet to enter the league. To use an easy example, if David Stern wants to push the mandatory one year of college (well, really one year after high school) rule to two years, the players union is likely to go along with that because it means players in the union have fewer people threatening their jobs short term.

That two-year rule will come up in negotiations (whether it is put in or not remains to be seen). But would a rule like that push more players to go the Brandon Jennings route and go to Europe for a couple years?

“Europe could become a more attractive option if that’s indeed the case, but the big-money European teams need to show mutual interest, and right now they aren’t,” Givony said. “Those guys after all really can’t help those teams win games at their level. A lockout will mean more borderline NBA type players will head to Europe, so there will be even less “good jobs” for those high school guys.”

Maybe it’s a little too early to freak out about a lockout

NBA & NBA Players Association Announce New CBA
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Welcome to the world of my contradictions. Put up your feet, make yourself at home.

On one hand, I am fully convinced there will be an NBA lockout come next July 1. Talk to both sides informally and that feels like the only possible outcome.

But I think that Darren Rovell at CNBC is right as well — it is far too early to read much into what either side is saying about the negotiations.

You see, history shows us in labor negotiations both in sports and the real world, that true negotiating doesn’t begin until at least one side feels pressured by a deadline. With so much time left, there’s no reason for either side to buckle. An artificial deadline of making substantive progress by the All-Star Break in February has been set, that deadline is exactly what it’s called — “artificial.”

Until a group of workers stare unemployment in the face and an owner or a company truly contemplates not being able to sell his product or service, there’s no reason to step forward and make a deal. The new terms wouldn’t start until the current deal expires and who knows what will change between now and then.

Perhaps the owners, coming off $170 million in new season ticket sales, realize by June that the financial system needs to be tweaked less. Perhaps the union, which has been presented with some $350 million in audited losses from the owners last year, realizes by May that the ultimate driver of casual fan interest — the Miami Heat — isn’t even going to make it to the NBA Finals and the buzz they were counting on just won’t be there. It’s very possible that conditions over the next couple months can change that lead to greater compromise. But there’s simply no reason for either side to be close now.

Let me reiterate one other point as well: A two-day or even two-month lockout that starts July 1 really doesn’t matter in the grand scheme. We fans who love to play GM every July will lose out on some fun (or have it postponed really), those of us who find Summer League in Vegas one of the joys of the NBA calendar will be disappointed. But so long as training camps open on time and games start on schedule, the casual sports fan will not notice. We die hards will forgive. Nothing of real substance to the NBA would be lost.

So that deadline of pressure Rovell speaks of comes with July 1, but really only starts to build over the summer. Which means that I can say that there will be a lockout this July, but anything being said by Billy Hunter or David Stern right now borders on meaningless.

Players Association Exec Hunter “99 percent sure” there will be lockout

NBA & NBA Players Association Announce New CBA

Right now it’s all posturing — more for the general public than each other — but it still sounds ominous.

The latest in the public back-and-forth over a new NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement is what Billy Hunter, executive director of the NBA Players Association (the players union) told the Associated Press.

He said he was “99 percent sure” there would be a lockout next season.

“I think it’s highly probable that there will be a lockout and that’s what I’m preparing for because I don’t see anything else right now,” Hunter said…

But Hunter said the owners aren’t budging on their demands for cuts in salaries, contract lengths and guarantees, annual raises, and the rookie salary scale.

“What’s left?” Hunter said in a conference room at the union’s headquarters after helping distribute turkeys to 2,000 families outside….

“I don’t really see that the argument’s all that compelling for the changes that they’re asking for,” Hunter said.

It’s early on, we really will not know how things stand until the All-Star break. The sides are at least talking and meeting, and these are largely the same players at the table from the last CBA negotiations, they know the game.. And you can be sure both sides know that striking in this economic environment would be horrible public relations and would cause economic damage to the league.

But there are some owners pushing hard to reshape the financial structure of the game and some who privately use a higher lockout percentage than Hunter does. The players are not sold in the least that the problems are that serious or that systemic, they are not backing down easily.

Smart money says there will be a lockout July 1. Summer League may be at risk, free agency pushed back. But that’s not the real threat. If this is a two-week lockout in July it’s forgotten when camps open. But if camps don’t open, if exhibition and particularly regular season games are missed, then the damage will be deep. And it will take years to recover.